How We Built The Boat

Boat Update 1st August 2010

The team of volunteers who are building the St Ayles rowing  skiff for Troon are making great progress. The bow, stern and keel shapes have  been put in place and work has moved on to planking the hull. In the coming  weeks, an important milestone will be celebrated when the hull is completed and  the boat is lifted off its mould and placed, right way up, on a cradle for work  to continue on the inside of the boat. The team have faced a number of  interesting challenges but are encouraged by the fact that it is beginning to  look like all the other boats of this type in Scotland.

First Steps:

On Monday 16th May, a team of volunteers assembled in a shed at Troon Marina to begin one of the most exciting projects in the town in recent years.  This was the first day of a project to build a 22′ wooden rowing boat, called the St Ayles skiff, for the Troon community and, in particular, for the young people and Youth Groups of the Town.  Coastal rowing is developing quickly around the coast of the British Isles and Scotland is no exception.  There are some 40 Scottish boats at present and the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association has already organised a number of Regattas, each of which is in community ownership.

The idea began in the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther, and is a re-awakening of an old tradition where Scottish fishing villages had a tradition of competing against each other in rowing races.  The first replica boat was built in Anstruther, in association with the museum, and the idea soon spread.  A commercial company now produces an inexpensive basic kit for the boat which is made solely from marine ply panels and epoxy resin.  There are very strict measurement rules for the building project to keep all the boats the same.  The St. Ayles skiff is designed for four single-oar crew and a coxswain and is 22′ long and approximately 6′ in beam.  A finished boat costs around £3000.

The Troon boat kit was spopnsored by Tunnocks and is a joint Marr College and Troon community project co-ordinated by Vincent McWhirter, South Ayrshire Council’s Duke of Edinburgh Awards Development Officer.  A team of interested volunteers from the town has been recruited and, with further sponsorship by West Coast Marine Services, of the use of a building shed at the marina, the project was ready to go.

The kit has been delivered and the team has started the work of cutting out all the panels and will soon see the boat start to take shape.  The project is expected to take about four months.  During this time. further discussion about the boat’s future use and management will be going on.

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