Equipment Required for Racing

As well as four rowers and a cox, St Ayles skiffs racing at Skiffieworlds will require to carry the following equipment:

(a) A working hand held VHF radio. This is principally for listening, rather than transmitting. Umpires will give instructions to all crews over VHF, and the principal means of starting the race will be “Attention….. Go” broadcast over VHF.

(b) At least two means of efficiently bailing the boat.

(c) Personal Flotation Devices (either a lifejacket or a buoyancy aid) for each crew member. These must be worn by all crew members at all times. Bum Bag type lifejackets are acceptable, and can be worn to rear or side if preferred.

(d) A length of rope of at least 14mm diameter and at least 8 meters in length, securely attached to a strong point in the bow of the boat and capable of being used to tow boat with crew.

(e) An Anchor, together with a suitable chain and line of minimum 30 metres, giving a combined minimum weight of anchor, chain and line of 7kg, all as suitable for use in the conditions and area of use.

For other requirements under the racing rules, see the racing rules.

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Plastic Wear Strips on Oars

In the lead up to the Worlds, we have had a couple of queries with regard to wear strips on oars, in the context of the measurement rules.

” 7. Oars

7.1 Oars shall be made of timber.  Plywood is a permitted material for the blade of the oar.  The use of plastic or leather sleeving, facings or wear strips fastened to oars to protect wooden parts from wear is permitted.”

The oars and any plates attached to them need to be made of timber or plywood. Plastic or leather is permitted as a facing to reduce wear but whole components i.e. thole pin plates, are not to be solid plastic. As an example of a breach of this rule, we have seen thole pin plates made from 12mm polythene bread boards. These are not just to reduce wear, they are structurally of plastic and not acceptable. Plywood faced with plastic is acceptable. Essentially the whole system should work even if the plastic was taken off and replaced with grease.

Some clubs have used copper strips on the tips of their timber blades to prevent splitting. Although strictly in breach of the rule, no action will be taken against this traditional practice, which probably creates a slight racing disadvantage, rather than an advantage. Metal is not allowed elsewhere in the oar system.

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Collieston Launch “Collie’s Cath”

….. and a very lovely skiff she is. Congratulations and good luck to her, and the club.

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Arran 2019 Results!

Prize for the neatest writing at a 2019 regatta goes to Arran.

Excellent conditions for an excellently hosted regatta. The sun shone and a gentle breeze made for slight variations in the conditions. Holy Island made for a dramatic backdrop. Arran were joined by fellow Islanders from Islay and Cumbrae, and from most of their Ayrshire neighbours…… FOCCRS, Carrick, Renegade, Troon and Prestwick. Royal West made up the Clyde contingent, with Queensferry and North Berwick coming through from the East.

Saturday racing was a course of around 1750m, starting with a 700m start to the first mark, a port turn for around ninety degrees, then back in towards the shore, with second port turn. Then it was a good 60 strokes to the finish line. Crews were sent off in two waves of five boats each, with the winner ultimately being determined by the times.

Above are the Saturday results. In the long race on the Sunday, Firth of Clyde CRC took line honours for the second year in a row. Sunday did of course come after the Saturday night, which featured a BBQ with quite possibly the best food ever to have been served up at a regatta, followed by a fair bit of dancing. All together a fantastic, welcoming regatta to remind us of what a great community we are part of. Thank you Arran.

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Local Win in First “Argyll Open”

The Argyll Open is a regatta and picnic expedition for SCRA “Picnic Class” boats. A small but perfectly formed fleet assembled on Caol Scotnish, near Tayvallich on the morning of 15 June 2015. Racing was by way of time trial over a course on the very sheltered waters of the sea loch.

Local rower Ben Wilde of Archipelago Folkschool was fastest over the course in a time of 12 minutes 30 seconds. Ben was rowing a Clint Chase designed Caravelle rowing boats built on one of the Archipelago Folkschool’s one week boat building courses. A rower from Gullane Aquatics took silver in 12:44, with Tayvallich taking the bronze in 12:55. Best of the rest was Robbie Wightman of North Berwick Rowing Club in 13:05. None of the ladies present were willing to lay down a time, so there is still a vacancy for the title of first ladies Argyll Open champion….. hopefully to be filled next year. The winner received a prize of tablet made by Mrs A.J. Jack of West Kilbride, presented by her daughter. Well done all.

The Winner Starting his time trial

After the racing…….. on with the picnic expedition! The boats made their way towards the head of Caol Scotnish, and landed on Witches Isle for their picnic. A fascinating place with medieval ruins and probably remains of a later fortified dwelling. It probably got its name from being a place where difficult women were exiled to, where they could be kept safely away from the rest of the community but their skills could be used when required. All the women from the picnic party were brought safely back to the slip on the mainland from where the boats were recovered.

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Students Launch 2nd Skiff in Cape May, New Jersey. USA

On Thursday June 6, a collective group of (about 85) students from Mr. Suter’s classes launched their newest project boat at the Corinthian Yacht Club of Cape May thanks to the support of Captain Robert Bredehoft and the membership there.

                The actual craft is a St. Ayles Skiff designed to be built in kit form by the Scottish boat builder Ian Oughtred who has seen his creation distributed to clubs and schools worldwide.

                This boat is the second of 2 St. Ayles Skiff kits purchased from Hewes and Co. of Maine by our School District and the Maritime Museum of Cape May.  Christopher Kobik our superintendent saw these kits as a vessel (use the pun if you like!)  to engage students and let them experience long term cooperative learning in a manner they may not have access to later on.   I (Matt Suter- Special Education Teacher-28 years) am charged with overseeing the construction of the boat and implementing the build into my regular World Cultures classroom.

                The construction process has had to run at the pace of the students working on it as they have academic classwork to complete as well.   Part of my guidance was to have them focus on the specific job at hand, try something new and show them how what they are doing contributes to the whole and to trust the process.   It has been fun.

                I have dedicated this boat and build to Mr. Bill Noe and the boat will have his name.  Bill was also a Special Education teacher here at LCMR and really inspired me to not only become an educator but a forever learner as well.  Thanks Bill. 

                Both builds to date have been awesome to work on but absolutely could not have happened without my colleague, Kelly McConnell-Hussey, who has been there with me from the beginning.  Others who have been key players in support of these projects include Mark Haibach, Jeff Martin,  Roy Olsen and his fine crew, and our school administrative staff who have really provided me with all I need to keep going.  Which is great as our next build is a Caledonia Yawl sailboat!

 Matt Suter

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Tight Turns at the Worlds

At Stranraer for the St Ayles Skiff World Championships we will be racing on a 2000 meter course. There is a 180 degree turn at the half way point, and there will be a turning buoy for each of the up to 15 boats in each race. The buoys will be Lomo buoys, like the ones in the photograph below.

The buoys are only 20meters apart, which may sound a lot, but remember that with oars out our boats are around 7 meters wide. We need all crews coming into the turn to make a tight turn, and turn the whole 180 degrees before setting off again. This will prevent collisions, disqualifications, and spoiling anyones day.

Crews should aim to hit the buoys (which will fall over) and have the buoy pass under the oars. All crews must bear in mind the following rules:

8.5.1 ………. crews should remain in their drawn lanes throughout the race.

8.5.2 In races where each boat has their own allocated turning buoy boats approaching their turn shall give way to those coming out of their turn. All boats shall turn their buoy in the same direction, which will be to starboard unless stated otherwise in race instructions.

8.6 At turns the whole hull and rudder must round the turning mark.

8.7 If the hulls of two boats collide during the course of a race, the presumption is that the safety of the crews is being compromised, and that disqualification of one or both crews should occur.

If a crew does not hit the buoy, or sets off before they have turned sufficiently it will be assumed that crew has not remained in their drawn lane if there is any hint of the crew impeding the progress of another crew, and they will face a sanction at the discretion of the umpire, possibly disqualification. If crews are in their lanes, there should be no need for approaching crews to give way to crews coming off the mark.

At Stranraer the umpires will be using drones at the turning marks, to view the turns and assist with decision making both during the race and in any necessary review process.

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Regatta Iomradh Steòrnabhaigh

Picture by Chris Murray

Chrunnich sia eathraichean ionadail còmhla an-dè gus pàirt a gabhail ann an Regatta Iomradh Steòrnabhaigh. Bha ràmhaich à Glaschu agus Fiobha is Duitsich sna rèisean. Thàinig an sgioba againn dhachaigh le duisean sa chiad àite- boireannaich fo 40, darna sa rèis fosgailte agus treas àite airson boireannaich thairis 40. Ged a bha an t-sìde rudeigin fluich bha deagh latha againn. 


Six Lewis skiffs took part in Regatta Iomradh Steòrnabhagh on Saturday 1st June 2019. West Side Rowers, Rowflo, Stornoway RC, An Eathar RC, Bluemoon RC and Eala Bhan raced in the 1.2nm course. The triangular route had to be shortened due to wind but great fun was had by all ; despite the rain!  This year the regatta was organised in association with Sail Stornoway and Stornoway Port Authority. Rowers from Glasgow, The Netherlands and Fife joined in the races. Big thanks to Chris Mitchell from Kinghorn Rowing Club who umpired the races and to HMCG for keeping all the spectators safe.  The overall award went to Ràmhaich Taobh Siar. 

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Shetland Regatta

Orkney Rowing Club (ORC) travelled to visit our north neighbours in Shetland to participate in the Bigton annual rowing regatta which was held on Saturday 1st June.  Bigton holds a special place in ORC’s heart as our first yoal, the Fridarey, was bought 5 years ago from Bigton Rowing Club.  She was built in 2005 by Fair Isle boat builder Ian Best who also built our yoal, the Rinansey in 2016.  Shetland yoals differ from St Ayles Skiffs as the yoals see 6 rowers spread evenly over 3 seats.

ORC had a group of twelve rowers participating in the regatta, the venue is the beautiful spot of St Ninian Isle on Shetland with gorgeous sandy beaches.

Orkney participated in 6 races and enjoyed every minute of the close sprint racing over a 1K course.

There were daytime activities including a BBQ, soup, sandwiches, teas and coffees, ice-cream, sand-castle competition and beer tent.  After the rowing, live music was provided by the splendid local band, David Sandison and the Tennessee Wannabees, whilst outside a beach bonfire provided warmth.


Unfortunately we won no trophies this time around, however there were some close and hotly contested races, with the veteran mixed race having 1 second between 1st and 3rd place, ORC coming 3rd.  We also gained 3rd place in the Veteran men’s race with two women in the crew.

Next year Orkney will host and we look forward to welcoming crews from Shetland to compete for the inter-island trophies.

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Queensferry Regatta

There were a lot of colourful gazebos and happy faces yesterday at Queensferry.
Thank you all Crail ,Eskmuthe ,Broughty ,Portsoy ,Wormit ,Kinghorn ,St Andrews ,Eastern ,N Queensferry for a great friendly,competitive day .

Full regatta report to follow

Spectators watching the action

Results on the board

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