Iain Oughtred draws the boat that will bring coastal rowing races back to Scotland

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St Ayles skiff

Iain Oughtred’s initial drawings for the St Ayles skiff

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Project is a new initiative intended to encourage boat building and rowing racing in Scottish coastal communities.

Based at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, its plan is to re-start the intercommunity rowing competition that for many years was a strong feature of life in the coastal communities of Scotland.

Until the 1960s there was a considerable interest in boating in the mining communities in Central Fife, and a strong fisheries industry in the East Neuk, and these communities held their own regattas on a regular basis using their own local boat types.However, where these regattas have continued, they are generally run by sailing clubs using largely mass-produced GRP yachts and dinghies, with the exception of Dysart Sailing Club, where I gather a few traditional boats are still raced.

There are, we’re told, no rowing races in Fife apart from the Newburgh World Coble Boat Championship.

I guess the organisers have looked long and hard at the wonderfully successful resurgence and spread of interest in racing pilot gigs from the Scilly Islands and Cornwall – no doubt there was a danger that this kind of racing could have appeared in Scotland, but in Cornish boats!

The folks behind the SCRP have wisely commissioned Iain Oughtred to design a suitable clinker ply boat based on the lines of the Fair Isle skiff and to be called the St Ayles skiff, while kit supplier Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats is on board to supply the cut parts for the project. Iain’s beautiful initial drawing appears above.

The first boat will be made from a kit cut by Alec over the winter of 2009-10. The process will be recorded and placed on a website as a tutorial for other builders to follow, and the kits are estimated to cost about £1350, with the complete boat costing around £3000 in materials. I should add that a sailing rig is also planned.

For more, read the leaflet and prospectus. I gather the building project will be covered in Water Craft magazine.

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5 thoughts on “Iain Oughtred draws the boat that will bring coastal rowing races back to Scotland”

  1. Gav,

    I was unreasonably excited by this project when fellow HBBR'r Roddy Hill (Greygoose) gave me a leaflet last Saturday at Portsoy. I am a bit confused by the term 'skiff' -to my untutored eye the proposed design is awfully like the lovely Shetland Yole produced by Ian Best on FairIsle. Indeed a goodly amount of my time at Portsoy was taken up looking at 'Aluna Ivy' helpfully displayed on the Quay. If I am right in the similarities then Coastal Rowing is alive and well in the Northern Isles (see http://www.bigtonrowingclub.co.uk/boats.html).
    It is a brilliant concept and I hope it really takes off – something I would love to see happen in Ullapool and other NW coastal communities – it's not that much of a trail to the Moray coast so East/West challenges could well develope in a year or so if the idea caught on over East.



  2. Gavin,

    An interesting project! I have long advocated such an idea for the Northwest coast of the US, where boats of similar design are hugely popular. Projects of this type have a life of their own, once they catch on. And what better designer to help launch the concept? More power to them!


  3. I am a huge fan of iain but think it a bit rich to to say that this is the project that is going to bring back coastal rowing ti Scotland whemn there has been a good buncjh of us doing just that for the last twenty years- hats off to Wallace Clark, Clanranald of Thailand, The Gal Gael et al.

    I am anxious to restart the traditional bopat rally at the Glenfinan Gathering, anyone up for it?


  4. the idea of rowing races taking place over the north of scotland sounds like good idea to me.i would like to start something like this in wick. then we could have regattas between north and south,east and west,whatever.

    as for iain oughtred designing this rowing shetland yole?

    the lines for this type of boat can easily got from THE SHETLAND BOAT. SOTHMAINLAND AND FAIR ISLE PUBLISHED BY THE NATIONAL MARITIME MUSEUM.for anybody to copy from and to tweek if so inclined.and then call their new design.

    there are to my knowledge at leasted one boat builder in shetland mainland and one in fair isle who still build these tradional boats.

    i am in the process of trying to achieve building one these beutifull boats myself. the lines copied from the above mentioned book,fasinating reading.i am a time served boatbuilder who did part of my apprenticeship with a well knowen shetland boatbuilder called TAMMY EDWARDSON one the best ever.

    adam polson

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