The Secret Regatta

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Until the end of World War II, when the fibreglass sailing boats which are so popular today first began to grow in popularity, yachting was a pastime reserved only for the wealthy few, in large, elegant vessels crafted from wood, following traditional boat building techniques.   In that era of glamour and privilege, William Fife, of Fairlie in Ayrshire, was widely regarded as one of the foremost traditional yacht designers, responsible for creating some of the most beautiful vessels of all time.   

Many of Fife’s yachts, some of which were built right here on the Cowal peninsula, have survived the decades since they were built, and can still be seen sailing the waters off the Secret Coast to this day.

In 1998, the inaugural Fife Regatta was held, to give the owners of these remaining yachts the opportunity to come together to sail them on their home waters.  Subsequent regatte were held in 2003, 2008 and 2013, and the fifth, which was due to be held this year, was to be celebrated in a major new exhibition curated by the Tighnabruaich Gallery, who invited a selection of its artists to produce new work in response to the Fife Regatta.  From portraits of the Fife boats to explorations of the beautiful water and coastline of Argyll’s Secret Coast, each artist was encouraged to consider the important role in which the our coastline, sailing and boats have played in the history of our communities.  

Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the difficult decision was made to cancel the 2020 Fife Regatta but, as life here on the Secret Coast is so tightly bound to the sea, we’ve teamed up with the Tighnabruaich Gallery to celebrate life on the water, by holding our very first online Secret Regatta.

The exhibition of art will be hosted online, with the intention of bringing our community together to celebrate sailing and the sea.  And that’s where you come in…

From 6th until 20th June, 2020, we’d love for you to help us to flood social media with memories, stories, images and videos to describe our lives on the waters on Secret Coast.  From sailing, to kayaking, open water swimming, to life on our ferries, fishing boats, leisure craft and lifeboats, we’d love to hear from you!  To do this, simply tag your posts with #secretregatta, and remember to tag @tighnabruaichgallery, @argyllsecretcoast, @WCWscotland and @wildaboutargyll.

You can look forward to hearing stories from locals, learn some of the history of the Fife yachts, see beautiful imagery of life on the waves, and have the opportunity to explore some incredible new pieces by prominent artists and local schoolchildren, hosted by Tighnabruaich Gallery.

So, whilst it’s still not safe to travel, or to get back onto the water, we can’t wait for you to set sail with us on the Secret Regatta!

With love from your friends on Argyll’s Secret Coast


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