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SCRA Annual Subscription 2017-2018

Many thanks to those clubs who have already paid their subscriptions.


Reul na Maidne
Mill St
IV26 2UN
The Scottish Coastal Rowing Association was formed on 29th May 2010 to
encourage boat building, rowing and racing of coastal rowing boats, principally the St
Ayles Skiff, around the Scottish coastline.
We are an entirely volunteer Association of clubs and other groups and rely on club subscriptions to
carry out our work.
Among other activities, the SCRA
 collates advice and information for building and using skiffs on
 supplies building advice and puts new clubs in touch with nearby established clubs
 publishes coastal rowing news on
 issues safety advice and spreads good practice
 has over 1500 members on facebook/ Scottish Coastal Rowing Group
 is the worldwide class association for the St Ayles skiff
 runs coxing, umpiring and race organisers courses in various locations
 organises in partnership with a local body a World Championship every 3 years
 organises a Freshwater Sprint Regatta and AGM at the end of every season
 represents the sport with various government bodies and other rowing race organisers
 publishes and maintains a calendar of events
 issues Rules of Racing for coastal rowing in Scotland
 supplies and advises umpires and race organisers for new clubs
 hires out race marks for regattas
 builds a community of communities
Annual subscriptions are £60 to clubs and groups, or £40 if they have fewer than 20 members.
Subscriptions are due at the AGM which is held in October, and run to the following AGM.
Payment can be made either by a cheque made out to the SCRA and posted to the address above, or
by BACS, contact me directly for account details.
Subs letter 2018.1
I will always acknowledge receipt of payment and supply a receipt by email if asked.
The committee of the SCRA is very grateful for your support and works hard for the best interests
of the sport. I am sure I will see you at one of the many regattas our members hold.
Yours sincerely,
Topher Dawson, Treasurer.



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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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Scottish Coastal rowing Association Accounts for 01/10/2016 to 30/09/2017

SCRA Accounts 2017.1

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Scottish Indoor Rowing Champs – 17 (Schools) and 18 (Open) November 2017

The Scottish Indoor Rowing Championships run by our sliding seat friends at “Scottish Rowing”.  It is an annual event that attracts competitors from rowing and non-rowing backgrounds across UK and Europe.  Coastal Rowers have had success in the past in some categories.

The Championships in 2017 will be held on Friday the 17th November (Schools Championships) and Saturday the 18th of November (Open Championships) at Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility, Motherwell. ML1 2TZ.  Closing date is Friday 3 November.

For more information and to enter go to the link on the Scottish Rowing Website

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Full Field for Queensferry Regatta 2018

Just as we are putting the 2017 season to bed, news in that one of next year’s regattas is full already!

Queensferry have announced that their regatta in May 2018 will feature the following clubs:

North Berwick
Broughty Ferry
North Queensferry
South Queensferry
There will be plenty of other regattas available for those that have missed out, and the way to be sure of getting an entry to a regatta is to make sure your club organises one for yourselves!  SCRA recognises that local regattas are the essential building blocks of our Association, where clubs can meet each other in friendship and competition on the water.
Please keep an eye on the draft regatta calendar for next year, and send details of your own events to Sue Fenton, for adding to the list (

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Avoch Youth+ Regatta 2017

Well done everyone who organised and took part in the SCRA youth regatta series in 2017.  Here we have the report from the sixth and final regatta in the series from Avoch on the Black Isle:

Well what a day we had on Saturday .  Well done to all the youth teams that came and took part in the last youth regatta of the 2017 season.  Avoch welcomed youth team’s from Ullapool, Burghead , Cromarty, Golspie and of course our own youth team.  The weather was great sunshine with a light breeze.

The day started with the coxes briefing at 10.15am with the racing starting at 11.00am.  First on the water was the U17 girls with Avoch taking 1st , Ullapool 2nd and Burghead 3rd.  Next was the turn of the U17 boys with Ullapool coming in 1st, Avoch 2nd , Burghhead 3rd and Cromarty 4th.  The next race was U19 girls with Avoch taking 1st place , Ullapool 2nd and Burghead 3rd .  With only two team’s running in the U19 boys Ullapool took 1st place and Burghead 2nd.

Next it was the turn of the mixed team’s the U17 mixed race saw Helmsdale take 1st , Ullapool 2nd and Avoch 3rd.  U19 mixed was the last youth race of the day and was won by Ullapool with Burghead 2nd and Avoch 3rd.

We also had a few adult races on the day to give the junior’s a bit of a rest . We welcomed boats from Findhorn, Portsoy, Burghead, Chanonry, Cromarty, Golspie x 2 , Helmsdale, Lochcarron, Shieldaig, Ullapool and our own two boat’s.  The first of the adult races was the womens open which was won by Portsoy with Burghead taking 2nd and Avoch 3rd.  The mens open results were Ullapool 1st, Golspie 2 2nd and Helmsdale 3rd.

Our next adult race was the mixed open which saw Ullapool taking 1st, Avoch 2nd and Helmsdale 3rd.  We then had two mixed age races the first was the 200+ with Golspie 2 taking 1st, Helmsdale 2nd and Ullapool 3rd .  The last race of the day was the 160+ which Golspie 1 came 1st , Portsoy 2nd and Golspie 2 came in 3rd.

Everyone had a fantastic day with lovely food which was provided by the ladies of Avoch .

Thank you to everyone who attended and to everyone who helped out on the day.  See you all again next year.

Plenty of photos on the Avoch CRC Facebook Page and website.  The results for the day have been sent out to clubs but can also be found HERE:

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SCRA Annual General Meeting 2017 Agenda

SCRA Notice of AGM 2017 Final

Notice of AGM 2017

SCRA AGM Saturday 28th October 2017

Scottish Coastal Rowing Association AGM

28h October 2017

6.00 p.m. start (Coffee/tea & biccies available from 5.30 p.m.)

Location: Loch Tummel Sailing Club Clubhouse


  1. Apologies

  2. Minutes of Last Meeting (SCRA AGM 29th October 2016)

  3. Matters Arising

  4. Treasurer’s Report:  (2016/ 2017 Accounts)

  5. Convenor’s Report

  6. Election of Officers and Committee

  7. RowingTheWaves Project Update

  8. Skiffieworlds 2019

  9. Oars Group Report

  10. Any Other BusinessRacing Incidents



Note:  Election of Officers and Committee:

We have received a nomination from St Ayles CRC for Shona Muirhead to join us on the Committee.

We take this opportunity to pass on our thanks Richard Wemyss who is standing down.  All other committee members have indicated a willingness to continue to serve the Association on the committee.


The AGM is a meeting of clubs.

 We can only guarantee space for two representatives per club.

 Anyone speaking at the AGM is speaking on behalf of and as instructed by their clubs.

 It is therefore helpful if clubs have discussed any of the issues that are going to arise in advance of the AGM.

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SCRA Annual General Meeting – Minutes October 2016

SCRA AGM 2016 Minutes



AGM 29.10.2016

At the Loch Tummel Sailing Club

At 1735hrs

Clubs and Individual Members Present:

An Eathar; Anstruther; Avoch; Blakeney; Boatie Blest (P. S. & Cockenzie); Broughty Ferry; Bunillidh ; Carrick; Collieston; Crail; Cumbrae; Deveron; Dunbar ; Eastern ; Eskmuthe (Musselburgh); Firth of Clyde; Glasgow CRC ; Isle of Mull ; Isle of Seil RC; Kinghorn ; Langstone Cutters ; Newhaven ; North Berwick RC; Orkney ; Pittenweem; Portsoy; Rowporty (Portobello); Royal West of Scotland; South Queensferry; St. Andrews; Troon ; Ullapool CRC; Uist ; Wormit.


Findhorn CRC submitted apologies

Chanonry and Sutor Skiffies submitted apologies , Avoch appointed as proxy.

Minutes of the 2015 AGM

The Minutes from the 2015 AGM have been published and available for scrutiny – no hard copies available to circulate but these 2015 Minutes will be available on the website again shortly. These were proposed by Andrew Rendle and seconded by Topher Dawson and adopted.

Matters Arising:

There were no matters arising.

Treasurer’s Report:

Detailed accounts were tabled and the Treasurer spoke briefly to these.

Some specific points and explanations were raised and provided:

  • 53 Clubs and the finances in a healthy state
  • All our income comes from Club Membership Fees
  • Loch Insh Regatta Organisers Course cost SCRA £350;
  • Debit noted from AGM 2015 and sprint medals;
  • The 2015-16 accounts show purchase of a set of 16 inflatable race marks (some of which were used today) – these are available for clubs to hire
  • Insurance Costs .
  • Successful Cox Training event at Shawbost with trainers’ expenses.
  • SCRA provided the Worlds with £1000 seed money and £1600 for the purchase of medals. Skiffieworlds 2016 made a healthy profit (£3000) will be used as seed money for the next Worlds.
  • Balance at end September £3700
  • Subscriptions set at £60

The Accounts were subsequently formally approved.

Motion to be voted upon : “ To set the subscriptions to SCRA for 2016/2017 at £60 per club , with a rebate of £20 per club available to small clubs with less than 20 members”.

This motion was affirmed by concensus.

Convener’s Report:

The Convener summarised his report .

This has been a 6th Year of major growth with many new skiffs and several new clubs and continuing to grow with new friends and new events.

There are more than 50 members clubs and now 2500 to 3000 regular members – we are the Biggest Rowing Organisation in Scotland, rooted in coastal communities, from local friends and neighbours and supporting local and neighbour clubs.

This year we have to report the capsize of a skiff in a race – reported to the SCRA Committee – we are pleased to report that there were no ill effects to crew or the skiff – the incident was discussed by the committee and a Safety Note published. It had been an unusual event with unusual wind and tide and would not have happened had it not been a race. It highlighted the importance of pre-planning and assessment of risk, the importance of being prepared for a change in conditions.

An Incident Report was sent to the SCRA and the committee issued guidance.

The Second Skiffieworlds was a huge commitment by the organising committee with assistance from members of the SCRA Committee and was a very successful event and we offer thanks to those who looked after us. We acknowledge all those who helped as well as those who rowed.

This was a huge effort and one of the reasons for retaining a 3 year cycle for the Worlds event , the others include that clubs put in a huge effort as well and fewer people have attended local events and regattas

The Convener made a presentation to the Cross Party Working Group on Marine Tourism and Recreational Boating at the Scottish Parliament. Those attending were impressed with the details of growth of Coastal Rowing and the facts that 53% of participants are female, 75% are new to marine activities and 90% are new to rowing.

The SCRA has representation on the CPWG and the convener and secretary attend meetings.

The Convener has held meetings with British Rowing and Scottish Rowing.

A new class has been introduced – the PICNIC Class which is hoped will further foster relations with boat builders – this is constitutionally part of what we do and may give greater opportunity for community boat builders to extend their range.

It has been a busy year – and next year?

Time to build your local events and let Sue know your dates and locations, this past year we have 4 events going on on the same day.

April, May and June would be months offering less cluttered schedules

We would look to building within your communities and bringing through rowers, South Queensferry have held a community rowing event.

Clubs may wish to travel to a couple of events further away and talk to the outlying island clubs.

Touring logs – get out as a club or join with other clubs.

Next Year, we will start the process for finding the location for next Worlds and will issue an invitation to clubs to submit a Note of Interest for their area, somewhere where fair and equal racing may be held with 12 to 15 lanes and a distance of 1 kilometre with a turn.

There were no questions and the Convener’s report was accepted.

Election of Officers and Committee.

The Convener wished to pass on thanks for the valuable work that Karen Burrows had done on the committee and in particular excellent work on the website.

Cameron Hughes had been co-opted to the committee to replace Karen and deal with publicity.

Thanks also to Audrey who is taking a break from the Committee.

The remaining members had expressed their willingness to continue and with no other nominations the committee positions were affirmed by the members

The following committee members were elected by affirmation:

Robbie Wightman (North Berwick) Convenor

Topher Dawson (Ullapool) Treasurer

Andrew Rendle (St Andrews)  Secretary

Ali Grant (RowPorty) Coaching Rep

Wendy Clements (Portsoy)

Stuart Mack (Boatie Blest)

Richard Wemyss (St Ayles Anstruther and SFM)

Cameron Hughes (FOCCR) (Publicity)

Sue Fenton (Isle of Seil)

Fergus Forsyth (Carrick)

Any further applications should be routed through the Secretary.

World Championships 2016 Survey Questionnaire

108 questionnaires sent out; 57 returned (not all SCRA clubs returned) 42 skiffs took part + folk from other clubs too.

Q1 If your club did not take part in the Worlds 2016 was it because of:

1. Cost 30%

2. Not enough people interested in going from the club 56%

3. Other reasons (like skiff not built yet, weddings!) 32%

Q2 How many coxes/rowers in your team?

>5    11%

6-10  11%

11-20 38%

21-30 14%

>31    20%

Q3 Were enough race categories offered?

Yes 89%

Pleas for more older categories viz over 70. and more for younger rowers

Q4 Was the race/type length suitable?

Yes 84%

Q5 Was the umpiring fair?

Yes 97%

Q6 did the venue fulfll the demands of the championship

8/10 was the average score 

Specific points sent back to Ireland washup

Q7 Expedition element (Strangford/Delamont) – should it be repeated?

Yes 95%

Q8 Were there enough social events?

Yes 70%

Q9 Continue three year cycle for worlds?

Yes 78%

Nos said two, four (to coincide with olympic years) or five years

Q10 was open-ended, asking for views for the future.

Formation of an International Association

  1. Other National Associations have been formed and these need to be in place prior to the setting up an International Association and hope to report on progress at the next AGM.

  2. The reasons for setting up the International Association have been reinforced this year and is essential to have and enforce a united set of world-wide measurement rules.

    Measurement Rules Update


Measurement Rules require to be review from time to time and the Committee sent out a request for observations from individuals in Scotland and international clubs.

From comments received, it was apparent that some rules required clarification – this has been issued with respect to the area of the rudder in the water and use of metal in oars.

It is likely that the rudder rule may be reviewed.

The onus has been on each club turning up to regattas with compliant skiffs and equipment – in such a situation the only recourse for the organisers would be to disqualify a non-compliant skiff which may have travelled some distance.

The 2017 Rules have been amended to allow organisers to impose time penalties as described in Rule 10.9.2 “Where a transgression of the measurement rules does not cause an immediate safety concern and the transgression cannot reasonably be rectified before the race starts , the referee may use their discretion to permit the crew to race, but shall impose a time penalty after the race is finished of 30 seconds per kilometre of distance raced.”

The recurring theme encountered during feedback from clubs and individuals has been the desire for there to be “a level playing field”.

When St Ayles Skiffs were first appeared the hull worked but the oars and oarlocks did not work. Builders spent some time and effort developing a wide range of solutions. This is a difficult situation for newcomer clubs to get used to.

In areas where St Ayles skiffs are rowed by Gig rowers – there is some criticism about there being a confusing and dismaying level of different equipment, in other areas carbon-fibre oars and plastic swivels are used, whereas in general we build oars ourselves.

It is proper for us to explore something that is similar for all and that is why we are putting forward the resolution for a group to be formed to draw on experience and knowledge to consult and come up with a solution to be adopted .

Contributions were invited from the floor.

Crail – worries about standardisation – different motions in different parts of the country

Eastern – would like to have a dialogue

BF – standardising gives fair playing field

Dunbar – reluctant to change – query on transitional arrangements

Crail – no advantage with one particular design – no wish to standardise

Mike Gilbert – does not matter as long as it remains traditional, support guidance for new clubs going forward.

Eskmuthe – confusing – trialling this coming year seems ambitious.

Some clubs will be asked to carry out the trials and exemption certificates will be granted during the development phase.

Troon – concern that standardisation will not take into account different sea and weather conditions.

Portsoy – Is it possible to standardise on 1 or 2 options? Will be up to the development group.

Boatie Blest – who choses the International Committee?

= drawn from Scottish and International Associations.

TD – commence with large email group in different places – possibly reconvene technical issues group – a small group to take issue forward.

Troon – is there an option for the status quo?

Motion to be voted upon:-

St.Ayles skiffs have a great variety of oars and oarlock systems and feedback to the committee on balance shows a desire to move toward a more tightly specified design so that all rowers are competing with the same effective equipment. We propose that an international group be set up, to consult widely and propose a common design for oars and oarlock, to be trialled over the 2017 season with a view to reporting on any recommendations (including any recommendations for any transitional arrangements) to National Associations by October 2017.

Votes cast in favour of the motion 27

Votes cast against the motion 9

Avoch cast proxy votes on behalf of Chanonry and Sutor Skiffies

The Committee will move towards setting up an International group to to report back in 2017.

Any Other Competent Business:

Professor Nina Laurie (St Andrews) was introduced to the members and a brief outline given on a Post-Doctoral Research Project “Rowing the Waves” which focuses on the impacts of Coastal Rowing on community development in Scotland.

No other competent business had been notified.

The meeting closed at 1900.

Andrew Rendle

Secretary SCRA 2016 AGM Minutes

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SCRA Safety Notice 3: “Racing Incidents”

During the course of 2017 the SCRA committee has received several reports of incidents during St Ayles skiff racing where there has been contact between skiffs or, just as worryingly, contact between the oars of one crew and the rowers in another crew.      They have occurred in a number of venues and race types.  For example crews in races where each have their own turning buoy have managed to collide when one is coming out of the turn and one is going in, and crews in round the island style races have collided when one chooses an inside line that was not there.

No serious injuries have been reported, but everyone should be working together to try to reduce these types of incidents.  Such incidents damage the reputation of the sport, as well as potentially causing serious injury and damaging equipment.

Specific recommendations arising out of the incidents as reported are as follows:

Race Organisers

  • Ensure that crews are going to be sufficiently spaced out at the turn.  If sharing a single buoy, ensure that there is sufficient length of course (at least 1km) before the turn to allow the field to thin out.  If each crew has their own buoy ensure that the buoys are sufficiently spread out (at least 20m, but more would be good) to allow crews to turn.
  • Ensure any conditions that will affect the line taken by crews are highlighted in the coxes briefing, including describing how they might change during the day.  If the wind or tidal conditions do change significantly, consider briefing coxes over the radio before the start of later races.


  • Umpires should ensure that they are well positioned at points where racing incidents are most likely to occur.
  • Ensure that you are able to communicate clearly with crews.  This may be by radio, by using a loud hailer or by using the human voice, if you can get close enough.  Order the cox to acknowledge receipt of the communication.  Clear communication is key to ensuring the safety of crews.
  • Intervene in every situation where safety is compromised.   Use your authority to prevent collisions if at all possible.
  • If a hull to hull collision takes place, or a collision between oar and a crew member takes place, one or both of the crews should be disqualified from the race.    As crews come to expect this, we anticipate that fewer collisions or near misses will occur.
  • Lesser penalties, such as a 360 turn, can be used to mark infringements that do not result in such contact.

Coxes and Crews

  • It is everyone’s responsibility to avoid a collision.  Everyone starting a race must accept that avoiding collision is more important than that crew’s own placing in the race.
  • Coxes have to build up their experience in races.  If a crew has an inexperienced cox, they must be sure to be supportive of them, and provide guidance to them where necessary.  The cox however remains the steersman and skipper of their boat. Their crew must obey orders of the coxswain, and the coxswain is the main communicator with other crews and with officials.
  • In multi buoy turning races, the crews should do a tight turn, and complete that turn before setting off again on a new course.


Everyone organising or taking part in a race should be familiar with the SCRA Rules of Racing which are there to promote safety as well as fairness.  We need informed and confident umpires, and would urge all skiffies to consider going on an SCRA Umpire Course, to help improve the quality of all our races.


Congestion at a Turn. Photo by Steve Thomson



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Procession of Boats and Races at Newport, Fife

News just in from the Fife Herald of Thursday 20 September 1868:

The regatta season of the Newport Amateur Rowing Club was brought to a very satisfactory close on Saturday afternoon by a procession of boats from Newport to Balmerino, four miles up the river, and what are called the procession or consolation races were pulled off by the boats in returning down. For once the Rowing Club was favoured with glorious weather. The afternoon was everything the heart of the keenest boater could desire. There was hardly a breath of wind, and the surface of the water was smooth and unruffled. The boats began to muster to the east the steamboat pier at Newport between two and three o’clock, and by the latter hour everything was readiness for start. The flag-boat Cruiser took position a little to the east of the Old Pier, and the procession led by the Commodore in the Fiery Cross, moved round the flag-boat in beautiful style. The procession started off at a pretty smart pace, and some of the crews had no time to fall asleep in keeping the line. After passing the steamboat pier, the Tay Ferry steamer Forfarshire, with a large number of passengers on board sailed past the rear the procession, and then steamed up to Balmerino. The sight of the boats as they skirted the shore unbroken line was very fine. When the leading boat made a swerve to either side, all the rest of the boats did the same, and the sinuosities thus made caused the boats to look like a long gaudily coloured sea serpent ” screwing” its way up the water. At least so thought a highly imaginative rower on board one of the boats, and he affected to pity his companions who were so prosaic that they could not realise or appreciate his novel idea. After a delightful pull of fifty minutes, the boats arrived at Balmerino in the order in which they started, not single hitch or break having occurred in the procession. The boats having been drawn up on the beech or moored at the pier, drawing for places was proceeded with; and after short rest several of the crews started down the river to be ” in at the death.”

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