Club racing towards world title

Pictured from left Carl van der Lee, Rhona McLaren, Audrey Horsburgh, Shona Muirhead, Ann Mackin.
Pictured from left Carl van der Lee, Rhona McLaren, Audrey Horsburgh, Shona Muirhead, Ann Mackin.
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AN East Neuk community project which led the way in reviving traditional boat building skills and skiff racing has a world title in its sights.

St Ayles Rowing Club was the first established under the auspices of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA).

SCRA was founded in 2009 to encourage communities around the country to not only build their own skiffs, but to row and compete with the finished vessels in the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project.

The Anstruther-based club is the first of many which have sprung up all around Scotland’s coasts in the past three years.

It also has the distinction of being allowed to race the project’s very first prototype ‘St Ayles’-type wooden skiff – the 22ft Chris O’ Kanaird’.

Her sister vessel ‘St Ayles’ completes the club’s fleet.

The two crews already have an impressive haul of trophies to their name and hope to improve on that at the first-ever Skiffs’ World Championship in Ullapool, Wester Ross, in July.

St Ayles Rowing Club receives no grants and relies solely on fundraising and donations to keep going and they’re looking for sponsorship for a new, third boat, so that as many people as possible have the chance to enjoy the historic sport and preserve valuable Scottish craft skills for future generations..

It’s hoped that an open evening in the Scottish Fisheries Museum at 7.00 p.m on Tuesday, January 29 for anyone interested in finding out more about rowing, boat building or helping with sponsorship, will help give funds a much-needed boost.

Club spokesperson Shona Muirhead said: “The Scottish Coastal Rowing Project has taken off at an amazing rate. In the first year, there were 10 boats launched and by the end of the second year there were around 60 on the water, or being built. There has been interest in the scheme from England and Australia and a similar initiative has been set up in the USA.

“Crews from as far afield as Tasmania and North America are expected to take part in the World Championships this year and St Ayles Rowing Club aims to be out in front again.”

For more information please contact the club at support@staylesrc.org.uk, telephone 01333 313462 or visit www.scottishcoastalrowing.org