Please come down to Portobello beach at noon on Sunday 17th April to help Rowporty launch their brand new skiff! It’s been built by locals here in Porty for community coastal rowing as part of the Portobello Skiff Project (aka Rowporty), an offshoot of the Portobello Sailing and Kayaking Club. Rowporty was set up in response to the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project launched in Anstruther in 2009, a project designed to bring affordable, easily constructed and lightweight boats to communities around Scotland for both fun rowing and serious racing, and it already has attracted almost 100 members from Porty and Joppa.
Rowporty started building this skiff in December 2010, the second that Rowporty has constructed in the last eighteen months. All the rowing teams are eager to try her out, and with the increase in numbers of people taking now, the group can really use this second boat.
The new skiff will be carried along the prom from Joppa to Bath Street at noon on Sunday 17th April. There will be a short naming ceremony, and a presentation by the Royal West Rowing Club of a racing trophy which belonged to one of the original Portobello rowing clubs, then the new skiff will be launched into the sea, where there will be a few other skiffs waiting to greet her.
This is specifically a community project, so costs are paid for by fundraising. Unlike sailing or maintaining your own boat, for example, the only expense in taking part in this club’s projects is yearly membership, and perhaps the purchase of the distinctive Portobello green ‘Never mind the Rollocks’ t – shirt. You don’t need any rowing experience to join a team. Not all builders row and not all rowers build, and some members don’t build or row, but everyone is welcome to come to meetings, to arrange for a trial trip, to man the infamous cake stalls at the Regatta, help with fundraising, help with maintenance, learn to use the rescue power boat (never needed, but a necessary safety detail) or work on the history and memorabilia research – or just come along to watch the skiffs out on the water.
Rowporty’s original skiff, ‘Icebreaker’ is a familiar sight out on the water these days, having been completed last spring in time for a few months hard rowing practice, before competing in a season of regattas. This year’s Portobello Regatta will take place on 30th and 31st July, and will feature skiffs from all over Scotland, from Achiltibue to North Berwick. Some of last year’s competitors have also been building a second skiff so the numbers of teams taking part this year will be even higher!