Archive for category Regattas

Last Two Club Regattas of the 2019 Season

Just what it says….. we are at the end of the main season. Two events on this weekend though:

Eastern are having a fun regatta on the beach at Portobello. Go down and support your favourites. Meanwhile on the other side of the country Carrick are welcoming clubs to the Exciseman’s Chase. Good luck to all crews:

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Great River Race results & Photos

Seven St Ayles took part in this year’s GRR – four from the Netherlands and three from England.

On a somewhat grey day, I caught the skiffs passing Westminster from Vauxhall Bridge, then nipped on the train to catch them again at Richmond Bridge.

There were good results for the St Ayles crews – Felton Flyer from Dartmouth won the Mixed crew trophy, Blakeney came 2nd in the Vets 60+, and Woudrichem’s men came third in the Four Oared section. Felton Flyer was racing with Carbon Oars in gates, so would not have won the GRR Trophy, which would have been presented to Woudrichem – if the varnish had dried before we left Somerset on Friday. Another trip to the Netherlands coming I think.

Next year, we expect to see more entries for our skiffs, and there will be separate trophies for womens and mixed crews, and I’ll use better varnish on them which dries in time!

Alec J

















More news from Tasmania

Monday saw the racing action move from the Wooden Boat Festival to the Royal Hobart Regatta a mile or so north of the harbour.

The crews rowed their boats around to the Hobart Showgrounds past HMAS Sydney which should have been positioned as the guardship for the regatta. Unfortunately, some unfortunate RAN sailor got something wrong, and her 2½ ton anchor detached from the chain and was sitting at the bottom of the harbour.
Wee Tawera passes HMAS Sydney

Swan from Cygnet racing down the course

Between the long distance swimming and sliding seat rowing events, the St Ayles exhibition races over 250m saw some close competition between the crews; Franklin and the Kiwis dominating a very close five skiff final race with the Kiwis taking the line by a small margin.
The Kiwis collect their Medals
Later, four of the skiffs departed on the Reverse Raid to row the 50 odd miles back to Franklin over three days, some of which will be under tow.

Alec J

Photos courtesy of Hans Sipsma

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Race Schedule & Lane Draw for Freshwater Sprints

See below the race schedule and lane draw. Please note the Coxes brief and first race in the morning are the only difinitive times. Others could be effected by weather, water conditions and tiredness.

Race no Est. Time Race category Lane 1 Lane 2 Lane 3 Lane 4 Lane 5
0 10:00 Coxes Brief
1 10:30 Open W 1st SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
2 10:45 Open M 1st SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
3 11:00 Open W 2nd North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
4 11:15 Open M 2nd Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
5 11:30 Int W SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
6 11:45 Int M SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
7 12:00 Nov W North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
8 12:15 Nov M Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
9 12:30 40+ W SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
10 12:45 40+ M SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
11 13:30 55+ W North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
12 13:45 55+ M Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
13 14:00 U19 W SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
14 14:15 U19 M SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
15 14:30 Mx Open 1st North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
16 14:45 Mx Open 2nd Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
17 15:00 Int Mx SW SE North Fife/Angus RotW
18 15:15 40+ Mx SE North Fife/Angus SW RotW
19 15:30 55+ Mx North Fife/Angus SW SE RotW
20 15:45 Mixed Decades Fife/Angus SW SE North RotW
For simplicity we have assumed entries in all categories by each of the attending regions.
Lane 5 allocated to anyone wanting to put together a crew, one per event.
This will be regarded as an entry for the “Rest of the World”

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“Sunshine over Millport”

They may not have walked 500 miles but they did come from as far afield as Fairlie, Irvine, Troon, Greenock, Anstruther, Pittenweem & Port Seton to join Cumbrae in competing in the Cumbrae CRC Regatta this year. Again, another regatta on the West Coast blessed with beautiful weather and relatively calm conditions.

As with every year at Millport the event started the night before, with the teams arriving and getting settled in the campsite at the Garrison, described by one member of Boatie Blest as “Party Central”. Although comfortable dry accommodation was available at various hostelries and hostels on the island, the majority chose the field between the Garrison and the all purpose sports field as their home from home. Stuart Mack impressed us all with his recently acquired LARGE marquee.

Initial attempts were made by the race organiser on Friday night to establish the entries for the racing on Saturday, before a large number of highly tuned athletes retired to the karaoke at The George Hotel.

Saturday morning saw the arrival of Troon, with their customary pagoda, chairs, flags and cups of tea. All happy and eager to get racing.
A welcome sight to the slightly beleaguered “highly tuned athletes” who had been camped on Friday night. Final entries received, race programme written, coxes brief completed, umpires volunteered, the event got underway about 10am with the first of a series of head-to-head straight sprint events. The course was along the Newton Shore from Crocodile Rock jetty to the big stone in front of the Garrison, maybe 200-250 yards.

Results as follows:
Open Men 1st Boatie Blest, 2nd St. Ayles
Open Women 1st St. Ayles, 2nd Pittenweem
40+ Men 1st Boatie Blest, 2nd Troon
40+ Women 1st Boatie Blest, 2nd St Ayles
50+ Women 1st Boatie Blest, 2nd Pittenweem
Open Mixed 1st St. Ayles, 2nd Firth of Clyde
40+ Mixed 1st Boatie Blest, 2nd St. Ayles
50+ Mixed 1st Pittenweem, 2nd Troon
Decades 1st Boatie Blest, 2nd Troon

The Decades event required that the age of each of those rowing had to be from a different decade (Teens, 20’s, 30’s, etc.)

Due to local tidal and beach conditions the final two events of the day were planned as long distance timed processional races, very much as was run at Royal West in June. Crews waited “patiently” on the water for one member of their crew to run down from the Control Gazebo at the top of the beach and leap into the boat. They would then set off East along the shore line to the end of the moorings before turning South to The Eileans. The stretch between the two marks on the South side of the islands, kindly laid by Cumbrae Watersports Centre, kept crews on their toes, as the swells coming up the Firth from Wee Cumbrae were surprisingly large. Once round the second mark they turned North again in a sprint, with a following sea, to the beach. But the racing did not finish there. A member of the crew had to sprint back up the beach to the Control Gazebo where Colin “the timekeeper” from Anstruther clocked them back in. He was ably assisted by young Sarah Graham of Royal West who wrote down the order of returning crews.

As you can imagine the antics of some of the crews leaving and returning provided entertainment to skiffies and the general public alike. Think one boat lost its rudder on leaving the beach, during both races. A few folk fell into the water, instead of their boats. Heard that there is at least one VHF at the bottom of Newton Bay.

There were two races. The Best Crew category, where captains selected their Best Crew, and the 250+ Crew, where the total age of the crew (incl. cox) had to be at least 250 years.

The results and times were as follows:
Best Crew
1. Boatie Blest (11:54:36)
2. St. Ayles (12:23:56)
3. Royal West (13:40:27)
4. Pittenweem (13:58:02
5. Troon (14:34:99)
6. Firth of Clyde (15:10:75)
7. Cumbrae (16:29:02)

250+ Crew
1. St. Ayles (12:52:82)
2. Royal West (13:45:33)
3. Cumbrae (13:59:30
4. Pittenweem (14:50:56
5. Boatie Best (15:41:50)
6. Troon (16:12:24)

Overall Champion for the day were Boatie Blest, for the third year in a row. They were awarded the Newton Shield and a set of medals as well as bottle of Whiskey.

The overall results were as follows:
1. Boatie Blest – 284
2. St. Ayles – 276
3. Pittenweem – 198
4. Troon – 182
5. Royal West – 176
6. Cumbrae – 160
7. Firth of Clyde – 86

There were very encouraging performances by both Pittenweem and Troon yesterday. Finishing 3rd & 4th respectively in the overall rankings they also featured in 3 finals each with Pittenweem winning the 50+ Mixed event.

On Friday night there had been a request from some St. Ayles members that a Dolphin Show and Cocktails on the beach be included in the event programme. Not wishing to disappoint her pals Sarah Graham of Royal West arranged both. Just prior to the prize giving there was a performance by a dancing dolphin and then the presentation of cocktails for them to enjoy.
Sarah and pals

At the prize giving Cumbrae CRC deputy captain Austin thanked all those who helped out during the day from the town and visiting clubs.
With the kind assistance of Caledonian MacBrayne the visiting clubs enjoyed free passage to and from the island for the towing vehicles & boats. Thanks should also go to Emma Newton and her team at the Sail & Oar Festival, provided free camping and entrance to the Ceilidh, as well as the prizes on the day.

The friendly collaborative atmosphere of the whole weekend was great.

Next West Coast event is at Largs Marina in two weeks when Firth of Clyde host their regatta as part of a larger event being held by the marina. Racing will be later in the day and will take in not only the area near the marina but probably also up into Largs and maybe across to the Cumbrae Watersports Centre as well.

Adam Graham
(Photos to follow if folk send them to

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Islay Regatta 2014


Following on from the rowing events at last year’s Islay Festival of the Sea, Islay Coastal Rowing held the Islay Rowing Regatta 2014 at North Bay, Port Ellen on Saturday 2nd August. The weather was unfortunately not great for spectators but no problem at all for the gallant crews of men, ladies and mixed teams taking to the waves. Portobello and Mid Argyll rowing clubs along with Islay, launched their boats to do battle in nine different age categories. Using a circular course around the bay, at 10 o’clock sharpish, the first race got underway with the 50+ men, Islay coming home in first place with the fastest time of the day. As the rain started to come in the 50+ ladies took to the water, and using their strength and skill Portobello came home the winners.

Thanks to Jack and Bobby the racing managed to stay on time and the rowers worked their way through the categories.
Men’s 40+: Portobello
Ladies 40+: Islay
Men’s open: Islay
Ladies open: Islay
50+ mixed: Islay
40+ mixed: Portobello
Mixed open: Islay.
Only Islay had a team for the under 19s category so they raced alongside the 50+ and came in with a time of 18.25.

It was a great day, despite the rain, and made even better when Islay were crowned the overall Champions and received (fittingly) a handmade mini oar crafted by Jack.

To round off the weekend with our new friends from Portobello we launched the boats once again on Sunday and had a social row up the coast, past the distilleries to Ardbeg where we enjoyed some well-deserved clootie dumpling. We decided to come home via Texa Island, where upon the weather deteriorated and the rowers had to work hard punching into squally showers which made for exciting rowing. The homeward leg was true coastal rowing and the skiffs showed their remarkable design by taking no water, in what was some very choppy conditions.

A huge thanks to everyone who helped make it such a great weekend, especially Portobello and Mid Argyll for the effort they made coming to join us.






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Collieston Skiff Racing 2014

Collieston ORC’s inaugural skiff racing event got off to a relaxed start in warm dry conditions on Saturday morning, with clubs arriving in good time from Newburgh, Catterline and Portsoy. The fine Newburgh men’s and ladies crews dominated the Open 2km races of the morning in ‘Tay Legends’. Collieston Ladies forged ahead to win a tight Slalom event against a strong current, providing a challenge to our visiting crews.


Lunchtime drama saw the near retirement of the ‘Soy Quine’ due to a leak, but running repairs by her enthusiastic Portsoy crew saw the boat return to the water for continuing competition. With ‘The Spirit of Catterline’ tied in second place with the Redsocks, The Admiral’s Transfer saw the fun return to the harbour in the afternoon. As each boat raced individually into the harbour, the pressure was on to retrieve a bowman from the shore, sprint back to the pier, throw a line to a waiting crew member and transfer the Admiral’s supplies to the skiff. Under timed conditions and avoiding penalties, Newburgh once again threw down the gauntlet, but the event saw Catterline edge past Collieston to secure second place. After much discussion regarding the prudence of a skiffie tug-o-war, all teams competed and applauded the victorious crew of the ‘Soy Quine’.


Prize giving took place at a lively Crew Supper, attended by visitors and the Redsocks alike, with the trophy for Overall Collieston Champions 2014 going to Newburgh, and a buoyant Portsoy crew heading home not only with the tug-o-war prize but also trophy for the Best Leaky Boat 2014.


Congratulations and thank you to all the participating crews who contributed so much to a fantastic day in Collieston; friends have been made, tactics discussed and dates set for further adventures.
Catterline 1

Collieston 6

Collieston 8

Harbour view 2

Harbour view

Newburgh 1

Portsoy 1

Womens open start

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Events in the South West for 2014

After a large expansion in its fleet this year, the South West of Scotland sees an expansion in its regatta circuit for 2014.   A list of the events for Scottish Coastal Rowing and the St Ayles fleet can be found on the 2014 Events Tab.

The first event listed for the South West next year is a new one, and an entertaining one at that.  The town of Annan, on the Solway Firth, close to the English Border will be launching  and naming their skiff in due course.  The Annan Raid on England  on 17 May 2014, will be a one of a kind skiff race.

This will be a raid on England, leaving 1 hr before high water from Annan Harbour, racing  the 3 miles over to Bowness on Solway, landing on the beach. At least 1 to 3 members of each crew will proceed to pub in the centre of village to recover a bell, the first crew arriving at pub have privilege of bringing bell back to Annan and the second crew will bring the stand stand.  Crews will start together for the return leg. At  Annan  (estimate return 1 hr after high water) the bell will be reassembled and rung by the winning crew.  The race partially recreates a  raid in 1626 when some men from Annan raided and stole the bell at Bowness which was the maximum insult in those days.  We do however hope that our skiffs do better than those historic raiders who sadly, due to a combination of heavy bell, small boat and a lot of alcohol lost the bell in the Solway  and has never been found.  Apparently its watery ring is still heard from time to time.  Note the Clash with the very popular Coigach Regatta, but it is assumed that many clubs from the South West will want to take part in the raid.  Please contact Roy Kerr for more information (roykerr(at)

Three weeks later, on 7 June 2014,  Royal West will host a regatta at Greenock which may not be restricted to St Ayles skiffs. Royal West have an extensive fleet of boats, including class 1 Jollyboats and coxed fix seat pairs, and they are looking at ways to make use of them for SCR competition.  Watch this space for more details in due course.

Troon Regatta is set down for 14 June 2014.  This was a popular event last year, featuring a medium length course, with crews from Queensferry, Firth of Clyde, Royal West and Carrick joining the two skiffs from the home club.  The beach at Troon is sandy and gently shelving and can handle a large number of skiffs.

Cumbrae  Sail and Oar Festival has been a fixture on the skiff calendar for the last three years.  This year the event will be on 9 and 10 August 2014 .  

The Exciseman’s Chase takes place on 20 September 2014.  This is a coastal long distance race from Maidens Harbour to Culzean Castle and back.  The following day Carrick Coastal Rowing Club are planning to hold a sprint regatta aimed at schools and juniors.

Crews will return to the Solway for the Nith Navigation Race. The race is a long distance time trial, racing up the River Nith into Dumfries Town Centre on 27 September 2014.   Last years race started at a cafe and finished in a pub, which seemed to go down well with crews.  Six skiffs  completed the 2013 event in around 1 hour.

Any other events in the South West (or anywhere else for that matter) should be intimated to Adam Graham  (adam_graham<at> ) for inclusion in the 2014 Events Calendar.

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Racing between Castles

Last year some of us enjoyed the Exciseman’s Chase which involved the foot of Culzean Castle on the Ayrshire coast. And again, there was an enjoyable Lochalsh Row in June. Well this year, how about a race between 2 Castles…a bit further afield??

Our Welsh cousins have just sent a promotional paragraph about their Castle to Castle race. It’s on 05th April – practically tomorrow!

Here are the details:

Annually we [the Welsh Sea Rowing Association] hold a race – the Castle to Castle, along the Menai Strait which separates Mainland Wales and the Isle of Anglesey. The length of the race is 12 miles, and runs from two famous castles both on the shores of the Strait. The race starts from the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club in Beaumaris, under both Menai Suspension Bridge, through the Swellies, and under the Britannia Bridge on to the finishing line at Caernarfon and The Royal Welch Yacht Club.

The race is open to any rowing boat class; we row Celtic Long Boats, as do most Welsh sea rowing clubs.

Date: 5th April 2014.
Start Time 12.30pm

If any of your members are interested or need more information please contact me:  elinspowell – at – or 07747600578.

…The tides could be interesting!

For those not familiar with this particular piece of Welsh coastline (see the first photo here for a glimpse of it), here is the relevant Google Map. Apparently one could walk the distance in something over 4 hours (no, not on water) – amusingly, they do not include a ‘by sea’ travel option…(must write and point out this glaring omission).

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Tour Norfolk 11 to 15 August 2014, Race Norfolk 16/17 August 2014

CRA Blakeney have issued an invitation to all St Ayles skiff groups to join them on a rowing tour of the North Norfolk Broads in August 2014 and for their regatta at Blakeney on 16 and 17 August 2014


For the tour camping accommodation has been booked at Barton Turf Adventure Centre for anyone wanting to camp in their own tent, or ready equipped tents can be hired. There will also be limited space for caravans and campers. There is plenty of B&B and hotel accommodation available in the area for those not wishing to camp.

A programme of events is planned involving picnics, social events and friendly competition.  The tour will explore the rivers Ant, Bure and Thurne and Barton and Hickling Broads.  It will be suitable for four oared skiffs, gigs, and sculled boats.  Secure overnight mooring will be provided.  It may be possible to include non-rowing members of groups, if space allows.

Blakeney Regatta will be held on the subsequent weekend (16-17th August), so it will be possible to complete your visit to Norfolk with racing on Blakeney Harbour. More information about the regatta will be available later.  If you, or your club are interested in taking part please contact Adrian Hodge: (01362 668847)

Check out the 2014 Calendar for the dates of all UK St Ayles events notified to SCRA to date.  In addition to the Tour of Norfolk and Blakeney Regatta,  English events listed at the moment are the Great Tyne Row on 20 September 2014 and the Great River Race on 27 September 2014 and Blyth (Northumberland) with a provisional date of 19/20 July 2014.    In addition there is a race from Scotland to England and back…..  more details on that to follow.

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