Stranraer Coxing Course – SCRA style

With 20 would-be coxes from Stranraer, Girvan and Annan clubs, 4 skiffs and 6 instructors, the weekend coxing course at Stranraer boat house was certainly a busy one.  It was held over the weekend of 17th and 18th November at Stranraer Clubhouse. There were different oar set ups, rudder arrangements and a mixture of tiller and strings to contend with.  Not an easy prospect for the willing pupils.

Ali, Stuart and Babs (the old hands) had 3 new helpers from Anstruther, Audrey, Elsie and Shona to help out for the weekend.  After some fun ice-breaking the morning soon went in with Ali’s unique style of interactive learning.  The Pictionary (skiff style) was taken outside into the now sunshine of the late morning.  Common terminology, necessary boat equipment, VHF competence, launch and recovery were all discussed with always the emphasis on crew and boat safety.  Lots of coffee (thanks Tommy) kept everyone going throughout the day.

 

The afternoon session was taken on to the water for the rowing technique session, this had been requested to be part of the programme and everyone enjoyed the input from the more experienced skiff rowers.  A BBQ was then provided by the host club which all the participants enjoyed before going home to read up on the ‘Rules of Racing’ for Sunday’s session…..

(Preparation for the next day was also being taken by the SCRA instructors, after celebrating Babs’ birthday (yummy lemon cake baked by Audrey) by trying to work just who exacty they were?)

Sunday morning was back to business with Stuart taking the lifejacket session, more coffee and then rules of racing.  With the World’s fast approaching the need for a straight line and a good sharp turn were emphasised to the possible racing coxes.  Outside we went again, (more sunshine and favourable wind) this time to do some ‘land-based’ coxing which was to show how commands should be given clearly and there was even racing involved there too!  The coxes then split into the 4 skiffs and hit the water to do some practice, the instructors going in the bow, manouvering around Loch Ryan and the buoys which had been laid for the weekend.

After lunch the racing began. Now filled with enthusiasm and raring to go, coxes hit the water with one instructor per skiff as stroke!  A course had then been laid with 4 buoys from a beach start, to around 200m and then back to the beach finish.  Four races were run with lots of swopping around of coxes and crews and we won’t mention the last race which just ‘happened’ to have 4 instructors as crew and a brave Steve coxing them to the finish line……. thankfully first or they were going to keep going to Cairnryan!

Back to shed once the skiffs had been packed up for the evaluation session and any more questions.  All the participants agreed they had lots to take back to their respective clubs with the clear message to practice all they could before next July.

Thanks of course to Stranraer Coastal Rowing Club for hosting this training course, we’ll see you all on the water!

 

 

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SCRA Green Flag Awards 2018

We are privileged to row in some of Scotland most beautiful locations, from the remote to the urban, in rumbling seas to placid lochs. Over the years, our clubs have been at the forefront of reducing waste and caring for the coastal environments that we call ‘home’. Many do this simply as a matter of routine. In recognition of those efforts and to inspire others to do the same, the SCRA developed the prestigious, Green Flag Awards. A total of 6 of these were awarded at this year’s AGM, to great applause. The first 2 green flags were awarded retrospectively to 2 trailblazing clubs: Isle of Seil and St Ayles, Anstruther

Isle of Seil have been using their skiff, Selkie, to remove litter from the remote beaches and islands around the Firth of Lorn for several years now. Interestingly, they tell us that the vast majority is commercial debris from fish and mussel farms.  This year’s efforts include removing 100m of fish farm pipe from Eilean Gamnha which proved to be just the right gauge for the cox’s railway boat launching system! Recycling at its best.

Meanwhile, over in Anstruther, St Ayles Coastal Rowing Club led the way in terms of zero waste regattas. Not only did they buy-up their dishes, cutlery etc from charity shops to avoid disposable plastic, when the regatta was finished, they washed it and donated it all back again! That’s clever. St Ayles also championed the ‘bring your own mug’ to regattas, something so easy to do, that it’s become another bit of kit.

Isle of Seil and St Anstruther were joined by a further 4 clubs this year, who became 2018 green flag recipients:

Rowers from Girvan joined forces with their local Rotary club to remove well over the equivalent of 800 bags of litter from 9 separate beaches. Phew!  93% of that lot was deemed to be plastic-based litter. Sadly, they tell us this was up 23% on the year before. Amongst this, they found quite a few spent gun cartridges which they say gave them pause for thought!

Girvan rowers in beachwear

Musselburgh’s Eskmuthe, have been campaigning for better water quality and cleaner beaches for some time now. They have become the ‘eyes of the public, directly reporting any concerns to SEPA. As well as inspiring over 60 community volunteers to mobilise for beach cleans, they have developed a sprint version with their “2 minute beach cleans”. On that note, how many bits of beach litter can your club pick up in 2 minutes? Come on, we know you like a bit of competition.

Over to Arran Coastal Rowing Club next, who dispensed with plastic bottled water, arming themselves instead with 25litre refillable water containers with help yourself taps. They’re a right crafty lot, that – making their medals from hand made soap and hand turning mini-fenders from recycled wood. Who wouldn’t want to win one of those? Arran also tell us that following their regatta, the remains of the draught beer was ‘recycled’ by the committee. I’ll drink to that!

Our final award went to Glasgow Rowing club who joined forces with the Marine Conservation Society UK and Keep Scotland Beautiful for an epic clean up of the slipway and pontoon near the Riverside Museum, in advance of Castle to Crane. A total of 14 volunteers removed 38kg’s of litter including a large duvet (possibly from a water bed?!?).  The most surprising find was collecting nearly 2000 plastic stems from cotton buds along an eight metre stretch of slipway. These have been passed on to an artist, Littoral Art, who will use them to create a sculpture with cotton buds collected from UK beaches.

If you are inspired by these clubs, please organise your own ‘green’ projects and don’t forget to tell us all about them. You too could be the proud owners of a Green Flag Award.

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NEW: St Ayles Skiff Measurement Rules 2019

The 2019 Measurement Rules for the St Ayles Skiff have now been published.

Following a review process the St Ayles Skiff measurement rules have been revised and approved by the SCRA committee.  They will come into force for all regattas (worldwide)  after 1 January 2019.

The rules should be read in their entirety, but the following points may be of interest.

We have removed the imperial measurements, and expressed all measurements in metric.  While doing this, there will have been some minor changes to dimensions, including that the stems outer face being limited to 25mm rather than inch and a quarter.  Fairing of the planking is discouraged, both on the plank edges and on the return corners.

There must be no plastic or metal on the oarlock fittings…..   expect this to be enforced.  The entire thole pin is to be inside the plane of the outer plank (no outrigger) and there is a new limit on how far inboard the pin can be.

On lifting rudders we are asking for a contrasting paint to show the correct amount which must be under the water, making it easier for umpires to check if a raised rudder is never the less within the rules.  Rudders must be attached to the aft face of the stern post.  The use of “beaks” sticking out from the sternpost for rudder attachments will not be tolerated.

A thwart goes from one side of the boat to the other.   Short seats perched on top of cross members are not acceptable, and never have been.  The weight of the rower should be borne by the frames, not the planking.  Therefore there is a limit to thwart spacing to the extent that the thwart must be fixed to the frame and not be forward or aft of it in its entirety.

The rule with regard to para-rowers is now set out at rule 11.  Any reasonable derogation from the rules is allowed to allow para rowers to row or cox against other crews on as near equal basis as possible.
The one design ethos is essential to the continued world wide growth of the class:  Racing is to be dependent on the effort, skills and seamanship of its crew rather than the skill and ingenuity of the boat builder or the depth of their pockets.  Builders and users must abide by the spirit of the rules to achieve the aims of the rules.  Thank you.

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Winter Sprints: Ullapool

 

In breezy but dry weather, on Saturday 10th November Ullapool CRC hosted a Winter Sprint session at the wee pier. Coigach, Loch Carron and Lochinver joined both UCRC skiffs in 250m dashes out of the harbour towards the wee pier. After a warming lunch of soup, sandwiches and cakes, there were longer sprints out to buoys and back, ending with a Le Mans style beach start for a round the moorings race. This was hotly contested with a very narrow finish between Coigach and Ullapool, the latter narrowly leading.

There was a strong youth showing, with both Ullapool skiffs fielding youth crews with a very ecumenical mix of Ullapool and Coigach.
Although the event started with a points score this was abandoned in favour of hot soup and standing round the brazier. Last year’s most promising club award went to Lochcarron, who handed it over to this year’s holder, Lochinver.

 

 

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Skiffing the Light Fantastic with Girvan Coastal Rowing Club

Girvan Coastal Rowing Club pushed the boat out this November: participating in the annual Carrick Festival of Light, with 2018 featuring a sparkling lantern parade celebrating 350 years of Girvan’s Burgh status.  Under a starry sky, led by a piper, Girvan rowers carried their ¾ size lantern skiff-with-a-difference through the streets to the Prom to marvel at the grand, extravagant finale: blazing fire sculptures on the beach.

The Girvan skiff-lantern was among hundreds of lanterns reflecting Girvan past and present: sharks and fishes; ice cream cones and a Punch & Judy stall, SS Waverley paddle steamer, a flotilla of small boats; lighthouses, a giant Girvan Suffragette the RNLI lifeboat boats and many beautifully designed lanterns. Carrick Rural Arts Group organises funding and professional artists to lead the annual Festivals of Light.

The skiff lantern, constructed of environmentally-friendly paper and willow, was built over a number of weeks by a team of Girvan rowers, led by coxswain Ian McClymont, who spent 40 + hours crafting this craft using alternative boat-building skills! Girvan Coastal Rowing Club hope to put their paper skiff on display at (or perhaps in George Wyllie paper boat style, IN) Girvan Harbour in springtime 2019.  See more photos of the Lantern Parade at Girvan Coastal Rowing Club Facebook page.  Photo credits Shirley Tennant and David Wilson.

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Cromarty Boat Launch 24 November 2018

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SCRA Thank You Quaichs 2018

At the SCRA AGM  some clubs and individuals who have added something to our sport above and beyond doing their own rowing or running their own clubs were recognised by being awarded quaichs with the SCRA logo embossed.  There are many who deserve such recognition, and we hope they all take pride in the work done by those who did receive their rewards this time round.  Those who  received SCRA Quaichs in 2018 are as follows:

St Andrews Coastal Rowing Club:  For helping to bring adaptive rowing to those who benefit from it, and willingly sharing their knowledge, enthusiasm and experience with other clubs.  A group is being set up to share experiences of other clubs and individuals.  Get in touch with the SCRA secretary if you want to be added to the group.

David Tod, Fisheries Museum and St Ayles Coastal Rowing Club of Anstruther:  David was the Chairman of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project, and as a trustee of the Fisheries Museum worked with Alec Jordan of Jordan Boats to commission Iain Oughtred for a design for a community built Coastal Rowing Boat.  He retained his involvement through the St Ayles Rowing Club and remains hugely enthusiastic about the skiff and the benefits it brings.  As he says…..  “We have caught a tiger by the tail”.

Elsie Johnston and Shona Muirhead, on behalf of SCRA, present a Quaich to David Tod.

 

Royal West of Scotland Boat Club:  Several clubs help in the organisation of Castle to Crane, providing umpires, safety boats, and general volunteers.  However Royal West deserve to be singled out for a quaich because of the enthusiasm a large group of their members put into the race in the days leading up to race day, on the day and afterwards.  Wherever a volunteer at the start end of things was required, there was a good chance the position would be filled by one of their members.  As well as organising the start and supplying and crewing a safety boat, the club somehow managed to turn out crews to fill two St Ayles skiffs and two coxed four Jolly Boats.

Roisin Steele:  For making coastal rowing in Scotland more inclusive and in particular involving more and more young people.  Roisin’s enthusiasm through Deveron Coastal Rowing Club is central to the SCRA Youth Series.  She is always willing to help other clubs to develop their strategies for involving young people, and ensures that young people are involved in every aspect of her own club.

Loch Tummel Sailing Club:  For three years in a row LTSC have hosted us for our AGM and for the Freshwater sprints.  It really has proven to be the perfect venue for our season closing event.  Their club members cheerfully put in a hard days shift before putting in a hard evening’s shift and shutting down the clubhouse for the winter.  All the rowers appreciate the non-stop stream of hot food, hot drinks and cakes, all provided with a smile.  The Quaich was presented to reflect our gratitude for their hard work and warm welcome.

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SCRA Picnic Class at Loch Tummel

There was a tremendous variety in the boats turning up for the picnic class races this year, including the first boat purposely designed with the rule in mind, the innovative catamaran “Daylight”.  The Picnic Class rules state that boats must be less than 5 meters long, and must have a sheer that is concave…..  that is like a smile.  They can be built of any material, but must be rowed fixed seat, and with the rowlocks at the gunnel, that is with no outriggers.  They are rowed by one person, but must be capable of carrying a passenger……..  and a picnic.

Daylight, built by Topher Dawson of Ullapool, performed well coming second in the men’s race despite having to row with a set of oars that were a bit on the short side after an earlier gear failure caused by an oar/ lump of rock interface issue earlier in the day.  The winner of the men’s race was Adam Graham in the veteran Royal West of Scotland Boat Club’s “Fifteen”, (which is from their “Sixteen” class, confusingly).  The positions were reversed in the ladies race, with Jan Dawson powering past the finish line in Daylight ahead of the rest of the fleet.  Other boats taking part were a Thames skiff from Kinghorn, a Wemyss Skiff from St Andrews, a faering from Queensferry, and a flattie built by Archipelago folkschool.

 

Full results as follows:

Men:

  1.  “Fifteen” RWSABC  1.55
  2.  “Daylight” Ullapool 2.03
  3.   “Swona”  Glasgow  2.35
  4. “Serraphina” Kinghorn 2.43
  5. “Puffin” St Andrews 3.05
  6. “Otter”  Queensferry 3.17

 

Women:

  1. “Daylight”  Ullapool 2.36
  2. “Fifteen” RWSABC 2.57
  3. “Swona” Glasgow 3.02
  4. “Puffin” St Andrews 3.07

The magnificent picnic basket trophy is awarded to the best boat over the two categories, and so this year it is shared between Royal West and Ullapool.

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SCRA Freshwater Sprints Results 2018

Stunning Perthshire Autumn colours, sunshine but oh my it was cold.  The SCRA main season drew to a close once more with the Freshwater Sprints held at Loch Tummel Sailing Club.  Crews were made up from regional teams.  Thus instead of rowing for their clubs crews were racing for North West, North East, Fife, South East or South West.  St Kilda were also represented, with their crews were made up of spare rowers from South East who were happy to have an extra row.    Around 40 clubs were represented at the event…  quite an impressive turn out.

Racing was from a Start line to the West of the Sailing club down to a line of six buoys to the East of the club.  Each crew turned their own mark before heading back to a parallel finish line.  All distances were short, and racing in flat conditions was very close.  Full results below.  Points were awarded on the back of the race results, and the overall winning region was North East, claiming the title back from South East who won it the year before.

A report on the Picnic Class racing will follow.  Thanks due to An Eathar for taking and sharing these great photos.


 

 

Time/Category Lane 1 Lane 2 Lane 3 Lane 4 Lane 5 Lane 6
0920 Cox Brief            
1000 Men Open SW 4=

2PTS

SE 3

3PTS

NE 1

5PTS

FIFE 2

4 PTS

NW 4=

2PTS

 
1020 Women Open SE 3

3PTS

NE 2

4 PTS

FIFE 1

5PTS

NW 5

1 PTS

SW 4

2 PTS

ST KILDA 6TH
1040 MENS 2ND NE 4

3 PTS

FIFE 5

2 PTS

NW 6

1 PT

SW 1

5 PTS

SE 2

4 PTS

ST KILDA

3RD

1100 WOMENS 2ND FIFE 3

3PTS

NW 5

1 PT

SW 4

2 PTS

SE 2

4 PTS

NE 1

5 PTS

ST KILDA

6TH

1120 210+ MEN NW 6

1PT

SW 3

3 PTS

SE 2

4 PTS

NE 4

2 PTS

FIFE 1

5 PTS

ST KILDA

5TH

1140 210+ WOMEN NE 2

4 PTS

NW 5

1 PT

FIFE 3

3 PTS

SW 4

2 PTS

SE 1

5PTS

 
1200 U19 MIXED     NW 2

4 PTS

  NE 1

5 PTS

 
1220 SPARE RACE – NO POINTS AWARDED. NE 2     SW 4 SE 1 ST KILDA

3RD

1225 PICNIC MEN 1ST  15

1.55

2ND Daylight  2.03 3rd

Swona

2.35

4th

Kinghorn

2.43

5th

Puffin

3.05

6th

Otter

3.17

 

1245MEN INTERMEDIATE SE 4

2PTS

NE 3

3 PTS

FIFE DQ DID NOT TURN MARK SW 1

5 PTS

NW 2

4 PTS

 
1250 PICNIC WOMEN 1ST

DAYLIGHT

2.36

2ND

15

2.57

3RD

SWONA

3.2

4TH

PUFFIN

3.7

   
1320 WOMEN INTERMEDIATE NE 4

2PTS

FIFE 2

4 PTS

SW 3

3 PTS

NW 5

1 PT

SE  1

5 PTS

 

 
1340 MEN DECADES FIFE 2

4 PTS

SW 3

3 PTS

NW 5

1 PT

SE 1

5 PTS

NE 4

2 PTS

 
1400 WOMENS DECADES SW 5

1 PTS

NW 3

3 PTS

SE 4

2 PTS

NE 1

5 PTS

FIFE 2

4 PTS

ST KILDA

6TH

 

1420 MIXED INTERMEDIATE NW 5

1 PT

SW 1

5 PTS

SE 4

2 PTS

NE 2

4 PTS

FIFE 3

3 PTS

 
1440 MIXED 230+ SE 4

2 PTS

NW 5

1 PTS

NE 1

5PTS

FIFE 3

3PTS

SW 2

4 PTS

ST KILDA 6TH
1500 NOVICE WOMEN NE 4

2 PTS

FIFE 3

3 PTS

NW 5

1 PTS

SW 2

4 PTS

SE 1

5 PTS

 
1520 NOVICE MEN FIFE 2

4 PTS

SW 1

5 PTS

SE DNS NW 3

3 PTS

NE 4

2 PTS

 
1540 LD MIXED SW 4

2PTS

SE 3

3 PTS

NE 1

5 PTS

FIFE 2

4 PTS

NW 5

1 PT`

ST KILDA 6TH
1610 LD  MIXED  OPEN Lane  1

NW 5

1 PTS

Lane 2

FIFE 1

5 PTS

Lane 3

NE 3

3 PTS

Lane 4

SE 2

4 PTS

Lane 5

SW 4

2 PTS

Lane 6

ST KILDA

6TH

 

 

CUMULATIVE POINTS

Race Time  SW SE NE FIFE NW

 

1000 2 3 5 4 2
1020 4 3 4 5 1
1040 5 4 3 2 1
1100 2 4 5 3 1
1120 3 4 2 5 1
1140 2 5 4 3 1
1200 0 0 5 0 4
1245 5 2 3 DQ 0 4
1320 3 5 2 4 1
1340 3 5 2 4 1
1400 1 2 5 4 3
1420 5 2 4 3 1
1440 4 2 5 3 1
1500 4 5 2 3 1
1520 5 2 4 3
1540 2 3 5 4 1
1610 2 4 3 5 1
TOTALS 52   SW 53  SE 61 NE 56 FIFE 28 NW

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The African Skiff


A few months ago I posted about Hout Bay Yacht Club – a few miles south of Cape Town in South Africa – getting ready to build a skiff. The first skiff has been cut in South Africa and is now under construction in the HBYC clubhouse. It is a pretty familiar scene in the picture, but one that marks a new chapter in Skiffiedom with it being the first build on the African continent.

HBYC has a very ambitious program to build the skiffs, and it is hoped that other Yacht Clubs and community groups in the country will join our world. There has been interest from other places in South Africa so hopefully there will be some competition going on before too long. My contact at HBYC is hoping that they will be able to raise a team to join us in Stranraer next July.

If you are reading this from elsewhere in Southern Africa and want to join in, the kits are available from:

CKD Boats
www.ckdboats.com
Hout Bay
+27 (0)21 790 3859

Alec Jordan

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