COASTAL rowers at Royal Gourock Yacht Club had an OARsome time launching their new skiff built by club members.

They were delighted to finally launch their second coastal rowing vessel at the club's beach after years of delays.

Due to the pandemic, it has taken almost two years longer than planned for the club to get both vessels in the water together.

Greenock Telegraph: Gourock Coastal Rowing Credit: Alex Craig

In mid-2019, the yacht club began a £30,000 project to build two St Ayles skiffs, a four oar rowing boat suitable for the Scottish coastline.

They were awarded £15,000 of funding through the EU-backed LEADER programme, which offers grants to small communities, and had to fundraise to make up the other half.

After funding was secured, work began on the first of the club's skiffs in late 2019 at the Scottish Boat Building School in Irvine.

The club's plan was for the first skiff to be built by the team at the Boat Building School under the watchful eye of club members and members who observed the construction would then use that knowledge to work on the second.

But this plan was scuppered when the first lockdown was announced in March of 2020.

Lockdowns and restrictions of the next year and a half meant that the work to construct the skiffs went at a snail's pace.

The Boat Building School team managed to deliver the first skiff at the end of 2020, but it would not be until July of the following year that it launched.

Progress on the second skiff was even slower, and it didn't reach its final stages until the end of 2021 when yacht club members moved the boat to James Watt Dock to begin varnishing it.

The two skiffs are constructed from marine plywood and seat five people, with four rowers and one cox.

While the two boats don't yet have official names, some of the members have affectionately nicknamed the two vessels Wallace and Gromit after the popular duo from the TV programme.

Mike Storey, a club member who helped build the boats, said: "It is amazing to have both skiffs in the water at last.

"We planned to launch them both in May of 2020 and now it'll probably be close to May 2022 before we can have a proper event to celebrate them both being launched.

"To keep this project going through all the difficulty we've had shows the grit and perseverance of our volunteers.

"Demand for the coastal rowing has been huge so it's great to have a second skiff to let people go out on.

"Launching a boat you've built yourself is special - you identify with the spirit of the boat when you've made it with your own hands.

"We have try out sessions for non-members every weekend at the moment and it's been great to see so many people coming along."

Greenock Telegraph: Gourock Coastal Rowing Credit: Alex Craig