Boatie Blest, SCRA Cruise Log 2014 Winners

On a voyage that took them from Alpine Lakes to Boatie Soup in the canals of Venice, to side-shifted monkey space re-entry capsules in a German welding shop, the award for best SCRA Cruise Log 2014 goes to the truly deserving Boatie Blest of Port Seton and Cockenzie, in recognition of their spirit of adventure and ambition to row the Vogalonga 2014. The seamlessly written Boatie Blest Log illustrates the joy and challenges of coastal rowing and should motivate us all to row harder, row further, row more.

05 Venice

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News from Australia

The organisers of Tasskiffie 2015 are keen to hear from anyone who would like to take part in the first major gathering of St Ayles skiffs in the Southern Hemisphere.  It is hoped that at least 8 St Ayles skiffs will be gathered together, with some skiffs being shipped over from New Zealand by container.  The events take place in Tasmani at the start of February and more information can be found in an earlier post and on the events own webpages.  Visitors from the world St Ayles community will be made very welcome, and space will be found for them in the available skiffs.

Meantime in Victoria, good news that funding has now been found for the Warrnambool group, who are planning to build 2 skiffs.  Part as celebration, and part to kick off the boat building process the group are holding a small wooden boat festival on 8 November.  Details below, and do make the effort to go along and say hello if you are in the area.

A poster for the Wrrnambool event can be found here.


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Runners Up in the Cruising Log Competition

There were two runners up in the cruising log competition this year.  Anstruther’s St Ayles Club enjoyed a trip to Barra, to see their newly launched skiff.  Sharing the skills and enthusiasm with other communities is an important part of Scottish Coastal Rowing.  See how they got on in the log published on their website.

New Club Collieston got right in there with a log recording their collaboration with brewers Brew Dog, to bring a barrel of beer from the brewery in Ellon down the River Ythan to the coast, from where it was to be transported along to the Collieston gala.  Before you read the log, you really have to hear the song and see the tumbly sea on youtube:

There is a second youtube clip with a bit more explanation and here is the chart from their adventure:





Winners Boatie Blest submitted a log of their adventures in Venice, and their adventures getting there and getting back.  To be published in another post shortly…….


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Notes from the AGM

Twenty four SCRA clubs  were represented at the 2014 AGM, which took place at Loch Insh.  Prize for furthest traveled was the representative from Blakeney in Norfolk.

The 2014 Convenor’s report can be found here.  The minor amendments to the constitution were approved, and the revised constitution has now been published here.

The subscription for membership of the SCRA remains at £60 per organisation.  Topher Dawson would be delighted to receive payment of these subs for the season ahead.  Well done to the 5 clubs who had paid up by the end of the AGM. The 2014 Accounts can be found here; the Association has a reasonable contingency fund, currently.

The new SCRA committee was elected.  We say a thank you to Adam Graham, who has stepped down as SCRA rep for the South West.  This leaves a vacancy that the committee would like to fill with a co-opted member.  Please e mail the SCRA secretary if you know of someone from a Club between Glasgow and Annan who can help.  The new committee members are as follows:

  • Robbie Wightman (Convenor);
  • Topher Dawson (Treasurer);
  • Peter Ashe  (Secretary);
  • Ali Grant (Rowporty) (coaching programme development)
  • Stuart Mack (Boatie Blest/Portsoy);
  • Wendy Clements (Portsoy)
  • Sue Fenton (Seil)
  • Barbara Elliot (St Ayles)
  • David Todd (St Ayles, Scottish Fisheries Museum).
  • Karen Burrows (Collieston)

Other items covered included:

  • Early experience with the 2013 Measurement Rules changes. After extensive consultation last year, and detailed debate at the 2013 AGM, the revisions were introduced. Since then the Association has publicised these, particularly amongst newer Clubs, perhaps undertaking their first builds, via such media as a revised set of Building Instructions. A small number of Clubs approached the SCRA committee seeking an exemption certificate, and these were granted with time periods specified. The Association plans to monitor the revised Rules and is happy to hear comments, working with Clubs to ensure the Rules are nderstood and followed.
  • Regional arrangements. This is an evolving concept, introduced informally, in the context of the rapid increase in the number of Clubs around our coasts. It isn’t reasonably feasible for any Club to participate in every event in the skiffing season; nor can any one Club realistically host participation from all 36! Encouraging a local focus has been a pragmatic response, while it remains with local event organisers to decide whom to accept participation from, and with Clubs to decide which events they seek to attend.
  • Progress with 2016 World Championship plans. The Association called for notes of interest before the end of October 2014, has received two such, and is at an early stage of communication with each proposer. Neither is from a Scottish locality, and both have good potential.
  • The promotion of seamanship skills. Confident and safe coastal rowing necessarily involves seamanship as well as rowing technique, and a number of Clubs have been developing guidelines and learning materials to promote the necessary competencies. We agreed to share materials, while emphasising that every piece of coastline has its own characteristics and seamanship challenges, so guidelines are an adjunct to not a substitute for sensible thought and the gaining of practical experience, specific to each Club.




Burghead Launch on Saturday


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Fife and Angus Victory at Freshwater Sprints 2014



The Scottish Coastal Rowing Season came to a conclusion at Loch Insh on Saturday with the annual Freshwater Sprints.  Clubs were organised into four Regional Squads, with crews racing in a variety of categories.  Points were awarded for each placing, with every crew contributing to their clubs total.

We were reminded why we had come inland at this time of year as screaming gusts ripped down the Loch.  Any event on the sea would probably have been cancelled, but with a fetch of only about 1km the waves got lively and entertaining, but never overwhelming. Having a warm cafe overlooking the course was real bonus on these conditions.   There was a short postponement where we lost two races (spume was being thrown from the wavetops, and there was what looked like a small tornado coming down the course) but other than that crews persevered to try to bring home glory for their team.



There was plenty of close racing.  With the Fife/Angus and North teams trading wins over the first few races.  South West, with a smaller team came in fourth, with just one point separating South East in Third and North in Second.  However clear winners from the day were Fife and Angus, with Rowers from Crail, St Andrews,Pittenweem,  Catterline, Newburgh (who provided the entire crew for the mixed open who had the most barnstorming win of the day), Anstruther, Gourdon (someone will remind me in the comments if I have missed a club out!).




Photo above of the winning Fife and Angus Team with the Gallagher Heath Shield.  All photos from Ian Mills, with thanks.


Below is a short video of the day from Murdo MacLeod.


Race Schedule & Lane Draw for Freshwater Sprints

See below the race schedule and lane draw. Please note the Coxes brief and first race in the morning are the only difinitive times. Others could be effected by weather, water conditions and tiredness.

Race no Est. Time Race category Lane 1 Lane 2 Lane 3 Lane 4 Lane 5
0 10:00 Coxes Brief
1 10:30 Open W 1st SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
2 10:45 Open M 1st SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
3 11:00 Open W 2nd North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
4 11:15 Open M 2nd Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
5 11:30 Int W SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
6 11:45 Int M SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
7 12:00 Nov W North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
8 12:15 Nov M Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
9 12:30 40+ W SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
10 12:45 40+ M SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
11 13:30 55+ W North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
12 13:45 55+ M Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
13 14:00 U19 W SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
14 14:15 U19 M SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
15 14:30 Mx Open 1st North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
16 14:45 Mx Open 2nd Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
17 15:00 Int Mx SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
18 15:15 40+ Mx SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
19 15:30 55+ Mx North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
20 15:45 Mixed Decades Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
For simplicity we have assumed entries in all categories by each of the attending regions.
Lane 5 allocated to anyone wanting to put together a crew, one per event.
This will be regarded as an entry for the “Rest of the World”

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AOCB at the AGM

A little while ago, Ally Johnstone (Capt. Queensferry) contacted me with some suggestions for AOCB items.

Thinking that it would be handy for us all to think about them a little in advance, I asked Ally if she’d be willing to summarise the matters that her Club wished her to raise. And so she did – the three issues are set out below:

1.    Regionalisation 

Understandable given the rapid rise in clubs round our coast but there are concerns that we lose the Scottish skiffing spirit by making these larger events qualification only – admittedly very difficult to see an alternative.

North and South Queensferry would be in different regions but, this year we undertook a joint regatta – presumably there would be no constraints over such events under regionalisation?

Qualification for Worlds – if Scottish clubs are to qualify due to space constraints, how will international entries be curtailed where there is no governing body?  It would be disappointing to see Scottish entries reduced with no limits on international entries.

2.    World’s Update and Planning

Would be useful to have an indication on how regionalisation will feed into this and a general update on thoughts around the event.

3.    Training

We are aware of a few clubs, ourselves included, having devised basic competency levels for crew and coxes with training to support the levels.  We are very much finding our feet through this but feel we have come up with something sensible that fits the clubs needs.  This was only possible due to the amount of sailing experience and boat ownership amongst the founder members of the club.

We are now in a position where the majority of members have no nautical experience and we are endeavouring to encourage these members to learn through the competency levels and training sessions we arrange for them. Most of which are based on RYA advice but tailored to suit skiffing.

This will be a growing problem as the sport continues to grow and it would be good to know of any plans by the SCRA to initiate top down guidelines for clubs.


Many thanks, Ally and Queensferry!

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Fresh Water Sprints

On Saturday 25th October 2014 the last regatta of the year will be the annual Freshwater Sprints.

This year they will take place at the beautiful Loch Insh Watersports, near Aviemore.  For a change the events will be raced by regional teams, rather than individual clubs.  This should allow rowers from more clubs to take part, as we were at maximum capacity in terms of skiffs last year.  The Regional teams will be chosen  by the Regional Captains, contact your local SCRA member for more information (South West-  Adam Graham,  South East –  Stuart Mack,  Fife and Angus-  Barbara Elliot,  North –  Topher Dawson/ Wendy Clements, Argyll/ Rest of World-  Sue Fenton). Each region will be allowed to bring two skiffs.


Categories will be as follows;

  1. Open:   Men, Women, Mixed
  2. Open Second Crews: Men, Women, Mixed
  3. Intermediate: Men, Women, Mixed
  4. Novice: Men, women
  5. 40+ : Men, Women, Mixed
  6. 55+ : Men, Women, Mixed
  7. Under 19: Boys, Girls
  8. Mixed Decades


We will need Umpires and Safety boat drivers with their PB2  certificate. If you are able to help please contact Adam Graham (SCRA Clyde/SouthWest).  adam_graham<at>

The regatta will be followed by the SCRA AGM, on site, in Insh Hall itself. This is a good chance to meet with other clubs, and of course every club rep who turns up for the AGM will be able to get a row for their region!  See separate posts for the agenda of the AGM.

The Watersports Centre has a stunning location, great café, restaurant, bar and in view of that latter point, it also has bunkhouse accommodation and chalets. So, why not make a day / night of it? A bed for the night works out cheaper if a few folk bunch together and book a dorm, which come in all shapes and sizes. Here’s some examples;


1 x 3 bed dorm @ £ 71.50

1 x 4 bed dorm @ £ 82.50

There are also 5 bed dorms.   So, under £25 a bed for the dorms and includes tea / coffee making facilities and continental brekkie. Ideal if a few folk want to group together.

With all those categories, there’s space for lots of rowers of any experience and this is generally a nice, social gathering.

Please contact the centre to book your accommodation.  Loch Insh, Kincraig, Kingussie, Inverness-shire, PH21 1NU T: +44 (0) 1540 651 272 | E:


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SCRA AGM 25th. October 2014

[Update 22.10.14: three AOCB items previewed in separate post]

[Update 13.10.14:  Draft Minutes of 2013 AGM now available, see link below]


Scottish Coastal Rowing Association

Notice of Annual General Meeting


25 October 2014,

5.30 p.m.

At the  Insh Hall, Loch Insh Water Sports and Outdoor Activities Centre  (location)


  1. Apologies
  2. Minutes  of Last Meeting  (pdf available from Dropbox)
  3. Matters Arising
  4. Convenor’s Report
  5. Treasurers  Report
  6. Membership Fee:  Proposed to Remain at £60 per member organisation
  7. Election of Officers and Committee
  8. Amendments to Clauses in Constitution (Paper Apart)
  9. Any  Other Business



Each member club may be represented by up to two delegates at the meeting, one of whom will be delegated to cast any vote on behalf of that club.  Any such representative speaking at the meeting will be deemed to be speaking on behalf of their club, with that club’s  authority.

Election of Officers and Committee:

Existing committee members offering themselves for re-election are:

  • Robbie Wightman (Convenor);
  • Topher Dawson (Treasurer);
  • Peter Ashe  (Secretary);
  • Ali Grant (Rowporty) (coaching programme development)
  • Stuart Mack (Boatie Blest/Portsoy);
  • Wendy Clements (Portsoy)
  • Sue Fenton (Seil)
  • David Todd (Scottish Fisheries Museum).

Adam Graham (T&D) and Barbara Elliot (Anstruther) are standing down.

Please pass any alternative nominations to the Secretary ( ) by 12th. October.  Informally we have tried to maintain a geographical spread among committee members as well as avoiding having more than two members of the Committee from any one Club.  We would therefore particularly welcome nominations for the South West and Fife/Angus.

Any  Other Business

Matters to be added to the agenda under “Any Other Business” must be submitted in writing to the secretary by 19 October 2014.   Any business not submitted in this way will not be discussed at the meeting.

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