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.

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.

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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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Whisky Chasers at the Exciseman’s and the Nith Navigation

Seven skiffs descended on the beautiful Ayrshire coast on Saturday to take part in Carrick’s annual regatta at Maidens. The Exciseman’s Chase saw a runner for each club sprinting to their skiff with a token before teams set off out of the harbour on the 8km course. Crews were changed swiftly by Culzean Castle (assisted by the presence of jellyfish), where a second runner collected a miniature whisky bottle to be later swapped for the real deal.


Conditions were perfect throughout the day and after some tactically-timed burgers and cake, the the skiffs took back to the still water for some sprints in the afternoon. The first sprint saw the FOCCRs of Firth of Clyde – including two young Carrick rowers – take the Junior Challenge Trophy after coming first across the line on the 500m course against Cumbrae and a crew of Sea Cadets. The second was won by a scratch crew from the local Round Table who rowed against crews from Troon, Prestwick and home-team Carrick. The winners of each race then made their way straight back to the start line for a one-on-one race, in which the Round Table team again took first place.

The racing was rounded off with all teams – Carrick, Troon, Prestwick, Firth of Clyde, Anstruther, Cumbrae  and Irish friends Sketrick – mixing up crews and hitting the water for a final mixed race. Carrick Maid was first across the line, followed closely by the Sketrick skiff with Anstruther taking third and Firth of Clyde fourth.

Teams were presented their novelty medals and well-earned Whisky as well as their own little trophies to take home. Defending champions Anstruther took the winner’s trophy for a second year, having finished the Chase in first place with a time of 56:30. Congratulations Anster!

Full results of the Exciseman’s chase were as follows:

1 – Anstruther – 56.30

2 – Sketrick – 58.03

3 – Firth of Clyde – 1:02.16

4 – Carrick – 1:05.42

5 – Cumbrae – 1:06.28

6 – Troon – 1:06.45

7 – Prestwick – 1:13.16

In the evening, Carrick, Firth of Clyde and Sketrick headed south to Dumfries, where crews were lucky enough to spend the night on board the Tall Ship ‘La Malouine’. They were met on Sunday morning by crews from Royal West of Greenock and local club Annan for the Nith Navication race, starting at Glencaple.

After waiting for the tide to rise on the River Nith (which conveniently allowed time for recovery from Saturday nights’s celebrations), skiffs were launched from the river’s banks. The five teams set off at lunch time on the 6-mile Nith Navigation, which tested the coxswains’ ability to read the water and select the fastest course, which wasn’t necessarily the shortest. With staggered starts, Annan set off first, followed by Carrick, Firth of Clyde and Sketrick, with Royal West rowing hard from the back to defend their title.

Carrick were first to catch the boat in front, Annan, who were rowing with three novice skiffies and a visitor from Royal West. The two boats remained neck and neck for most of the race, but were caught up at the same time by the Firth of Clyde and Sketrick rowers.

Having overtaken the three skiffs in front, Sketrick were first across the line in the centre of Dumfries, followed by the FOCCRs. Annan and Carrick continued to battle their way to the finish, but Carrick managed to edge ahead. Royal West held on to the end and came in with a time equal to Firth of Clyde, with the two neighbouring west-coast clubs placing joint second. It was a unique and exciting spectacle for all the skiffs sprint across the line within 5 minutes of each other, as onlookers watched from the river’s banks and bridges above.

After a leisurely row back downriver and in true Nith tradition, prize-giving took place at the nearby local pub. New winner’s Sketrick from across the water were awarded a silver Quaich and each crew were given a bottle of Whisky – for some, their second of the weekend.

Huge thanks all of the organisers and clubs that took part in the two events, which are hoped to be even bigger and better next year with more skiffs attending from further afield. Another fantastic weekend of Whisky smuggling in the South West.


Nith Navigation Race

1 – Sketrick – 46.30

2= – Firth of Clyde – 49.30

2= – Royal West – 49.30

3 – Carrick – 53.30

4 – Annan – 56.00

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Seabhag…… Arran’s Second Skiff


On a glorious, sunny, September Saturday skiff “Seabhag” splashed safely into the bay at Lamlash on the Isle of Arran.  This is the Island’s second skiff, joining Iolair.  Seabhag was built at the Island’s High School, by a team indcluding members of the Arran Coastal Rowing Club and the Arran Junior Sailing Club.  Being a junior sailing club boat Irn-Bru was the national drink of choice used for the naming, liberally dowsed by Rory Cowan, one of the lead builders. She looks truly magnificent in her varnished state.  Well done to all her builders, and good luck to all her rowers and coxes.






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Avoch’s Second Regatta on 1 October

Avoch Coastal Rowing Club are holding one of the biggest domestic regattas of the year on 1 October.  Possibly fourteen skiffs out on the water, with brand new clubs from Cromarty and Golspie hoping to be present.  Longer established club will be there too:
Wick Coastal Rowing Club Bunillidh Rowing Club,Ullapool Coastal Rowing Club, Fortrose,Burghead Coastal Rowing Club, Portsoy Coastal Rowing Club, Deveron, Findhorn Coastal Rowing Club, Collieston Offshore Rowing Club, Broughty Ferry, and  Boatie Blest.


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Sun Shines on Queensferry

Many thanks to the Queensferry Rowing Club for the following report on their excellent regatta:


Click here for full results of all the racing!

On Saturday last, North and South Queensferry welcomed ten Clubs to their Regatta at the Port Edgar Marina in Queensferry to race under the shadows of the three bridges. The crews came from along the Firth of Forth, the Firth of Tay and all the way up to Loch Broom.  After the torrential rain on the Friday, Saturday dawned bright but chilly with little wind, this made for perfect racing conditions.

Crews started arriving from 0730 the racing got underway at 1000.  The course was rectangular heading East from the Forth Road Bridge. It went down to a finger buoy which is North of Queensferry Harbour where a ninety degree turn was executed. It then headed to a second finger buoy near the Harbour wall and then back up to under the Forth Road Bridge.  First up was the Women’s 60+ with only five participants and it was very keenly contested. North Berwick took the honours in this race finishing ahead of Anstruther by eight seconds with Queensferry taking third place a further nine seconds behind.


The second race was the Men’s 50+ and this time we had two waves as we had seven boats.  We had a wave of four boats followed by the remaining three.  In the first wave North Berwick must have thought they had done enough to win as they powered home in 9:12 a full 43 seconds ahead of Row Porty.  However the second wave provided the winners with Anstruther laying down a marker for the day setting a blistering time of 8:48 and taking Gold ahead of North Berwick. Loch Broom made their trip worthwhile coming in third just one second behind North Berwick.

Special mention must go to Kinghorn who were competing in their first Regatta and in their first race they came home with a time of 10:29

The third race was the Women’s 50+ again with seven boats. There appeared to be a pattern emerging here with North Berwick and Anstruther beginning to dominate.  The first wave saw North Berwick and Anstruther go head to headand it proved to be a close race around the buoys with North Berwick pulling ahead on the way home and winning by twelve seconds in a time of 9:42.  In the second wave, Crail blew the other two boats away finishing in a time of 9:49. This gave them second overall, six seconds ahead of Anstruther.

The Famous Queensferry Grandstand

The Famous Queensferry Grandstand

The last race before lunch was the Mixed Open with eleven boats. The contest in the first heat was for the minor placings St Andrews were well ahead.  They finished with a time of 9:35 which was 30 seconds ahead of Anstruther.  The second wave was again a race for the minor placings as Broughty Ferry were well ahead. They came home in a time of 9:04, 24 seconds ahead of Newburgh and 40 seconds ahead of North Berwick.  Broughty took Gold, Newburgh Silver and St Andrews Bronze.

After lunch the sun finally felt warm and the racing certainly hotted up too. The first race was the Women’s Open with Anstruther have always the team to beat in this category but Broughty Ferry and Crail are always knocking on the door. The first wave saw three of the big hitters along with Queensferry and Newburgh. It was a close race with Broughty Ferry sneaking ahead and in the final stretch they had an eleven second margin of victory over Crail. North Berwick were a further six seconds behind. The second wave had four boats on it with Anstruther leaving the other three boats behind. They finished with a time of 9:45 a huge 40 seconds ahead of St Andrews. That time wasn’t enough for Anstruther to take the victory as Broughty Ferry finished just seven seconds ahead. Crail took third place.

The Men’s Open had a strong field with the likes of North Berwick, Anstruther and Broughty Ferry all vying to continue their good form this season. The first wave saw six crews take to water and from the start it was clear that Queensferry and Anstruther were going to be close all the way round. From buoy to buoy there was nothing between them. As they headed for the finish both teams were giving it their all with Anstruther getting across the line in a time of 9:05 with Queensferry coming in with a time of 9:11.  The second wave saw North Berwick dominate after they managed to maintain the inside line to the first buoy turn.  After turning tightly they left St Andrews and Broughty Ferry in their wake. They finished in a time of 8:47 setting a new record for the day. They were sixteen seconds ahead of St Andrews. That time gave North Berwick the Gold with St Andrews taking Silver and Anstruther the Bronze.


The penultimate race saw ten crews try to drop their Novice status and was the hardest race to call. Once the first wave set off it was obvious who was going to win this as they left the other four boats trailing as they came home in a time of 9:38. The closest boat to them was North Queensferry who finished in 10:04.



The second wave was much closer with close racing between St Andrews, Row Porty, Queensferry and Newburgh. These four boats headed for the first buoy and there was a lot of jockeying for position with three boats coming close together. St Andrews had taken the buoy first and were forging ahead. By the second buoy things were still tight as Portobello, Queensferry and Newburgh all rounded it roughly at the same time and then it was a dash for home with Portobello and Queensferry fighting it out for second place. Newburgh were falling slightly behind after the final turn. With St Andrews well ahead and finishing in 10:05, Portobello and Queensferry were impossible to separate but as they came to the line Portobello took second by the margin of just two seconds. North Berwick took Gold with North Queensferry taking Silver and St Andrews taking the Bronze.


The final race of the day was a special race for Queensferry Rowing Club and the wider Skiff Community. This was Andy’s Race in memory of Andy Jarvis a stalwart of Queensferry Rowing Club and a friend to all who had the pleasure of meeting him. Andy offered his services to any crew that would have him so it was felt a fitting tribute that a pick and mix race with rowers from the different clubs Rowing in boats other than their own. The perfect way to remember Andy. With the competitive nature of the previous races this was a fun race but the competitive nature of rowers meant this was going to be competitive as well. The first wave saw Anstruther and Crail boats  well ahead of the field. Anstruther came in first in a time of 9:32 which was 21 seconds ahead of Crail.


The second wave saw a great tussle between Queensferry and Broughty Ferry. Broughty took the first buoy slightly ahead of Queensferry and by the time they reached the second buoy they were neck and neck. From then on it was a race for the line with Queensferry doing better and pulling slightly ahead and by the time they got to the line they were six seconds in front. The first place went to the Anstruther boat with Crail second and Queensferry third.


This brought down the curtain on a wonderful day which was finished off with the prize giving followed for some with curry and a drink courtesy of the organisers of the Keel Boat Regatta that was taking place on the same day. The day was a success due to the culmination of a lot of hard work from various people be they the starters, safety boat crews, time keepers, the pontoon organisers, the army of caterers and all those that helped throughout the day and if course the organising committee.

Full results of every race available here.


Queensferry Out in Force

Queensferry Out in Force

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The Islay Regatta of 2016



Islay welcomed Boatie Blest and rowers from Pittenweem and Glasgow Rowing Club (the Clyde-based sliding-seat club, some of whose members are also Islay coastal rowers, rather than the Glasgow Coastal Rowing club) to join them for a day of racing in Port Ellen, Islay. Strong winds and heavy rain affected ferry timetables over the weekend, creating a real danger of not being able to return home which meant that Mull had to take the hard but understandable decision not to attend.

In the event the day was fine and sunny, though fresh winds whipped up a bit of a sea resulting in a decision to slightly shorten the triangular course to around 1500m. A hard row into the wind for the first leg was rewarded by a swift run with it in the second, with the final leg across some tricky waves demanding concentration to avoid crabbing.

Men’s, women’s and mixed open races were run, and run twice to allow everyone to get a chance of a good run-out.





Results were as follows:

Men’s Open Race 1 – Boatie Blest

Women’s Open Race 1 – Boatie Blest

Mixed Open Race 1 – Boatie Blest

Men’s Open Race 2 – Islay (recording the fastest time of the day)

Women’s Open Race 2 – Boatie Blest

Mixed Open Race 2 – Boatie Blest

Finally, two fun races were run where names from all clubs were drawn from a hat to be formed into mixed crews for all four boats.




Boatie Blest took home to Cockenzie and Port Seton a handsome plaque as the overall winners.

Thanks to Jon for the report.  Photos:  Jon Gerrard/ Lucy Hyde

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