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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