Prior to lockdown, we also received funding from Kilgallioch Community Fund which has allowed us to purchase a St Ayles Skiff Kit for Coastal Rowing, although this project has been put on hold due to the Covid restrictions.
This modern take on a Fair Isle skiff has been credited with helping to unite communities across the globe. The impetus for this has come from the very successful skiffie world held in Stranraer in 2019 and the experience of other groups, particularly the Stranraer Coastal Rowing Club an the Wigtown Bay Coastal Rowing Club.
As one of the coastal communities, Portpatrick Coastal Club are seeking to build their own community skiff. This will provide significant community benefit both during construction and into long term operation of the Skiff. This will bring sustainable community benefits by allowing a wide range of individuals opportunity to take part in activities, from Portpatrick and allow the village to take part in water sport activities based in Loch Ryan and the other coastal communities. (Extending to Ballantrae, in South Aysrhire to Garlieston on the eastern Machars.
Community skiff projects have proven to be a great success in bringing all members of the community together, while the Mens Shed movement has demonstrated real value in practical projects in supporting mental health and dealing with social isolation.
The Stranraer Coastal Rowing has built two St Ayles skiffs, while the Isle of Whithorn skiff project has just been completed. These projects have been very successful in providing opportunity for social interaction and for inter- generational working for both men and woman.
Once the Skiff is completed it provides a lasting legacy by allowing community members to access the planned on-going water sports activity in Loch Ryan both at competition level and for recreational use.
The embryonic Portpatrick Coastal Rowing Club has received support from the Isle of Whithorn project and are planning a Machars and Rhins competition. We are also targeting a Skiff regatta at Portpatrick Harbour and a sponsored and support Skiff trip across the North Channel to Donaghadee. (Offering an annual fund- raising opportunity based on the completed skiff.)
The St Ayles is a flat pack construction project, that has also helped to turn coastal rowing into one of the world’s fastest-growing water sports, has pulled together marginalised groups and improved the mental health and well-being of hundreds. Men, women, and school children, elderly and disabled groups in small communities around the world are boat-building, thanks to this flat-pack kit inspired by traditional Shetland fishing boats and Viking craftsmanship.
The Scottish Coastal Rowing Association was formed on 29 May 2010 to encourage boat building and rowing and racing of coastal rowing boats around the Scottish Coastline. The concept of the community-built kit rowing boat came from Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats who was inspired by the Miners’ Rowing and sailing Regattas in East Wemyss where he formerly lived. The idea was taken up by the Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther which commissioned the design from Iain Oughtred. Jordan Boats manufactures the kit* for the design.
The basic principle of this project is that the boats to be raced should be available at as low a price as possible. The St Ayles Skiff is 22ft, with a beam of 5’8. The standard Crew is four rowers, each with a single oar, and a coxswain. The name of the design comes from the former chapel which now forms the entrance to the Scottish Fisheries Museum. The boat is supplied in Kit form, the basic hull shape and dimensions will be the same for each boat, however a great deal of work goes into transforming sheets of precut plywood into the St Ayles Skiff and can take anything from 6 weeks to 6 months + depending on community resource.
The Project is administered by PCDT who provide the governance and financial management. The project will be delivered by the newly formed Portpatrick Coastal Rowing Club. This is non-incorporated club, open to anyone in Portpatrick and environs who wish to get involved in the project.
Guidance in establishing the Portpatrick Coastal Rowing Club and project management support is being supplied by the Stranraer Coastal Rowing Club.