St Ayles Skiff ‘Avocet’ Launched

The Mayor of Faversham, Cllr Alison Reynolds, took to the oars wearing her gold chain of office when the town’s first coastal rowing skiff ‘Avocet’ was launched in the Creek on Saturday. The boat was commissioned by the Creek Trust. 

Cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd – many of whom had helped to build the boat – the Mayor leapt into the boat and helped propel it along on its maiden voyage.  The boat made several trips along the creek and back at a good speed, despite several members of the crew being novice rowers.

Avocet is a St Ayles Skiff, and has been built by volunteers under the direction of Alan Thorne, as part of Faversham’s Community Boat Building project.  She will be looked after by members of the newly founded Faversham Rowing Club who plan to compete in next year’s Skiffie Worlds international races in Holland.  She will also take on challenges from other Kentish towns especially members of the Cinque Ports.

The Mayor said ‘This is the most exciting thing which has happened during my term of office and it’s brilliant that so many people have taken part in building her, and will be rowing and racing in one of these beautiful skiffs.’

Alan Thorne, a boat-builder based at Faversham Creek Trust’s Purifier Building, said he wanted to see each of the town’s 4 wards have their own boat to compete against each other in races that would be reminiscent of the annual Faversham Raft Race that used to take place in the town.


The St Ayles Skiffs are now being built in communities round the world, and are raced at sea and on inland waters. Each boat takes four rowers, and a cox to steer.

Faversham has been campaigning for ten years for a new opening bridge,which would allow bigger vessels up into the town’s Basin, with provision for boat sheds, moorings, training spaces, and other community facilities.  Marion Barton of ‘Where’s Our Bridge’ said ‘This event shows how much the town cares about its creek. While the Basin is closed off to maritime traffic we are building these smaller boats and involving so many people in the community.’

Sue Akhurst Chairman of the Creek Trust said ‘We are thrilled to have commissioned the building of Avocet, this first skiff, and we expect to see more in due course. We want to see the regeneration of the creek for use by barges and other vessels, to bring employment and training into the town.’


There will be two Have-a-go-at-Rowing weekends if you want to give it a try: 10/11th  and 24/25th July from 10am – 2pm.  Find out more about Faversham Rowing Club at www.favershamrowingclub.org.

The next boat-build is ready to start on the second skiff, with more information  on https://www.facebook.com/groups/favershamboatbuild
Enquiries should be directed to hello@cinqueportsrowing.org


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