With the skiff about to metamorphose from a project in a shed into a community asset there are a few practical issues to consider, not the least of which is where the boat can be launched.
When the Anstruther skiff came to visit they launched at Balvicar Boatyard, and in many ways this is the best and easiest option, particularly for visiting crews and boats. However, Seil is an island of two coasts, separated by the potentially troublesome waters of Cuan Sound. If people want to be able to use the boat regularly on the West side of the island – which is I suppose up to the rowers – it would be useful to have a place to launch on the West side.
Some of us had already discussed Ellenabeich and pretty much written it off because the slipway was too narrow and the launching spot in the SE corner of the wee harbour is too rocky with no vehicular access. The skiff is an unusual boat though, with a maximum beam of just 5ft 8 ins and is remarkably light for a 22ft boat.
With that in mind I went over to Ellenabeich to measure the slip. It is 6ft 5″ wide at the very top and a minimum of 6ft 6in wide for the remainder of its length. The metal mooring rings aren’t much of an obstruction, and it seems to me that with the right trailer or a dedicated launching trolley and a few fenders this would be eminently manageable and would allow crew or passengers to embark dry shod.
The other advantage of the pier at Ellenabeich is that it is one of the few places on Seil where the public have easy access to the shoreline. For open days, regattas etc this would be a big bonus, though it is likely that the Bay and the Sound on the East side would still be the favourites for all-weather racing or training.
These are just one person’s thoughts on the subject. If anyone else has any thoughts or ideas please leave a comment.