June 23rd and 24th, 2012


At sea and on the water


Over the festival weekend, the more traditional and historic vessels will be berthed in the Old Harbour, though the larger vessels will be berthed in the New Harbour.  Also in the New Harbour, along with the resident boats, will be berthed a number of St Ayles Rowing Skiffs from the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project and, at the Old Harbour, there will be Coracles on the north pier and, on the south and west piers, demonstrations of maritime skills. Over the weekend, several of the historic vessels will be open to the public. Whether open or not, big or small, you will find skippers and crews of the boats attending the festival more than happy to tell you about their boats.  


The Scottish Coastal Rowing Project

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The Festival is pleased to again host a Rowing Regatta of St Ayles Skiffs from members of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association  The Skiffs are community based projects encouraging members of the community to become involved, either for the first time or, perhaps, handing on essential skills, using the sea for fitness, friendship, and competition.  The design of the St Ayles Skiff was commissioned from Iain Oughtred by the Scottish Fisheries Museum at Anstruther, Fife.  Jordan Boats has made a kit for the design.  The basic principle of this project is that the boats to be raced should be available at as low a price as possible.  The estimated cost of completion of one of these skiffs is around £3000.

The standard crew is four rowing with the coxswain steering, though other crew combinations are possible.  Throughout Scotland, more than 40 boats are in use or are being built with others being built in America, the Netherlands and even Australia.

The crews had great fun in 2010 and we look forward to the boats and crews competing and enjoying the Festival in 2011



Sailing events

Each afternoon some of the sailing boats will be participating in sailing events including, on Saturday, a race to Sandend to collect kippers. These events are the among the highlights of the weekend providing an opportunity to see the boats in action; preparing to leave the harbours, manoeuvring their way out, sailing away and back, then manoeuvring their way back to their moorings. maritime image


Optimist Dinghies

Prior to the festival local school pupils have been taking part in projects to build their own boats and, then learn to sail them with sailing taster sessions run by Findhorn Marina. During the festival, you can see how the boat is built at a stand by the Old Harbour and, during the day, some of the pupils will be demonstrating their recently acquired skills.


Start Sailing

If you want a laugh with your pals, or serious about sailing, you need to start somewhere and Findhorn Marina will be demonstrating the fun that can be had, the skills that can learned on their Dinghies while splashing, playing or even racing.


Departure of larger vessels

Later on Sunday afternoon the larger historic vessels will prepare to depart from Portsoy and return to their bases. You do not often get to see these boats in action and the sight of the boats manoeuvring out of the harbours, raising sail and preparing to depart, is quite dramatic. Consider that, at one time, this was a common site in the harbour.  


Sea Cadets

A national youth charity based on the traditions and customs of the Royal Navy, providing 10 to 18 year olds with teamwork, self respect and social responsibility skills. Over the weekend, cadets from TS Caledonia, Peterhead Unit will be taking part in the festival providing valuable support to the maritime team, assisting with on-the-water activities.



Over the weekend, we will be joined by the lifeboats from Macduff and Buckie. On Saturday the B Class Atlantic 85 from Macduff will be escorting sailing boats on the kipper race to Sandend and, on Sunday, Buckie’s William BLannin, a Severn Class all weather craft will be visiting Portsoy.


maritime imageThe Maritime and Coastguard Agency
The volunteer Coastguard Rescue Service provides the UK’s coastal search and rescue capability and as part of Her Majesty’s Coastguard it can operate separately or jointly with other emergency services and volunteer rescue organisations. It consists of teams of volunteers (Coastguard Rescue Teams), drawn from the local community, which are fully trained and equipped to carry out search and rescue operations around the coast of the UK. Meet the rescue teams from along the Moray Firth who will be delighted to show you how they work today


North 58° Sea Adventures

Join the powerboat Buchaneer for an exhilarating tour of the stunning Moray Firth coastline. Each trip is different, depending on sea conditions and wildlife. Dramatic views of the 13th century Findlater Castle, and the cliffs along the coast. You may see dolphins or a minke whale. Waterproofs and lifejackets are provided; just bring warm clothes and a sense of adventure. Buchaneer is fully insured, equipped and certified to MCA standards.