A model of the Fair Isle yoal Daisy (LK 2106) on display in the Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther in Fife is the unassuming source of one of the most fashionable rowing craft on the water.
The difference between these craft, which accommodate a crew of four and a cox, and the 20 or so professionally built “yoal” racing boats that have been built due to a revival of interest in rowing locally, is the fact that they come in a flat pack.
And the boats have proved popular not only in Scottish waters but as far afield as Europe, America and even Tasmania.
Using plywood and larch in the construction, the flat packs may not go down well with traditionalists, but at one time even Shetland “for’eens” were imported from Norway in kit form due to the local shortage of timber.
There are approximately 40 “St Ayles’ skiff” clubs in Scotland and England (St Ayles being where the fishery museum is situated), starting off as the “Scottish Coastal Rowing Project” in 2009.
One of the instigators, Alec Jordan, is at pains not to detract from the professionalism and quality of the vessels built locally by craftsman. This is above all a cheap and cheerful option.
The self – or more often than not community – assembly of the vessels is part of the overall ethos of the project. There are approximately 400-500 man-hours involved in the construction.
The basic kit comes in at £1,340 but it is estimated to cost about £5,000 to put it in the water including a trailer, waterproof cover and larch for the main structures of the boat. More than 100 kits have been sold by Jordan Boats.
The rising popularity of the craft with its origins in Shetland can be gauged by the fact that an extra day has been added to this summer’s championships. With competitors from “aa da erts” expected.