Newly Benign North Berwick

North Berwick is going to lose its reputation as a wild place to race, as for the second year running conditions were forgiving, with a 10-14 mph south westerly wind, and sunshine throughout the day.  The racing itself however was tough as ever, on what is one of the longest courses in the regular regatta circuit.  The race from the start off Platcock Rocks, round the island of Craigleith and back towards the harbour gives a variety of conditions, with a side wind at times, a rolling tailwind down the back of the island, a steep headwind on the east side as the prevailing breeze curls round the rock, and a long stretch with a the wind to port on the return, making roughly 3km of mixed pain and pleasure.


There were 16 skiffs taking part in the races, three of which were from the host club.  NB were delighted to be joined by all three of the other East Lothian clubs: Eskmuthe, Boatie Blest and Sunny Dunbar.  Other clubs had travelled much further with Coigach coming down from their Achiltibuie base, and Islay doing the ferry trip for their weekend visit.  Fifers were out in force from Crail, St Andrews and Anstruther.  The South East contingent was completed by the presence of Eastern, RowPorty and Queensferry, with Royal West of Scotland Boat Club joining us from the Clyde.  Broughty Ferry made up the compliment and started off the day in impressive style with a victory in the Men’s 50+, traditionally seen as a sacrificial event to test the waters.  As it was, the good conditions made for a very close race with the Taysiders only just holding off the challenge of Boatie Blest, with Coigach coming in just seven seconds behind the winners to take third.

Broughty’s win was followed by a series of victories for hosts North Berwick, who took the stones of glory in the women’s 50+, mens and women’s 40+, mixed open and novice.  In the women’s 40+ the win came despite getting caught on a trailing creel end close to the rock.  Broughty found themselves sitting on a rock when they tried to cut inside the stranded North Berwick crew ending their chances of being amongst the medals.  The mixed open brought the closest racing of the day for medal positions, with Broughty taking the silver, followed by Eastern and Boatie, all within three seconds of each other over the 18 minute course.

In the novice Queensferry were lunging for the line when the hosts nicked it off them.  Only two of the North Berwick boats completed the course with the third suffering an oar breakage in the first three strokes.  It was great to see 10 crews of novices taking to the start line, so well done to the rowers of Eastern, RowPorty, Dunbar, Eskmouthe, Boatie and Islay who took part.  All did well in what was a challenging first race for many.   Welcome to our sport, and we hope you get yourselves along to other regattas soon to try to lose the novice status.

The 60+ crews were sent round the full course, after last years not very successful experiment with a single buoy turn handicap.  Dunbar managed to hold off Broughty to take the bronze behind NB and Eastern.  Eastern also won the Under 19 race.  Crail got their best result of the day in the mixed 45+ with a silver ahead of Eastern but behind North Berwick.   Eastern finished the day with wins in both the Men’s and Women’s open.  In the men’s Coigach got their silver by a second ahead of the hosts, with St Ayles taking the silver ahead of Boatie in the Women’s.

For full results from North Berwick with times click here.  

All photos on this post by Steve Thompson.  Look for a picture of your favourite crew on the North Berwick Rowing Club Flickr Page.

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