First Skiff Rowing Regatta on Arran, 24th/25th June 2017

Arran Coastal Rowing Club (ACRC) hosted its first regatta on Saturday, 24th June at Lamlash Yacht Club, followed by a social row around Holy Isle on Sunday.

photo by Nick and Marbeth,

photo by Nick and Marbeth, Mixed Clubs Race

ACRC wanted to start relatively small so six clubs from the Firth of Clyde area were invited to Arran for the weekend event: FOCCR, Troon, Prestwick, Girvan, Carrick and Cumbrae. Some participants arrived on the Friday so there was much friendly chat on the roof terrace of the pub in the evening.

As the others arrived on the Saturday morning, everyone enjoyed catching up with old faces and meeting new ones. The weather was thankfully kinder than forecast with a few occasional showers and some sunshine. Nevertheless, the rowers had to face quite challenging conditions for the eight scheduled races. Not only did they have to battle against the other crews for the medals, but they also had a stiff westerly wind to contend with.

Open Mixed: photo by Nick and Marbeth,

The races got going at 11am and were run over a 1.5 kilometre course with a water start and finish. For the start all skiffs were lined up outside the moorings in Lamlash Bay and two port turns allowed a long finish along the shore so the spectators could follow the progress and cheer their crews in. Wasn’t this worth the little inconvenience of port turns ūüôā

Start of mixed Open- photo by Nick and Marbeth,

After the prize giving the evening ended with a well received BBQ with over 100 participants in Arran Yacht Club’s boatshed. The music mix was obviously just right as many folk were seen loosening up their sore rowing muscles on the dance floor.

And last but not least the results of the day:

Arran came third, Carrick second and the overall winner and dominant team of the day ‚Äď with 5 wins in 8 races –¬† was Troon. Congratulations! To the delight of all winning crews, with their medals they each received an Arran Whisky miniature, kindly sponsored by the Isle of Arran Distillery. Each team was also given a handmade rope fender made by John Baraclough. The handsome trophy handed over to Troon was crafted by Steve Garraway, one of ACRC’s boat builders and club members. Click on this link for the full¬†Arran-Regatta-results

Prizes: Photo credit David Ingham,


Troon Team with their Trophy: Photo Credit David Ingham,

An exciting weekend ended on Sunday with a social row of about 12 km around Holy Isle, which sits at the entrance to Lamlash Bay. Some parts were a bit lumpy but all crews seemed to enjoy their row around this iconic island. The two Cumbrae youngsters who rowed the first half deserve a special mention. It was a pleasure watching the future of coastal rowing ‚Äď what a great row the Cumbrae crew had with their kids.

Prestwick heading round Holy Island David Ingham,

ACRC would like to thank everybody who helped to make the weekend happen ‚Äď their sponsors, club members and families, the Arran Yacht Club, everybody in the safety & umpire RIBs and the wonderful starter boat, the Arran Rose, the photographers and, of course, all participating clubs, their families and groupies. ¬†As everyone left after lunch, tired and happy, there was much talk of meetings at other regattas this year and perhaps another Arran regatta next year‚Ķ

Report filed very promptly by Friederike Lorenzen, Secretary, ACRC, our new favourite Rowing Club secretary.  Many more great photos here and here.

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Oars across the Sea ‚Äď A Visit to O.A.R.S Nelson, New Zealand ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†

Oars across the Sea – a trip with O.A.R.S Nelson

At the end of last year I was planning a touring trip to New Zealand for February and March this year. As a member of St Andrews Coastal Rowing club, when I go away I am keen to be involved in Skiff rowing, and generally being on the water elsewhere. I wrote to NZ St Ayles Skiff Coastal Rowing in the hope of hooking up with fellow coastal rowers and share their experiences. Steve Cranch of NZ St Ayles Skiff Coastal Rowing quickly responded with contacts.

Our trip would include being with friends at Nelson and I wrote to Denis Moriarty of Ocean Adventure Rowing Skiffs Nelson ‚Äď O.A.R.S Nelson. Nelson is ideally located at the top of the South Island, near the Abel Tasman Park. Denis made contact and welcomed me with enthusiasm for St Ayles Skiff rowing. He explained that O.A.R.S Nelson was a group of active enthusiasts who have been rowing a borrowed boat for the last few months and had recently built their own Skiff called ‚ÄėToroa‚Äô ( te reo Maori for Albatross). Denis had obtained the kit through a friend in NZ coastal rowing ‚Äď Auckland, who had a couple of surplus kits available from their boat building programme. Auckland had built 8 Skiffs and have a very active rowing fleet. I asked Denis about the name and he explained ‚Äėwe called it Albatross (Toroa) because we see it doing a little bit of long distance wandering where we can take our time and slow the pace right right down.- which is not difficult when you’re rowing‚Äô.

Denis and Russell – his friend and co-builder of ‚ÄėToroa‚Äô, have found the boat to be a great catalyst for friendship and community building, attracting interest where ever they go. They have been on a range of rowing challenges and raids.


Nelson has an enviable reputation as the sunniest region in New Zealand. We arrived on a glorious hot day, and were warmly greeted by Denis, his wife Sue, daughter Emma and friend Russell and his wife Jocelyn, at Denis’s home for refreshments. It was fabulous to get rowing with O.A.R.S Nelson, from the harbour, taking in the river and sharing experiences along our journey and heart-warming to encounter the community spirit of St Ayles Skiff rowing down under in New Zealand.

Thank you very much for the opportunity O.A.R.S Nelson, remember to come and see us and hop in our boats when you venture to Scotland!




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Two More Skiffs Join the Scottish Fleet in Lewis and Cullen

A warm Scottish Rowing welcome to two more skiffs launched recently.

“Swift”(number 152 on the register) ¬†has been launched at Cullen Sea School on the Moray Firth. ¬†She joins sister ship “Mairi”. ¬†She was given her name by¬†by the Head of Cullen Primary School, Mrs Moyra Hendry. ¬†Pupils at the Primary School had suggested 90 different names for the skiff.

Cullen Sea School now moves on to an exciting new project, as six S5 pupils from Buckie High School enrol to build another skiff.

“Florence” (Number 153 on the register) ¬†has joined the growing Western Isles fleet on Lewis. ¬† She is built and operated by RowFlo, ¬†a group of friends who enjoy Skiff rowing. Their aim is to provide a facility for organised rowing sessions with like-minded people, improving ¬†fitness, developing rowing and boat handling skills, and making new friends along the way. ¬†No prior experience is required, whether a novice or an experienced rower, all will be made welcome.



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Enter the Castle to Crane Race 2017


Entries are rolling in for the first long distance rowing challenge of its type ever ¬†to be held in Scotland. ¬†Castle to Crane is a 13 mile challenge race. ¬†Competitors start at stunning Dumbarton Castle and race up the River Clyde into Glasgow City Centre, passing impressive scenery, industrial heritage and modern commerce along the way. ¬†Castle to Crane is part of GalGael’s “Clydebuilt Fesitval”, and there will be a festival welcome when the crews return from the finish at the Finnieston Crane to the festival hub at the Riverside Museum and Tall Ship.

The event takes place on 23 September 2017, with a ceilidh in the evening and a picnic on Loch Lomond the following day for crews who just can’t bear to go home.

Enter online now¬†at the Clydebuilt Website. ¬†Entries cost ¬£20 per rower, with an option to buy ceilidh tickets and t shirts. ¬†The first 30 clubs to enter will be eligible for the Early Bird trophy…… so far we have entries from 20 clubs (27 boats and rising). ¬† Early entry is much appreciated by the organisers as it will help with their planning and logistics and boosts their own enthusiasm, so please do get your entries in soon to make their day. ¬† The race will be capped at 100 boats.

We really welcome a diversity of classes. ¬†Crews must ensure that their boats are seaworthy for the potential conditions, but entries will be accepted from any fixed seat coxed boat powered by at least four oars. ¬†So far we have entries from two impressive rowing ships (Tarbert’s longship and Galgael’s Birlinn), from the first of hopefully many six oared Shetland Yoals and six oared Cornish Pilot Gigs, from smaller craft rowed either as double sculls or randan, and from the four rower St Ayles skiffs.

We hope to see you there, check out the Frequently Asked Questions for more information, and start getting the miles in!





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North Berwick Host Second SCRA Youth Circuit Regatta

With the North Circuit having had a successful start with Deveron and Portsoy’s Junior Regatta in April, the Southern SCRA Youth Regatta Circuit got underway with North Berwick hosting their first ever Junior Rowing Regatta on Sunday 18 June. ¬†Deveron Coastal Rowing Club made an impressive day trip from Banff with 11 Junior rowers and a support squad. ¬†Firth of Clyde made the trip through from Largs with a small squad which they supplemented with others from the beach. ¬†Eastern attended with a full squad including Fife’s only representative guesting fro

m Crail, and the hosts made up the contingent.  So there were four boats on the start of each race, and a special thanks must go to Boatie Blest, who attended without their Juniors who were not free, but with a skiff and coxwains to support the Deveron squad!



The race format was split.  Firstly we had four boats lining up for drag races of around 500m, starting half way out to Craiglieth Island and racing towards North Berwick harbour.  There was a race each for boys and for girls, and then two mixed crew races.  Results were as follows:


Race 1st 2nd 3rd
Girls North Berwick Eastern Deveron
Boys Firth of Clyde Deveron North Berwick
Mixed 1 Deveron North Berwick Eastern
Mixed 2 North Berwick Eastern Deveron

Following the sprints there were  short pursuit races.  Two crews raced at a  time, each racing the same clockwise course, but starting on opposites sides, facing opposite directions.  Each raced from the start finish line to a turning mark, crossed each other again whilst racing through the line to the other turning mark, before giving it their all to get back to the finish line.  This was for mixed crews.  Eastern won the first heat, with Deveron winning the second.  The crews stayed on the water before the final, which was the last race of the day and saw the visitors from Deveron prevailing.

Race Crews Winner
Semi Final 1 Eastern vs Firth of Clyde Eastern
Semi Final 2 Deveron vs St Baldred Deveron
Final Deveron vs Eastern Deveron
See the North Berwick RC report, and the photos on their Flikr Stream¬† for more of Ian’s photos and others.
The next regatta on the junior series will be part of the Ullapool Regatta on 8/9 July, where categories are offered in U17, U19 in Boys, Girls and mixed.  The next on the southern circuit will be at Largs on 15 July (entries to ASAP) .  Entries will be welcome from all clubs for these events, so please do encourage and facilitate your youngsters taking part.
All photos from Ian Mills.


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Skiffs at Semaine du Golfe 2017

Hugh MacKenzie photographed these skiffs at the Semaine du Golfe¬†at Morbihan, Brittany. The skiffs “Fisher Lass” from Pittenweem and “Hannah More” from Bristol¬†were cheating the feocious tides by staying in the shallows and scraping the rocks. ¬†It looks like a lovely place to be, in challenging waters, amongst thousands of other small boats powered by sail and oar.

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New Belfast St Ayles Skiff

Belfast in Maine that is.

The skiff was built by the local alternative High School and is being donated to non-profit organisation “Come Boating” on Belfast waterfront, who will make sure she gets used.

More information here:

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Porty Regatta Fun 2017

Skiffs from around the Firth of Forth gathered on Portobello beach on Saturday 10th June for their (almost) annual Regatta.  Furthest away was St Andrews, but also in attendance were St Ayles (Anster), Boatie Blest (C&PS), Dunbar, Eastern, Eskmuthe, Newhaven and North Berwick.  It started off with gazebos being used for rain and ended up with them being used to escape the lovely sunshine.  With the tide incoming, the races kicked off with the Novice category and the gold medal going to a delighted and worthy Eskmuthe team.

This was followed by the three 60+ categories, winners being North Berwick in the women’s and men’s race with Anstruther claiming gold for the mixed 60 category.¬† Before the lunchbreak and with the tide making the course slightly longer each race it was time for the 45+ men’s race.¬† This was won again by North Berwick but after the break the 45+ women’s gold went to Anstruther and the 45 + mixed gold going to Eastern.

The final ‘serious’ racing was the hotly contested open categories.¬† Triumphant men were Boatie Blest and women were Anstruther, with Boatie Blest also taking the mixed open category.





There was then an ‘inter-club’ race where Andy Jarvis was commemorated by the rowers in true Andy style.¬† Four members from each club were assigned a different skiff to undertake the penultimate race of the day.¬† The winning team rowed to victory in ‘Sandbay Century’ the skiff belonging to¬† St Andrews club with rowers from North Berwick, Eastern, Eskmuthe and St Andrews.

Finally there was a relay race, involving an individual painted fish.¬† Anything can happen during this, and usually does as it involves two crews racing one leg each, changing on the beach after the first leg, along with lifejackets and a “quick” spin round of the skiff and then the second leg which after hitting the beach, the cox had to race up to the prom wall, with the painted fish, to claim the prize.

Boatie Blest were the victors and received the Bendit cup.  Jonathan Bendit was the founder member of Portobello Sailing & Kayaking Club and the cup was presented by his eldest son, Sam. The race was sponsored by the Espy pub.

Results can be seen here, overall joint winners of the day being St Ayles and North Berwick (not counting inter-club points):

Thanks to all at Rowporty and PSKC for being excellent hosts, again keeping everyone fuelled with fabulous filled rolls, soup and cakes to die for.  Special thanks to the beachmasters who stood all day with the finish lines waist deep in the sea Рmuch appreciated!

Thanks to all for the photos used (Bruce and Karen Dryburgh, VF Photography and Eskmuthe photographer)

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Australian St Ayles Fleet Boosted at Snowy River

Marlo Coastal Rowing launched ‘Da Mirrie Dancer’ on the Snowy River, Marlo, Australia. ¬†Thanks to Andrea Coath for sharing these photos on the Scottish Coastal Rowing Facebook Group. ¬†Isn’t it amazing how these Australians keep rowing right through the middle of winter! ¬†The St Ayles Community Rowing Assoc of Australia have their own website.¬† Well done Marlo, what a bute.

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Bonnie Makes Debut in Venice

Quite a spectacular place for a debutante to take her bow. ¬†Here Bonnie is spotted by photographer Jon Gerrard, as she makes her way through Venice in the Voga Longa. ¬†Bonnie is Langstone Cutters‘ second St Ayles skiff.

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