Skiff-building in the Longshed

St Ayles skiff on the water

One of the first projects in the Longshed workshop will be a series of 6-month community skiff-building projects (running alongside but separate from the project to reconstruct the full-size replica of the Sutton Ship).

The skiff-build projects will use kits based on the traditional Fair Isle rowing skiff designed by Ian Oughtred and manufactured by Jordan Boats.  These kits are used by many groups throughout the UK and abroad.  The completed 22ft clinker-built 4-oar skiffs are constructed and rowed by people of all ages see St Ayles Skiff introduction

A recent article about a community club expedition to the Outer Hebrides shows the potential see  Guardian travel August 2017, and the Coastal Rowing Association in Blakeney took their boats to Brittany CRA Blakeney Semaine du Golfe

Woodbridge Riverside Trust will provide:

  • workshop space in the Longshed
  • use of woodworking tools
  • supervision and advice from volunteers with expertise in woodworking

for projects that are organised and managed by the participants/groups involved in each build. Each project will involve 5-10 people drawn from local organisations (clubs, schools, businesses) and members of the wider local community.  The first Longshed skiff-build will be led by a small group of local enthusiasts.

Our aim is to make these projects as inclusive as possible so that anyone with an interest in woodworking has the opportunity to take part.  As we gain experience of working with the St Ayles skiff kit, later builds will include young and older people, potentially working as mixed-ability teams.  The benefits – skills development, team working, learning about boat design and navigation – will apply to everyone who takes part.

There is an established network of coastal rowing clubs in Norfolk, Essex and around much of the UK coast, and a well-established programme of local and national competitions.  WRT is currently exploring options to set up a Woodbridge Coastal Rowing Club (WCRC) to support the coaching and administration of local coastal rowing activities once the skiffs are built.  The WCRC will be run as an independent organisation, potentially affiliated to one of the existing Woodbridge clubs.

The first skiff-build project will run from Spring 2018, following initial fitout of the Longshed building.  The WCRC will be set up during 2017 with a view to recruiting members and starting coaching activity early in 2018. We are very pleased that Suffolk Coastal District Council is supporting these projects through the Enabling Communities Exemplar Grant programme.

If you are interested in joining a skiff-building group, sponsoring an organisation or company to build a skiff, or joining the WCRC when it is set up please contact: