Prestwick….. a New Regatta with New Winners

It is always excellent to add a new regatta to the calendar.  Step forward Prestwick Coastal Rowing Club, who held their first ever regatta on 10 September.  The hosts invited fellow Ayrshire clubs from Troon, Carrick, Firth of Clyde (Largs),  and Girvan, as well as Arran from across the water.  The wind forecasts were not best for seasoned clubs, but the organisers held their cool, and waited for the conditions on the day to show themselves.  Sadly Girvan’s skiff was storm bound.  The club had been unable to get it round from the harbour due to stormy weather on Friday evening, but came along to support the other teams.




The day started off early for Arran who had to catch the 0820 Ferry with skiff Iolair for what was only their third ever regatta.  The fact that the ferry sailed was surely a good sign.

Conditions as the skiffs were unloaded were described as “at best do-able”. There were quite strong breakers on the shore edge , and all those safely ashore were slightly twitchy as they sent  the ladies open crews off to sea as  guinea pigs or perhaps sacrificial lambs.  The ladies were of course up to the challenge and completed the 1km course thus opening a great day of rowing (unless you are in the bow seat, in which case it was a great day in an open air washing machine).  Firth of Clyde RC (FOCCRs) were first home in the opening event followed by Arran in second and Carrick in third.  The next race was men’s open, which was won by Troon with Arran again taking a second and FOCCR in third.

The new skiff on the block from Arran got one of their crews their first ever win.  They led home the mixed Novice race ahead of the novice FoCCRs and Troon with Prestwick fourth.  Troon have a healthy spread of mature members and were able to take their first win of the day in the 50+ mixed category with Arran, who were having an excellent day, coming home second.

After the  morning chases of circa 1k the afternoon saw novelty sprint in various categories.  These tested the intelligence of the crews as well as their determination and fitness…… so it was always going to be a bit of a tricky one.

There were 3 buoys laid and each had an inflatable rubber ring attached, in which was a mesh washing-basket type thing filled with a different item.  First was apples, then broccoli, then cauliflower. The cox was given a kiddie’s fishing net on bamboo cane to collect one item from each. Fastest skiff back was given 6 points, then 5, then 4 etc. But 2 points were added for each item collected. Everyone ended up going for all the items and it came down to who had the fastest rowers.

The races involved beach starts and finishes, with a runner from each skiff leaping like a gazelle (or perhaps a salmon, or maybe a wet skiffie in a hoodie), fruit and veg in hand, then sprinting to a box on the beach where they had to put their items.  A very, very wet sequence of tricky launches and landings and not so many dry pants throughout.

Full results are below.  FOCCR won novelty men, and novelty mixed, with Arran second in each of these.  The women’s novelty was won by Arran with Prestwick getting a well deserved second, their best placing of the day.

In the final tally of points, New club Arran took  well deserved overall glory, never having had a position lower than second! FOCCRS  were close 2nd and some good performances from the other west teams , several clubs saw members losing their novice status and proud as punch , being presented with winners medals.





Open women Open men Novice mixed 50+




Novelty women Novelty Mixed Total Points
Arran 2 2 1 2 2 1 2 48
Carrick 3 5 4 5 3 5 29
FOCCR 1 3 2 3 1 4 1 45
Prestwick 4 4 4 5 4 2 3 34
Troon 5 1 3 1 3 5 4 35
  1. Novelty races had additional points for collecting items and for time.

Additional reportage from Bob and Cameron.  Photos from Firth of Clyde webiste, more photos here.


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Notice of AGM 2016

Notice of AGM 2016

SCRA AGM Saturday 29th October 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
5. Convener’s Report
6. Election of Officers and Committee
7. Skiffieworlds Report and Survey Feedback
8. International Association Update

9.Any Other Business 


Election of Officers and Committee:

Member Clubs shall send their nominations for the committee to the Secretary by the 10th October

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




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Great River Race results & Photos

Seven St Ayles took part in this year’s GRR – four from the Netherlands and three from England.

On a somewhat grey day, I caught the skiffs passing Westminster from Vauxhall Bridge, then nipped on the train to catch them again at Richmond Bridge.

There were good results for the St Ayles crews – Felton Flyer from Dartmouth won the Mixed crew trophy, Blakeney came 2nd in the Vets 60+, and Woudrichem’s men came third in the Four Oared section. Felton Flyer was racing with Carbon Oars in gates, so would not have won the GRR Trophy, which would have been presented to Woudrichem – if the varnish had dried before we left Somerset on Friday. Another trip to the Netherlands coming I think.

Next year, we expect to see more entries for our skiffs, and there will be separate trophies for womens and mixed crews, and I’ll use better varnish on them which dries in time!

Alec J

















SCRA Cruising Log Competition 2016

Rowing is not just about racing.  Plenty of skiffies enjoy getting out in the boat just for the sake of it, and for a bit of adventure with friends.  To encourage groups to share their experiences of this and to allow us all to learn from each other SCRA holds the SCRA Cruising Log competition each year.

Careful Packing is Important for any Expedition

Careful Packing is Important for any Expedition

We would like members of SCRA clubs who go on expeditions and adventures to record them in a cruising log and forward that on to us. Ideally we would like to log to be uploaded so that we can post a link to it from our website.  Logs should have some pictures or video as well as a written description of the voyage, giving details of launch and recovery sites, stop overs, and descriptions of the tidal streams and conditions.  We hope that others coming after can learn constructively so please do admit to your mistakes as well as saying what went well, and please also consider including an appendix with some thoughts on safety issues that you feel others would benefit from.

Closing date for entries this year will be 15 October 2016, but we would be delighted if you could send entries sooner than that to inspire others.  All expeditions must have taken place in the 12 months or so preceding the closing date.

The competition will be judged on how entertaining and informative the log is, rather than just how long or arduous the cruise is, so don’t be shy about recording your thoughts on a shortish jaunt.

All entries and enquiries to please.

It goes without saying that the crews taking part in this competition must take responsibility for their own safety, and ensure that their craft is seaworthy, appropriately equipped for the contemplated voyage, and that the planned voyage is within the competency of the crew. For inspiration read “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K Jerome, “Ice Bears and Kotic” by Peter Webb.:

The roll call of previous winners is as follows:

2012 (Joint)  Anstruther –  Elsie’s Adventures Round the Forth

2012 (Joint)  Boatie Blest  Union Canal

2013  Isle of Seil CRC  Bilderglug round Seil and Luing

2014  Boatie Blest   Voga Longa  European Tour

2015  North Edinburgh Rowing Club  Loch Shiel/ Jacobite Muster

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Good Luck at The Great River Race

More than 300 traditional fixed seat rowing boats will be taking to the River Thames this weekend for the Great River Race.  The race offers a trophy for the fastest St Ayles skiff (provided there are sufficient entries) and it is also a great opportunity to see many other types of boat, and meet with those that row them.  And of course it gives you the chance to show off your lovely skiffs to a wider community and astound them by explaining that your community built the boat themselves.  Good luck to all the skiffies taking to the London River this weekend. Blakeney will be in attendance and are using their efforts to raise funds for local charity Break, who support young people in positive ways.    Blades Rowing club will also be there with their boat Felton Flyer, hoping to retain their mixed crew title.

WSV Woudrichem of the Netherlands are bringing three St Ayles skiffs to the GRR. One crew is a girls (under 18) team along with  a men’s and a mixed team.  C’mon the girls.   Heusden (also from the Netherlands) is a fourth Dutch St Ayles Skiff with a men’s team.

Not sure if any other St Ayles skiffs will be present, but there are enough to trigger the trophy!  Do let us know if you are racing by posting in the comments below….  and good luck.

Great River Race Results 2016 link here………..  as soon as we have them.


For those planning their long distance rows next year, bear in mind that the Great Tyne Row and the Cork Ocean to City also provide prizes for the St Ayles skiff class.


st ayles skiff trophy



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Whisky Smuggling in South West Scotland 17 and 18 September

17/18 September is the Whisky smugglers weekend down in the South West of Scotland.  Please contact the organisers of each event and bring a boat and some friends along.  All entertaining events!
whisky troon
The weekend starts on Saturday 17th with the Exciseman’s Chase.  This event starts at Maidens Harbout with  boats mustering at 10.00 cox briefing 11.00 race starts 11.30.  The first leg of the race is down coast to Culzean Castle, where skiffs land at a beach with an access path down from the Castle.   There crews pick up a token to be exchanged for a bottle of whisky if they make it safely back to the harbour.  Skiffs can change crews at the beach.  The race is about 4km for each leg.
After a lunch break at  Maidens harbour there will be some sprint races for juniors and others.
After racing crews can depart in a road convoy for the next leg of the adventure. Taking the  A77 to Girvan, A714 to Newton Stewart A712 to New Galloway,  and A713 to Galloway Adventure Centre where they can have an overnight stay on the shores of Loch Ken.  Provided there is sufficient demand there will be a  dark sky talk by D&G rangers (with telescopes) and crews can take a row in the dark, or in the dawn to examine the skies and their surroundings.
whisky finish
On the 18th the racing action moves to the River Nith for the Nith Navigation Race.  This is an upriver race from Glencaple to the Silver Sands in Dumfries.  Briefing will be  11.30 to 12.00 in harbour cafe with the race starting shortly after the tidal bore goes up the river.  The start time will be at  13.00, timed  to arrive in Dumfries by high water at 14.00.  Crews then return together in a gentle cruise in company to Kingholm Quay for lift out followed by BBQ at the Swan 16.00 and prize giving with at least the first 6 skiffs getting a presentation bottle of malt whisky.
The Nith Navigation race is open to any coxed sea going rowing boat, so check what you have in your boatsheds and bring it along.  The oldest boat to complete it so far is around 125 years old, and has the fastest time!
Please do try these welcoming and entertaining events.
Contact Fergus Forsyth for the Exciseman’s chase:
Contact Roy Kerr for the Nith Navigation Race:

Contact Richard at Galloway Activity Centre for accomodation at Loch Ken:

Richard. 01556 502011. Email


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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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