Hoi Larntan II

Early days yet, but assembly of the base and moulds for our second St Ayles coastal rowing skiff is under way.  Taking rather less time than we expected, and with the floor of Barrie’s barn/workshop proving to be closer to level than it looked, we made good progress.

(P.S. this barn is a whole lot warmer than Ian’s barn at Thurning!)



Once the base was set up, time to mount the moulds and spacers…




Having checked the base was still level, even time for Barrie to sharpen a pencil or two!



The ladies in Wells have our kit safely stored and we hope to collect it early next week, so cutting out planking and frames can begin.  Meanwhile the search for good enough quality larch for laminating stems etc. is on once again.

Watch this space!



Nearly the end of September and what a busy month; 18 outings with 25 different rowers – who said this wouldn’t catch on?

We have had some spectacularly calm, warm and sunny days plus one or two a bit chillier and damper! But we have been out. The seals at Blakeney Point are still just as inquisitive though they seem to accept us now – they see us so often.

Some great news – our second kit has arrived in Wells together with their two kits. Barrie has made space in his workshop and the task of setting up the building base for ours is due to start soon.

Guess what?  We must think of a name for the new boat. Suggestions to the Secretary please!

Our Open Day with Hoi Larnton on the lake at Holkham is shaping up (Sunday 6 Oct 10:00-16:00) – all welcome. 


A reminder of the halcyon setting at Ullapool back in July:


The Great River Race 2013

Hoi Larntan’s latest adventure took us to London’s Docklands.  Friday evening Mark and Victoria delivered her to the launching area. Here she is on the right with Coigach’s two World Championship Gold medal winning boats, down from Scotland, in blue to the left. Later we were joined by the Dutch team and their boat.


Midday Saturday and 320 boats managed to get down the single slipway and congregate downriver of the start. Ranging from 14ft rowing boats (one from Burnham Overy), through whalers and Dutch Royal Navy 12-oared craft, Irish Curraghs from Cork, to the beautiful 32ft Cornish Pilot gigs and the pencil slim, overcrowded Dragon boats complete with rhythm-keeping drummer on board. The presence of our friends from Langstone Cutters and from Brightlingsea (Harkers Yard cold moulded skiffs) along with others who have attended the Carrow cup in Norwich (December!!) meant there was no lack of banter and bragging.

We were there largely for the experience but a time of 3 hours or less and not being the last St Ayles skiff were unspoken targets.

Not long waiting to be called – slowest boats (lowest numbers) first – we were number 95 – then off with a goodly flood tide under us and Tower Bridge went past in a flash.


We managed to swap our crew positions round every 20 minutes without incident and slowly we overhauled many of the slower boats. In turn we were caught by the bigger gigs and dragon boats. London Bridge, Battersea, Chelsea, Putney, Barnes, (the University Boat Race course seems very short!!) – all very evocative names – and then Richmond, round the corner and there was Ham and the finish line. 3 hours and 2 minutes – well we nearly made it.

The Scottish skiffs were way ahead but we left our Dutch colleagues far behind. Thank goodness for the seat cushions! Mark’s blisters were a sight (preferably not to be seen).  Arriving en masse, as the majority of the 320 entrants reached the finish within 40 minutes of each other, recovering boats on a single narrow slipway into a field was interesting to say the least. Smart work by Mark who had delivered the trailer on Friday and luckily we were called in fairly promptly.


The number of people saying they would never do it again was matched only by the number of people you knew would be back next year to do it all over again. Exhausting but a great sight – the London city skyline and then the leafy suburbs – the sheer number of boats and flags and smiling faces.

The Crew of Victoria, Antonia, Adrian, Mark, Dan and Ian would like to thank everyone who sponsored our row and helped us to raise money for further research into Prostate Cancer. Watch this site to see our final total.

Tranquil waters

Sunday 1 Sept saw Hoi Larntan back at Barton Broad. This time it was for the Great River Race (GRR) crew to get some final practice before our 21 mile epic up the Thames next week. At least two other St Ayles skiffs are taking part too, so we will be in good company.

After a strenuous pull along the full length of the Broad we tucked into Gay’s Staithe for a rest and energy replenishment in the form of coffee and delicious choccy goodies.

Here the team disembarks:



Suitably re-charged we rowed back to our starting point practising our change-overs. In the GRR we carry a ‘passenger’ as well as a cox, either of whom may row – but we have to change seats to do so. Completing this operation while two still try to propel the boat forward requires balance and timing – great if you get it right! Pretty hairy if you don’t.

Thanks to Barton we had a great day while on the coast at Blakeney the tide was so small we would have struggled to find enough water.

Meanwhile Andy continues to do a great job raising funds for Prostate Cancer research – please support him and get as many friends and family as you can to contribute.


We hear that a group at neighbouring Wells are ordering two St Ayles skiff kits. We shall have competition on our doorstep next year!

Time for us to think of a second boat too perhaps?