This blog will follow our building of Canada’s first St. Ayles skiff. Starting in January, twelve of us living in the Bay of Quinte area of eastern Ontario, will start work on building the skiff and her oars. Divided into two crews, we will be working in the shop two days a week, with an expected launch date in May. By recording our endeavor on this blog, we hope to encourage other Canadian groups to build this beautiful craft, ideally in our local area, for some friendly competition on the water.

The St. Ayles skiff is a 22 foot, four oarsman rowing boat which originated as a collaborative effort in 2009 by the Scottish Fisheries Museum and Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats to re-invigorate coastal rowing and boatbuilding in Scotland. Iain Oughtred was commissioned to design a glued lapstrake version of the Fair Isle Skiff which Alec Jordan then turned into a kit for construction by amateurs. The boat has become a phenomenal success with boats being built and raced around the world.

9 thoughts on “About

  1. Best of luck with your build from The Kyles Coastal Rowing Club, Tighnabruaich Scotland. Look forward to racing against you guys, fair distance to travel but would be worth it:) We are just finishing our first skiff and about to start skiff 2…

    Ken Coley

    • Hi Ken,

      Our kit should arrive this week and we’re all very anxious to get started building. Probably won’t make it to the World’s this year but there’s a possibility we might make it to the North American’s in Mystic Seaport.

      Chris Ireland

  2. Hi Guys! Greetings from the far north of Scotland, where the members of the Wick Coastal Rowing Club are building our first skiff, with the first garboards hung and the second planks being glued this week.

    Thanks for the fab photos of your build – some good ideas there – like the idea of shaping the bunks at this stage!

    Just one question – can you advise what timber you are using – as we must use the same for our nexr boat because it does not appear to generate sawdust or shavings!


    David Richard-Jones
    Wick Coastal Rowing Club

    • Hi David,

      Looks like your build is progressing very well. On this side of the pond, the planks come already scarfed, which saved a bit of time. The inner stems are also provided, however they are in plywood so we chose to laminate them the same as the outers.

      As for the clean shop floor, it pays to have some curlers involved in the build. They come with brooms in their hands.


  3. Love what you are doing…and as I live just up the road on the Rideau Canal it would be good to make contact and start to organize a boat and rowers here…some friendly competition would not go amiss, however, I need a contact number…please supply…great work…regards James Turk

  4. Chris

    Thanks for that explanation for the clean floor!

    Did you glue the scarfs first before hanging the planks – if so how accurate was the method of alignment with pins? – we found it best to dry fit all 3 pieces of each plank and then mark the scarf alignment and glue on the workbench

  5. I have been impressed with your enthusiasm, photos and success in successfully building a St Ayle’s Skiff.. and oars! I am a Canadian (Toronto) now living in NZ and a member of a small community ‘Shed’ group in Kaikoura. I have just initiated a project to obtain and build one of these kits and look forward to getting started soon. Fortunately, we will be able to network about details with a group in Auckland who have also built the craft and have plans to build several more of them. Well done and may you enjoy the boat for years to come.

    • Hi Dave,
      That’s great news, I’m sure you’ll enjoy the experience as much as we did.Too bad you’re not still living here, then you could have been Canada’s second boat, not New Zealand’s!

      • Hi Chris,
        Well it’s been a while. Much drama has gone on in the world. It is truly an extraordinary time, eh?
        The build of our St. Ayle’s Skiff and oars went smoothly. We also modified an old trailer to fit. We have named our skiff “Kaikoura Lass” and have enjoyed going out for rows around the Kaikoura Peninsula when weather permits. We have been lucky to see seals and dolphins on some of our trips. We’ve been to a couple of wooden boat shows, taken out tourists and recently rowed with visitors from Nelson (4 hours up the road) with their 2 year old St. Ayle’s Skiff. It was a glorious day on the water.
        It is Spring going into summer now and we are looking forward to more days on the water. We’ll go up to Nelson for a return visit this summer. The coastline there is much more friendly than ours with sandy beaches and islands.

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