Rowing club on the crest of a wave

‘Yolande’ the vessel built by the recently formed Kinghorn Coastal Rowing Club, was officially launched in the rather choppy waters of the River Forth at the weekend.

With local piper Tom Gibbs playing and crowds cheering, the St Ayles skiff, crewed by some of the dedicated club members who helped bring her to life, took to the waves in a stiff easterly breeze.

The Kinghorn team

The Kinghorn team

After a naming ceremony during which everyone was asked to pause and remember the sudden passing of Alan Robertson, a friend and club member, the obligatory whisky was sprinkled over the bow and the quaich passed around the members of the club, and Yolande was taken down the slipway to the water.

It was a proud moment for the club which has worked many long and hard hours to complete their first purpose-built rowing boat to enable it to take part in rowing events and competitions around the Scottish coast.

Coastal rowing is a sport which is growing rapidly in popularity, and other groups from around Fife and further afield turned out at the event to show their support.

There were clubs from North Queensferry, Newburgh and Portobello which brought along their boats for the event, while others from Queensferry, St Andrews and St Bathans in Berwickshire were also represented by members.

Yolande ready for her maiden sea voyage

Yolande ready for her maiden sea voyage

Christine Feechan, chairman of the club, said: “We’re really excited to be bringing this brilliant activity to the beautiful village of Kinghorn, now with its Royal Burgh status re-instated.

“Many of the club members had never rowed before and most of us had never built a boat, but building on the individual skills we do have we’ve all come together to create a beautiful boat and a real community asset.

“Our club is truly a community club and everyone is welcome. You don’t need to be sporty or fit or have any previous rowing or boating experience. This a chance for everyone in Kinghorn to have some fun and try something new.”

She thanked everyone who had helped the club to reach this point, including the dedicated team of boatmakers and other clubs which had given Kinghorn members the oppportunity to join in some of their organised events and training sessions.

The final preparations

The final preparations

Saturday’s launch event was also attended by the 118 characters from the telephone enquiry service who took part in the rowing sessions. They were there because all skiffs are given a craft number from the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association, and the Yolande’s one is 118!

And members of the local community interested in trying out coastal rowing had the opportunity to have a go during the afternoon.

The launch event was followed by a buffet reception at the Crown Hotel in the High Street where guests were served specially brewed “Skiff” beer to mark the occasion.

Tom Gibbs, piper with the 118 visitors! Pic by Linda Beveridge

Tom Gibbs, piper with the 118 visitors! Pic by Linda Beveridge

The Yolande is piped down to the slipway

The Yolande is piped down to the slipway

Boats from other clubs were there for the launch ceremony

Boats from other clubs were there for the launch ceremony