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Leopard launched at Hout Bay

On Sunday Hout Bay Yacht Club became the first club to launch a St Ayles Skiff from the African continent. With a piper following the skiff’s progress along the harbour to the slipway, along with scores of club members, more interest was created, which can be seen in videos on HBYC’s Facebook page. We have been promised that video will be available which will be added to this post when it is edited.

Leopard was built by HBYC President Chris Sutton with many willing helpers, and it speaks highly of his dedication to the task that his hip operation was delayed so that he could finish the skiff on time. He returned from hospital quickly enough to be able to cox the skiff on her maiden voyage!

The skiff has created some interest in South Africa, with two crews from the Simons Town Coastal Rowing Club ( a sliding seat club) attending, and, I believe, a representative of Rowing South Africa. The pics below tell the rest of the story.

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First South African skiff to take to the water.

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Forth And Clyde Canal Flotilla 24-26 May 2019

We are delighted that the Forth and Clyde Canal is going to be opening for full transit again this year. There is going to be a flotilla to celebrate this in the summer and we are very grateful that the organisers would like to include Coastal Rowing Clubs in the celebration plans.  They write “To re-open the Forth & Clyde canal on the holiday weekend of 24 till 26 May this year, a grand flotilla is being planned, with sociability at the Falkirk Wheel on the Friday evening , at Auchinstarry near Kilsyth on the Saturday evening and parting lunch with the provost in full regalia at Kirkintilloch on Sunday.”

The canal between these places incorporates only 3 locks We would suggest that crews take generally shorter oars. but also take a couple of paddles for close quarter maneuvers.  The F+C has been transited by St Ayles skiffs before.  See Dunbar Coastal Rowing clubs account in their previous cruising log entry.

We really hope that this will be of interest to some clubs. Robin Fryer is in charge of coordination and registration of everyone who aims to have a boat there. Please contact him directly if you have a boat and a crew to take part: We will have more info as the planning progresses, but idea of classes and numbers of participants is critical to various aspects, so please do register your interest with Robin.

Boatie Blest on the Union Canal
Boatie Blest on the Union Canal

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Skiffie Worlds 2019 Schedule

Stranraer is looking forward to welcoming the world to Loch Ryan in July for Skiffie Worlds, the World Championship for the St Ayles Skiff class of coastal rowing boat. The schedule for the week will be as follows:

Sunday 7 July 2019:
Practice Day and Welcome Ceremony

Monday 8 July 2019:
Men Under 40; Women Under 40, Women Over 60; Men Over 60

Tuesday 9 July 2019: 
Men 40+,  Women 40+;  Mixed 50+

Wednesday 10 July 2019: 
Mixed Over 40 (heats); Mixed Over 60/ Mixed 280+  ; Open Men

Thursday 11 July 2019: 
Men Over 50;  Women Over 50; Open Women; Mixed 40+ (final); Mixed U17

Friday 12 July 2019: 
U19 Boys, U19 girls, mixed open A (heats)

Saturday 13 July 2019: 
Mixed Open B;  Mixed open A (final); U17 boys; U17 girls; U19 mixed.

There may be minor changes to this schedule, depending on the number of entries for each event. In categories with a large number of entries the final may be run on the day after the heats/ repechage.

Stranraer and Loch Ryan
Skiffieworlds2013 at Ullapool

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Safety Notice: Throwlines

The MAIB has been looking at throwlines, following a failure during a swimming pool exercise. Surprisingly it seems that the line in some throwbags is welded together with a weak join, rather then being made in one piece or spliced.

The MAIB found the following:

  • the failure of a throw bag rescue line during an emergency rescue operation in fast flowing and deep waters could potentially result in the casualty drowning
  • a large number of throw bags are in use in the UK, both in the leisure sector and emergency rescue services. However as throw bags are not considered safety or lifesaving equipment, there is no requirement to manufacture them to a specific safety or quality standard
  • at present, the only safeguard against poor and unsafe workmanship of throw bags is limited to the quality checks of the manufacturer; such checks lack third party oversight

Click on these links to see:

The MAIB report

The MAIB Safety Bulletin

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A Skiff for Burntisland?

Every town needs a skiff (or two). If you know anyone in or around Burntisland who would benefit from being involved in building a boat, building a club and building a community please encourage them to go along to a public meeting at the Roasting Project coffee house, on 30 January 2019 at 7pm. Help to share the benefits of boat building and coastal rowing!

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Fife Club’s initiative shows the way   

Kinghorn Coastal Rowing Club with a report on their initiative to help young women in the community get out on the water – great work!

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2020: Year 10 Row Around

It is a time of year for looking ahead. Of course many are looking ahead to Skiffieworlds, taking place in July 2019. We cannot wait. For more information about that Click on the Stranraer Skiffieworlds logo on this page.

However, some of us are looking even further ahead at the same time. We are very conscious that we have anniversaries coming up that we need to celebrate. Ten years ago there was only one Scottish Coastal Rowing Club south of Sumburgh Head (Royal West of Scotland ABC, who have been around since 1866). Ten years on, thanks to a lot of inspiration and hard work by a whole lot of people we have around SEVENTY coastal rowing clubs, and the sport is still growing. So we need to celebrate this remarkable story!

You can check back through the website to see the Report on the official launch of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project which took place on a remarkably lovely looking day in October 2009 at Anstruther. This in itself was a culmination of planning, designing and building. Following on from the launch the first St Ayles Skiff kits became available to community builders at the end of 2009. Building went on in several communities through that winter. They were aiming to be at the first ever St Ayles Skiff regatta. The big day came on 28 May 2010, when six skiffs were completed in time to compete in a regatta at Anstruther. The skiffs came from Anstruther (the prototype boat) Boatie Blest (first community built skiff to be launched) , Ullapool, Coigach, RowPorty, and North Berwick (paint still wet). Later that day a meeting was held where the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association was formed with the six clubs who were racing being joined by Royal West of Scotland, Eyemouth and St Abbs, Dunbar and South Queensferry (and possibly others…… contact the convenor if you feel you have been missed out). Have a look at where our clubs are now on our clubfinder. But then the whole thing grew and grew and became a world wide phenomenon. Rather a long introduction but a reminder as to why we have to make sure we have a celebration. So how do we celebrate……? Skiffieworlds is coming up, and we consider that the celebration of the international spread of the boats. As for Scotland, drum roll please…..

We propose to hold a Year 10 Roundabout Relay around Scotland, hopefully involving every single Scottish Club. Clubs from outwith Scotland will be welcome to join in sections of the row. The event will be non-competitive. It will look to pull communities together, and hopefully inspire new folk to take part in coastal rowing, and indeed promote the viability of rowing boat based tourism.

Cruising on Loch Shiel with the Jacobite Muster. Photo Jon Gerrard

Our broad plan at this point is to be at Scottish Fisheries Museum on 28 May 2020, with a fleet of local boats rowing from there round the Forth and down to Eyemouth, then transfer over to Annan. From there to make along the Solway and up to Stranraer. The expedition will be split down into sections, with these the first two. The next section will be up though the Clyde to Kintyre. We will need a leader for each section to undertake passage planning and to organise the skiffs that will take part in each part of each section. The Argyll section will hopefully involve Islay in some way and will go from Crinan up through Loch Melfort inside Seil and up Loch Linnhe, before curving back to Morvern and Mull, also involving clubs from Iona, Tiree and Coll. There will then be an Outer Hebrides section, before the baton comes back across Skye to meet the clubs from Wester Ross and the west coast of Sutherland. Our outline plan is to have a road transfer from the west coast of Sutherland to an Orkney section, before a section going from Wick down to the Black Isle. The next section will be along the south shore of the Moray Firth, involving the remarkable clubs from that part of the coast. A transfer across to Collieston will be followed by a trip down the east coast, till we find Broughty Ferry. Then it will be a case of rowing up the Tay as far as we can go before visiting any inland lochs that need a fleet of St Ayles skiffs, and then finishing at the SCRA AGM. The baton will be opened at the AGM, to see if it contains a message from anyone.

This is all no small undertaking, and it is almost certainly not going to be something we will be trying to repeat, at least not before our 25th Anniversary! That is really why we are setting out our rough plan now, so that we can try to gather support and funding to make it happen. We need to appoint a coordinator for each section, and want that person to be drawn from one of the clubs on that section of coast. Each section will have a completion date, rather then being prescriptive about getting to a particular point at the end of each day. Our boats are small and crews must never be under pressure to depart if the conditions are not right. If you think you could pilot a section, or would like to nominate someone who should do so, please get in contact with . Similarly if you feel you can support the event in any other way, in kind or financially, please get in touch to register your interest.

Now, back to your 2019 rowing……….

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Best Wishes for 2019

What better way to start the New Year than out on the water with friends. Start as you mean to go on. Here are some of the clubs and rowers who ventured out on 1 January 2019. Best wishes for the New Year from Scottish Coastal Rowing.

Row Port and Eskmooth

North Berwick
Isle of Seil

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