Puffin is officially launched at St Abbs

THE St Abbs Coastal Rowing Association was formed with the aim of building then racing a St Ayles Skiff against other coastal communities around Scotland and aiming also to get local people out on the sea rowing - just for fun.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 29th September 2010, 3:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2010, 3:47 pm

The project was started back in March this year, and so far this small association has managed to raise funds needed to buy the kit, build the boat and set up a rowing club. All this hard work was rewarded when the skiff was launched at St Abbs Harbour.

The boat was officially named by Julie McBirnie whose partner Richard Burnett had made a substantial donation. Naming the boat "Puffin" there was much jubilation amongst members of the Association, onlookers and visitors to the Harbour.

Julie did not miss the chance to pour a bottle of champagne over the figurehead of the Puffin to bless the boat which was then carried into the water and a first "crew" of volunteers, who happened to all be ladies, took to the water. It was later remarked that the Puffin handled beautifully.

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During the course of the afternoon several different crews rowed out into the harbour, but due to the heavy swell that day and also the inexperience of the crews it was deemed safer to keep within the confines of the harbour.

Over a hundred people attended the launch and the barbecue which followed. The sum of 209 was raised in donations and this will help with the costs involved in such expenses as insurance, life jackets and equipment needed to maintain the boat.

Chairman, Peter Nisbet explained that the Association needed to thank those involved in the build of the boat namely, Cha' Crowe, Jim Martin, Bruce Thomson and George Ross who have along with others been dutifully at the boat shed in Eyemouth almost daily throughout the summer, first working on the Eyemouth skiff and then the Puffin.

Many people have been involved with not only the build but also fundraising etc, The committee of Joanna Gibson, Penny Worton, Bill Dixon, Robert Maxwell and George Ross have worked behind the scenes with administration etc.

Thanks are also due to those who financially contributed namely, Richard Burnett who gave 1,300 to purchase the kit, D.R Collin (300), Berwickshire Housing Association (300), St Abbs Improvement Trust (250) plus various other smaller donations.

Over 32 St Ayles Skiff kits have been ordered by other coastal communities, the Puffin being the ninth boat to be launched.

On the south side of the Forth there are teams based in Eyemouth, St Abbs, Dunbar, North Berwick, Port Seton, Portobello, Newhaven and South Queensferry. There are also boats based in the East Neuk of Fife also Achiltibuie and Ullapool in the North West of Scotland.

Next year's rowing season should be really exciting with yet more communities building their boats over the winter months.

Practice sessions are to be held on Friday evenings at 6pm on the slip at St Abbs Harbour (parking is free after 6pm) so please come along and try.