1st Dutch International St Ayles Skiff Regatta: The Results

WSV Woudrichem hosted the first Dutch International St Ayles skiff regatta on 27 May 2017.   Weather conditions were challenging, but not in the usual way, with visiting crews seeking shade between races, as temperatures soared into the 30s.  There was a breeze blowing which was very welcome, bringing some relief for crews on the water.  The course was eight lanes wide in the River Maas.  Crews raced from a start/ finish line, up to accurately placed turning buoys 1km upstream. All turns were to starboard, with the wind (until the last race) being a head wind on the way to the turn and a tail wind on the return leg.  Unlike the usual situation, the tailwind was not universally welcomed, as it meant a considerable increase in apparent temperature as crews started the second half of the race.

The (very generous and welcoming) hosts were joined by overseas skiffs from Ullapool, North Berwick, Anstruther, Largs (Firth of Clyde), Queensferry, Port Seton, Carrick and Killyleagh.  It was great to see local competition for Woudrichem coming from WSV Heusden in their bright orange skiff, and WV de Merwede, who launched officially named their skiff the day before the regatta (see separate post).  As has become normal, the attending clubs welcomed some others into their ranks, and we know that rowers from Langstone Cutters Gig Club (England), Broughty Ferry (Scotland) , Strangford (Northern Ireland) and Lake Champlain (USA) were involved in the racing.

The dutch crews set out their stall early, with Woudrichem storming to victory in the first race of the day, Men’s 50+, and also taking thebronze, with North Berwick sandwiched between them.  Any doubts that the Dutch crews would struggle against experienced overseas opposition were quickly put aside.  However when the Women got onto the water normal service was resumed to some extent with St Ayles Anstruther storming home in a victory ahead of Port Seton’s Boatie Blest, and North Berwick…  three of the six clubs who attended the first ever St Ayles skiff regatta in 2010.  The fourth of those six clubs, Ullapool, placed second in the next race, the men’s 60+, in a race dominated by a strong North Berwick Crew.  Carrick had their best result of the day (with a very small team) coming fourth in this event behind the hosts in third.

St Ayles Anstruther won again in the Womens 60+, with Queensferry taking the silver.  Ullapool lifted the bronze in this event ahead of Killyleagh from Strangford Lough.

“Martin’s Dreamteam” from Woudrichem posted the fastest time of the day in winning the Mens’ 40 + event in 11 minutes 40.69.  Second fastest time of the day was set by North Berwick in winning the Men’s open in 11:43.78.  These were the only teams to go under 12 minutes.

In the youth events Anstruther, and Woudrichem took the medals, along with a North Berwick crew who had USA’s Lake Champlain and Largs’ Firth of Clyde rowers on board.

Biggest cheers of the day were for Queensferry winning the the Mixed Open A, and for the hosts in the very last race of the day, Open Mixed B, where they battled all the way back from the turn to beat a stony North Berwick crew.   Half the crews in that raced dived into the water at the end in celebration and in search of relief from the heat.

The Saturday regatta was preceded by short sprints on the Thursday night (held on the ice skating pond), and a mystery tour by skiff on the Friday morning.  On Friday afternoon there was a trip accross the busiest waterway in Europe, to welcome the newest skiff on to the water at Gorinchem.

The welcome extended to visiting clubs really was astonishing, with so may volunteers putting in so much effort.  A very big thank you on behalf of all visitors is extended to the WSV Woudrichem, their members and their neighbours.  It is hard to imagine how they could have done anything more, and we love having them as part of our community.


The Full sets for results, listed both by overall time and by category, can be found through the WSV Woudrichem website.  Local report found here  .

See a great set of photos by Bart Stoutjesdijk some of which are used in this post.

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