Our boat is a St Ayles Skiff called the Puffin. She was the eigth St Ayles Skiff built back in 2010.
What is a St Ayles Skiff?
It is a boat designed by the famous small boat designer Iain Oughtred. Based on the lines of the traditional Fair Isle Skiff, but addapted so that it can be built using the Clinker / Lapstrake Ply construction. St Ayles skiffs are 22 feet in length and 5ft 6inches in breadth. And are design for a crew of five. Four rowers and a coxswain.
The design of the St Ayles skiff was commissioned by the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther. Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats then turned this design into a kit which has allow novice boat builders around Scotland to build St Ayles skiffs for their communities.
Building the Puffin
The prototype St Ayles skiff (Chris o’ Kanaird) come to visit Eyemouth and St Abbs on the 27 March 2010. That very afternoon a generous donor put up the money to purchase the kit which would become the Puffin.
Our boat Puffin was built in unison with the Eyemouth boat called Unity. It was a real joint community effort.
The Puffin was officially launched on the 18 September 2010 being name by Julie McBirnie.
Over the next few years the Puffin was rowed regulary in conjunction with the Eyemouth boat – Unity.
She attended the row up the river Tweed from Berwick to Paxton House.
And took part in the herring queen celebrations
Where has the Puffin been?
When we started to build the Puffin back in 2010 we setup a registered charity called the “St Abbs Coastal Rowing Association”. And after the Puffin was lauched it was rowed for a couple of years out of Eyemouth and St Abbs.
However the opportunity arose for a local group to purchase the historic sailing fifie, then known as the “Robina Inglis”, and bring her to Eyemouth. However to do this we needed a registered charity. So we changed the name of the “St Abbs Coastal Rowing Association” to the “Berwickshire Maritime Trust” and successfully bought and restore the fifie, renaming her the “Good Hope”. As this was what she was called when last moored in Eyemouth in the 1940s.
While the focus was on the restoration of the Good Hope the Puffin was sadly neglected. But she was loaned to other coastal rowing clubs. And a couple of guys (Ian and Frazer) from North Berwick borrowed her in their attempt to row around Scotland.
The give her a well bit love and attention, and a coat of Navy Blue paint. But sadly they never got the chance to start their row. So the Puffin was placed back into storage.
So as the work of the Berwickshire Maritime Trust has evolve away from Coastal Rowing and is now more focussed on operating the Good Hope and running a men’s shed in Eyemouth, it was decided that the best way for the Puffin to be managed and used was to setup a new rowing club in St Abbs.
The Puffin has been transferred into the ownership of the St Abbs Community Trust and will be operated by the St Abbs Rowing Club to ensure she will continue to be a village asset for year to come.
Back to St Abbs
She’s ready to row we just need people like you to crew her.