The St Ayles skiff hits the water

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The St Ayles skiff meets the water for the first time – as usual click on the images for larger shots

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Project’s first St Ayles skiff hit the water for the first time on Sunday, and had her first try-out with a set of borrowed oars.

Builder and key powerhouse behind the project Alec Jordan reports that the Iain Oughtred-designed boat is a joy to row, as she’s stable and fast at the same time. The photos above are courtest of Alec, who must be very proud.

The boat is to be officially launched at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther on Saturday 31 October at 11am. Once the formalities are over there will be a chance to row the boat – if you’d like a go, please contact Alec by email at

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The first St Ayles skiff building progress, 9th October 2009

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the never ending cleanup DSC_3518 Cox's seat

Alec trying tiller options

Chris Perkins’ and Alec Jordan’s latest photos of the first St Ayles skiff build, including some more shots of the increasingly well exposed Alec Jordan – I hope he enjoys his new celebrity!

These are Chris Perkins’ and Alec Jordan’s photos showing the latest progress on the Iain Oughtred-designed St Ayles skiff currently¬† going together in Alec’s workshop for use by the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project. For more on this story, click here.

Here’s what Chris has to say this week:

‘A belated catch up report, for which apologies, on the progress of the St Ayles Skiff.

‘My last week on the project was spent cleaning up the inwales, building a temporary cox perch and generally helping fit the furniture and titivating. Each time this stage is reached in a build I am amazed at how much time is absorbed removing material. Work that will never be appreciated by anyone who has not got that particular T shirt but is immediately apparent if it is neglected. The route to a respectable finish always lies in the preparation – a truism that can never be said often enough in my view.

‘The snaps include a couple of high level shots showing the almost structurally completed boat, just the breasthooks to fit at that stage (now done), obtained after some precarious ladder work by Alec in the upper reaches of his workshop.

‘The cox’s seat is a temporary affair until the positioning of feet and seats are proven on the water, after which the buoyancy compartments will be retrofitted – space is pretty tight and it would be easy to get positioning wrong in a static environment – we really need to see the dynamics of the interaction of the various bodies to establish best position.

‘The week passed all too quickly and my time on the build was over. Altogether it has been a fascinating few weeks that has transformed my view of kit boats. I am extremely grateful for Alec’s invitation to join in the build which I hugely enjoyed – so much so that I have put my name down for the Ullapool group aiming to build the first West Coast St Ayles skiff, although I’m not sure I have the spine to be an oarsman.

‘Alec has now started applying the finish, varnished gunnels and thwarts with the rest of the hull painted so it shouldn’t be too long before I head down to the other end of Scotland to see how she looks on the water.


Thanks once again Chris!

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Turnover day for the first St Ayles skiff designed by Iain Oughtred

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Chris Perkins’ photos used with permission. Click on the thumbnails for much larger images. Please do not repost on forums and elsewhere without permission from the photographer

The first St Ayles skiff currently being built in Alec Jordan’s workshop has reached an important landmark – turnover day. For more on the St Ayles skiff and the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project, click here.

Award winning amateur ply lapstrake boatbuilding specialist Chris Perkins has been involved, and here’s what he has to say about it:

‘Week three has passed with less visible progress: scraping and sanding the surplus epoxy eats away at the hours without appearing to advance the build significantly. Hopefully care at this stage will show in the finished result.

‘The “significant event” for this week occurred on Thursday evening when, after some delay assembling the strong arm bunch, the skiff was turned up the right way for the first time. She looked pretty good while on the mould but achieved a step change in the looks department when seen from a “proper” perspective for the first time. Iain Oughtred has produced yet another stunning design; I think she is a real beauty.

Cromartie Timber have produced some excellent larch for the thwarts and thwart beams, and it is probable that the internal fit out will be completed by the end of next week. There will still be lots of the interminable sanding and scraping to do but the boat should be painted and on the water in the first half of October. A few more volunteer helpers would be very welcome to move things along!



Thanks Chris! See Chris Perkins’ weblog here.

If you’re in the Fife area and feel like getting involved in an exciting project, why not contact Alec Jordan at

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