A skiff is a light rowing boat. Typically, a skiff is rowed by one or two people but our type of skiff is crewed by four rowers each with a single ‘sweep’ oar and steered by a cox. This type of skiff is one which has become really popular with many Scottish coastal communities in recent years and is known as a St Ayles skiff (pronounced Saint Isles). The design is based on the traditional Fair Isle yoal and was first commissioned in 2009 by the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther as a vessel suitable for construction by community groups.
At 22 feet long and with a relatively wide 5ft 8in across the beam it is a very stable and sea worthy design. North Kessock has joined the growing number of villages around the Scottish coast enjoying social and competitive rowing with boats built to the same specification. The St Ayles skiffs are all constructed from marine plywood and timber with epoxy resin and glues used to join the various elements together. No nails are used and screws are only found in the rudder assembly, painter attachment and keel strip.
The boat is light to handle at sea and can be rowed by crews young and old. It’s also a great boat to learn to row in and it’s amazing how quickly folk get the hang of it so come and have a go!
For all things skiff rowing in Scotland the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association
is the governing body. Their website is a great source of information for clubs on everything from construction to rowing technique.