SDCRC Storehouse regatta report

Despite the yellow weather warning and dreich outlook, 6 hardy Highland clubs and Umpire/ Safety boat pilot Commodore Fred Fraser, and his assistant Dave Bilsland, from Invergordon Sailing Club turned out, ready for action at the Inaugural SDCRC Storehouse regatta.

Crews from Chanonry, Golspie, Loch Carron, Nairn, Sutor Skiffies, and Strathpeffer kitted up for the monsoon conditions, and fielded teams for a variety of sprint races. Despite reduced turnout due to the weather, the community spirit shone through, and smiles were all around as we swapped rowers, and made sure boats had crews to go ahead. The races all ran to time and the shared slipway launching was a great success. The RNLI zoomed up the Firth midway through the regatta, and launched their inshore boat to come onshore for refreshments. The Storehouse kept everyone topped up with warm drinks, delicious food, and great banter from the Chef in the outdoor kitchen.

The day had a full programme of racing, with 225+Mens, Open Women’s, Open Men’s, 225+ Mixed categories,  finishing with a Septuagenarian’s race, where all rowers must be over the age of 70. In addition to the Septuagenarian race, Strathpeffer organisers put their own twist on the SCRA 225+ and added the requirement that the 225s must include a 70+ rower. SDCRC wanted to allow skiffies in this age group to get their chance to shine, and it was wonderful to see such demand for our august rowers. Auctioning them off as a fundraiser was considered, but in the spirit of the day, we decided to lend them out, with promises extracted that they would be returned unharmed!

Many of the tough coastal rowers raced in multiple races, and gave everything of themselves to whichever club they were rowing for.  Loch Carron rower Doug deserves a particular mention, he raced in 4 sprints over the course of the day, at 82 years of age. A hardy Highlander indeed ! A skiffie high 5 is deserved by Nairn too, they brought 6 rowers who had never been to a regatta before, and they all had a great time . It was fantastic to see Chanonry racing. Club Chair Sandra was a very busy lady, filling in crew sheets and keeping her boat in the water for nearly every race. For SDCRC, it was a particular success that we ran a regatta that all of our neighbours could compete in.

The rain cleared just as racing finished, and the prize giving presentations were brought forward to allow attendees the chance to dry out before the afternoon expeditions. Sutor Skiffies had a very successful day, winning 5 of the 6 races, with Nairn taking the hard fought Open Men’s, by only a few seconds over Strathpeffer. The Septuagenarian’s race was a huge success with 4 boats entering. The winning skiff Juniper had a crew from 4 different clubs; Golspie, Strathpeffer, Avoch, and Sutors, and the Strathpeffer boat was coxed by a marvellous chap from Golspie named Dick.

Cromarty based Sutor Skiffies won the overall SDCRC Storehouse Regatta for 2019. They were delighted to accept the Oar Trophy designed and crafted by SDCRC builder Conrad Gwyther, made from wood used to build Grebe, Skiff no.176. Rumour is that the trophy will be displayed in Cromarty, at the club Chairperson Ingrid’s shop.

After the prizegiving, an afternoon expedition to Castle Craig was planned, but all clubs decided to forego this longer row in favour of a dash to (and under) the Cromarty Causeway. Golspie’s boat Creag Airgid joined in for this, as did Nairn and Ardersier’s Esther with Strathpeffer’s Grebe and Nairn’s Dulsie rounding out the expeditionary quartet. The Cromarty bridge was ticked off of Golspie’s bridge bagging list (created in honour of founder member Campbell Port, who passed away last year). It was lovely to see Esther in the water too, she is St Ayles no. 54, and has just undergone an extensive refurbishment by combined Nairn and Ardersier club members.

Huge, huge thanks to Invergordon Sailing Club for bringing their rib as our safety vessel/ Umpire boat (and staying out in the soaking wet, chilly rain all morning), we couldn’t have done it without you. Massive thanks to our wonderful host venue, The Storehouse of Foulis, and Quintin, the always supportive owner, and his remarkable staff, for everything you do for us.. We are so fortunate! Thanks also to the RNLI for bringing their offshore, and inshore, lifeboats down for us to marvel at, and to the RNLI for their lifejacket checking stall, it is good to remind us all to stay safe. Finally, thanks to all who braved the torrential rain and wet, and still stayed smiling. We are what Scottish Coastal Rowing is all about! Ends.

Comments received:

What a fabulous day! Thank you, thank you!

It was a great event and so well organised from the parking ushers, the help with trollies, the delicious food and (the charming chef! )to the the unusual medals and gorgeous trophy but most of all the great spirit that Strathpeffer showed. You were so generous with support to all the teams finding crew and supplying septuagenarians !!…helping launch and retrieve boats, you really illustrated what Scottish coastal rowing is all about.  Thank you very much.

 It is amazing how much fun you can have in torrential rain! 

Everyone in our party enjoyed the day and greatly appreciate you and your teams Herculean efforts to pull it together and cope with all the last day of summer chose to throw at you – definitely helped having hot coffee and bacon rolls on tap plus a warm cafe to retreat to and thaw out now and again – hopefully the presence of soggy rowers didn’t upset too many customers!  What was special for us was that this was the first regatta for six of our party and they all thoroughly enjoyed the day – think what’s possible when the sun shines…..

Just to say a huge thanks to you and your fab team for a great regatta – the organisation was just perfect, although morning weather was a tad challenging for you guys . we thoroughly enjoyed our time with you and especially the row under the bridge. thank you so much for  that.

I admire your courage and optimism which enabled you to persevere and deliver a fun event despite the Highland’s Summer Monsoon. You and your team team did an amazing job delivering an enjoyable and friendly competitive day for everyone. We all enjoyed the day, the venue and the event and look forward to being invited back.

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