MP Joel Fitzgibbon rows St Ayles skiff on maiden voyage with Lake Macquarie Classic Boat Association | photos

After more than 1200 hours of work invested by volunteers over 18 months, Lake Macquarie Classic Boat Association has celebrated the naming and launch of its St Ayles skiff at Rathmines.

Federal Member for Hunter, Joel Fitzgibbon, was invited to officially launch the skiff, dubbed Catalina, before joining the group on the water for the maiden voyage of the hand-crafted 22-foot row boat.

“I was given the great privilege of launching the St Ayles skiff, a boat which is a product of the great work the association’s president, Bill Coote, and his club members have been doing,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

“The Classic Boat Association is a special organisation promoting not only water recreation and sport but it has also become a centre point for community interaction.

“It provides a great atmosphere where people share their skills and interact with one another which is a positive for physical and mental health in our community.”

The Classic Boat Association is a special organisation.

- Joel Fitzgibbon

The project received grant funding of $7,700 for Community Boat Building and Rowing Activities under the Stronger Communities program.

Designed along the lines of a Scottish rowing skiff, the boat will feature at community events as well as in fundraising efforts for Lifeline.

“I’m very pleased the association secured a $7700 grant to contribute to the unique project and I congratulate the association’s members on their tireless efforts,” Mr Fitzgibbon said.

Members will row the St Ayles skiff from Rathmines to Royal Motor Yacht Club, Toronto, this Saturday, for a barbecue lunch.

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