Published: 03/06/2014 00:03 - Updated: 02/06/2014 15:43

Boat festival strikes gold

The UK’s most decorated female athlete, Olympic and world rowing champion Katherine Grainger CBE, will be the guest of honour at the opening day of this year’s Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy later this month.
The UK’s most decorated female athlete, Olympic and world rowing champion Katherine Grainger CBE, will be the guest of honour at the opening day of this year’s Scottish Traditional Boat Festival in Portsoy later this month.

OLYMPIC golden girl and rowing world champion Katherine Grainger CBE will be the star guest on the opening day of the 2014 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival (STBF) in Portsoy later this month.

The UK’s most successful female rower and the only female athlete in any sport to win medals in four consecutive Olympic Games will lay the foundation stone for The PORT (Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training) Boatshed project.

And she will then be taking to the water after being press-ganged into joining the all-female coastal rowing crew of the locally-built ‘Soy Quine’.

STBF chairman Roger Goodyear said: "It’s a huge honour for us to welcome Katherine to the 2014 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, and we are delighted that she will lay the foundation stone for The Boatshed project.

"We aim to promote our maritime crafts, traditions and sports locally, nationally and internationally, and having such a renowned sportswoman as Katherine on board helps us immeasurably in our efforts to do this.

"We are particularly pleased that Katherine will be joining us in the Year of Homecoming, when we are scheduled to host visitors and participants from across the world who will be coming to enjoy our rich cultural heritage.

"It’s a privilege to host Katherine on her Homecoming trip to Aberdeenshire."

Grainger’s outing with ‘The Skiffettes’, in their bright pink St Ayles skiff which was built by a team of PORT’s female members, will bring her world championship and Olympic pedigree to bear on the local women’s bid for victory in the festival’s coastal rowing regatta.

A record 19 skiffs from around the UK and further afield have registered for the racing events at the festival.

PORT volunteers, who have completed the construction of a second skiff, the fluorescent green ‘Soy Loon’, which will also be competing in the regatta, are currently recreating a traditional salmon coble.

Grainger said: "I’m so happy to have been asked to attend the first day of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

"It’s brilliant to see a community getting behind a great project that they’ll remember for years to come.

"The festival is a great chance to show all that Portsoy has to offer, and personally I can’t wait to try the skiff racing – I just hope it won’t get too competitive!

"I know the festival will be huge fun for everyone involved."

The stone-laying ceremony will see Grainger commemorate the start of PORT’s Boatshed building project, which has seen a previously derelict harbour-side ruin transformed into a community resource to help preserve traditional boat-building and sailing skills.

The foundation stone ceremony will take place on Friday, June 27 – the first day of the three-day Scottish Traditional Boat Festival.

Grainger won silver medals in the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games and finally achieved her goal of a gold in the 2012 Games.

She is a world champion six times over and in 2013 she was awarded a CBE for services to rowing in the New Year Honours list.

Paul Bush OBE, chief operating officer for EventScotland, said: "Katherine Grainger is one of Scottish sport’s most inspiring athletes, and we will all look forward to seeing her and ‘The Skiffettes’ race.

"Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and in 2014, the Year of Homecoming, the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will undoubtedly attract significant visitor numbers to Portsoy.

"Roger Goodyear and his team continue to deliver an event of the very highest standard, which delivers significant impacts for the local area."

For further information about the festival, and to buy tickets, visit www.stbfportsoy.com

Updates about this year’s festival are also available on Facebook at and Twitter – search for @STBFestival

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