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Martyn Webster has a vision: to build a skiff and help foster community spirit in Inveraray.
The retired surgeon presented his plans at the latest meeting of community company Inspire Inveraray, and he is looking for recruits to help build and crew the boat in friendly races.
Mr Webster told the audience at the January 17 meeting in the Nicoll Hall: ‘Hundreds of these boats have been built in coastal towns and villages around Scotland. They are based on an old fishing boat, modified for construction by amateurs.’
The skiff would be 23 feet long and costs £7,183 to build, which it is hoped would be covered by individuals buying shares. ‘We will divide it into £64 shares per boat at £75 each,’ explained Mr Webster. ‘We have already sold more than 20 shares, but we need to sell more.’
A site has been offered at Argyll Caravan Park beside Loch Fyne for a shed to build and store the boat, with the help of another enthusiast for the project, Al Rodden. And in many places where boats have been built, the construction is carried out perhaps by retired people with more time on their hands.
Once built the boat – with a crew of four plus a cox – would be raced against rowers from other communities.
Al Rodden is keen to organise a regatta on Loch Fyne. ‘I’m keen to organise one for around April time,’ he said. ‘The boat will take up to six months to build so we won’t have it by that time, but it will generate a bit of interest.’
Martyn Webster, too, is forging ahead. The Inveraray Coastal Rowing Association has already been set up, so the recruitment of volunteers has begun in earnest.
Anyone interested in becoming involved should contact Al Rodden on 1499 302285.