In 2012 Dr Victoria Holliday, an avid and competitive sculler inveigled Blakeney Sailing Club to run an early (very early) morning race for a collection of sculling boats. These had graduated to the Carnser a patch of land which has served as the boat-park for members of the sailing club and summer visitors since the first third of the 20th century. More races were held and, encouraged by Commodore Joe Carr and officers and members of the sailing club, Blakeney Rowing Club was formed under the sailing club umbrella.
Questions were raised as to the tradition of coastal rowing in North Norfolk. No answers were forthcoming. Inevitably the role model of Scottish Coastal Rowing and the Iain Oughtred designed St Ayles skiff came to the fore. This seaworthy, four-oared plus cox, fixed-seat boat, designed for community building and rowing seemed to fit the bill. 80 are already on the water or in build and orders are fast approaching the 100 mark worldwide.
Dinghy sailor and would-be rower/sculler Ian Duffill joined forces with Victoria Holliday to sponsor a kit from Alec Jordan. This is now taking shape in Ian’s workshop where an enthusiastic group of volunteers, mainly from the sailing club, (names withheld to protect the innocent), are aiming to have the boat ready for the Skiff World Championship in Ullapool this coming July 2013.
With the blessing and under the aegis of Blakeney Sailing Club, CraBlakeney (Coastal Rowing Association Blakeney) is being formed.
The name settled on for the skiff is Hoi Larntan, being Norfolk dialect used by seafarers to indicate a boat or skipper as the very best. Typical of local taste for pun names – ‘high lantern’, ‘high learned one’.
The colour scheme is destined to incorporate the Blakeney Sailing Club colours – exactly how is still a closely guarded secret (or maybe hasn’t been designed yet!)