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Fife Club Gathering at Lochore Meadows

Report by Rhona McLaren (St Ayles RC).

On a typical day in Fife, sun shining and blue skies, over forty rowers fae six Fife clubs, St Ayles RC (Anster), Kinghorn, Pittenweem, Crail, St Andrews, North Queensferry met at the Meedies (Lochore Meadows Countryside Park) for a wee row. The Social Gathering, held on the 25th of March, was arranged by St Ayles RC in response to a desire to have a fun, relaxing rowing get together before the regatta season got underway.

Loch Ore is a freshwater Loch located in inland Fife, just 14 miles north of the Forth Road Bridge. The area has been inhabited for at least 4000 years, and in more recent times (1873-1966) it was a very active coal mining area with seven pits nearby. Remnants of the coal industry are clear to see on the landscape and the Loch itself is largely the result of land subsidence – the original Loch having been drained in the 1790s by the landowner in an unsuccessful attempt to make the Loch-then-bog profitable!

Today The Meedies is a much loved parkland with trails, watersports, playpark, and café on site. The park is run by Fife Coast and Countryside Trust, who kindly allowed us to use their slipways, facilities, and buoys, for a nominal fee.

The Social Gathering program was a assortment of mixed crew rowing trying out different skiffs, exploring the Loch and it’s islands; coxes testing themselves and their crew on a slalom course line set-up with buoys just off the beach; and chatting away with each other on the beach. Andrew Rendle (SCRA and St Andrews RC Secretary), did a fine job helping skiffs on and off the sandy beach, and everyone got a few rows learning from each other.

After a very lazy lunchtime picnic a pursuit (chase) race was set up, again mixing up rowers into different skiffs. Each skiff set off 20 seconds apart and had to row round one of the islands, through the slalom buoys, and land back on the beach – easy – except there was a twist..

To make things a bit trickier and amusing, the race started with one member of the crew up on the grass with the Race Starter and all-round good egg, Colin. The runner had to dash to their skiff with a creme egg, before the skiff could race away. Upon return, a crew member then ran back up to Colin with the egg, had to unwrap it, eat and swallow it, before the timer stopped! It was a close race, with winners in skiff Coull D eggding it by a second!

The chase – Results:

Place Skiff Time (min:sec)
1 Coull D 11:18
2 Ferry Sonnet 11:19
3 Fisherlass 11:22
4 St Ayles 11:55
5 Yolande 13:37
6 Chris o’Kanaird 14:19

Caption: The Chase Winners: (L to R) Jen (St Andrews), Louise (Queensferry), Pam (Pittenweem), Shona – cox (St Ayles RC), Rhona (St Ayles RC)

After the Chase, everyone pitched in to row the skiffs back to the slipways and help pack them up, before departing beautiful Lochore Meadows. The day was hugely enjoyable and a great start to the 2017 rowing season. On behalf of St Ayles RC, we look forward to meeting with oor fellow Fifers and other clubs on the regatta circuit.


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Please Help with Academic Study of Coastal Rowing

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Safety Thoughts

The clocks go forward this weekend, and we can expect evening rowing to start soon. As Clubs are gearing up and getting ready for the regatta season and hopefully more pleasant rowing conditions – a reminder to all that we would benefit from reviewing our own club procedures that are in place. Club officers should consider whether everything is the same as last year in terms of personnel, experience, boats, conditions and environment. Do we still have experienced coxes and crews for our local conditions? Are they the same? Did we get anything wrong last year? It is a good time to review the clubs risk assessments, and make sure that all rowers and coxes are aware of club policies and follow them. Do your rules for use of club boats need to be revised in the light of experience, or as a result of any changes that you have identified, or risks apparent from your risk assessment? If it is felt that any changes should be made, make sure that the club membership all know of the changes. Communication is as important as consideration.

Good practice also requires that we check equipment regularly. Make sure that lifejackets are checked, and serviced or replaced as necessary. However don’t stop there. Make sure your boat and oars are assessed too, and take a sniff at your safety bag. Your equipment is only any good if it is going to work when you need it to.

Lets get out there and enjoy a season of rowing, confident that we take appropriate steps within our clubs to minimise the risks whilst still allowing us to enjoy the best sport on the water.

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New skiff “Cromba” at Cromarty Harbour on 18th March 2017

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“Monaco of Scottish Coastal Rowing”

Club Entry Form – 2017The regatta season is about to begin, the “Monaco of Scottish Coastal Rowing” is back again this year for the 6th time. Boatie Blest will be hosting the short, oval course again this year where crews battle out to win around a tight harbour course. Races take approx 2 mins 30 to complete but in this time crews must start and complete not one but two 180 degree turns. Another special feature of the regatta is the 2k relay course which in the past has given some exciting and close racing within easy viewing distance of the shore. A must see day out at Port Seton where there is guaranteed to be close racing, good spectating, lots of shouting and the occasional poor turn leading to an almost inevitable race defeat for some! 

Races kick off around 11am – with over 60 races planned to go ahead during the day it will be action packed and non-stop. The Boatie Bakers will be out in force again supplying the energy needed to keep the rowers and spectators going.

Clubs wishing to attend can fill in the attached entry form and send to the email address provided.

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Blyth Maritime Festival Features Skiff Racing on Sunday 4 June

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Skiffieworlds 2019

The process of selection for the location of Skiffieworlds 2019 is continuing.
Over the coming days, further guidelines on the formal submissions and details of the timetable will be sent to those clubs which have already expressed an interest and requested the Host Criteria document.
Any club still wishing to be be considered, must note interest with the Secretary ( by the 25th March 2017.

Formal written submissions will be in the hands of the Secretary by the 30th June 2017.  The Committee will make evaluations which will include a site visit by committee representatives and others, making a final recommendation to the Committee and National Associations by the end of September 2017.


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North Youth Regatta Circuit- Deveron and Portsoy 1 April 2017

The Notice of Race  has now been issued for the Deveron and Portsoy Youth Regatta on 1 April 2017.

Please do try to give your junior rowers the opportunity to race in the first SCRA youth circuit regatta, being held at Portsoy on 1 April 2017.  Use the On line Entry Form to enter your crews, once you have read the notice of race.  The closing date for entries is 25 March 2017, but it would cheer the organisers up no end to hear from you before then!  Although designated as part of the North Circuit, entries will be accepted from clubs  from all corners.  The regatta is suitable for newcomers to the sport, and there is still time to practice!  Accommodation has been reserved and there will be a social event as well as the racing.


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Standard Oar: Spring is Nearly Sprung, and Prototypes are Begun

After seven years of talking on the beaches, followed by agreement that we would investigate the possibility of a standard oar, a survey of clubs and rowers and careful measurement of the best current oars, the international group that has been set up to report on a standard oar design has between them designed several new oars and have built or are building seven prototype oars and two prototype oarlock systems.    The prototypes are being used and alpha tested and the next task of the group is to narrow the designs down to one system.  Once again we thank those who have put in considerable effort to this exercise.

Members of the group will  try all the designs as much as possible and then write up their views  and rank the designs. The group will then choose one system to recommend for  “beta” testing.   Beta testing will involve some clubs attempting to build a set of oars to the standard design, and reporting back on the ease of build and consistency of the finished product. Those clubs would then be asked to use their set of standard oars and oarlocks in recreation, training and competition, and be open to hosting skiffies from other clubs to allow as many rowers as possible to try out the system under test before any decision is made around whether or not to adopt it.

Some of the prototypes have features which are currently outwith the St Ayles Measurement Rules (paragraphs 3 and 7) specifically the use of non-compliant materials in the oarlocks and the use of spoon blades.  If those prototypes are put forward for beta testing the SCRA committee will grant exemption certificates for those features for the clubs undertaking the  testing on behalf of SCRA.  The existing measurement rules will continue in force for all oars and oarlocks that are not part of the approved beta testing.  If the decision in the long run is not to approve a standard oar, it will be relatively simple to convert the oars to flat blades in which case they will meet the current measurement rules.  Potential beta testers should not therefore be put off by the risk of being left with a set of obsolete oars at the end of this season.  However beta testers are taking the risk that they will have to change blades, and perhaps oarlocks, if the subsequent decision goes against adopting a new standard design.

If your club wishes to be one of a small number to be involved in beta testing, please contact .  The single design decision will be made in a few weeks (the group need some time to finish and evaluate all the single oar prototypes).


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Warrnambool Community Skiff Club on Film

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