BBC – Portobello revives regatta days

Icebreaker boat

Icebreaker was built by RowPorty volunteers

The promenade at Portobello is set to host its first rowing regatta in more than 40 years.

Portobello Sailing and Kayaking Club is holding the event at West Sands on Saturday and Sunday.

Clubs from Achiltibuie, Anstruther, Port Seton, North Berwick and Eyemouth are to compete against local teams in 20 races.

They will include RowPorty, a local group which built the St Ayles Skiff for the races.

Rowing and racing

Harry Mayers, a local resident who is rowing on Saturday, said: “The regatta is particularly poignant for Portobello as there used to be a thriving rowing club here.

“That history has been dormant for the past 40 or 50 years. Some of the guys who rowed then are looking forward to it immensely.”

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Project, supported by the Scottish Fisheries Museum, aims to revitalise interest in rowing and racing around the coast and on inland lochs.

Oar in a clamp

Two pre-1930s copper riveted boats are being restored in the workshop

They supplied the design for the St Ayles Skiff, which took the team of volunteers about two months to build.

Andres Leslie, team captain of RowPorty, said: “It makes the water accessible to a wide range of people.

“New friends have been made in the community and with other coastal communities.”

Pupils at the local primary school wrote stories to name the new boat and these have been published in a booklet. Icebreaker was chosen as the winning entry because members of the community came together to build the boat.

There are plans to hold a regatta again next year and RowPorty has been granted funding to build another boat and to create an archive of material for the library.

Portobello Library is hosting a display of rowing memorabilia from the area.

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