St Ayles Skiffs Complete Great Tyne Row

Honesty at the Start (photo from Eskmuthe RC FB page)

Honesty at the Start (photo from Eskmuthe RC FB page)

Four St Ayles skiffs were among the 26 finishers in the 2016 Great Tyne Row, which took place on the same day as North Berwick Regatta.  St Andrews, who were competing at both events, set the fastest time for the 16 mile course in two hours 48 minutes, earning the Grace Darling Shield.  They were just a minute ahead of Eskmuthe’s Steedie Falconer, who were awarded the Henry F Swan shield.  Eskmuthe had taken two boats down, and their skiff “Honesty” came next in the order.  Gateshead’s skiff “Harry Clasper” was awarded the “enjoying the view” pennant, and also very appropriately their crewmember Brian Forbes was given the Harry Clasper Award, for merit.


St Andrews' Winning Crew from Great Tyne Row (Pic from St Andrews CRC FB Page)

St Andrews’ Winning Crew from Great Tyne Row (Pic from St Andrews CRC FB Page)

Full Results

Next Years race is provisionally scheduled for 2 or 3 September.  Keep an eye on GTR Website.

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North Berwick Results

The organisers of North Berwick regatta were very worried by the weather conditions on the morning of 27th August……. they assumed that visiting crews would be disappointed with the flat calm conditions and sunshine.  Such is the reputation of the North Berwick course.  What is normally a very challenging course seemed somewhat benign, with even the tide being very neap, and not really catching out the unwary.


A Queensferry crew racing back to the harbour with the Bass Rock in background. How many gannets can you count?






However the the regatta ran, the conditions got fresher as the day went on, and the racing was entertaining for all crews as soon as the starter said go.  The course is out a kilometer or so from the harbour out the the island of Craigleith,  round the island and then back to the harbour.  It is challenging getting to the island, with up to 14 crews side by side, and all wanting to be in a good position before going round out of sight of the shorewatchers.  Conditions vary as the crews make their way round the back of the island and as the conditions freshened from the East the later racers had sidewinds, flat calms, headwind, head seas, multi-directional clapotis, side swell, side wind all added to the normal warm but tired feeling that comes with racing for around 20 minutes.

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Mixed 60+ held on handicap on a shorter course. Racing that was a little too close this time.


Close Racing all the way back to the finish.

Congratulations to all the crews from Ullapool, Avoch, BroughtyFerry, St Andrews, Firth of Clyde CRC, Royal West of Scotland BC, Dunbar, Eastern ARC, RowPorty, Queensferry, Cockenzie and Port Seton who travelled through to test themselves against the rock and the clock.  Local club North Berwick on familiar waters managed to do well across the eleven events, managing to field two or three crews in most of them and winning in all three of the 40+ categories, as well as the men’s open and the 60+ race.  Anstruther almost matched them, with a very convincing win in the Women”s open and wins in both 50+ events and the under 19.  The novice race was won by Cockenzie and the mixed open by Broughty Ferry.  Eastern earn a special mention for having come second in six of the events, and being in the top four of every event.  St Andrews were fielding a smaller squad than they otherwise might have, as their second boat was of campaigning on the Tyne at the Great Tyne Row.

The course record was broken by the North Berwick Mens 40+ crew, just holding off Eastern by one second in a time of 16:49.   The women’s record was set by the Anstruther Open crew in 2013, in a time of 17:56.

The full results , with times for every crew, can now be viewed on North Berwick RC website, where the photos on this post came from, with thanks to Steve Thompson.  Do have a look at the whole album, which has many close ups of individual crews.  The racing is getting closer every year.  Several of the races were decided by agonisingly small margins after such a long race, and the close finishes go all the way down  through the fleet, with close races for all positions.  No one gives up!


Anstruther leading the way round the Island



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St Ayles Measurement Rules Review 2016

The SCRA committee are hoping to undertake a review of the measurement rules for the St Ayles skiff in advance of the SCRA AGM in late October.  They would welcome feedback on the rules as they currently stand and any suggestions for improvement.

Please e mail your submissions to .  It would be helpful if you could state “Measurement” in the title to your e mail, along with your name.  Please let us know whether the submission is your own comments, or comments made on behalf of a club.  The current measurement rules (2014 edition)  can be found here.  Please ensure your e mail comments are received by 19 September, if you wish them to be considered on this occasion.   The measurement rules are applied internationally so please treat this invitation as international too.  We are happy to hear from anyone, wherever they are.

The purpose of the measurement rules is to ensure that an enjoyable and fair racing experience is available to as many people as possible.   The rules should help to ensure that builders and users do not compromise the safety and longevity of the boats in order to achieve speed.

It is important to remember that the primary onus is on the clubs and indeed the crews to ensure that their own skiff complies with the measurement rules.    Builders and users must abide by the spirit of the rules rather than merely the letter.  If a club is unsure as to whether any aspect of their own build complies they can contact the secretary of the association for advice.  There are experienced rowers and builders in every region who can assist other clubs.  If the club is still concerned that their skiff does not comply, they can apply for an exemption certificate from the SCRA committee, which will be valid for a fixed period of time.

The secondary duty is on regatta hosts to scrutinise  visiting boats to ensure fair competition.  Clearly disqualification is not a step that anyone will want to take lightly, which is why the primary duty is placed very much on the owner and the user of the skiff to ensure that it complies.

One Nights rain

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North Berwick Regatta 2016


Entries are now closed, but please do come along and support your favourite team.  And then there is the apres skiff:


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Skiffieworlds 2016 Questionnaire Reminder

Please complete and respond to the Survey – it is important to us to know what member clubs require. Please contact for your copy. So far, we have received 37 replies, which have produced some interesting and helpful responses – but we need more. We are particularly keen to hear from clubs which did not attend Skiffieworlds 2016.
Many thanks for your co-operation and assistance.

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To All Clubs – How was Skiffieworlds 2016 for you?

To All Clubs – How was Skiffieworlds 2016 for you?
Did you attend?
Please also respond even if you club did not attend – any particular reasons why you did not?

What issues do we need to consider for the future and the next Skiffieworlds?
Do you have any thoughts or feedback on the following:-

The nature of the race type.

The umpiring

The categories offered

The venue

The “expedition” element (ie getting to and from Delamont).

The socials.

The intention to keep it as a once every 3 years event.

Please complete the questionnaire which has been sent out to the listed club contact.
Please ensure that the Club contacts we hold on the ClubFinder pages of the site are correct – if they are not – please email with any amendments or updates.

Please also contact if you have any photographs or stories for publication.


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Shieldaig Regatta on BBC Alba – An La 10th August 2016 – 20:00

Shieldaig Regatta – BBC Alba An La (News 20:00 hrs 10-08-2016) from 18mins15secs.

An Là, 10/08/2016
Local, national and international news from BBC ALBA.

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Skiffieworlds 2016 : Strangford Lough Spectacular

A week in July 2016  brought coastal rowers from around the World to the beautiful and (comparatively) tranquil waters of Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland, for Skiffieworlds 2016, the second World Championships for the St Ayles skiff class of Coastal Rowing boats.  Far flung clubs, including those from Tasmania, Australia, Canada and USA had arranged in advance to borrow more local boats for the occassion, but each of the clubs present represented a community where locals had come together to build one of these lovely five seat rowing boats for themselves.  The crew from Netherlands, as well as crews from English, Scottish and Northern Irish clubs all brought their own skiffs.


The event was organised through the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership, with support from the local authorities on either side of the Lough:   Ards and North Down Borough Council to the North, and Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to the South.  Their support and co-operation is very much appreciated, and rather neatly illustrates what we all know already, that a stretch of water is something which can unite people, rather than dividing them.  Races took place in the Quoile Estuary, with shore based facilities and spectator areas in the Delamont Country Park. There are no launching facilities in the park, but rather than this being a problem it gave an excellent opportunity for a row in company, introducing the clubs skiffs to each other in the water, and giving a sense of expedition and theatre.  The skiffs launched at the narrows of Strangford Lough, either at Portaferry or Strangford village,  and rowed round to the pontoons set up at the park. Crews mustered on the water, and set off with a starting cannon.

Racing in the championship races s etarted on the Monday. Results for all the races can be found through the Skiffieworlds page of this website.

Monday saw heats in the mens 40+ age category ( Cockenzie, St Ayles and North Berwick each going through as heat winners) and finals in the mixed Open B (Won by Cockenzie & Port Seton ahead of St Ayles and North Berwick….  a good day for all three of these clubs clearly), and in the ladies 60+, where relatively new clubs Broughty Ferry and Dundrum came first and second respectively, with North Berwick taking another Bronze. Queensferry had a strong showing for fifth and visitors from the USA, Lake Champlain, made their journey worthwhile by crossing the line in a very respectable seventh place, having pushed Ullapool who came sixth all the way.

Tuesday started with the final of the men’s 40+, another victory for Cockenzie and Port Seton, and moved on to Men’s under 17 where Avoch, from the Inverness Firth, took line honours ahead of Coigach and North Berwick.  Crail won the Women 40 +, ahead of Eastern ARC (from Edinburgh’s coastal resort of Portobello) and North Berwick, who at this stage had taken bronze in all five of the first five finals!   Their medals got shinier in the next event however, with a win in Under 19 mixed ahead of Dutch masters WSV Woudrichem in second place, and St Ayles of Anstruther.  In the last final of day 2 cornish outfit “Pilchards” won the 60+ mens race ahead of Coigach in second and Dundrum in third.  The cornish were new to St Ayles skiff rowing, but had years, perhaps decades of coastal rowing experience behind them and showed everyone who to make a coastal rowing boat go fast with a long but relaxed stroke, with everyone perfectly in time.

So by the end of the Tuesday the eight finals raced had produced seven different winners, with only Cockenzie & Port Seton wining two events.  With no club dominant, this was going to be an interesting championships, with all to play for and every reason to shout for your favourite team.



On the Wednesday two more clubs got their hands on  gold medals, with Eastern taking the Women Open “B” final, and local club Dundrum winning the Men’s equivalent.  Another local club, Strangford, took a bronze with their B squad women.  Dundrum got a second win of the day in the mixed 60+ where even after examining a photo finish for fourth place Strangford and Crail could not be separated and a dead heat was declared.  The nature of the races, which were held of 2km, on an out and back basis with each boat turning round their own buoy was producing some very close and exciting finishes.

Thursday brought the only dead heat for medal positions.  In the Under 17 mixed Avoch and Eastern were dead level on the line as viewed with the video replay facility, and were both awarded bronze medals.  The race was won by Dundrum, with North Berwick in second.  That was the only final, with the rest of a short day taken up with heats for the mixed Open “A”, and heats in the Men and Women 50+ categories.  These are all big categories for our championships.  In the women’s events long distance visitors from Tasmania, Devon and Cornwall were all prominent in qualifying. For the men the Cornish and the Dutch made it through to the final.  With the first five going through from each heat it was difficult to be absolutely clear about form when reading the heats, but Coigach, Broughty Ferry and Avoch all looked good in winning theirs.


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Friday had the most testing conditions of the week.  Although the estuary is well sheltered, and the start/ finish line remained in fairly smooth water (by coastal rowing rather than Olympic standards), the turn line was more exposed and crews had to fight round their turn marks in blustery conditions and found a sharp chop to crash over on their way to and from the turn.  Eastern managed to reverse the one: two of their heat the day before and took Gold in the Mixed Open A ahead of Coigach in Silver.  Dundrum did the same to Broughty Ferry to snatch the bronze, leaving the team from the Firth of Tay in fourth place.  Coigach got gold at last in the Men 50 +, one second ahead of Dundrum,  who did one better in the women’s 50+ final, taking the gold.  The popular Tasmanian’s took a seventh place in the Women’s final.  North Berwick continued a strong showing in the Junior events, just pipping a very strong Portsoy team in one of the most exciting finishes of the week for the U17 ladies race.  Avoch took third, just ahead of Eastern and Strangford.

In the heats of the Women’s Open A, Blades (Devon) had a strong showing to win their heat and Burghead and Dutch club Woudrichem were both delighted to qualify from heat 3.  Bunillidh, Strangford and Portsoy were 1,2,3 in heat 3 of the Men’s open, where heat 1 was won by North Berwick by a whopping margin of 30 seconds.  Although they did not qualify Blakeney deserve special mention for rowing the whole of that heat with only three oars, their stroke oar having snapped on the third stroke.  Hopefully stoke enjoyed his 2km guided cruise.  Well done to the crew for persevering and doing themselves proud.  Crail, North Berwick and Eastern won their heats in the mixed 40+.  The dutch were just pipped to second by North Berwick in heat 2.  Eastern won their heat by an astonishing 49 seconds.  All was nicely set up for the last day of racing, which was to feature six finals.  All was still to play for in the points competition, where the best 8 results counted for each club. ……….to be continued.



All the photos in this post are from Steve Thompson of North Berwick RC.  See an album from Steve featuring many of the crews from the Friday here.  If you have any great photos that you want to share, please send them to .  Remember Results for all the races, including heats,  can be found through the Skiffieworlds page of this website.


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Sheildaig Regatta 2016 Results

Two new boats were racing this weekend at Sheildaig.  Loch Ewe and Shieldaig & Loch Torridon were both making their bow on the skiffie stage and report that  it was  great to be on the water at last and racing.
They were joined by skiffs from Ullapool, Wick, Chanonry, Gairloch, Avoch all from the North, and southern clubs Portobello and St Andrews.  Races at this regatta are “round the island”, an expedition of around 2km.   Ullapool were the overall winners winning three races and second were Avoch who won the other two races.
Women’s Decades – Winners – Avoch
Men’s Decades- Winners Ullapool
Mixed Open-WinnersUllapool
Women’s Open- Winners Avoch
Men’s Open-Winners Ullapool
Ullapool earned 46 points, 2nd were Avoch with 40 points and 3rd were St Andrews with 33 points. Full results as follows:
Photos from Steve Carter, with thanks.  A full set featuring all the teams can be found here.
blue ray

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It Is Not All About Hard Racing: Ballantrae Smugglers

Skiffies had fun at the Ballantrae Smugglers Festival, as they landed contraband from French tall ship La Malouine.  Smugglers from Girvan CRC and Carrick CRC appear in the photos below.

Balboth skiffs

bal tall ship

bal girvan

bal horse

Pictures from Girvan Coastal Rowing Club facebook page.  There is some skiff racing later on at the festival, on 14 August, and there is still space for visiting skiffs to join in the three open races in Men, Women and Mixed categories.  See earlier post.

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