SSPC is the newest associated member of the Skiff Racing Association (SRA), which is the Governing body for Skiff racing. The SRA is in turn associated to British Rowing.
Skiffs are hand-crafted, traditional timber racing boats, with fixed wooden seats, designed for either one or two rowers. Skiffs were originally used in the times of Henry VIII as a water taxi.
By Victorian times the pleasure skiff was introduced; these skiffs came with a tent cover and movable seats and could be used to camp from whilst travelling up and down the Thames.
The Skiff Racing Association was formed in 1901 to provide a governing body for skiff racing, to ensure that a standard set of rules was applied for racing and boat construction.
The Association is run by a committee elected from the affiliated clubs at an annual meeting. This committee meets several times a year to ensure that any issues regarding the application of rules can be dealt with and other matters relating to the promotion of the sport.
The Association has close ties with the British Rowing, and the rules of racing are based on those of the British Rowing closely enough that British Rowing qualified umpires may also umpire skiff races. It is a condition of participation in the activities of SSPC that individuals take responsibility for their own safety.
Skiffing is a physical activity and the onus is on a member to satisfy themselves that their state of health is adequate before undertaking any physical exercise.
New members must sign a SSPC Membership form.
Boats and Blades
All outings must be registered in the club calendar.
Boats and maintenance are expensive. Most damage and deterioration occurs as a result of handling with insufficient care. Please make sure that all boat handling is properly coordinated.
Know your boats - Members should take time to learn the names and various part of the skiff
The sides of a skiff are referred to as Bow or Stroke side. Do not confuse these terms with the crew position within the skiff.
The front of the boat is called the bow. The back is called the stern. Looking at the boat from stern to bow, the left hand side of the boat is called stroke side and the right-hand side of the boat is called bow side.
Basic Skiffing Technique
The skiff is designed for optimum performance and so the technique applied is important. The two fundamental reference points in the stroke are the CATCH where the blade is placed in the water, and the FINISH where the blade is removed from the water.
The skiffer leans forward, and bends the legs slightly. After placing the Blade vertically in the water at the CATCH, he or she applies pressure to stretcher, levering the blade in the water on the thole and leans back.
This is called the DRIVE phase of the stroke. Once the skiffer has pushed the blade as far forward in the water as possible, he or she extracts the oar from the water, and the recovery phase begins, setting up the skiffer's body for the next stroke.
On the recovery, it is normal to tip the blade flat (known as "feathering").
There are some differences from the rowing stroke. The hands must never pass one above the other - one hand must always lead, or one of the blades will "dig" in the water.
The seat does not slide and the unbending of the legs follows from the leaning back of the body.
Finally skiffs are more stable so that it is possible to lean back further and keep the blade in the water for longer.
The last extra distance provides considerable motive power to the boat, leading to the encouragement to "squeeze the finish".