The Portmahomack Coastal Rowing Club started up in Spring 2022 by a group of enthusiastic folk from the Port and further afield.
The club is affiliated to the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association. The Scottish Coastal Rowing Association was formed on 29 May 2010 to encourage boat building and rowing and racing of coastal rowing boats around the Scottish Coastline. Communities are encouraged to become involved in the building of new boats to be rowed, principally the St Ayles skiff.
The SCRA now has over 70 member clubs around the Scottish Coast and on large freshwater lochs. The clubs are introducing their communities to social rowing, expeditions, and friendly racing in St Ayles skiffs
Over the summer a fund raising campaign raised sufficient money for the purchase of the materials to self-build a St. Ayles skiff, to buy a trailer, a set of oars, safety equipment and the tools and equipment required to build the skiff. This includes very generous donations from the community council and the Carnegie Hall Committee, amongst many others who have donated to, or helped the club, for which we are extremely grateful.
Lachie and Annie Stewart of Ballone Castle have kindly given us the use of a shed at Bankhead (the Boat Shed) for the build, and to store the skiff in over the winter. The committee and members started fitting out the shed last August, cleaning, closing the open end of the shed and building work benches to allow the skiff build to start.
Loaned a build frame and moulds by the Strathpeffer club, the build started in October with a small build team of four, sometimes five. The hull planks were scarfed, the ribs glued and clamped to the moulds and the stern and bow stem posts, laminated and bent. The inner keel was scarfed and fitted and the outer keel scarfed, shaped and installed. The outer stems and keel were then faired, and fitted.
Once the hull was complete, the boat was rubbed down and a coat of epoxy resin was applied to the whole outside, followed by three coats of primer.
In early June we lifted the hull off the moulds and turned it on to a cradle, where the outfitting of the inside has started: gunwales, breast hooks, beams, thwarts, rowlocks and floor boards. We also have to start on a rudder, now that we know the shape of the stern.
The boat will then require to be rubbed down inside and painted inside and out.
A trailer has been ordered and paid for, as have four oars. A lot of work still has to be done and we are now aiming for a September launch.
There is also a strong desire to start building a second boat as soon as this one is in the water. So fund raising will continue throughout this summer and into next year. The next fundraising event is the Ballone family Highland Games on the 22nd of July, at Ballone Castle, a fun day out. The Rowing Club benefits greatly from this event so if you can make it, please come along.
Boat building work generally takes place every Wednesday evening and on a Sunday afternoon. Visitors to the boat shed are very welcome.
If you can’t wait to get rowing a couple of local clubs are bringing their boats to Portmahomack for the Gala on the 29th of July, for anyone to try rowing.
To join the club, email: email@example.com
Or visit us on Facebook HERE