Avoch Regatta 2016 Report

Avoch community Rowing club hosted their second Regatta on the 1st of October. A fantastic turn out saw 14 boats attending and competing in 11 race’s over a 1.5km course which included a port turn. 5 of theses race’s were split into two waves consisting of 6/7 boat’s per wave, with the top 3 time’s taking 1st, 2nd and 3rd .  Thank you to the host club for the following report.  Thanks also to Allan Robertson who took the following photographs and shared them with the Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook Group.



Junior race’s competed on the 1.2km course also with a port turn, while the 60+men/women took part in 600m sprint’s. The day began with the cox’s briefing in the boat shed given by Sally MacAdie where the days racing was outlined. With Chief umpire Drew Mann in Mike Anavi’s rib and Alec Mann/ Richard Franklin manning Steve Groat’s rib the racing was ready to start. The women’s 50+ was the first race of the day , which saw Boatie taking 1st followed by Helmsdale 2nd and then Avoch 3rd. After an unfortunate incident at the turn Broughty Ferry found themselves disqualified during the race. It was then the turn of the 50+ men and with everyone this time getting round the turn successfully Helmsdale took 1st , Portsoy 2nd and Avoch 3rd . The women’s 40+ saw only 1 second between 1st and 2nd place with Portsoy just managing to out row Avoch to take 1st place , Avoch 2nd with Broughty ferry 3rd .


The women’s Open race saw both Avoch boats taking part. Broughty Ferry took 1st , Avoch 2nd and Helmsdale 3rd . Avoch’s second boat recorded the 3rd fastest time but with the cup to fight for got moved to 4th and no points were awarded.





The men were up next with Broughty Ferry 1st, Ullapool 2nd and Avoch 3rd Broughty clearly on the charge after their earlier disqualification . The junior race’s saw 4 boats compete in the U19 mixed and 3 in the U17 mixed. Both race’s won by Avoch with Deveron taking 2nd and Boatie 3rd in the U19 and Portsoy 2nd and Deveron 3rd the U17. The mixed Open was won by Broughty Ferry, Avoch 2nd and Helmsdale 3rd . The 60+ sprint’s ran side by side as only 2 women’s team’s had entered. Women’s 60+ Avoch 1 st and Collieston 2nd with Ullapool taking 1st in the men’s followed by Avoch 2nd and Portsoy 3rd.

The day’s racing ran like clockwork with racing finishing ahead of schedule and without a hitch. A huge credit has to go to Drew Mann who organised the event and was chief umpire on the day and all a week before his 18th birthday. Thank you to all the club’s that attended and made this event so special we hope to see you all again soon. Well done to Sutor Skiffies (cromarty) who took part only 6 day’s after their launch. 11 categories, 3 courses, 15 race’s done.

Avoch Community Rowing club commissioned a trophy to be awarded to the club with the highest points tally at the end of racing. The Angus Mcwilliam memorial cup named after one of our founding member’s who sadly passed away in August this year. Angus is deeply missed by the club, his granddaughter Alex presented the trophy to Avoch the winning club. Although we realise it’s perhaps a little impolite to win our own regatta, somehow it just seemed fitting that the trophy has ended up staying in Avoch this year. With the day’s racing finished medal’s and trophy presented, a well earned bowl of chilli was offered with music from the Black isle player’s (the music group Angus played with) filling the shed the refreshment’s started to flow. Chat on the day’s racing combined with dancing carried on into the early hour’s of the morning. Finally a huge thank you to the lovely ladies who kept us fed and watered all day. The race control team , timing team and everyone who gave up their time to help out. Truly amazing effort thank you. Until next year. Even bigger next year Drew !!!!!!!!




Points and times for race’s can be found on Avoch Community Rowing Club website . Pictures from Allan Robertson Photography.



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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.  It is intended as a minimum.  Skiffs must have at least that area under the water.

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.


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:  topher@dawsonullapool.com

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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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AGM 2016

Scottish Coastal Rowing Association AGM
29th October 2016
6.00 p.m. start (Coffee/tea & biccies available from 5.30 p.m.)

Location: Loch Tummel Sailing Club Clubhouse

Draft Agenda

1. Apologies
2. Minutes of Last Meeting (SCRA AGM 24th October 2015)
3. Matters Arising
4. Treasurer’s Report

Motion to be voted upon: “To set subscriptions to SCRA for 2016/2017 at £60 per club, with a rebate of £20 per club available to small clubs of less than 20 members ”

5. Convener’s Report
6. Election of Officers and Committee
7. Skiffieworlds Report and Survey Feedback
8. International Association Update
9. Measurement Rules update:

Motion to be voted upon:-

“St Ayles Skiffs have a great variety of oars and oarlock systems and feedback to the committee on balance shows a desire to move towards a  more tightly specified design so that all rowers are competing with the same effective equipment.  We propose that an international group be set up, to consult widely and propose a common design for oars and oarlocks, to be trialled over the 2017 season with a view to reporting on any recommendations (including recommendations for any transitional arrangements) to National Associations by October 2017.”

10. Any Other Business – items under this heading must be advised to the Secretary no later than the 17th October and must be submitted by clubs only. Any submissions under this category must be in the form of a motion.


Election of Officers and Committee:

Member Clubs shall send their nominations for the committee to the

Secretary by the 10th October 2016

Please pass suggestions for items for the Agenda to the Secretary by 17th October.


The AGM is a meeting of clubs.  We can only guarantee space for two representatives per club.  Anyone speaking at the AGM is speaking on behalf of and as instructed by their clubs.  It is therefore helpful if clubs have discussed any of the issues that are going to arise in advance of the AGM.

Read the posts on

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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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