North Berwick Regatta 2018 Report and Results

Conditions made for a variety of challenges throughout the North Berwick Rowing Club regatta.  The course is a challenging one, from a start line off Platcock Rocks (challenging enough in itself for the coxes and the starters when up to 14 boats are getting in line on a free start), out to Craiglieth Island (“The Craig”), a steep sided rock about 1 km off the town, round the island and then back the 1km to the finish line.  The out, round and back course means that crews will inevitably experience a range of conditions as they vie for a good position.  This year, at the start of the day, it looked like conditions were going to be a bit too challenging, with white horses driven in by a strong North Westerly wind.  With a dangerous, steep clapotis to the North and West of the Craig, the decision was reluctantly taken to shorten the course.  Crews for the Men and Women 50+ races were asked to row out to the South side of the Craig, and were lined up and sent off in split waves on a straight line 1km sprint from there to the finish.    As you would expect the shorter course led to tight gaps, with Eastern winning the mens race by 3 seconds, and Crail winning the women’s race by 2 seconds.

There was a great turn out of clubs for the last big regatta of the season.  All four East Lothian clubs (North Berwick, Dunbar, Eskmuthe and Boatie Blest) attended, and were joined by RowPorty, Eastern, and Queensferry from further west along the Lothian coast.  Crail and St Andrews were down to represent Fife.  Clubs that had travelled from further afield included  Ullapool and Coigach from the North West (who combined forces to provide a “Lions” team), and, from the North East,  Broughty Ferry and Collieston (who were attending the regatta for the first time).  Arran were the only overseas club to attend, and brought with them one or two athletes from other Clyde clubs.  Finally the hosts were delighted to welcome Alnmouth who had made the trip up from the Northumbrian coast.

Conditions improved, and with a drop and slight shift in the wind, the alarming jabble with its pinnacles and vertical drop offs  subsided, and the chief umpire advised that the full and testing round the island course could be used.  The 40+ Men’s and women’s races were therefore the first to go off round the full course.  As with most of the races North Berwick were represented by two crews using different boats.  The first of these in Skiff John B led the fleet round the rock, and pulled away from close challengers Eastern over the last quarter.  Boatie Blest took the bronze with a close battle for fourth place between the Lions, Broughty Ferry and Arran being nipped by the Lions with six seconds separating those three crews.

The women’s 40 + was the closest finish of the day.  Broughty Ferry lead North Berwick round the rock, but the hosts chased the Taysiders down relentlessly in the cross sea from the Craig back to shore.  The crews were side by side into the line and it was close enough that the point of the stroke that the crews were on was probably all that differentiated them on the line.  Broughty Ferry took the line honours by less than a second.

The Mixed Open had the biggest field of the day, with 14 of the 15 skiffs taking part, including all three of the North Berwick’s St Ayles skiffs, and both the Ullapool/ Coigach skiffs.  It was won by one of the North Berwick boats.  The next category was the Novice and Fresher’s race where all rowers were either in their first year of rowing or had never won a race before. The rowers in the Boatie Blest crew were delighted to lose their novice status.  Forty rowers took part in this race, showing that there is still plenty of development going on in our sport.  Collieston, Eskmuthe and Broughty all had a close race further down the field.  Well done to all the rowers for pitting themselves against each other in what might be considered to be the most challenging course in the rowing calendar.

The more mature rowers were catered for in the mixed 240+ …  giving an average age for the rowers of at least 60.  This was one of the hardest and closest races.  Eastern crossed with a lead of 11 seconds, but second place Crail had only only one second over Broughty Ferry in third and five seconds over North Berwick in fourth.  The hosts were delighted that Alnmouth, having travelled up from Northumberland got this chance to complete the full course, having entered the shortened races earlier in the day.

Three crews entered the Under 19 race, which was held over the shortened course.  Ullapool and Coigach Lions took line honours,  definitely making their long road trip worthwhile.  The winners of the Mixed 45+ were much closer to home, North Berwick romping home with the biggest winning margin of the day.  An excellent days racing was rounded off by Eastern winning a double in the open categories, ahead of Coigach and Ullapool in the men’s race and just holding off a massive effort by Crail in the women’s race who chased the all the way back from the island and were denied by just one second.

All told a fantastic day of fun, friendship and endurance.  The cakes were great, the sponsors generous, the medals were recycled from the large quantities of wood which were washed up on the Lothian shore earlier in the year, and the visiting clubs were all thanked for the effort they had made to attend.

For full results of the 2018 North Berwick Regatta, with every time for every crew in every race, click on this link.

Photos Steve Thomson.  Pick your favourite from the day from the NBRC Flickr page.

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