It’s MY boat, ma’am!
Duchess of Cornwall admires MYDG’s boat
The Duchess of Cornwall became one of the first people to see MYDG’s stunning new rowing boat when she visited Portobello’s Sailing and Kayaking Club on Tuesday. The boat is painted in MYDG’s own colours and HRH was very impressed – maybe it was the royal blue!
A small group of young people has been building the 22ft long traditional Scottish rowing boat with Muirhouse Youth Development Group since last Septmeber, spending two afternoons every week working with craftsman Nick Savage to build the boat from scratch. It’s been worth the hours of patience and effort – the end product is simply stunning.
The boat, which is a St Ayles skiff, left ‘dry dock’ in Craigroyston Community High School on Tuesday morning and made the journey – by land, on a trailer – to Portobello Promenade to be part of the sailing club’s event.
MYDG youth worker Ali Grant, explained: “The event is in fact to celebrate the achievements of Portobello Sailing and Kayaking Club (PSKC), of which I am a founding member. We have worked tirelessly for the last seven years to transform a piece of grassland into a thriving community hub. PSKC is entirely run by volunteers and supports several hundred adults and young people to gain access to the water through kayaking, sailing and rowing. It has regenerated the seafront and consequently, brought a community together. This is the reason for the royal visit.
“Having co-built two community boats already, it was always my wish for a group of young people to experience the thrill of taking a pile of flat wood and transforming this bit by bit, into a beautiful, curved boat and in turn, transforming their own lives.
“MYDG have always had an emphasis on outdoor activities and ‘journeys’ – whether that be geographical or personal journeys, so I saw an opportunity to blend my passion for boats and opportunities for young people with my day job as a Youth Worker. MYDG applied for funding to support a boat- building project and were fortunate enough to secure money from 3 sources, Awards for All, Creative Scotland and Edinburgh Airport Trust.
Ali went on: “Building a boat is an incredible test of patience and skill. The outcome of relentless and repetitive tasks only becomes apparent when you put the boat on the water and realise what you have achieved. It is a highly emotional moment and I expect all those involved to experience that emotion.
“We started the project in September, with three young people (CCHS pupils) and attendance has been phenomenal. Other young people have also given input to the project. As well as building the boat, young people have been getting out rowing and have taken part in various training courses. I am sure I speak for everyone in saying that the personal change in the young people concerned has been immense.
“The creation of a boat on the scale of the one we are building has also generated a great deal of excitement amongst other young people and members of the community and will be a tremendous resource for the area.
“Portobello Sailing and Kayaking Club have also received funding from Awards for All and Edinburgh Airport Trust and this is an opportunity to demonstrate the impact of that funding across communities. I also hope that boat building and rowing will begin to forge strong bonds between young people from Muirhouse, other parts of the city and indeed across Scotland. All these people were represented at Tuesday’s event.
“The boat is based on a traditional Scottish fishing boat. It is called a St Ayles skiff. It is 22 ft long and 6ft across. It will weigh approx 150kg when complete and will join a fleet of similar boats built in communities all across Scotland and indeed the world. The boat will be owned by the charity MYDG and will be rowed under the moniker, ‘North Edinburgh Rowing Club’. I cannot divulge the name of the boat yet – you will have to wait!”
“The boat was built in Craigroyston Community High School and we are indebted to Head Teacher Stephen Ross and this team for all their support in making this project happen.”
So congratulation to MYDG and in particular to boat builders Figo El Sherif and Fransisc Dorot and trainee rower Stanley McKay (above) -you really have created something to be proud of and we all look forward to seeing your craft on the water soon!