Archive for September, 2011
NOTIFICATION OF AGM OF THE SCOTTISH COASTAL ROWING ASSOCIATION, 30 OCTOBER 2011
To be held in the Clubhouse of the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club, the Esplanade, Greenock at 14.00 hrs
1 Notice is hereby given that the AGM of the SCRA will be held at 14:00 hrs on Sunday 30 October.
2 The DRAFT Agenda is attached is below.
3 The DRAFT minutes of the General Meeting held in Portsoy on 3 July will be posted in the documents tab shortly.
4 Election of Office Bearers and Committee Members
In accordance with article 6 of the Constitution, all Committee Members will retire, but are eligible for re-election, with the exception of the Secretary, Ian Clark, who wishes to step down as Secretary, but offers himself for election as a Committee Member.
Nominations would be very welcome for the post as Secretary , and any other posts and must be notified to me, Ian Clark, by noon on Sunday 2 October 2011. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
5 Alterations of Constitution, Rules and Bye-Laws
In accordance with article 12 of the Constitution any proposals for an alteration or addition to the Constitution must be notified to me by noon 2 October 2011. Any other business to be notified t me by 9 October 2011.
29 September 2011
AGM SCOTTISH COASTAL ROWING ASSOCIATION
RWSABC Clubhouse, the Esplanade, Greenock
1 Welcome and Opening Robbie Wightman, Convenor
2 Minutes of AGM Portsoy 3 July
3 Actions from AGM Portsoy AGM
4 Reports from Committee
5a)Proposal for Membership Fee to remain at £60 per organisation
5b)Proposal to introduce a category of Associate Membership for individuals who wish to support the aims of the association. No voting rights to attach to this class of member.
6 Proposals for changes to Rules
7 Future Strategy for SCRA
8 Affiliation to external bodies
9 Election of new Committee
10 Date of next AGM
There has been an exciting new development on the Firth of Clyde. An enthusiastic public meeting in Troon on Thursday 22 September 2011 resolved to form a new club, to be called the Troon Coastal Rowing Club.
Thanks to the efforts of a group of volunteers led by David Sutherland, and supported by Vincent McWhirter from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, the town already has a skiff, recently completed. The new skiff will be launched at 1 O’clock on Sunday 2 October at Troon Marina.
The Club is already planning for a second boat. They hope to get funds from a Royal Bank of Scotland scheme, called Community Force, and ask for your help to convince RBS that they deserve their support. Log onto http://communityforce.rbs.co.uk/project/503, then register and cast your vote in their favour. (Any problems speak to Harry Risk 07818293523.) [since posting this it has come to my attention that at least three other groups, Cockenzie/Port Seton, Eyemouth and RowPorty are also looking for votes... and no doubt others can post their interest in comments below. You get three votes, so give the skiffs as much support as you can!!]
For more information about Troon Coastal Rowing Club see http://trooncoastalrowing.org.uk/ or contact Vincent McWhirter, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, School Development Worker on 01292 319357, or at the Community Learning & Development Office, Troon Library.
The Scottish Coastal Rowing community looks forward to welcoming the community of Troon to many events next year.
Photograph credits to Queensferry. Plenty more on their facebook page , or on Flickr, and there is also some video of the fleet setting off: http://www.vimeo.com/29655644 credit to St Abbs.
Queensferry facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/QRC2011/
SCR facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/100122213363179/
SCR on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/groups/scottishrowing/
Skiffies from south of the Forth enjoyed a sociable day’s rowing on the River Tweed on Sunday 25 September 2011. Twelve skiffs joined the party, including two that were newly launched: “Grace” from Gosforth, and an as yet unnamed second skiff from Dunbar. Every club south of the Forth had at least one skiff at the event.
One of our correspondents from the North West reports on the Coigach Lass and her crew taking part in the Great River Race:
After a breakfast of complex carbohydrates it was onto the bus and off to the Milwall slipway. It was an incredible sight to see all the classes of boat arriving and such is the tight organisation of the River Race Committee all 310 boats launched with relative ease through the smelly sludge and onto the Thames. The commentator at the slipway (who we felt could have done with a few lessons from David Green) asked if anyone present would consider being the required passenger on a Dutch boat. Forward stepped Sam resplendent in the kilt to whoops of delight from the Dutch ladies and we were suddenly a cheerleader down.
The race operates on a handicap system and the ‘Lass’ was given a start position of 106 which the crew felt was very lucky given that this is the number of Steve Husband’s croft in Achiltibuie. The first and second tranche of boats went off to the sound of canon fire and with jangling nerves it was the turn of the ‘Lass’ crew to jockey for position at the start line At 14:09 she was off! Tony did a magnificent job of coxing the ‘Lass’ through the 150 boats that were charging up the Thames and in no time she was powering along in relatively clear water after passing most of the early starters. Running the race upstream meant that the crew had the benefit of the prevailing flood tide – but the Thames was jabbly and the lashing rain soon soaked us through. Tower Bridge was negotiated and the cheers of ‘Lass’ supporters at Westminster Bridge got the glycogen converted back to glucose. As the crew passed the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben struck 3pm. A quick check at the soggy race instructions indicated that the Coigach Crew were seven miles into the race with 14 still to go -but the mood on the boat was determined.
Onwards the ‘Coigach Lass’ charged under Lambeth, Battersea, Wandsworth, Putney, Hammersmith, Chiswick, Kew and Richmond bridges. At varying points along the course cheers of encouragement could be heard from ‘Lass’ supporters who were tracking her progress closely. Occasionally, between sips of tea and mouthfuls of cake, Julia and Pip could also be heard shouting encouragement from their Thames ferry. With only two miles to go the faster dragon boats started to catch the ‘Lass’ up but such was the determination of the crew (and their fear of disappointing Mark, given he had the beer tokens) that the Lass powered past the finish line in a time of 2 hours and 55 minutes and finished a spectacular 44th.
Special thanks must go to our old china plates Tony, Pip and Mark for their attention to detail in organising the boat, accommodation and transport. On the flight home the crew decided that the weekend was up there in a lifetime top 10. The ‘Lass’ is safely tucked up in Rutland and she returns to the ‘Buie in a fortnight- if she doesn’t meet a dodgy geezer in the meantime.
Alison Hitchings – ‘Coigach Lass’ crew, Achiltibuie.
Unnabridged version and more pictures: http://buieboat.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/our-lass-on-the-thames/
I have been receiving booking for dates next year and would remind clubs to have something to me by about 18th October so that we can discuss and agree the final calendar at the AGM on 30th October. The dates reserved so far are as follows:
5th/6th May Cockenzie & Port Seton
19th May St Ayles RC, Anstruther
17th June Queensferry RC
23rd/24th June Portsoy
14th July Newburgh
21st July Dalriada Festival, Antrim
11th/12th August Loch Broom
18th/19th August Sail & Oar Festival, Millport
1st/2nd Sept North Berwick RC
15th Sept Great River Race, London
When looking at dates please avoid creating blocks of more than two regattas in succession, if possible.
Crews from North Berwick and Coigach travelled to London for the Great River Race. They and their St Ayles skiffs did Scotland proud. St Baldred, Skiff John B and Coigach Lass raced against international competition on the Thames.
330 boats set off from Docklands to race the 21 miles upriver to Ham. Boats were big, small, all shapes and sizes, but all were “traditional” and powered by oars or paddles, with fixed seats. Racers had to row against a F5 wind, cope with choppy waters and two full on thunderstorms.
In these testing conditions North Berwick’s men in Skiff John B put in a sterling performance, finishing in 2 hours, 53 minutes and 55 seconds. This was 39th overall on handicap, and 21st in the 4-oared class. The mixed crew from Coigach were close behind in 2 hours 55 minutes 30 seconds (44th overall). North Berwick’s mixed crew in St Baldred came in at 3 hours and 7 minutes.
We await reports on blisters, and whether the crews are yet able to sit down again. Well done all.
Provisional results can be found here: http://www.greatriverrace.co.uk/text_files/GRR%202011%20Provisional%20Results.htm
Now before I start this article, a wee disclaimer. The St Ayles skiff is a rowing boat. SCRA is about rowing boats. The organisations does not recommend, condone or encourage the use of St Ayles skiffs for sailing. And now we can begin……
In the build up to the East Lothian Yacht Club Traditional Boat Muster, 5th Edition, 2011, I was chatting to Norman Thompson, the lead foreman on the community build of St Baldred and Skiff John B. , North Berwick’s St Ayles skiffs. The muster clashed with the date of Ullapool Regatta, where Skiff John B had gone in search of glory. St Baldred therefore did not have another skiff to race with at the muster. My two boats, Paragon and Tula were both allocated to other skippers. Norman’s Ness Yole was tucked away at the back of his garage. It all stacked up to be the right time to experiment with putting a sail on St Baldred!
We decided to use the mainsail and mast from Norman’s Ness Yole. This is normally a balanced lug, but in the spirit of adventure we decided to rig St Baldred as a dipping lug. All spars fit easily inside the boat, and without stays on the mast it should be a relatively simple rig to fit, if not to sail. Norman made a few measurements the weekend before, and manufactured a mast step. Firstly he had a rack which was braced between the thwarts for bowman and number two, so that the mast would slot in at thwart height. Next he fabricated a small metal fitting which takes the foot of the mast. This is screwed into the hog and when not in use the metal fitting is hidden beneath the bow man’s floor boards. Those boards are removed for sailing.
We felt we needed a crew of three to handle the rig. Luckily we intercepted Medium John when he was out walking his dog on the Thursday before the muster, and press ganged him into a sail in the gloaming. We went out as the dinghy racing fleet came in. We felt a bit naughty! We rowed to the fairway bouy, where we tied up to raise sail. The mast is unstayed. We had two lines from the tack to the front of the bow thwart. The leeward one is pulled taught, the windward one, runs round the back of the mast ready to tack. For tacking we had a small line attached to the forward end of the yard which was pulled to bring the yard round from one side of the mast to the other to tack. Rather than lowering the sail when going about, we simply swung it from one side to the other.
We have quite a small rudder on St Baldred. If the boat was to be sailed seriously I would want a bigger and deeper rudder. As it was we kept weight towards the back of the boat to help the rudder maintain the grip that it had.
We took a sail out towards the Craig, and then horsed back in, cackling with laughter. She sailed like a witch. Well like a rowing boat, with witch like qualities, and a reluctance to go about. Back to the shore, with one or two minor alterations to make before the muster.
The breeze on muster day was a good force four, so we kept a reef in as precaution. We also brought in Johnny as a fourth crew member. Although the plan was to have one crew member on each tack line and one to pull the yard round when we tacked, in reality one crew member did all the work at the mast, one did all the helming and the other two stood by the oars to pull her through the wind, and to provide movable ballast. She would not tack without the help of oars (perhaps not surprising given her long straight keel with no rocker…… she is designed to go in straight lines).
It was a cracking breeze, and we got over 5 knots on the GPS. We were trying not to press her too hard. We had safety cover on hand, but had no wish to require it. She feels so much more tender under sail than she does under oar. Rowing you have a tight rope walkers advantange of 12′ arms to help you balance. Handling was fun, but certainly required some caution.
We were overhauled by an Albacore dinghy, but otherwise were amongst the swiftest of the fleet (with the wind abaft the beam). We were able to reach fairly effectively, but did not make much to windward when close hauled. We did make a bit, and were more than holding station when tacking back and forth, but without a daggerboard or lee boards any serious windward work would be best done under oar power.
These boats are designed and built as rowing boats, and that is what they should principally be used for. Rowing is a much simpler concept for beginners to grasp, and there is an equality of effort and result from the whole crew which cannot be replicated in a sailing craft. I do not believe that SCRA would have taken off in the way it has, if it was a movement for sailors – who tend to be slightly less community orientated sportsmen. The nature of the sport of rowing has helped to bring in community members who are new to the sea, and would not have been as likely to jump aboard, had it been sailing boats that were in use. Sailing a St Ayles is not a job for novice sailors. Those with more time and a bit of resource will improve on our slightly Heath Robinson rigging, and maybe make the sailing performance a bit less entertaining.
For a bit of fun, and perhaps as an auxilliary power when cruising a St Ayles, I suspect that some others may experiment with sails from time to time. But don’t keep the boat away from rowers for long!
Robbie Wightman, North Berwick Rowing Club
(Thanks to Derek Braid for Muster Photos.)
Eight hours after “Grace” became the first St Ayles skiff to be launched off English shores, “Rosie” became the first St Ayles launched onto the waters of the Pacific Ocean at Portland Oregon.
A group of ten ladies under the guidance of Peter Crim of the Wind and Oar Boat School have built her over the the past 3½ months. There is an intention to build another two over the the winter so that racing can commence in the spring of next year.
More pictures and video of the launch are on the Doryman of blog Michael Bogoger, who was present at the launch – lucky man.
The ladies have made a beautiful job of her, and we will look forward to them being able to come to Scotland to race here.
Thanks to Doryman for the pictures.
Gosforth launched St Ayles skiff number 23 shortly after 10am Saturday 10 September 2011. The launch took place from the beach in the tidal harbour at Cullercoats. The builders were joined by their supporters and locals who were attracted by the colourful scene.
After the traditional naming ceremony and blessing, “Grace” was toasted with Lindisfarne mead and the first crew set off into the North Sea with the Northumbrian flag flying proudly from the bow. The sea conditions were relatively benign prior to the remnants of a hurricane due to arrive tomorrow.
Grace made several trips throughout the morning as crews changed to give everyone at least one experience of coastal rowing. As we had seen at Anstruther and North Berwick the skiff rode the swell well giving confidence to the inexperienced. Two new locals were enthused enough to row and another three are keen.
Weather permitting we will refine our footrests and the lashing to the kabes over the next two weeks as we quickly get in some practice. We will then take Grace to proudly join the other St Ayles skiffs rowing the Tweed on 25 September 2011 to say thank you for their support and encouragement.
Gosforth Coastal Rowing