Chris is visiting us

Chris o’Kanaird, the original skiff from Anstruther, arrived at Ellenabeich yesterday and is here for a week, courtesy of Babs and Michael who kindly brought him here for his Hogmanay.

The plan is entirely weather dependent, but with any luck the present horrendous conditions will subside by midweek and allow those of us in mid-Argyll who haven’t actually met one yet to have a good look at a St Ayles skiff.

The timing of the visit is great for us, as we’re about to move to the stage where there is room for individual differences between the boats and it will be very interesting to see how various details have been handled. It will be great to meet Babs and Michael too and to get some insight into life among the East coast skiffies.

Please will everyone put the word about, by lighting bonfires on hilltops, email or whatever else works. It’s a good chance for our friends outside of Seil to see what they’re currently missing.

Right now Chris is parked at Seil’s answer to the Tate Modern but it’s likely that he may move round to Seil Sound or even Kilmelford to find a safe launching/beaching spot. You can keep in touch with developments by logging on here, or calling Ewan on 01852 200261 or at ewangkennedy (at)

The image at the top shows Chris at the mercy of the Golden Girls and is courtesy of Scottish Coastal Rowing, having been pinched with their implied consent. We hope the remainder of the team will visit us on a future occasion.

The Next Stage

We’ve reached an interesting stage with our new skiff, having completed the kit and got the nasty work of cleaning the inside and filling seams almost done. This Sunday there’s very little to do apart from some finishing off, pending delivery of more wood.

Up till now there’s been no real opportunity for the Woodies of Seil to show off their skills, as it’s largely been gluing by numbers with everything dictated by the Sage of Bernisdale and the Kitman of East Wemyss.  We’ve resisted the temptation to improve on perfection, even when tempted by the Guru of An Cala. We’ve been told that St Ayles skiffs don’t do rocker.

Now it’s time for a little creativity and artistry. On Monday we should be receiving a load of Douglas Fir supplied by the Wizards of Jamestown and brought to us by the (not so) Speedy Blue Men of Oban. There will be enough to produce the inwales (wooden rails inside the top planks) thwarts (seats) breasthooks (the pieces that hold the ends of the hull together when you hit things) and a set of six oars to get us started.

We’ll need to start by machining our timber, to bring the large pieces down to size for the various parts and there will be lots of dust flying around. We’re going to bring along a couple of power saws to speed things along.

It’s worth bringing along a suitable face mask and safety glasses.

Once we get into the swing of the next stage there will be lots for everyone to do, plenty of planing, sanding and a bit less gluing than up till now. There are lots of different ways of making the parts we need and of course no consensus about what’s best , so it will be an interesting learning experience for everyone. After all, that and the good community feeling are what this project is all about.

Almost every week we see a new face in the shed and it will be great to see even more of the Skiffies of Seil turning up. Don’t forget, it’s not necessary to buy a share in order to take part and, anyway, they’re all sold now.