AGM 2016

Scottish Coastal Rowing Association AGM
29th October 2016
6.00 p.m. start (Coffee/tea & biccies available from 5.30 p.m.)

Location: Loch Tummel Sailing Club Clubhouse

Draft Agenda

1. Apologies
2. Minutes of Last Meeting (SCRA AGM 24th October 2015)
3. Matters Arising
4. Treasurer’s Report

Motion to be voted upon: “To set subscriptions to SCRA for 2016/2017 at £60 per club, with a rebate of £20 per club available to small clubs of less than 20 members ”

5. Convener’s Report
6. Election of Officers and Committee
7. Skiffieworlds Report and Survey Feedback
8. International Association Update
9. Measurement Rules update:

Motion to be voted upon:-

“St Ayles Skiffs have a great variety of oars and oarlock systems and feedback to the committee on balance shows a desire to move towards a  more tightly specified design so that all rowers are competing with the same effective equipment.  We propose that an international group be set up, to consult widely and propose a common design for oars and oarlocks, to be trialled over the 2017 season with a view to reporting on any recommendations (including recommendations for any transitional arrangements) to National Associations by October 2017.”

10. Any Other Business – items under this heading must be advised to the Secretary no later than the 17th October and must be submitted by clubs only. Any submissions under this category must be in the form of a motion.


Election of Officers and Committee:

Member Clubs shall send their nominations for the committee to the

Secretary by the 10th October 2016

Please pass suggestions for items for the Agenda to the Secretary by 17th October.


The AGM is a meeting of clubs.  We can only guarantee space for two representatives per club.  Anyone speaking at the AGM is speaking on behalf of and as instructed by their clubs.  It is therefore helpful if clubs have discussed any of the issues that are going to arise in advance of the AGM.

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Beach Landings in Surf and the Risk of Broaching

One of the most notable hazards that skiff clubs face is broaching in shallow water.  The SCRA committee have received two incident reports this year, when such incidents have occurred.  No one was injured in either incident, with the crews being able to stand in the shallow water where the incidents took place, and there was no damage to skiffs either.  However any incident where rowers can end up in the water is to be avoided.  The clubs that use Portobello beach probably have the most experience of surf conditions, and how to deal with them.  Below Nick Johnson of Eastern ARC shares his experience and thoughts.  Thank you also to RowPorty for the video that is linked in this post.


Safely Landing in light Surf

Rowing in waves can be hazardous – the clubs that row off Portobello Beach have quite a lot of experience in this area and have found ways to minimise risks. We are lucky in that even in relatively wavy seas the wide beach offers a safe place to row with very few obstacles and no great importance to exactly where you land. Apart from actually getting in the boat, which carries the risk of people getting very wet, rowing out through the waves has not, to date, presented any problem. Occasionally a little water is shipped which can be bailed once out through the breakers. The main risk that we have experienced comes when rowing back in with the waves when the skiff can effectively catch a wave and start surfing. At this point it is possible for the boat to broach, by which we mean suddenly turn through 90 degrees to be parallel to the waves, which is usually quickly followed by a capsize or severe swamping and rowers in the sea. This has happened a couple of times in the last 6 years – always relatively close to shore in about waist deep water, roughly at the point at which the waves are breaking. Through experience we have found ways to stop this happening, the essence of which is generally to slow the boat down and keep it at right angles to the waves. The most effective method is the deployment of a drogue anchor from the stern of the skiff.

The skiffs are very stable and unlikely to broach out at sea (the boat should not be out in conditions where this is a risk).  Broaching when returning to the beach through the surf is a more likely occurrence.  Broaching will be quite sudden and so preparedness is important.  If returning to the beach in a breaking following sea there are different possible approaches which are outlined below but the most basic rule that applies to any of them is to keep the boat at right angles to the surf:

  1. If the tide is high and the breaking zone quite short, one approach is to row hard right onto the beach, with the waves directly behind you. Keeping the boat moving means you will hopefully maintain control but there is still a high risk of catching a wave, in which case the cox must concentrate very hard to keep the boat going in a straight line, using quick and sometimes exaggerated movements of the tiller.
  2. If the tide is low and the breaking zone quite long (due to the shallow gradient of the beach) there are three traditional approaches; stern first, back-water into waves, deploy a drogue to reduce speed. We would not generally recommend the first two unless you do not have a drogue available.
  • Stern first– historically, in very poor conditions row boats would come in stern first; point the bow out to sea and row backwards.  This has the advantage that the Cox can see what’s coming, instructing rowers to hold water when large waves are passing. It could be an awkward process given our oar set up and what we’re used to.
  • Back into waves– row in normally with the waves behind you but back water into big waves so they pass under the boat rather than carry it.  This requires a fairly skilled crew as they have to switch easily from rowing forwards to backwards and back again.  Also the Stroke may have to advise the Cox as they’re in a better position to see the following waves.
  • Deploy a drogue– a drogue acts like a parachute in the water behind the boat.  It slows the boat so again waves tend to pass under rather than carry it along and being tied to the stern of the boat it also tends to keep it at right-angles to the surf which is trying to push the boat in to shore.  With a drogue deployed the tiller will be very ineffective so you may need to rely on the oars to steer, but the boat will be more stable.  A drogue is the simplest and most effective way to reduce the risk of broaching. You may find that because the boat is going so slowly, larger waves will crash over the stern and into the boat, getting the cox quite wet – assuming he/she is wearing suitable clothing this should not be a safety concern. Also note that the pull on the line between the boat and the drogue is strong so make sure that it is properly tied on and is not caught up around arms, legs, rudder etc when it being deployed.


In terms of actually using a drogue RowPorty have produced a useful information video which can be found here:


People sometimes ask at what point the drogue should be deployed. Firstly, all club coxes should have a go at deploying it in benign conditions so they know what to expect and how to use it (it makes for a good work out for the crew). It’s hard to give quantitative advice about when it is required so our general rule is ‘if in doubt, put it out’. It should also be noted that of course the decision to go out when there are breaking waves is itself highly subjective and the cox or captain should consider general weather conditions and the competency, preparedness and experience of crew. Additional consideration should be given to making sure that there are no unnecessary items loose in the boat and all crew are prepared to get wet and are wearing appropriate PFD.

If you are unlucky enough to get broached then swamped or capsized don’t panic – you are likely to be not very far from shore in relatively shallow water. Our advice would be to first and foremost make sure that all crew are ok and get them to shore, your oars and boat will probably be generally washed in and can be collected once everyone is safe.


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Irvine SMD: Skiffie Manoeuvers in the Dark

Scottish Maritime Museum is involved in an illumination at Irvine’s waterfront.  Discover hundreds of brightly coloured origami boats and butterflies hand-crafted by international artists Aether & Hemera on a free illumination Trail along the River Irvine.

We are hoping that skiffs will be part of the the party.   If you are interested in bringing a skiff along and taking part on Saturday 3 December, please contact Cameron: .  Exact details of what will be happening for skiffs to follow……




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Picnic Class Notice of Race

Closing date for entries for the picnic class races at the Freshwater Sprints is 23 October.  The Freshwaters are on 29 October.  We really hope that we get a number and variety of these one rower boats turning up, so get your entry in early.  Entry is open to all SCRA member clubs.  The skiffs should comply with the picnic class measurement rules.

See the notice of race for details of how to enter and details of the rules.

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Avoch Regatta 2016 Report

Avoch community Rowing club hosted their second Regatta on the 1st of October. A fantastic turn out saw 14 boats attending and competing in 11 race’s over a 1.5km course which included a port turn. 5 of theses race’s were split into two waves consisting of 6/7 boat’s per wave, with the top 3 time’s taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd .  Thank you to the host club for the following report.  Thanks also to Allan Robertson who took the following photographs and shared them with the Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook Group.



Junior race’s competed on the 1.2km course also with a port turn, while the 60+men/women took part in 600m sprint’s. The day began with the cox’s briefing in the boat shed given by Sally MacAdie where the days racing was outlined. With Chief umpire Drew Mann in Mike Anavi’s rib and Alec Mann/ Richard Franklin manning Steve Groat’s rib the racing was ready to start. The women’s 50+ was the first race of the day , which saw Boatie taking 1st followed by Helmsdale 2nd and then Avoch 3rd. After an unfortunate incident at the turn Broughty Ferry found themselves disqualified during the race. It was then the turn of the 50+ men and with everyone this time getting round the turn successfully Helmsdale took 1st , Portsoy 2nd and Avoch 3rd . The women’s 40+ saw only 1 second between 1st and 2nd place with Portsoy just managing to out row Avoch to take 1st place , Avoch 2nd with Broughty ferry 3rd .


The women’s Open race saw both Avoch boats taking part. Broughty Ferry took 1st , Avoch 2nd and Helmsdale 3rd . Avoch’s second boat recorded the 3rd fastest time but with the cup to fight for got moved to 4th and no points were awarded.





The men were up next with Broughty Ferry 1st, Ullapool 2nd and Avoch 3rd Broughty clearly on the charge after their earlier disqualification . The junior race’s saw 4 boats compete in the U19 mixed and 3 in the U17 mixed. Both race’s won by Avoch with Deveron taking 2nd and Boatie 3rd in the U19 and Portsoy 2nd and Deveron 3rd the U17. The mixed Open was won by Broughty Ferry, Avoch 2nd and Helmsdale 3rd . The 60+ sprint’s ran side by side as only 2 women’s team’s had entered. Women’s 60+ Avoch 1 st and Collieston 2nd with Ullapool taking 1st in the men’s followed by Avoch 2nd and Portsoy 3rd.

The day’s racing ran like clockwork with racing finishing ahead of schedule and without a hitch. A huge credit has to go to Drew Mann who organised the event and was chief umpire on the day and all a week before his 18th birthday. Thank you to all the club’s that attended and made this event so special we hope to see you all again soon. Well done to Sutor Skiffies (cromarty) who took part only 6 day’s after their launch. 11 categories, 3 courses, 15 race’s done.

Avoch Community Rowing club commissioned a trophy to be awarded to the club with the highest points tally at the end of racing. The Angus Mcwilliam memorial cup named after one of our founding member’s who sadly passed away in August this year. Angus is deeply missed by the club, his granddaughter Alex presented the trophy to Avoch the winning club. Although we realise it’s perhaps a little impolite to win our own regatta, somehow it just seemed fitting that the trophy has ended up staying in Avoch this year. With the day’s racing finished medal’s and trophy presented, a well earned bowl of chilli was offered with music from the Black isle player’s (the music group Angus played with) filling the shed the refreshment’s started to flow. Chat on the day’s racing combined with dancing carried on into the early hour’s of the morning. Finally a huge thank you to the lovely ladies who kept us fed and watered all day. The race control team , timing team and everyone who gave up their time to help out. Truly amazing effort thank you. Until next year. Even bigger next year Drew !!!!!!!!




Points and times for race’s can be found on Avoch Community Rowing Club website . Pictures from Allan Robertson Photography.



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Measurement Rules Update September 2016

Thank you to all those who have made submissions with regard to the current measurement rules.  You will have seen that we have already adjusted some of the rules of racing, reflecting some of the comments that have come out of the review, in particular with regard to enforcement of the rules.

There are two issues which have been raised by a few people, which concern the interpretation of the rules.   We are looking at redrafting some of the rules, but in the meantime, and from this point forward please can all skiff builders, rowers, and regatta organisers interpret these rules as follows:

Rule 4.3  Rudder area.  The area specified of  850 cm² is intended to refer to one side of the rudder, not both.  That is the measurement is going to be taken of the profile area.  It is intended as a minimum.  Skiffs must have at least that area under the water.

Rule 7.1  Material for oars.  Oars should be made of wood, not metal.  Metal counter weights, although admittedly used by several clubs in the past, should be regarded as not permitted and falling outwith the rule.  It is of note that those clubs that have tried this system have invariably moved on from it in any case.  Counter weighting does not give an advantage, but if clubs never the less wish to persist with the concept, they can use wooden counter weighting methods.  If anyone requires an exemption certificate to allow them to keep rowing, please contact the SCRA or your local skiff association (eg DCRA in NI).

We are going to bring a motion to the SCRA AGM to discuss whether we should work internationally to narrow the rules to make kit used by clubs more standard.  New entrants to the sport are almost certainly bamboozled by the variety of oarlocks and oars.


SCRA Course Course : Friday 28 October 2016

We are always looking at ways to help clubs improve the quality of their regattas.  This year SCRA is going to be running a seminar on mark laying at Loch Tummel on Friday 28 October.  As well as classroom sessions there will even be a chance for a practical session, setting up the marks which are to be used the next day at the Freshwater Sprints.
You may all be familiar with, or know people who are familiar with, laying courses for sailing races. Sailing races tend to have slightly different requirements, and part of the course will be about understanding the particular requirements for rowing races.   Most club sailing events require single marks with fairly casual moorings which can be allowed a lot of swing circle. For rowing races such courses have a lot of potential for collision, and it is usually desirable for marks to have far less movement.   Many of our big events, such as the worlds, the Freshwater sprints and Ullapool Regatta use multi lane races, which bring with them particular challenges for the team laying the marks. These races need start and turn marks in an accurate line at accurate spacings which can be a challenge at times, and there is a lot of detail needed.
The challenge for the practical course will be to lay a turn line with 5 marks to allow a 5 lane there-and-back race course. The plan is to use daylight to lay the turn line and survey the entire course from the shore then have a meal break and reconvene in the clubhouse to run over the theory. Rough timings as follows:
3.00 pm          Start, explain the course, show people the gear, go out in a rib and lay the turn line.
5:00 pm          Take a meal break
6.30 pm         Reconvene and run a classroom session covering:
Different types of course
Start lines
GPS positioning of marks
Course hazards
Feedback/ QandA
8.30 pm          Go to the pub
This is an excellent opportunity for regatta organisers to think about what is required, speak to those who have a lot of practical experience, including experience of what does not work, and perhaps talk through plans for 2017 regattas. The SCRA has very limited assets, but one thing that it does own is a set of turn marks, which were used at the worlds and recent freshwaters.  The marks are manufactured by LOMO, and are big enough to be seen some distance away, but soft enough to fall over when hit at speed by the oars of a skiff.  These marks are available for SCRA member clubs to borrow for their events, and they are good marks, so we hope they can be used.  This course will be very helpful for those wanting to borrow them, to see how best to anchor and weight the marks so that the do not fall over (unless hit by a skiff oars at speed, an impact which they should be able to recover from).
The course is open to anyone from an SCRA member club, with an upper limit of 20 places.  If you are interested in taking part, please e mail Topher Dawson:

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Ali Grant Receives Coaching Award



Congratulations to Ali Grant of RowPorty who has been awarded The Andrew McMenigal Community Coach of the Year 2016 by City of Edinburgh Council in conjunction with ClubSportEdinburgh and SportScotland.

There was no short-list for this particular Award as the panel decided that, out of the candidates put forward, there was one who was ‘outstanding’.  As well as coaching in her home club, Ali co-ordinates coaching on the committee of SCRA and has contributed to the growth of the St Ayles skiff class and the enjoyment of it by others, in so many ways.




The nomination included the following explanation:  “Ali coaches novice members of Rowporty Community Coastal Rowing Club in rowing technique, boat safety and general enjoyment of this all inclusive sport. This includes people of all ages (16 – 70) and levels of experience drawn from the local community. She has also developed and coaches a cox’s training course which she delivers to  members of clubs throughout the wider community of Scottish Coastal Rowing – again covering all aspect of coxing a seagoing boat and aimed at all levels of ability. In her professional capacity as a Senior Youth Worker at  Muirhouse Youth Development Project,  she has initiated and driven forward the building of a St Ayles skiff and coached the crew of young students to a high level of competency.”ali-coaching-room


Her training of coxes across the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association has imparted technical and safety skill to clubs throughout Scotland enabled safe participation not only in social rowing but also competitive rowing in St Ayles skiffs at all levels. Her work with young people has undoubtedly had a positive impact on their lives – building confidence and widening their horizons through her coaching in all aspects of rowing.

The Award was presented by Commonwealth Jodo gold medalist Louise Renicks.  Congratulations to Ali Grant on receipt of a very deserved recognition, and thank you for all you do.

Photos from a coaching course on Lewis, from the An Eathar facebook page.




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Glasgow Smiles Better (even when its raining a wee bit)

Glasgow Coastal Rowing Club,  formed earlier this year, held their first ever regatta on Saturday 24 September, with seven skiffs including visitors from Eskmouthe,  Anstruther, Carrick, Port Seton (Boatie Blest), Greenock (Royal West) and Largs (Firth of Clyde).  Thanks to Ewan Kennedy for the following report:


On behalf of GCRC I would like to thank all visiting clubs for taking part yesterday and affirming that Skiffies can make the best of the most appalling weather. Scottish Coastal Rowing demonstrated once again that our communities do not need to be told from on high how to have fun, keep fit and be safe. The forecast on the day offered strong winds peaking at around 1000, backing WSW and moderating as the day went on, with occasional gusts. In the event they peaked at 0900, when the wind was a steady 22mph and a gust of 47mph was recorded. During racing winds over Glasgow were Southerly 11 ­-15 mph, with frequent gusts 31-­ 33mph. At river level however speeds were very much less with the wide stretch at the upper end of the course most affected and the starting area very sheltered. The sheltered location plus the current lack of traffic on the river, with PS Waverley and occasionally MV Balmoral the only large users, make the upper reach from Glenlee ideal. The stern deckhouse gave Eva Bolander and me a nice dry place to keep our notes and the tooter dry, while providing visiting tots and their Mums with items of interest.


We had intended to restrict entries to six clubs, but couldn’t refuse when Anstruther applied. What a mistake ­ see the annexed results! The start line at the Glenlee was quite short, so we started skiffs in groups and recorded times.This worked well, thanks to expert coxing all round, for which our most grateful thanks.


The course up and down river should probably be changed in future, once GCRC has resources to acquire our own Tomatoes. I think spectators would benefit from a big wide track up to the North Pumphouse (site of the new distillery!), across river and down again. Yesterday of course the rain kept them away anyway. Finally, huge thanks to Ben Duffin and all at Galgael, Anchor and Sail Trust, staff at Glenlee and most of all to Emma McIntyre for doing the organising for us, no easy task in a city event.


Full  results can be found here.  Well done to all those who took part.  Prize for dealing with adversity goes to Eskmouthe for completing their race after fishing their delaminated rudder out of the Clyde.  Photos are from Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook Group and from the Glasgow Coastal Rowing Club Facebook Page.

Glasgow Coastal Rowing Club is a growing club, with a warm and welcoming members.     For all the information about Urban Coastal Rowing and how to join in, see their website.

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NEW! SCRA Rules of Racing 2017 Edition

The committee of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association has approved the 2017 Edition of the SCRA Rules of Racing .

Clubs who have already issued their Notice of Race for any upcoming regattas should continue to use the 2013 Rules. The Freshwater Sprints will be run using the 2017 rules and the Notice of Race for that event has been updated to reflect that.  Clubs should start to use the 2017 Rules for their own events from the end of October 2016 onwards.

The 2017 rules make certain additions and revisions to the previous iteration including:

5.4.7:  Revised explanation of First (“A”) crews and Second (“B”) crews.
5.5  With regard to Gender the rules codify  a decision that was made in advance of the 2013 worlds that rowers will race in the gender in which they live in their community.
10.9:  Introduction of a fixed time penalty  for transgression of measurement rules in certain circumstances, rather than straight disqualification, provided safety is not compromised.
12.  Support vessels.  Support craft should carry at least the same safety equipment as skiffs and should be in contact through VHF radio.
There are minor amendments to the start procedure, and clarification that a PFD can be either a lifejacket or a buoyancy aid.
Please do have a read through the new rules.  The review of the St Ayles Skiff Measurement Rules is ongoing.  An update post with regard to that will be published shortly, and a further update will be provided at the AGM.



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