Of Pirates & Gourock – Section 2 | Day 6

In the Realworld RowAround, there is flexibility within the individual sections to allow for bad weather days. The original concept of RowAround Scotland 2020 was for an event which joined up all clubs operating St Ayles Skiffs, though not necessarily members of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association, bringing people and members of clubs together. Each section would be completed within a set timeframe, dependent on weather and resources, with the emphasis on safety and without pressurising or endangering any participant.

Emmeline Tottington. Source: Old Irvine Facebook page
Conditions this past week have been ideal with fair winds (and lots of west coast sunshine) – and there is time in hand. So today, on the Virtual Rowaround, has been declared a catch-up day between sections 2 and 3.

Let’s hear about a female pirate from this coast, and introduce two new skiffs to the coastal rowing community. These skiffs will be based in Gourock and are being built at the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine. One was due to be launched tomorrow, however …

Jan Bee Brown, storyteller-in-residence, telling the story of Emmeline Tottington
Some Background about Gourock

Gourock has a large yacht club, the Royal Gourock Yacht Club. It was known as Gourock Sailing Club when it was founded in 1894, becoming Gourock Yacht Club in 1900 and acquiring Royal status in 1908. The Coastal Rowing section of the yacht club received a European LEADER Grant last year; 50% funding towards the project cost of building and equipping two St Ayles skiffs. Construction of the first skiff commenced in January of this year, followed by the second skiff about a month later. The first skiff was due for completion at the end of March 2020 and we had organised a public Launch Day for Saturday 18 April. The second skiff would have followed at the end of May 2020.

Unfortunately all this has been overtaken by the measures to control the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, and the two skiffs are locked in the boatbuilding workshop at the Scottish Maritime Museum, with our volunteers unable to travel to Irvine and work on them.

The first skiff is almost painted and nearly ready for launch; the second skiff is still on the construction stands, with four planks glued in place to both sides. We hope to make it afloat with the skiffs in time to join RowAround Scotland 2020 in the future!

If the skiffs and crews had not been ready to join in the RowAround in April, there would be a second chance in September, as part of the Castle to Crane race on the Clyde, which has NOT been cancelled: clydebuiltfestival.com