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SCRA Freshwater Sprints sponsored by Scotia Seeds

We are delighted that Scotia Seeds, suppliers of Scottish Wildflower seed packets and meadow mixtures are sponsoring the SCRA Freshwater Sprints in 2019. Read about them and about the racing in the SCRA Freshwater Sprints 2019 Notice of Race.

Racing will be under the NEW SCRA Rules of Racing 2020…. please be aware of the changes, particularly with regard to clarifying that crews must not stray out of their lane coming in to or going out of the turn.

The Racing is once again in Regional Teams, rather than in Clubs. Regional captains have been appointed, as set out in the notice of race. They will be in touch with clubs to recruit teams. It is hoped that at least a couple of representatives from every club will be in a regional team….. so that they can be present to represent their club at the AGM which follows on when the racing finishes.

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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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Notice of SCRA AGM 2019

SCRA AGM Saturday 26 October 2019

Location: Loch Tummel Sailing Club Clubhouse

1. Apologies
2. Minutes of Last Meeting (SCRA 2018 AGM)
3. Matters Arising
4. Treasurer’s Report (TD)
5. Feedback from Skiffieworlds 2019
6. Convener’s Report (RW)
7. Proposed Resolution:

“That, given the advantages associated, the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA) should seek to
become a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO), and:

  1. that the SCRA Committee be given authority on behalf of the members to agree on any necessary changes to the attached draft Constitution to achieve SCIO status, or any minor changes, without
    further reference to members; and
  2. that on SCIO status being approved by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and the new SCIO being entered into the Scottish Charity Register:
    a. all members of the SCRA be deemed to become members of the new SCIO until such time as the next membership renewal is due;
    b. all assets and/or rights in the ownership or custodianship of the SCRA be transferred to the new SCIO; and
    c. the SCRA Committee members who sign the charity trustee declaration forms which accompany the SCIO application be deemed to have been appointed by the members as board members of the new SCIO until the first AGM following incorporation.

8. Proposed Resolution: To authorise the committee to transfer the rights and responsibilities of the SCRA/ SCR SCIO in respect of being the International Class Association of the St Ayles skiff to St Ayles Skiff International.

9. RowAround Scotland 2020
10. Election Committee for 2019/2020
11. Any Other Business


Election of Officers and Committee:
Nominations for Election to the Committee – Clubs are requested to submit any nominations for the Committee to the Secretary by the 1 October 2019.

Clubs are requested to submit agenda items/ AOB to the Secretary by the 1 October 2019.

Submission of Cruising Log entries : to the Secretary by 16 October 2019.

Club Nomination for Green Flag/ Blue Flag Awards to be submitted to the Secretary before 16th October 2018.

Training Notice
There will be a Regatta Course Laying Course on Friday 25th October from 2-00 pm until 4pm.
There will be an Umpiring Course held on Friday 25th from 4.30pm until 6.30pm.
Both the above events will take place at Loch Tummel Sailing Club. Anyone wishing to attend should apply to, saying in the heading what club you are from.

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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Queensferry Youth Regatta 2019: RESULTS

Queensferry were delighted to be holding their Youth Regatta as part of the SCRA Youth Series . Our Forth Bridges correspondent writes:

40/50 teenagers ,all to be organised into crews and reach their correct skiff in time to do the ‘long row’ to the start line !! It could have been a headache ,but it wasn’t ,it worked . This was managed very well with great humour by the adult helpers from each club. The teenagers themselves were very good at suddenly making up crews for an empty skiff ,while we had changeovers at the pontoon and not a problem to them ,that they had just come off a row, so coxes suddenly found themselves going straight back out!! 

There were seven clubs at the regatta –Strangford with 10 rowers drove from N Ireland and arrived late Friday evening. One of their rowers reported “it took six and a half hours but  we were so excited” !! They had the use of Ferry Lass from Queensferry. Killyleagh with 8 rowers flew over and also arrived late Friday evening. They all ‘bedded”  down on mats and sleeping bags with their Strangford friends ,in the Scout Hall at Port Edgar Marina !! Oh the joys!! Killyleagh had the use of Steedie Falconer from Eskmuthe towed up to us during the week.

Deveron from the North came with two rowers Jessica & Connor ,and they had the use of Ferry Sonnet from N Queensferry ,but they also spent the day in and out of other boats! We also had Elie with  Archie and 7 rowers. Foccrs with  Saltire and 6 rower.s Eastern came with Skelf and a good number of girls and less boys ,so this complemented Queensferry as we had 7 rowers but only one girl.

The day started with magnificent sunshine and flat calm seas and stayed this way all day ,how good is that!! The races started just west of the Hawes Pier and finished through the Road bridge – 1 K no buoy turns ,just a big blast to the finish line ! The row to the start of the races gave these youngsters a great opportunity to sight see. They marvelled at the bridges. There was a magnificent cruise ship just east of the railbridge and tenders ferrying the passengers back and forward. Overheard from a crew member “ this is great ,I have never rowed under  anything before”.

All our skiffs were complemented by John  Howell on our starter boat .Everyone took heed of the ‘restricted area ‘ to allow all this marine traffic to carry on their business as normal.Forth Belle was doing her Bridges tours and picked up passengers at the pontoon where we were all gathered.  These tourists were enthralled at what the youngsters were taking part in  and asked lots of questions.  The racing made great spectator viewing. There was plenty of cheering and support as the finish line was just below us. Resident commentator Donna was complemented on her continuous information and encouragement . There were lots of close finishes ,and a couple of clear winners .Good timings all day .Special admiration was given to the two youngest competitors of the day Oscar from Eastern aged 12 and Lucy  from Killyleagh, also aged 12 . There were wins for Queensferry, Eastern, Elie and Foccrs.  Eastern boat also won the last race – the Pick n Mix where all boats had a mix of all club rowers.  The results board tells the strory, although there was drama such as Boys Under 19 where Queensferry and Foccrs were ‘neck and neck ‘ heading to the finish line ,when the footstrap   snapped in 2 position on Queensferry boat ,knocking the boy off his seat and the oar went out of control . A great but difficult recovery ,saw the crew trying to make it through to a medal position ,but being pipped by Killleagh ,Elie and Eastern.

We finished the day with a very welcome BBQ ,and a medal should be given to Joshua for eating the most burgers ,I believe . Our Irish friends were seen off on Sunday morning with a hearty breakfast of bacon rolls in the shed, many thanks to Peter Locke.
Great photos on the Queensferry Flikr Page.

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NEW: SCRA Rules of Racing 2020 Edition

SCRA committee have approved two changes to the Rules of Racing, and have reissued them as The SCRA Rules of Racing 2020 Edition. The new rules will take effect from 7 October 2019.

There are two changes from the 2017 Edition. Firstly the rules applicable to turning at multi lane events have been clarified at 8.5.2 by deleting the suggestion that  “….boats approaching their turn shall give way to those coming out of their turn……”, and reminding crews instead that all crews should stay in their lane throughout the race, and in particular must stay in their lane in the vicinity of the turn. This will hopefully prevent crews from either swinging wide on the way into a turn, or leaving the buoy before turning the full 180. Remember…… tight turns.

Secondly we have always stated in response to queries that crews racing in finals should be the same as crews racing in heats. Rule 5.1 is now amended to express that “Crew members must not be changed between heats and finals without the express, advance permission of the chief umpire.” There must be good reason for a change to be approved.

Finally by way of reminder, we have previously issued Safety notice 3, with regard to racing incidents. Everyone should please remember that instructions of umpires must be complied with. Umpires are all volunteers, must be respected and must never, ever be the subject of abuse.

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SCRA Cruising Log Competition 2019- Call for Entries

Rowing is not just about racing.  Plenty of skiffies enjoy getting out in the boat just for the sake of it, and for a bit of adventure with friends.  To encourage groups to share their experiences of this and to allow us all to learn from each other SCRA holds the SCRA Cruising Log competition each year.

Careful Packing is Important for any Expedition

Careful Packing is Important for any Expedition

We would like members of SCRA clubs who go on expeditions and adventures to record them in a cruising log and forward that on to us. Ideally we would like to log to be uploaded so that we can post a link to it from our website.  Logs should have some pictures or video as well as a written description of the voyage, giving details of launch and recovery sites, stop overs, and descriptions of the tidal streams and conditions.  We hope that others coming after can learn constructively so please do admit to your mistakes as well as saying what went well, and please also consider including an appendix with some thoughts on safety issues that you feel others would benefit from.

Closing date for entries this year will be 16 October 2019, but we would be delighted if you could send entries sooner than that to inspire others.  All expeditions must have taken place in the 12 months or so preceding the closing date.

The competition will be judged on how entertaining and informative the log is, rather than just how long or arduous the cruise is, so don’t be shy about recording your thoughts on a shortish jaunt.

All entries and enquiries to please.

It goes without saying that the crews taking part in this competition must take responsibility for their own safety, and ensure that their craft is seaworthy, appropriately equipped for the contemplated voyage, and that the planned voyage is within the competency of the crew. For inspiration read “Three Men in a Boat” by Jerome K Jerome, “Ice Bears and Kotic” by Peter Webb.:

The roll call of previous winners can be found in previous posts – get your entries in!!

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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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Portsoy 2019

For the first time the main regatta at Portsoy was a stand alone event, as the boat festival earlier in the year had been too close to skiffieworlds. Thank you to our Quine with her ear to the ground for the following report. Results can be found here:

The forecast did not bode well, but the morning of Saturday 31st August started fair and calm and the first ‘go-it-alone’ Portsoy Regatta got off to a cracking start with the 10 clubs competing in the men’s open. The 2k race with a port single buoy turn, set off in staggered heats was excitingly close, with only 8 seconds separating the first 3 boats, clinched by Golspie. The women’s open was even closer with 8 seconds between the first 4 crews, but Portsoy just managed to hold on to get a home win!

The weather started to close in for the Men’s 50+, won convincingly by Golspie and conditions were familiarly Portsoy challenging for the women’s 230+ with a long hard slog to reach the first buoy against the waves and the wind (I know, I was rowing it!!). Another convincing win by Golspie, do we see a trend arising here??
Conditions were then such that the decision was taken to have an early lunch in the hope that things would improve. Unfortunately they didn’t! The heavens opened and there was a deluge of almost biblical proportions! A day of two halves! Time to retire to the Shore Inn or to prepare some absolutely amazing outfits for the evening’s 60’s, 70’s and 80’s Fancy Dress party. All I will say is that rowers sure know how to have fun…!

We reconvened on Sunday morning (with a few sore heads, tho’ Golspie managed to have a tent after party!), mainly dry, but the wind had swung round to the North, which creates the worst possible conditions in the channel between the two Porstoy harbours. After a couple of bumpy reconnaissance trips in the rib, with regret, it was decided it was unsafe to proceed. It was very cosy in the Salmon Bothy where we endeavoured to finish off all the pies, sandwiches and fancy pieces before the prize giving!

Thanks to the generosity of so many members of the community, we had some fantastic trophies to present as well as the medals. There were no surprises that the new Alex Slater trophy, made by Carn Standing (who also created Portsoy’s dolphin statue on the Dounie) for overall champions to Golspie.  The Portsoy Pottery plate made by Brian Shand of Portsoy Marble for fastest men’s race won twice over by Golspie! (Their men’s open and men’s 50+ crews both had exactly the same winning time!)
The skate mosaic donated by Caroline Hobbs for the fastest women’s time, won by Portsoy. And finally a pottery mug by Nic Whitehouse to Findochty.
It seems that most people enjoyed their weekend despite the weather and limited racing and we would like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who supported out event.

Once again the Press and Journal have come up with a very good report on the skiff racing. We applaud their interest and their journalism.

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Montrose Skiff Launch: 14 September 2019

Good luck to the community of Montrose, who are launching their first St Ayles Skiff on 14 September. Some of the club members have already experienced coastal rowing with neighbours Catterline and Gourdon. However it is wonderful that the rest of the town are now going to be able to revive a tradition. There has been plenty of competitive rowing out of Ferryden and Montrose, in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Read about it in the Courier.

So well done, and good luck to Montrose. Particularly to the crew that are going to race in the Castle to Crane race just one week after launch!

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Barra & Vatersay Regatta

Rowers from An Eathar, Rowflo, Pittenweem, Golspie, Port Seton & Cockenzie RC and Anstruther gathered in Barra at the weekend to attend Barra & Vatersay CRC ‘s first St Ayles Skiff Regatta. The event was hosted in association with Coimhearsnachd Bharraidh & Bhatarsaidh.

The opening ceilidh was held in Vatersay on Friday evening and rowers danced the night away to the music of the Vatersay Boys. On Saturday morning skiffs were lined up on the airstrip as the plane landed on the beach.

On Saturday evening rowers enjoyed a relaxed sunset row in company out of Àrd Mhòr ferry port, seeing beautiful scenery and wildlife – the eagles were a highlight!

Sunday’s rowing races saw Golspie win the overall, Women’s and Men’s prizes and Rowflo took home the Hebridean trophy. Rowers enjoyed a break in the sun to watch the Hebridean Princess arrive at the pier. 

Big thanks to Claire Logan who organised the event, for her island hospitality and kindness to all the rowers who were on Barra over the weekend. 

Nach math a rinn sibh – Chì sinn ann an 2021 sibh! Well done – see you again in 2021!

Photos by Jon Gerrard

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