The Skiff Word is spreading

It was great to see the enthusiasm last night not just from Kilmelford residents, but also Councillors Elaine Robertson, Louise Glen-Lee and Iain MacDonald for the Scottish Coastal Rowing project. For many this was the first introduction to the idea, which is travelling round the coastal communities faster than the skiffs themselves (they do about 5 knots).

If you’re in any doubt about the project just have a look at the videos of the Ullapool Regatta posted on

You will see that the site has links to all the various clubs and resources round the coast.

The project started on the East coast, but it’s spreading rapidly. The North Sea is a much less inviting environment than our West coast, with its sheltered waters and lovely stretches offering plenty of opportunities for recreational excursions or local regattas. The skiffs are a fantastic source of healthy exercise and a colourful treat for spectators.

Projects have been set up and managed in various ways, always with local volunteer effort. On Seil we decided not to apply for charitable status or funding. We felt that the local community could easily raise the money, as it has done, with only a few shares left unsold. If you’re interested please contact our Secretary Dr George Hannah at the Easdale Medical Practice.

In common with many other rowing associations we opted for the classic sixty-four share format, which goes back to Phoenician times. At £60 per share this has financed the kit purchase at £1340 (cheaper if you already have the moulds) and the timber, glue and fastenings needed for the rest of the build. We’ll have something left over at the end for bits and pieces.

It’s absolutely not necessary to buy a share to become involved, in fact all you get for your £60 is a little satisfaction. Everyone has a contribution to make, whether rowing, building, painting, designing the graphics or the website or just cheering on and enjoying the spectacle.

Most of the build does not require traditional skills, but each project should have one or two people who have some knowledge of modern glues and methods. Each project has the effect of producing its own crop of builders to supplement any experts already in the community.

We’ve just heard that Lochgilphead is already rowing and Islay has launched her second boat, built in ten weeks. The Seil Skiff will be rowing early in the New Year and ready for action at the first Skiff World Championships at Ullapool in July 2013.


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