Golspie Regatta Results 2019

Inaugural regattas are always special but today’s first regatta by Golspie Rowing Club had a number of firsts. They had gone out of their way to lay 10 start marks and 10 turn marks to make a 2km out-and-back course along the coast, which is a big task for any club. For new club Strathpeffer it was their first competitive regatta.

There was delicious food and a craft fair, wooden medals by the local school and a pipe band to finish off. 10 local clubs attended, with Avoch, Bunillidh, Burghead, Coigach, Cromarty, Findhorn, Golspie, Strathpeffer, Sutors and Ullapool contesting 10 races.

Although the sea was reasonably smooth, a swell ensured that there was enough surf on the sandy beach to fill skiffs whose crews were not used to surf, and several needed tipping over or baling out before heading off to the next race.

Wins were well shared out among the visiting clubs, with categories going to Avoch, Ullapool, Coigach, Cromarty and Bunnillidh. In the points competition a couple of seconds for Golspie helped them to second overall but the winner on points was Cromarty. This town of 700 people has two skiff clubs and it has been said that 400 people have tried out rowing, which makes Cromarty the most skiffaceous conurbation in Scotland.

Well done Golspie for a very enjoyable and well organised first regatta, I hope the first of many.

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The Loch Awe Adventure 2019

This event was well named, because visiting Loch Awe is indeed an adventure. Loch Awe is Scotland’s longest freshwater loch at 25 miles from end to end, eighty miles of shoreline, and several small islands. Coastal Rowing is quickly spreading inshore, and this event has shown one again what close competition you can have on tideless waters. Thank you to Ewen Kennedy for the following report, with additional photos from Chris Mitchell.

The arrival of skiffing on Loch Awe is entirely due to the efforts of Gordon Leveratt and his wife Maggie, making what I hope isn’t too stressful a journey from an organised world to the wonderful anarchy of the skiffies. Having built the lovely Mingulay, Gordon established the KIDS (Kilchrennan, Inverinan and Dalavich CRC) and they already have sufficient numbers to justify a second skiff.

Dalavich had always been a bit like Brigadoon for me, a place I wasn’t quite sure existed, although I’ve lived nearby for over thirty years. I can confirm, as can fifty tired rowers, that it not only exists, but offers one of the best bases for a skiffing event that you could wish for. There’s plenty of space for parking and unloading, a huge level campsite, cabins available for those who want some luxury, including hobbit rooms, a community centre with a proper hall for ceilidhs and nearby the Wild Rowan Cafe with great home baking. Gordon had laid on everything for a safe, happy, competitive event, including even a towing buggy to the launch site. I missed the Friday arrivals and the musical evening with Martin McLaughlin on the bagpipes. Saturday morning was a bit dreich and rainy at first, but soon cleared to allow a lot of social rows and “try a row” sessions, also some great trips to the dreaded prison island of Ardchonnel and some of the twenty two local crannogs. While I was out with North Queensferry we saw the local osprey take a fish back to her treetop nest, worth the trip for that alone!

We had a great meal in the hall in the evening, followed by the ceilidh hosted by local group All About the Cake, locals Laura Neville, Jane Wilding, Jeannie Holles and Andre van Well playing out of goodwill. The fear an tighe, Guy Neville, managed to get about forty skiffies up to dance a passable Reel of the 51st Division.

Sunday was much brighter, with almost still water. I had agreed to hold one end of the starting tape, always quite nerve wracking when there’s a biggish fleet on a transit. Despite our general dislike of discipline skiffies do rise to the occasion and the fleet lined itself up straight for a perfect start. All I had to do was pull the trigger, then off for banana cake and coffee while ten crews battled it out.

Being a land based event the distance was 7.4 statute miles from Dalavich to Taychreggan, then a crew change and an individual start for the race back.
The outward race was astonishingly close, with Sandbay from St Andrews covering the distance in 1 hour 16 minutes and 8 seconds, followed by Arran’s Seabhag 22 seconds later, five boats within the next 12 minutes and finally the KID’s own Mingulay on 1 hour 37 minutes. It’s a great tribute to the Renegades that they made the whole trip without a crew change and
achieved times of 1 hour 25 out and 1 hour 39 back. The fastest boat on the return trip was Seabhag with a run time of 1 hour 19 minutes, followed
by six boats in the next twenty minutes, then Blue Bay, Mingulay and finally St Moluag on 1 hour 48. Combined results made Arran’s Seabhag the overall winners, then Sandbay from St Andrews and Yolande from Kinghorn. We had a good shore crew working on the times, Heather writing them up and Nigel making sure that the right boats got the right times!

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Great Glen Adventures in a Wemyss Skiff

Within the next couple of weeks Carrick Coastal Rowing Club members Richard Deboys and John Ireland are planning to under take a fundraising row in the Great Glen. The are raising funds to help fellow CCRC member Callum Deboys reach his goal of competing for GB at the 2022 Winter Paralympics in the sport of Para Nordic Sit Skiing. Callum lost his leg in a road traffic accident in 2017 and took up coastal rowing as a form of exerciese and has rehabilitation. Please click on this link if you would like to contribute to the fundraising.

Richard and John will be rowing from Fort William up the Caledonian Canal route all the way to Inverness then across the Beauly Firth in Edith, the Wemyss Skiff that was built by Martin Hughes and team at the Scottish Maritime Museum. For some reason the team want even more of a challenge so as well as rowing John will also be swimming across the breadth of every Loch encountered on the journey: Loch Linnhe, Loch Lochy, Loch Oich, Loch Ness and Loch Dochfour. To finish off he will also swim across the Beauly Firth. All this will be supported by a support/safety boat crewed by Ruth and Eddie Scott.

Callum’s story can be seen and read at www.Deboys.co.uk .

Wemyss Skiff “Edith” is adapted for use by a those with a variety of disabilities and the funding for her build was generously provided by Andrew Rendle. Please get in touch with the Association if you would like to use skiff Edith to get access to the water.

At the Launch of Edith 2018

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Nijkerk launch for Eighth Netherlands Skiff

On April 6th, sailing club ‘De Zuidwal’ in Nijkerk (a town in the middle of The Netherlands) launched its first St Ayles skiff (De Liefde, NL008). After a winter of hard work with several volunteers of the club, the skiff was finally finished. Correspondent Gerte Kedde writes “The result is amazing; she looks great. The whole building project was a pleasure for everyone who participated in it. Also the launch event was great. Lots of enthusiastic club members, graced by pipers who played the Scottish Anthem and of course whisky.”

After the launch the club held a rowing clinic, guided by the nearby well established and very well known club WSV Woudrichem. Good luck to the new skiff and her crews, and well done to all her builders. The great news is that the new club will be coming to Skiffieworlds at Stranraer in July with 10 rowers who are looking forward to meeting up with the rest of the skiff community.

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First Californian Skiff Launched: Meribell US 18

Randy Chandler writes to tell us of the first St Ayles skiff to be launched in California. He tells us ” It is truly a great boat.  Every time I get back from a row I start thinking about the next row and who I can invite to come along. He is starting to build a second, and is keen to hear from and encourage anyone else thinking of building a Skiff on the West Coast. “If you have anyone the least bit interested in possibly building a boat in our area, I would love to take them for a row and help to get them hooked.  We would love to have another boat to row with (or against). “

Good luck to Meribell and all her rowers. We welcome you to our fleet and our community.

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Boatie Blest Regatta Report 2019

The Boatie Blest regatta returned for its 10th appearance (there were 2 in the first year) and its 9th using the ‘track de le Monaco’. For those not familiar with the Boatie Blest regatta it is a tight course set within the harbour, turning 2 buoys over a short course. Boats are close together and close to the walls giving spectators a great view and coxswains a little extra pressure. 8 boats attended this years regatta with clubs from Royal West, St Andrews, North Berwick, Eastern, Dunbar, Eskmuthe and Row porty joining the home club Boatie Blest.

The weather was excellent – so much so that 3 of the local clubs rowed to the event. Clubs raced in the pursuit style course for a fastest combined time over their two heats (qualifying for those who like F1) and then raced off in the final head to head. The Cockenzie vs Port Seton race started the day with crews from each town being drawn from a hat. Given that the club has members from outside the villages the boundary was determined by drawing a line of longitude through Manse Lane, which (most) people agree is the historic boundary between the communities.  Port Seton were the victors on this occasion. 

The Mens Open followed, with crews from Eastern and North Berwick dominating the field to go to the final in which North Berwick narrowly won. The Women’s Open was a tight affair with all clubs involved, Boatie Rows and Eastern both doing consistent and fast times in the heats. They went on to provide a great final where it looked as though Eastern had it from a distance until Boatie Rows turned the buoy tightly and raced to the finish.   The Umpires were unable to separate the two boats on the line and declared a dead-heat. Both crews decided that equal first was a worthy result for such a hard fought race, displaying something of the community spirit behind our rowing regattas.
The novice races followed.  These include rowers who have yet to win their first race but to allow rowers to race there was an extra entry in the category for St Andrews, who had a half crew of novices.  They had sportingly conceded any victory to the umpire before the races began. The St Andrews novice/open crew did very well in posting two fast times in both the ladies’ and the men’s (enough to have won or came second in each) but Eastern turned out to be the victors in the Men’s Novice race. The Ladies’ Novice was won by Eskmuthe,  who were just a little bit excited about their medals!.   The medals themselves were expertly crafted from a broken boatie blest oar by members of the club.  The mixed 40+ race was a close contest between Boatie Rows and Eastern with Boatie Rows marginally winning. 
The course gave spectators a great view with commentary from Caroline Doney, letting people know what was happening and when and what delights the tea tent had for those hungry mouths between races.  Eastern snapped up the last of the days categories in the Mixed Open and Mixed 50+ category, beating North Berwick and Boatie Rows respectively.  Eastern’s consistency in the Mixed 50+ was the telling sign.  The fastest time of the day went to North Berwick’s men in 2.22s. 
Boatie Blest would like to thank all those who attended and helped on the day and hopes that we can welcome them back for next year.

Results Boatie Blest Regatta 2019

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Improve your rowing technique with SCRA

SCRA has worked with rowing coach Tim Down, and Raw Film productions to produce a series of coaching videos on the basic aspects of fixed seat rowing technique. We hope that you like them and find them useful. Many thanks to Newhaven Coastal Rowing Club for taking part in the exercise. To whet your appetite here is the introduction. There are six films all together. These basics are a useful resource not matter what type of fixed seat boat you happen to row. We are very happy for these films to be shared widely and freely, but would be grateful if you could acknowledge SCRA when doing so. Please watch for the individual films being released over social media over the next couple of weeks.

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More Skiffs Joining the Fleet: Alnmouth 12 May

There have been quite a few more skiffs launching recently. There are now 183 skiffs on the UK section of the Register of St Ayles skiffs. We have received the following invitation in from Alnmouth Community Rowing in Northumberland for you to join them for the launch of their second skiff.

Alnmouth Community Rowing second skiff is very nearly ready and we have set a launch/naming day!Sunday May 12th. In the fine tradition of the skiffie community it would be great to see you in the bay at Alnmouth, Northumberland.  We would love to be able to launch the newest member among the assembled fleet on the water.  So do please come if you can and definitely bring boats with you!Details are still being worked up but there will be a short ceremony around 3pm so ideally you will be able to get down here in good time before that and stay on for a bit too.  We will communicate more details nearer the time.  Obviously the weather and sea gods may conspire against us, and unfortunately the tide will be low.  At the very least we will get her wet even if there is no rowing in company and all that.We are very much looking forward to it, and hope you can join us.  It would help the admin if you could let us know you intend to join us; please email to Dave dsfoote@hotmail.com

Launch of Alnmouth’s First Skiff

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See You at Skiffieworlds?

We look forward to welcoming the following clubs the the World Championships for the St Ayles Skiff, being held at Stranraer in July 2019. Entries from Tasmania and USA are also in the course of being processed. If you don’t see the name of your club on this list, offer to assist your stressed club captain with any admin. There have been one or two electronic glitches. If you think you have entered, but your name is not on this list, please contact the organisers. You should have received an e mail confriming receipt of your entries….. with details about the raffle to win a car! The organisers really want to see the entries come in ASAP to help with their planning. It is going to be great and we look forward to seeing all the clubs below, and hopefully a few more, there.

All Aboard Watersport – England
Alnmouth Community Rowing – England
Arran CRC
Ayle of Quint Skiff Club – Canada
Broughty Ferry Boating
Bunillidh RC
Catterline CRC
Crail RC
Cumbrae CRC
Dundrum CRC – Northern Ireland
Eastern ACRC
Eskmuthe Rowing Club
Findhorn CRC
Firth of Clyde RC
Gourdon CRC
Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, USA
Living Boat Trust – Tasmania
North Queensferry CRC
Orkney RC
Strangford CRC – Northern Ireland
Queensferry CRC
St Andrews CRC
Troon CRC
Ullapool CRC
WSV Woudrichem, Holland

Strangford (Photo: Allan Robertson)
Skiffieworlds2013 at Ullapool

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Worlds – Entries Please and Volunteers for Umpiring etc

We hope that everyone is looking forward to Skiffieworlds at Stranraer as much as we are. The organisers are issuing two special pleas.

The first is to get your full entries in please. There is nothing as cheery as seeing the entries flood in. We had 70 expressions of interest of those intending to enter….. it would be good to convert them all into full entries before the deadline of Fifth May, and the sooner the better to keep the organisers excited. So, please get your entries in!

Secondly, we need to recruit volunteers who are going to help make the whole event the friendly, happy and efficient event that we all want it to be. If every club could supply three or four volunteers, that should be us most of the way there. There is a general call out for volunteers on the Skiffieworlds website. For general volunteering please contact Stranraer directly.

However for the umpire roles, it we would be grateful if you could let one of the Chief Umpires know of your availability by e mailing convenor@scottishcoastalrowing.org to advise what umpiring roles you would be happy to fulfill (eg Boat Umpire, Beachmaster, Start/ Finish Umpire and Assistant,Runner, Computer Genius…..although we will settle for competent rather than genius….. all to help with the timing and publishing of results). Please also let us know what days you will be available (as hopefully by now you will know what events, if any, you have made it through your club’s rigorous selection criteria to row in.) Volunteering is rewarding in itself, and without the commitment of a whole lot of folk we will not be able to run the event. So thanks in advance!

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