Saturday, September 19, 2009

Scottish Coastal Rowing Project

Soon after the post on the St Ayles Skiff a few days ago, I recieved a very nice note from Chris Perkins, of Strathkanchris’s Little World. Chris is working with the crew on the St. Ayles Skiff prototype underway in Alec Jordan's shop. He sent me three views of the boat turning, which show how graceful Iain's design is, how precise Alec's work is and how absolutely dainty a hard working, seaworthy twenty two foot boat can be.

Chris is very congratulatory about the design and the product:

"A significant stage was reached this week with the turnover of the hull - Iain's design looks even better the right way up, a really sleek lady. As is normal she looks huge in the build shed but I am sure that once she takes to the water the usual visual shrinkage will take place."

I replied that it looks like two crew could make good time in some rough water, gracefully symbiotic with the element, and Chris agreed:

"I think you are right about two oarsmen being able to make her fly, for a 22 foot boat she is amazingly light, we think that after fitting out she will be about twice her current weight, still very light for a boat of this size."

We are left to make some guesses of our own about that, but it can't be much! I'm hungry for those details, as many will be. I, for one, can see myself slicing through the waves and currents of the mighty Pacific in the St. Ayles Skiff.

Chris has some comments and advice from his recent experience building this vessel:

"I have been privileged to be invited to help, and very good fun it is proving to be. It has been interesting to see just how fast one of Alec's kits can be put together and I have been really amazed at the accuracy of the system Alec has devised. Building a prototype of a design that is still under development might be expected to produce a few areas where a rework might be needed but so far very little has shown up, a few tweaks to the building frame to simplify it for future builders is about all that has been identified so far."
"I would not otherwise have had the chance to work on a build of this size and that alone makes driving the length of Scotland well worthwhile. I have been delighted by the amount that I have been able to learn from Alec, as a professional he has to make time and materials count against my rather relaxed amateur approach to both! If I were to build a boat with a paint finish I would get one of Alec's kits for the significant time and stress saving in the build."

That's a strong recommendation from a craftsman. I'd love to build one of these gems myself! Chris assures me that the boat is so well balanced that it sits upright unassisted on it's keel.

The challenge to build and race these boats is scheduled to culminate in events starting as early as eight months from now.

I see growing interest and promotional variants of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project sprouting up all over the globe.

For on-going documentation of this project, visit the new Scottish Coastal Rowing Project website.


Brandon Ford said...

I'm glad you are following this. We need to get something like this going on the Oregon Coast. Rowing clubs in every port (even Lincoln City) on the coast!

doryman said...

I've been talking about the subject of rowing as a community for years and get a lot of positive response, but no actual takers. Jack Brown suggested an open ocean row from Depot Bay to Newport a couple years ago and wanted some of his kids from the rowing club to be involved. I told him I'd participate, but only with the most skilled kids (young adults, really). It would be 16 miles of open Pacific waters with a lee shore, nothing to take lightly. But what an adventure!