Windy Freshwater Sprints 2017

The SCRA 2017 Freshwater Sprints made a welcome return to Loch Tummel Sailing Club who kindly hosted the event in 2016.  Around 300 rowers descended on the Perthshire venue for the last major event of the SCRA season.  Rowers were reminded of why an event at the end of October is as well held on the sweet inland water, as 40mph winds howled down the glen.  At sea these would have made for dicey conditions but here we were in the most sheltered corner of a sheltered loch and the wind made for a varied course: working hard to get to the turn, and then flying back to the finish as soon as the turn was made.

Good coxing was rewarded both in the turn itself, and indeed in co-ordinating crews made up of rowers from different clubs with slightly different techniques, and having to get quickly used to equipment provided by other clubs.    The sprint teams represent the six major regions of Scotland:  South East, Fife, North West, South West, North East and St Kilda.  The remote Atlantic archipelago of St Kilda had struggled to make up a team from its own population, so rowers from other regions subbed in to make sure that they were represented.


For the second year we added the one rower “Picnic Class” to our usual St Ayles skiff class races.  The men’s race was won by Andres of Row Porty in his Drake 17 “Pasqual”, and the women’s race by Vana of North Berwick in “Tusitalla”, as pictured above.  The overall picnic class tophy, a magnificent hamper, was shared between RowPorty and Royal West.  Royal West’s “Sixteen” was second in both races a solid consistency carried on from last year for this historic boat.

The wind drew up its full strength by around 2pm.  We sadly lost the novice races as a result, and paused to see if conditions would improve.  However, the wind remained strong, and so we shortened the long distance races to sprints, and called it a day once we had completed them.  Rowers were entertained in the spare time by talks from Geoff Turner (of Teal Engineering, sponsors of the event, who told us about trailers and towing and the regulations that go with them), and by St Andrews University Rowing the Waves project, who updated us on the work that they are doing and the passion and enjoyment that they are finding in the sport.

Thank you to the volutneer umpires, particularly those who attended the umpire training on the Friday night.  Nothing like getting the chance to put your learning immediately to good use!

The results of the day are there to see in the picture below.  South East came out as 2017 regional champions, with last year’s champions North East coming in second, and Fife third.



Thank you once again to Loch Tummel sailing club for being such welcoming hosts.  Thank you to Barbara Agnew for the photos featuring St Ayles skiffs in this post. These and many more great photos on the Queensferry RC Flickr Group.  Thank you to Ian Mills for the picnic class photos.

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