Saturday 8 September 2012

Clayton Skiffs

Clayton skiffs are not much admired in rowing circles, it has to be admitted. They are beamy, heavy and hard work to row. And they are not very pretty. Even one of their biggest fans said to me that all they needed was a couple of taps at the end...
But they have lots of big advantages. They are roomy and the rowing positions are very comfortable. They are very seaworthy and inspire total confidence even in nervous novice crews. And they are strong, secure and practically bullet-proof.
Four Claytons appeared at the recent Manningtree Paddle and Oar Festival. Pictured above are Mabel, Lt Washington and Myrto. Witchoar romped home first - this picture shows us trying to catch her on the homeward leg.
There is a cup for Claytons at the Great River Race, and five entered last year (I don't need to mention who won). 
There are a couple of dozen Claytons around the Thames Estuary and the south coast, but the clubs don't communicate very well. So I have set up a Facebook page for Clayton Skiffies - if you row a Clayton, please 'like' the page and contribute to it. If everyone who uses these remarkable boats gets on the page we might get a scene going!
It is even possible that a new Clayton will be built over the winter. Perhaps these under-rated boats might be in for a resurgence.....


Unknown said...

I believe the original Clayton skiff mould was made for the Alexander tugs in the dock basin twenty was made off. They used to race out of levington at the beginning of the season they were all weighed and the correct ballast applied and then trimmed in the water ( I noticed the Glades look a bit bow high)I liked the frenzy at the start as ten boats going flat out until somebody gave way. Felix Arc was by far the best there stroke has been known to break his oar I rowed with them a few times and its tactics that win. Its sad that the clubs finished

Unknown said...

Hello, I was in the last Felix Arc crew that raced and won the GRR; unfortunately the boat was sold soon after. Myself plus Dave Robinson (He broke the oar during a big Ten) and our amazing cox are looking to buy a boat and bring the team back to the waters. Any knowledge of one for sale? Please contact me on

Kindest regards

Chris Partridge said...

Hi Roy,
I would love to get a bit more of the history of the Claytons - could you drop me an email at

Beechy61 said...

Paul Norris - which boat did you Row please? I do as part of Gravesend Regatta Committee, when they bought 4 Clayton skiffs fri. The a Felixstowe area. We have Alf Saunders, Russell Marsh (also numbered 3) and Gary John Gray plus another which came un-named but may have been numbered 1 or 2. They are still maintained and raced.