As you may know, we will be running the 2013 St Ayles Skiff World Championships in Ullapool from Monday 8th July to Saturday 13th July 2013.
As this will be the first event of its kind for the St Ayles Skiffs we are very keen to hear your input at this stage in the planning.
In addition to Scottish and English boats, overseas crews from both coasts of the USA, Tasmania, and the Netherlands have been invited. In Britain, there are 37 boats afloat at 27 locations and another 21 being built including 12 new locations. We are expecting at least 30 boats and it is possible that there could be up to 50! It is the most ambitious St Ayles Skiff event so far planned and we are very excited about it.
The main plan is to have rowing on 6 days. The week will start with events not common to most regattas (e.g. boat orienteering, cruises in company and a long distance race – we are open for ideas). As the week develops, more conventional regatta races will be introduced with a structured racing plan on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We would like as many as possible to be around all week but we see it as our challenge to ensure that everyone can feel an active participant in the World Championships even if they can only manage to come for part of the week; we hope to achieve this by concentrating the serious racing into the last three days.
For the main races there are options for race lengths between 1 and 3 km, all of which will involve at least one turning mark. Our current favourite is 2km which makes best use of the ‘starting beach’ and the natural width of Loch Broom. It also allows exciting close views of the racing by spectators.
To make safe turning points is a difficult task and we believe that the best way at Ullapool is to have individual starting buoys and turning marks for each crew. This may limit each race to up to 12 boats so we expect some or most classes to have heats and finals, on different days to allow recovery.
It will be possible to have many ‘age classes’ at the worlds for Men’s, Women’s and Mixed Crews. There will definitely be an ‘Open’ class and a youth class (under 17), plus three or possibly four age thresholds (35+, 45+, 55+ or 30+, 40+, 50+ 60+).
In order to cater for the number of clubs who have already said they want to come, we are limiting clubs to one boat each, but with multiple race categories there will be opportunities for many rowers to get a race. For those who are not racing we would welcome assistance with umpiring, driving rescue boats, first aid and beach control. There will also be vacancies in the ST AYLES SKIFF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP PIPE BAND for all pipers and drummers.
In addition to a week of rowing we are planning social (non water based) events in the evenings – there will be a marquee and music! Ullapool has a wide range of accommodation and options for catering. We also have permission to establish a ‘rower’s campsite’ on the primary school playing field next to the sports hall and swimming pool which is in addition to the main commercial campsite in Ullapool.
To take us to the next stage in planning we now need to have some feedback from every group with boats. It would really help us if you can respond this post by e mailing firstname.lastname@example.org and answering the following questions to give us an approximate idea of your intentions. At this stage, we are looking for your current thoughts so clearly we will not take any response as a binding commitment!
1) Are you planning to come for the whole week? Indicate if “Certainly yes”, “highly probably”, “possibly” or “sadly not”.
2) Are you planning to come for part of the week?
3) What would be the best age classes to suit your club and which races would you want to enter?
4) Even if you have indicated already, are you able to host an international crew by loaning or sharing a boat?
5) Approximately how many people do you think you might bring?
6) We have a good idea as to the structure for the 6 days on the water, to take account of the weather and the local geography. However it is not too late to learn from any ideas and experiences you have. We are particularly keen to hear about ideas for ‘fun events’ at the start of the week and also to learn from those who have run regattas with 10 or more boats.
7) If you are planning to come have you given any thought to accommodation? We cannot arrange this for you other than offer outside a pitch for a tent on the rower’s campsite! Some indication as to where you are in arranging this would help. 5 clubs have already demonstrated their commitment and forethought by booking accommodation. For overseas clubs the Ceilidh Place Bunkhouse is available.
We know this event is going to be really special – although it is a small community, Ullapool is accustomed to hosting big events – mostly because everyone ends up being involved in some way or other.
Finally we know responding is a bit of a chore but we are now at the stage in organising where we really need this feedback. We would be very grateful if you could respond by the 25th of September – and if we haven’t heard by then – we apologise in advance by following this up by phone!
Keep practicing through the autumn and winter – we will!
Topher Dawson, on behalf of the organising committee.