Regatta Iomradh Steòrnabhaigh

Picture by Chris Murray

Chrunnich sia eathraichean ionadail còmhla an-dè gus pàirt a gabhail ann an Regatta Iomradh Steòrnabhaigh. Bha ràmhaich à Glaschu agus Fiobha is Duitsich sna rèisean. Thàinig an sgioba againn dhachaigh le duisean sa chiad àite- boireannaich fo 40, darna sa rèis fosgailte agus treas àite airson boireannaich thairis 40. Ged a bha an t-sìde rudeigin fluich bha deagh latha againn. 

Six Lewis skiffs took part in Regatta Iomradh Steòrnabhagh on Saturday 1st June 2019. West Side Rowers, Rowflo, Stornoway RC, An Eathar RC, Bluemoon RC and Eala Bhan raced in the 1.2nm course. The triangular route had to be shortened due to wind but great fun was had by all ; despite the rain!  This year the regatta was organised in association with Sail Stornoway and Stornoway Port Authority. Rowers from Glasgow, The Netherlands and Fife joined in the races. Big thanks to Chris Mitchell from Kinghorn Rowing Club who umpired the races and to HMCG for keeping all the spectators safe.  The overall award went to Ràmhaich Taobh Siar. 

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Shetland Regatta

Orkney Rowing Club (ORC) travelled to visit our north neighbours in Shetland to participate in the Bigton annual rowing regatta which was held on Saturday 1st June.  Bigton holds a special place in ORC’s heart as our first yoal, the Fridarey, was bought 5 years ago from Bigton Rowing Club.  She was built in 2005 by Fair Isle boat builder Ian Best who also built our yoal, the Rinansey in 2016.  Shetland yoals differ from St Ayles Skiffs as the yoals see 6 rowers spread evenly over 3 seats.

ORC had a group of twelve rowers participating in the regatta, the venue is the beautiful spot of St Ninian Isle on Shetland with gorgeous sandy beaches.

Orkney participated in 6 races and enjoyed every minute of the close sprint racing over a 1K course.

There were daytime activities including a BBQ, soup, sandwiches, teas and coffees, ice-cream, sand-castle competition and beer tent.  After the rowing, live music was provided by the splendid local band, David Sandison and the Tennessee Wannabees, whilst outside a beach bonfire provided warmth.

Unfortunately we won no trophies this time around, however there were some close and hotly contested races, with the veteran mixed race having 1 second between 1st and 3rd place, ORC coming 3rd.  We also gained 3rd place in the Veteran men’s race with two women in the crew.

Next year Orkney will host and we look forward to welcoming crews from Shetland to compete for the inter-island trophies.

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Queensferry Regatta

There were a lot of colourful gazebos and happy faces yesterday at Queensferry.
Thank you all Crail ,Eskmuthe ,Broughty ,Portsoy ,Wormit ,Kinghorn ,St Andrews ,Eastern ,N Queensferry for a great friendly,competitive day .

Full regatta report to follow

Spectators watching the action

Results on the board

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Royal West Regatta

A great day of coastal rowing at RWSABC today with teams from Anstruther (St Ayles RC), Arran, Firth of Clyde, North Berwick, Portobello (Row Porty), Troon competing in various categories over a 2km course with 2 90° turns along the Esplanade. And the sun shone!

Lots of close racing and helping out with other crews which makes for a relaxed yet competitive regatta which was good fun!

Anstruther won the Open Men’s, Women’s, Mixed and Women’s 50+ races with North Berwick winning the Men’s 50+ and Arran the Mixed 50+ and the Andy race (which was also counting for points for the boat.) Overall it was a joint win for Anstruther and North Berwick with Arran coming in 3rd. Full report to follow.

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Racing at Skiffieworlds 2019

The schedule for races in Skiffieworlds 2019 has been published. There have been some minor tweaks from the draft schedule, in order to fit in the number of heats required. We are delighted to have over 700 crews entered to race at Stranraer, but it does mean we need to schedule around 100 races, so we are having by far the biggest regatta there has ever been for St Ayles skiffs. Those affected by the changes are those lucky enough to qualify for some of the finals, who will now find that their final is the day after their heat. Please check the schedule now (by clicking on the link above) so that you know when you are racing, particularly if you qualify for the final. Men Open Final is now on the Thursday, Women Open Final is on the Friday and Mixed Open A final is on the Saturday. Mixed 40+ final is on the Thursday. Men 50+ and Women 50+ finals are on the Friday. Mixed 50+ final is on the Wednesday. The lane draw, which will determine which heats crews are in, has yet to take place.

Your route to the final depends on how many heats there are in your category:

Where there are 16 or fewer entries in a category, there are no heats, just a straight final.

Where there are two heats, the first six or seven crews in each heat will progress to the final. You will be advised of whether it is 6 or 7 prior to the race commencing. Qualification for all finals is determined by position within the qualifying heat or repechage. Times between heats are not compared.

Where there are three heats, the first five crews in each heat will progress to the final.

Where there are four heats, the first three from each heat will progress straight to the final. Those placed fourth, fifth and sixth in each heat will progress to a repechage. This gives those crews a second chance to qualify for the final. The first three crews in the repechage will join the other qualifiers in the final.

We hope that you can join with us in celebrating the achievements of every club that attends the worlds. As in previous years there will though be a points competition across all events. The Trophy will be awarded for the most points garnered from finish positions. The best six results will count for each club.

Scottish Fisheries Museum trophy for the club winning the points competition

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Canal Festival Featuring SCRA Skiffs

Rowing Clubs came from far and wide to join in with a flotilla in late May 2019, crossing Scotland in celebration of the re-opening of the Forth and Clyde Canal to navigation after a lengthy closure due to maintenance issues. Clubs taking part were: Renegade-Ayrshire, Sutors Skiffies-Cromarty, Eskmuthe, Elie, St. Andrews, Lochcarron, Dunbar, Cockenzie and Port Seton( with 2 skiffs), St Ayles (Anstruther) and Andres and his sister in their picnic boat from Portobello.

On the Wheel – Pic Chritine Mincher, Dunbar

Friday afternoon started well with the weather gods smiling. The basin at the Falkirk wheel was almost full of canal barges and steamboats puffing around with wisps of smoke everywhere. Seven skiffs and a picnic boat meanwhile arrived, launched into the basin and paddled away to a pontoon through the back where they have the giant plastic balls and you walk on water. Cars, RVs, tents, trailers all somehow moved into car parks or on to the end of tomorrow’s row. The wheel, the only rotating boat lift in the world, slowly turned and the commercial boats had their turns until half past five. It was empty. At 17:30 the steamboats went into their gondola and away up to the top, the second gondola opened for skiffs and in they went.

Skiffs and Steamboats in the Falkirk Wheel

Bob Fleet of Dunbar writes: “Just imagine, 8 boats in a gondola going up into the sky. Halfway up, the wheel was stopped and the skiffs gave an oar salute, the steamboats tooted and the dragon belched steam. They actually stopped the wheel for us, there’s fame. Meanwhile there was a piper playing from the platform in the centre of the wheel. My favourite story of the weekend; his father took him through the axle and shut the door behind him. Then his dad had to walk around inside like a hamster when the wheel turned. Isn’t that how they power it anyway? Then it was back down and on to the food and drink.”

The Canal at Falkirk Wheel

Saturday dawned fine and we’d decided to shortcut our way out of the basin.The canal and steamboats had no option, they had to go through the exit lock. Meanwhile the skiffs took a shortcut…. back out at the slipway, across the grass and down the bank into the Forth Clyde Canal. Thanks for all the willing helpers and the use of Renegade’s launching trolley.

Several boats arrived on Saturday and they too went straight down the bank. There was a bit of confusion while we either flotilled or formated and were to lead off the core group. It was a great opportunity though to see the boats with their fancy dress and bunting. Well done all. At some arbitrary time (canal time seems different and skiff time different still) the fleet set off. Bliss, herons sitting beside the canal and peace and quiet, just the sound of the oars. Two boats launched a bit late and followed on, however they were punished for it, by being held up with the large number of boats passing through the canal.

In a Lock- Pic Chritine Mincher Dunbar

First stop-the bridge….. surprisingly at Bridge Street in Bonnybridge. We chevronned up along the pontoon, the bridge opened and off we went. Lock 17, 18 then 19, under the M80 motorway and on to lock 20. After the first lock we knew the drill and took the same positions in the following. Bob Fleet in the Dunbar boat writes “We were next to the skiff with the six month old baby and a dog, and in front of the one with the other dog. Record set for youngest member of the flotilla by Elie. At the first lock we found out that we could only get eight of the nine boats in. Poor Navaho got left out but there were a few other boats so we knew they’d be up not long after. Subsequently we found out that they came up in a lock to themselves each time…….. there’s posh but if we’d known we could have split the group into two.

“Through lock 20 and on to Auchinstarry across Dullator Moss. A long straight row into the wind. Parts are SSIs and there are reed beds and lots of nesting sites so our birdwatchers twitched as we rowed along .It would be a great place to put a few Mile/Km markers so you could do a wee timed dash (unpowered craft only) or calibrate your speedo if powered and speed limited. It was getting damp now but around a few bends and Auchinstarry Marina. As boats arrived we took most out onto the bank so there’d be a wee bit of room for 70 boats arriving. Some clubs left and the rest headed into the Boathouse for soup or coffee or anything hot. We caught up with each others’ tales and adventures .

The skiff fleet was still two boats short. At long last-very long last they arrived. As the main group of skiffs had passed they were held up at the first bridge to let all the steamboats through,then at the locks they had to let everyone else through so sat for three quarters of an hour, then an hour waiting. They’d have caught up if they’d been released and given a can or RedBull each. A bit harsh but there’s a moral in there somewhere. Lesson to us-should have had the radios at front and back so we knew what was happening. Prize giving, hog roast and ceilidh in the marquee finished the evening

Unfortunately by this stage it was very wet indeed and some clubs decided that rather than pitch tents, they would head for home (after a bit of food and dancing).

Three boats were left to represent Scottish Coastal Rowing on the Sunday: s St Andrews, Cromarty and Renegade.  At 10.15 the mini fleet were sent on their way.  Apart from the weather the row went well, being able to pass under the 2 low bridges without them being raised or swung.  This did mean that they were well ahead of the rest of the fleet, but arrived at 12.00, the published time.   Thankfully locals were on hand to direct us to the ‘Puffer’, where tables had been reserved.  Returning to the marina, still no sign of SC staff, so we just set off, again doing our own thing when back at Auchinstarry.

On the Monday, after a leisurely start a further reduced fleet rowed back towards The Wheel.  Rotating the crew meant everybody had 80 mins of rowing and 20 of resting or coxing.  An hour out took the micro fleet nicely to the first lock, where the fleet turned and retraced puddles to Auchinstarry. Having got the boat on the trailer and hitched for towing, the remaining crew had a pleasant lunch, sitting out on the decking of the Boathouse, before making their way home.

Overall this was a very enjoyable non competitive event.  Members from different Clubs helping each other to manhandle the boats was invaluable and highlighted the ethos of Coastal Rowing.  Staff from Scottish Canals were always friendly, helpful and encouraging, so thank you to them, and to all the organisers of the event, and particularly Bob and Dunbar for liaising on behalf of the SCRA clubs.

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Skiffs in the Air

Some great drone footage of skiffs ascending in the Falkirk Wheel, as steam boats from the Steam Boat Association go in the other direction. The Falkirk wheel is a modern marvel of engineering, linking the Union Canal and the Forth and Clyde Canal. It is the only rotating boat lift in the world. Thank you to Scottish Canals and to the Steam Boat Association.

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Broughty Ferry Boating Regatta Report 2019

Many thanks to Broughty Ferry Boating for the following report: We welcomed twelve clubs to Grassy Beach Avoch, Crail, Cromarty, Collieston, Eastern, Elie, Eskmuthe, North Berwick, Portsoy, Queensferry, Wormit plus our own two boats Arthur Nicoll and Brochty for Tay Sail.  It was great to see five clubs who hadn’t visited us before Avoch, Cromarty, Elie, Eskmuthe and Portsoy. Between rowers and their supporters we had over 300 people on the beach which created a brilliant atmosphere.

Unfortunately after a sunny week the weather had given up and we had a day of light rain and showers.  However, it made for great rowing conditions and as we all know a bit of rain won’t dampen Skiffie’s enthusiasm for a good race.

A flooding, strong Spring tide and a different course this year made for interesting, if not challenging, competition at times.

There were eleven races with results as follows:

60+ Mixed:  1st North Berwick 2nd Broughty Ferry   3rd Wormit

50+ Mixed:  1st Crail    2nd Eastern   3rd North Berwick

40+ Women: 1st North Berwick 2nd Broughty Ferry 3rd Avoch

50+ Men: 1st Eastern  2nd North Berwick 3rd Wormit

50+ Women:  1st North Berwick  2nd Eastern 3rd Crail

60+ Men:   1st Queensferry  2nd North Berwick 3rd Broughty Ferry

Open Mixed:  1st Tay Sail   2nd Broughty Ferry 3rd Eastern

40+ Mixed: 1st North Berwick   2nd Broughty Ferry 3rd Eastern

60+ Women:  1st Broughty Ferry   2nd Queensferry 3rd Tay Sail

Open Women:  1st Broughty Ferry  2nd North Berwick 3rd  Cromarty

Open Men:  1st North Berwick    2nd Broughty Ferry 3rd Eastern

Overall Winners were North Berwick with Broughty Ferry second and Eastern third.

Congratulations to all the rowers and supporters and thanks for making the event such a success.

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Ullapool Regatta Report 2019

This Friday and Saturday Ulapool’s annual regatta was held on Loch Broom. The weather was wet and wild on the Friday night when the Youth teams of Avoch, Cromarty, Orkney and Ullapool battled with big waves and strong winds. Orkney’s U17 Girls won their race and Avoch got two seconds but in the end Ullapool’s home teams prevailed in the Youth Trophy.

The following day it was still wet, but much calmer and in fact ideal rowing conditions. Cromarty claimed the first race, the Open Mixed, and this is a drone video of them first at the turn: 

Bunillidh took the 60+Women’s race and Shieldaig & Loch Torridon (SALT) put in a very strong performance to win the 60+Men’s race by 1 second from Coigach. Golspie won the 50+ Women by 3 seconds from Orkney with SALT a second behind. In fact the first 5 finishers crossed the line in 6 seconds.

The 50+ Men was won by Ullapool with a fast time of 12min. 19 seconds, followed by Coigach, Orkney, Cromarty, Bunillidh and Avoch all with sub 13 minute times. New club Nairn recorded a very creditable time of 13 min. 55 seconds.

Avoch took the 40+ Womens race, and Orkney the 40+ Mens. SALT won the 60+ Mixed a second ahead of Bunillidh and Orkney won the 50+Mixed convincingly. Avoch also took the 40+ Mixed.

The fastest time of the day was 12 min. 13 seconds from the Coigach Open Mens team, which had two Ullapool rowers Tom Grant and William Godding. Cromarty finished the day by winning the Open Women in a time of 13 min. 30 seconds.

Special mention to new clubs Nairn and Strathpeffer for their first appearance at Ullapool. We wish them well in the sport and hope they enjoy it as much as we do.

Overall winners of the Adult racing on points were Cromarty who beat the hosts by one point after a recount! Well done Cromarty!

Full Results -Adult

Full Results – Youth

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Princess Royal to Attend Skiffieworlds 2019

HRH The Princess Royal at the Opening of the St Ayles Skiff World Championships in 2013

We are delighted that HRH The Princess Royal is going to attend the opening day of the St Ayles Skiff World Championships on 8 July 2019. She kindly opened our first World Championships at Ullapool in 2013, so we will be welcoming her back to our world wide skiff community when she arrives in Stranraer. It will also be a welcome back from the hosts of Skiffieworlds 2019, Stranraer St Ayles Skiff Project, since she unveiled a plaque in May 2017 to mark the start of work on their boathouse.

We hope that The Princess Royal will be pleased to see the growth in our sport in Stranraer and worldwide. We have a record entry for Skiffieworlds, with over 700 crews due to take part. The championships have more than doubled in size since she last attended.

Chair of the organising committee Wendi Cuffe explains:

“We are thrilled to have such a high entry for the SkiffieWorlds and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming The Princess Royal to Stranraer….  Loch Ryan is the perfect stage for coastal rowing, and watersports in general, and we were delighted to be asked to host this major international event.  We can’t wait to introduce the world of St Ayles skiff rowers to Stranraer and our beautiful loch.”

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