Well we rowed, cycled, and walked the 5,300,000 meters from North Berwick to New York to arrive and find we're still in lockdown, JFK is closed, and we're going to have to row back....but need some new shorts, so let's go to Bermuda next stop.
The North Berwick coastal skiff rowing regatta 2019 – the best yet!
What a day - wall to wall sunshine and not a breath of wind - conditions could not have been better.
There was an early start with a 7 o’clock meet to get the ribs out to lay the buoys and check that there were no creel lines that could snag the boats. Clive and Finlay were already looking a bit overdressed in dry suits.
So what were the highlights of the day? A few things really stand out.
One of my personal highlights of the day was the opportunity to help out on the water with Finlay Robertson showing me the ropes on the rib. I had absolutely no idea what we were doing but (I think) I managed to look quite officious and had a blast zooming around the Craig. Thanks Finlay maybe next year I’ll be semi-helpful.
So what else is worthy of a mention? Well the catering must be talked about. Meg, Ann and the team did a wonderful job. The catering was terrific throughout the day, and, of course, is such an important fundraiser for the club. The standard of catering was quite outstanding. Pretty early on I concluded that my cheese and pickle rolls were okay but they didn’t really compare to my favourite role of the day. This was humus and sun-dried tomato on a freshly home-made sourdough roll – outstanding.
A review of the day would not be complete without a mention of Messers Baird and Rooney on the tannoy. Their inane ramblings were quite wonderful entertainment and I understand the new weekly podcast will be coming out later in the year.
So what about the rowing ? Lots and lots of terrific rowing in wonderful conditions with some really fast times. All races were keenly contested and it was great to see a spread of medals across all the clubs.
At the end of the day we all gathered for a cold beer on the beach and a chance to listen to one of Sandy’s monologues - which never disappoints. All the medal winners were delighted with their unique medals (way to go Milly) which were a terrific memento of a wonderful day on and off the water.
Now that the weather is beginning to improve, here's a couple of photos from a recent club expedition around Fidra. If this doesn't lure you back to the water, nothing will. But remember, you can only take part in these fun-filled excursions if you've paid your club subs for this year!
The NB wagon train headed west this weekend to Stranraer to take part in the home clubs regatta and provide the opportunity to test out next years World Championship course.
The next day it was down to shore and the first view of the course. 15 lanes, 1km out, round the buoy and 1km back. No problem. Other than the other 14 clubs trying to get back before you!
The state of the water initially confused the NB rowers as it was ....ummm what’s the word? Flat! What was this sorcery we thought. However we decided against lodging a formal complaint and row anyway.
It was soon evident that the quality of the opposition was high and we would have to be on top form to compete for podium spots.
It was just as well that we were then! The early races saw the men’s and ladies open as well as the 50+ men all register 2nd places just behind a trio of Irish boats who showed strongly throughout.
After a short break for lunch it was back on the water and the strong NB performances continued to come thick and fast. First of all the standout performance (in this authors humble opinion) saw the women’s 50+ storm home in first place. This was followed up by a win for the mixed open crew who showed great resilience by pipping Strangford for gold in a thriller.
The mixed decades crew then made it a hat trick of wins leading home Sketrick. Finally the 3rd place finish by our mixed 220+ crew in highly competitive race saw us over the line to win the overall club title ahead of Strangford and Sketrick.
A successful day all round with the hospitality and organisation of Stranraer promising a wonderful 2019 World Championship to come next year.
NBRC were out in force this weekend as 21 of our members took on a challenging two days of rowing up on the west coast.
After the first test of beating Friday evening rush hour on the A9 was completed, we convened in the pub for some pre-race hydration as the junior races drew to a close on the beach in front of us. After livers were primed suitably, our athletes retired to the camp site where we enjoyed the silence and tranquillity of the of the Wester Ross countryside.
The competitors emerged from their tents and MoHo’s on Saturday morning to blazing sunshine. Ullapool remained uncharacteristically clammy as the ferry left and races got underway, which made for tough racing conditions despite the relatively calm waters. However, this didn’t seem to affect our over 50’s Men and Women, who started the day with some great wins against some strong teams. Heats for the open mixed A’s and 40+ mixed finished promisingly too, with North Berwick comfortably securing a place in the final for both.
Heats over, but temperature rising, much fun was had as the beach was inundated by tourists, rowers and jellyfish, all jostling for a good view of the skiffs. I think North Berwick alone may be responsible for the ice cream shortage Ullapool is now suffering, but it proved an important snack to revive the team and supporters.
As the day finally began to cool all 27 teams collected on the beach for the prize giving ceremony. Against a magnificent backdrop of Loch Broom and the surrounding hills,
The sense of community was uplifting as rowers from as far as the Netherlands and Orkney gathered to congratulate each other.
After a quick freshen up the teams prepared for the next test of stamina; the ceilidh. There was a strong turnout up at the high school after such an exhausting day – the sheer volume of people made the assembly hall very sweaty, rendering our battle for the camp site showers pretty useless. It all went a bit blurry for me after that, either because I was spinning too fast or drinking to fast, but I remember a lot of people smiling so I think the dancing was a success.
Sunday was a bit more of a dreich day (which was a bit of relief after Costa del Ulla the day before), and as we returned to the beach for the final races the wind and swell picked up. Almost opposite conditions made for a really interesting afternoon; North Berwick continued to consistently finish among the medals, and there was some excellent coxing to bring the teams home on a tight line in tricky wind.
The day drew to a close and reluctantly rowers trundled off down the road, with some great memories and chests weighed down with medals. North Berwick narrowly lost out on winning overall, but of course that leaves some exciting room for improvement at our own regatta!
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