The St Ayles Skiff group extend an invitation and welcome to every member of Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club who harbours a wish or inclination to row on the spectacular Swan River.
Two St Ayles skiffs Dotsie and Ripple were built by Club members, launched in 2016 then gifted to RFBYC. Each of the fixed seat skiffs is crewed by four sweep oar rowers plus a cox; 22’ long, beam 5’6”, weight 166 kg. The skiffs are available to member rowers, through the booking system at the Club’s On-Water Office or members are welcome to join the weekly roster for a regular row at scheduled times.
The St Ayles Skiff has its origins in Scotland where in 2009 the Scottish Fisheries Museum launched a project to re-connect its community with coastal rowing which was popular on Firth of Forth early in the 20th century.
The renowned Australian traditional boat designer Iain Oughtred was retained to design a clinker ply version of the Fair Isle Skiff that could be built by amateurs. The first was launched in 2009 and the concept proved so popular that upwards of 300 have been built in UK, America, Canada, The Netherlands and Australia by yacht clubs and rowing clubs.
The St Ayles Skiff is a very stable and proven sea boat. She takes the waves from any quarter with minimum water coming over her bows. The skiffs are built to a standard International one design kit consisting of laser cut marine ply components plus locally sourced timber for thwarts, gunnels, knees and oars.
St Ayles Skiff rowing adventures have occurred on the Swan River, Fremantle Harbour, Princess Royal Harbour, Kalgan River, Denmark River and Wilson Inlet, Frankland River and Nornalup Inlet, Blackwood River, Margaret River, Lake Dumbleyung, Murray River, Moore River and aiming for all rivers in Western Australia. Also, Dotsie trailed across the Nullabor to compete and win the inaugural Australian St Ayles Skiff Championship at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club 2016 Wooden Boat Festival. Further, an RFBYC team hired a St Ayles Skiff to participate in the 2019 [Thames] Great River Race.
On Opening Day at RFBYC the St Ayles Skiff challenge for the Parmelia Ball Trophy is a feature of the day.
Members are encouraged to join the skiff rowing group and whether historically skilled or a beginner, excellent training is available.