In 2013 the inaugural St Ayles Skiff World Championship was held in the fishing village of Ullapool on Scotland’s North West coast.
32 skiff clubs from the Netherlands, Tasmania, the USA, and from all over Scotland arrived at Ullapool and were welcomed by HRH Princess Anne to a glorious week of sunny weather and competitive racing in sheltered Loch Broom. The host organisation was Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club.
In 2016 the venue for the second World Championship was Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. The Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership welcomed 41 skiffs and over 1000 rowers to Delamont Country Park overlooking the course on the Quoile estuary.
Three years later, in 2019 the Stranraer St Ayles Skiff Project was selected to host the event, which grew to 57 skiff clubs and around 1500 rowers. Stranraer had an ideal combination of sheltered rowing water in Loch Ryan, a long beach and promenade, a large grassy park area for marquees, and plenty of accommodation, bars and restaurants for hungry and thirsty rowers.
Princess Anne again opened the event, which provided the skiff clubs with a wonderful week’s racing and the town with a much needed boost. It was estimated after the event that £4m was spent in the area during the week.
Where will the 2022 St Ayles Skiff World Championship be hosted?
St Ayles Skiff International (SASI) was formed after the 2019 Worlds to oversee the worldwide development of the St Ayles class, to maintain the Measurement Rules, and to organise the next World Championship.
It currently has board members from the Netherlands, Australia, Northern Ireland and Scotland.
Although Covid-19 has hugely interrupted the 2020 rowing season, work continues to find a suitable venue for the 2022 event.
A couple of potential host organisations are in the frame but we would like any club or group who have a suitable venue, to consider outlining a bid to host the event. It is a sizeable event but very rewarding to host between 60 and 100 skiff clubs with perhaps 20 people each over a week.
By October 2020 we would like to have a short list of candidate venues. SASI representatives would then visit each place to meet organisations bidding for the event, and in early 2021 would announce the chosen venue.
These are the required criteria by which bids will be assessed:
- The course shall be on salt or brackish water, out and back to be about 2,000 metres (or slightly less) there shall be a minimum of 15 lanes spaced 20 metres apart.
- The course should as far as possible have equal conditions in all lanes, i.e. if there are tidal currents they should be the same for all lanes.
- Minimum depth of water over the course during racing to be one metre.
- Turn marks and start buoys adequately anchored to remain in place and in a straight line over the tidal range.
- The host shall be able to work with local clubs and their national associations.
- There shall be sufficiently sheltered water that we can be confident of running the entire event over the week.
- There shall be sufficient facilities and infrastructure to launch, berth and recover between 50 and 100 skiffs.
- Access to a large covered space for opening and closing sessions.
- There shall be sufficient local mix of accommodation for 1,500 people. (catered, self catering and camping etc)
- The host shall be able to work with local clubs and their national associations to provide sufficient number of skiffs to lend to groups travelling from overseas.
- There shall be reasonable transport infrastructure.
- The site shall be easily accessible for people to come from overseas, with connecting transport readily available.
- The host will be required to programme for a weeks racing and fit in all the race categories within that week. (Race categories to be confirmed later)
- Basic regatta infrastructure shall be provided.
- The host must be able to provide sufficient facilities and boats for umpires, officials and safety officers for the supervision of races and to carry out safety duties.
- The Host shall be able to provide a suitable social programme throughout the event including daily catering and welfare facilities.
- Readily accessible spectator areas and welfare facilities for competitors.
- Waiting club areas for secure storage of kit.
For further information please contact the Secretary St Ayles Skiff International – Andrew Rendle