On Monday 8th July, the Princess Royal will launch the first ever St Ayles Skiff World Championships in Ullapool, Ross-shire. This heralds the start of a week-long rowing event, which will see more than 30 teams from as far away as the USA, New Zealand and Australia, compete on the waters of Loch Broom.
Hundreds of spectators and competitors are expected to gather in Ullapool to watch, support and take part in the new Championships. St Ayles Skiffs have initially been built by communities and groups across Scotland but interest in them has grown internationally and they are now built around the world.
The local boat ‘Ulla’ is already known to the Royal Family having attended, at the invite of the Lord-Lieutenant of Ross & Cromarty, Mrs Janet Bowen, the Jubilee Thames Regatta last year.
The Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club is delighted that this relationship is strengthened further with the Princess Royals’ visit. Members look forward to welcoming Her Royal Highness and introducing her to the local and visiting skiff communities, as well as the many supporters of the event.
Topher Dawson, Convenor of the Club said “This is a really exciting way to open the World Championships. The spectacle of over 30 rowing skiffs on the waters of Lochbroom will be a sight to behold, and it is especially fitting this will be witnessed by the Princess Royal”.
The governing body, the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association, has fully supported Ullapool’s hosting of the first Championships. Robbie Wightman,Chair, said “the skiff community has grown remarkably over the past year, from the first boat launched in 2010. It is a real endorsement that the Princess Royal is opening this first ever World Championships, and we are proud to introduce her to this community based sport.”
The Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club is extremely grateful to all our sponsors and supporters who have made this event possible. More information can be found on the St Ayles Skiff World Championships Worlds website skiffieworlds.com and on Facebook.
10th & 11th May saw ‘Ulla’ visiting the Skipper Expo International Aberdeen 2013 fishing show at the Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre. Our Skiff attracted strong interest among the visitors, in particular it seemed those hailing from Shetland saw the very strong similarity to their local small craft. Interestingly the Shetlanders generally thought the St Ayles too short – 27 foot was mentioned by more than one.
The prototypes of the SkiffieWorlds Hoodies were being trialed, much time was spent watching and analysing the sartorial taste of the more youthful (and hoodie attired) visitors in the interests of ‘Market Research’. The result of which will inform the final design on sale at SkiffieWorlds. The other new item on show for the first time was our Pop up Banner (superbly put together at exceptionally short notice by thesigncompany of Kirkcaldy) - this will be useful at other Skiffie fundraising events through the year as an attention grabber. The SkiffieWorlds poster in the new larger size was also displayed together with flyers and other Worlds related publicity. Of course the main reason for showing ‘Ulla’ was to fundraise through the sale of the car raffle tickets where Fiona’s skills of persuasion were awesomely demonstrated, resulting in brisk business. An enjoyable and worthwhile trip with ‘Ulla’ that broadcast the Coastal Rowing message to a new audience.
a few more snaps below – as usual click on the thumbnail for the bigger picture
Selected UCRC members are sporting the new addition on their rowing kit and receiving some favourable comment round the village.
All active participants in SkiffieWorlds will be given one of these as a small thankyou from the club. They will also be on sale at the event for anybody looking for a small memento (all proceeds will help fund the event)
These were beautifully made for us by i4c publicity to high quality in a tight timescale. If other Skiffies are considering something similar for their regatta we can recommend these people.
On one of those superb spring evenings that only the NW Highlands can produce our neighbours to the NW, Coigach Community Rowing, launched their new Skiff Lily-Rose today. Very bonny she looks too. The 42nd St Ayles Skiff to be launched on UK waters her builders have done Coigach proud.
Coigach’s secret weapon was also in evidence – the under 17 crew took Lily-Rose out for a spin and demonstrated that the remarkable Coigach determination to win is not a generational thing. These youngsters are every bit as up for a bit of Gold as their seniors. Ullapool needs to ask itself some serious questions around why we haven’t caught the imagination of our younger generation – after all the High School did build their own Skiff which should have got the youthful end of the community involved. Sadly, apart from the occasional outing in High Summer, there is very little evidence of interest.
We now have our raffle tickets on sale, somebody will win a car on Saturday 13th of July at the grand finale dance in the marquee and IT COULD BE YOU ! Tickets are available here in Ullapool from committee and club members, also in the Seaforth and shortly various other local outlets. Anyone outside Ullapool that would like to help sell some tickets for us please be in touch, message here or call Fiona on 07801 533369