Tag Archives: rowing

Baja coast sailing

Baja sailing

Sailing along California’s Baja coast. If after watching this you feel you’d done enough sailing this summer, you’re a better man than I.

This is proper RD Culler-style sailing too, which I’d guess can be summarised as sail where you can row when you must, and make sure your boat is simple and effective and rows well, so that you don’t need to lug and use a motor.

Plan well two… more rules of his are to row during the first part of your trip so that you can sail in the later part, when you’re hot and tired.

Row St Kilda has started

Row St Kilda crew practising

Great good luck you lot! The row St Kilda crew practising

They’ve set off – the 100-mile fund-raising row from Village bay St Kilda to Portree on the Isle of Skye in an open rowing boat built around 1890 began earlier today.

The rowers are raising funds for the RNLI and Skye & Lochalsh Young Carers. The link for donations is here; their website is here, the BBC has a story here, and track their progress here.

I wonder whether they’ll do it all again next year?

Ex-Thames steamer Belle urgently needs a new owner


The lovely 1894 Kingston-built steam launch Belle, which plied the Thames for many years, is in urgent need of a new owner.

SL Belle’s present owner can’t afford to keep the National Historic Ships-registered vessel any longer and is reluctantly considering an offer of £6,500 from someone who wishes to strip her fittings and scrap the rest of her.

Read the story at River Thames News.

PS – Another, rather more cheerful if entertainingly loop story from the River Thames News folks reveals that Olympian John Pritchard is to lead a group of rowers in 2,500-mile trip down the Mississippi from Minnesota to New Orleans in two 26ft fixed-seat traditional Thames skiffs. The boats are now under construction at the Stanley and Thomas boatyard at Windsor, and the plan is to raise a million dollars for the charity Right To Play, which educates children in developing countries through play.

2013 Skiffie Worlds featured in Water Craft magazine


Read the nice feature about Scottish Coastal Rowing’s Skiffie Worlds event by Kathy Mansfield recently published by Watercraft magazine here.

Lyme Regis to be the new home of Bantry Bay gig Intégrité

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Lyme Regis is to be the home of the 38ft Bantry Bay gig that represents Great Britain in the two-yearly Atlantic Challenge.

In addition to the Atlantic Challenge, Intégrité will also take part in a new venture, Atlantic Challenge England.

The sail and oar-powered boat was built by the late John Kerr, boat builder and founder of Atlantic Challenge GB, in his workshop in Llandysul, West Wales in 1992.

Real greyhounds of the sea, the Bantry Bay gigs are wooden replicas of late 18th century longboats, and are modelled on an existing original gig left behind in Bantry Bay, Ireland by the invading French fleet of 1796 – if, like me, you don’t remember the story of the French attempt to invade Ireland in that era, there’s a page of information at the Wikipedia.

Some 55 of the boats have been built, often by communities.

Taking care of Intégrité and racing her is to be  sister project of the town’s Gig Club, an will have its own committee who will undertake fundraising and oversee the storage, maintenance and management of the gig in partnership with Lyme Regis Development Trust. I understand local boat builder Gail McGarva is very much involved, and that the project is also supported by the Lyme Regis harbour master.

Blakeney folks build the UK’s southern-most St Ayles skiff

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Photos by Ian Duffill

A rowing club set up under the aegis of Blakeney Sailing Club is well on the way to completing the UK’s most southerly St Ayles rowing skiff for racing under oars. Read about the smart-looking build here.

The Scottish Coastal Rowing movement imagined and then realised by kit manufacturer and boat builder Alec Jordan and Iain Oughtred, who designed the seaworthy four-oared plus cox, fixed-seat boat St Ayles skiff, continues to amaze with its success. For one thing, it has been remarkably popular – the number of kits sold for these good-sized community-built racing skiffs this month topped 100.

We’ve seen these boats built in other countries – there are now St Ayles skiff kit suppliers in the Netherlands, the Antipodes, and North America – but there’s something a bit special and unexpected about the movement extending itself to Norfolk.

The story of how it happened begins in 2012, when Dr Victoria Holliday, an avid and competitive sculler persuaded Blakeney Sailing Club to run an early morning race for a collection of sculling boats kept in the club’s boat park. It was evidently a success – more races were held, and, encouraged by the club led by Commodore Joe Carr,  CraBlakeney (Coastal Rowing Association Blakeney) has been formed under the sailing club’s umbrella.

The question of what the local coastal rowing history and traditions of  North Norfolk, but few answers were forthcoming, and the idea of building a St Ayles skiff and taking part in the Scottish Coastal Rowing movement came to the fore.

Dinghy sailor and would-be rower Ian Duffill joined forces with Victoria Holliday to sponsor a kit from Alec Jordan, and this has taken shape over the past five months in Ian’s workshop, where an enthusiastic group of 20 or so volunteers, mainly drawn from the sailing club are aiming to launch the boat on the 25th May, to exhibit her at the Beale Park Boat Show near Reading in June, and to take part in the Skiff World Championships at Ullapool in July.

The skiff has been named Hoi Larntan, a Norfolk dialect phrase used by seafarers to indicate a boat or skipper of superior quality. It’s also an example of the local taste for punning names – it also means ‘high lantern’ or ‘high learned one’.

After the skiffies’ world championship at Ullapool she will back at at Blakeney to be used for exercise and recreation.

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Photos by Ian Ruston

Tom Fort explores the River Trent in a punt – and Spider T

Tom Fort BBC4 River Trent

Writer Tom Fort’s programme River of Dreams exploring the history of the River Trent, and descending the River Trent from Stoke on Trent to the Humber Estuary in a paddled and rowed punt, on foot, and on board the Humber sloop Spider T is to be screened on the BBC4 tonight.

The programme goes out at 9pm, and I’m sure it will make some intelligent entertainment. Some readers may remember being intrigued by his 2012 programme about the unpromising-sounding A303. Little did we know…

There are clips from the programme here and here.

PS – We watched this last night. It’s well worth watching, though the Trent looks pretty scary in places, and I think Fort’s punt carries rather more buoyancy (and a shorter waterline) than strictly necessary, which will have made his boat a little slow…