One step further for Montrose skiff

Fiona Guest, Pete Babbs, Stephen Hall and Sandy Mathers are pictured with the Spirit of Catterline skiff which visited Montrose Farmers' Market recently

Fiona Guest, Pete Babbs, Stephen Hall and Sandy Mathers are pictured with the Spirit of Catterline skiff which visited Montrose Farmers' Market recently

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A project to build a skiff in Montrose one step closer to fruition and the boat will be 148th skiff built in the UK.

Montrose Coastal Rowing, the group behind the project, have been given a kit to start building the skiff, as well as a unique boat number for the vessel.

The team hosted an evening talk by Alec Jordan, of Jordan Boats who create plywood kits most boat designs, on the history of the St Ayles skiff project and Scottish Coastal Rowing.

In less than a decade since the project began, Alec has seen hundreds of boats, built from his skiff kits, launched all around the coast of Scotland, in mainland Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand.

Fiona Guest, secretary of Montrose Coastal Rowing, said: “Almost every skiff has been built by a local community and Alec was delighted that Montrose has been fund-raising to buy a kit and get started.

“In fact, at the meeting Montrose Coastal Rowing’s captain, Pete Babbs, was able to hand over a cheque for £1,297.20 to Alec for the boat kit.

“Much to our surprise Alec had something for us; he gave Pete the wooden plaque with the unique boat number assigned to our skiff kit; we are now skiff build UK148!”

She added: “To buy the kit we succeeded in selling all 36 plank sponsorships and would like to thank all the members of the community and organisations who have sponsored a plank.

“In addition, thanks to Brechin Cycle Club’s kind donation of £600 we have a good start on our next funding stage of raising £2,500 to buy the other materials needed for the build - we are still delighted to receive donations towards this next stage.”

Alec spoke about how he came across a model of a Shetland yawl in the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther and, admiring its graceful lines, was inspired to create a boat that would revive local community rowing.

He created the modern class of rowing boat that is the St Ayles Skiff but had no idea that coastal rowing would take off in the way that it has and that there would be so many fine skiffs built and rowed round Scotland in just a few years.

Members of the group and visitors also got the chance to talk to crew members from Catterline and Gourdon coastal rowing clubs and Broughty Ferry Boating, who shared their invaluable experience building their skiffs.

For more info visit montrosecoastalrowing.weebly.com