Dream boat takes shape in King’s Lynn

First stage complete for King's Lynn Coastal Rowing Club in building a St Ayles Skiff. From left Tom Perrem, Bob Panrucker,  Mike Scott,  Jon Jackson MLNF14PM10218
First stage complete for King's Lynn Coastal Rowing Club in building a St Ayles Skiff. From left Tom Perrem, Bob Panrucker, Mike Scott, Jon Jackson MLNF14PM10218
0
Have your say

One man’s dream of bringing the community together to build two rowing boats and race them on the River Great Ouse in Lynn is getting closer to reality.

King’s Lynn Coastal Rowing Club have finished the initial section of the build of the first St Ayles Skiff and plan to have it complete by Spring.

The build-team were able to turn the skiff upright for the first time this week and see it taking shape. They will now spend the coming months making oars, seats and the gunnel – the top planking.

Bob Panrucker, who came up with the idea for the club, said: “It’s about giving retired people something to do – they want to learn new skills as well, helping youngsters to learn some of those skills, then they get to row the thing, which will be a huge attraction. Two of these racing in the Ouze will be really exciting.

“It’s not just a rowing club – that is the end result.”

Bob was a West London based blue chip project manager who enjoyed DIY and sailing. He decided to combine his hobbies by building a boat when he retired to Castle Acre. He enjoyed it so much he did another and then came up with the idea of making it a community project.

Bob, who has just stepped down as chairman of Lynn Sea Cadets, saw a duel benefit in the project by paying the cadets rent to base the build in one of the sheds at its headquarters at South Quay.

The rowing club, which now has 17 members, formed around 18 months ago and secured grant funding to build the skiffs.

So far the club is manned by older and retired people but the vision is to attract youngsters, especially those who are disadvantaged, to join. On that basis, the build secured £6,500 from the Big Lottery Fund, £500 from Coop Community Fund and £2,000 from Mars in the Community Fund via Norfolk Foundation.

Building started in June and five or six people have worked on the boat for around one-and-a-half days a week since then.

It is hoped the first skiff will be complete by Spring when it will be moved to Leziatte for club members to gain experience of rowing. The second build is planned for completion at the end of next summer.

In the meantime the club needs to organise its administrative side, including things like agreeing membership fees. In addition it must generate funds for additional equipment such as a trailer and boat covers and ongoing expenses for housing the skiffs.

The club so far is made up generally of people with interests in DIY, joinery, carpentry but some have no such experience.

Work on the skiff has so far been done during the day but if a contingent of interested youngsters could agree upon an evening to help out, Bob would be willing to organise that.

See {http://kingslynncoastalrowingclub.wordpress.com|Kings Lynn Coastal Rowing club’s blog| for more information.