The temperature on leaving North Berwick was a balmy 13.5 degrees Celsius, however this was not mirrored over in the West, where, for the first several hours, warm clothing was not only desirable, but essential. The welcome team NB received however was warm and welcoming, as we have come to expect from our friends in the West.
North Berwick acquitted itself with aplomb and commitment and enjoyed enormous success on the water, despite some underwear malfunction and poorly scheduled toilet breaks. Although we were a few days late for a pod of Orcas, we were treated to close ups of several porpoises, less close up (thankfully)views of a passing submarine and a significant wake from a pilot boat, which made for a very exciting finish in one of the races.
Sufficient points were scored to secure the return of the silver salver to the club for another year. Other highlights were observing the Cowan boys at play, completely absorbed in the business of gathering industrial quantities of seaglass. It is with great interest that we anticipate the arrival of a unique piece of art, with which to embellish our boat house!
Once again, great rowing, excellent company and cameraderie and wonderful organisation, thanks to all who made it another joyful regatta!
After an endless winter, the first regatta of the season was upon us. Port Seton harbour was the venue for a few fast and furious sprints, with a couple of tight buoy turns to boot. This was a great test for the crews’ skill.
North Berwick sent a strong contingent of rowers, clearly itching to get going in the new regatta season. Before all the racing commenced for the day, a group of foolhardy individuals thought it would be good idea to up the intensity of the day’s workout and row Skiff John B there before the racing.
We were under strict orders to be at Port Seton by 10am to make the cox’s briefing and avoid any time penalties for our boat, which would be devastating on the short circuit round the harbour. So no pressure then …! But forget all that, the real target was obviously to beat the previous club record time for the route!
Dave led the team of Louise, Jacque, Duncan and Ross, setting off from NB around 7.15am to tackle the 13 mile course along the coast. With dark grey cloud to the east and west, we set off in high spirits. After a choppy start to Lamb/Fidra, the water smoothed out to allow the team to make good time. It might have been even quicker if not for a few lengthy changeovers en route to allow some members to organise their attire!
What a way to see our coastline and take in the sights – the Puffins skimming around the boat, Guillemots rising from Fidra as we cruised past and then on towards the submarine wreck at Aberlady Bay. Without the towers at Cockenzie anymore as a landmark, it made it slightly more difficult to pick our course, but nevertheless Jacque steered us into the harbour in good time – clocking 2hr:17mins and smashing the previous record!
A great welcome met us in Port Seton, where teams were gathering for a busy day of racing ahead. With 70 races scheduled for the day, there was no hanging about and quick changeovers were needed to ensure the races were completed whilst there was still enough water in the harbour. The oval course around the two parts of the harbour had the start/finish line in the middle, marked by the narrow gap in the harbour wall. It was perfect for the spectators to see how the racing was progressing. With boats setting off in opposite directions, it set up a head-on game of ‘chicken’ as boats met at the midway point through the narrow gap – a good test of the coxes’ nerve.
The racing began in wet and windy conditions, but that did not deter the Men’s Open team, progressing through the heats and semi-final, before taking the silver medal for their efforts. The weather improved and the sun came out for the afternoon races. Sadly, the Men’s Open was to be the highlight of the day in terms of a medal haul and it was a struggle to set good enough times in the heats to make the semi-final or final. The men’s 45 team did manage to reach the semi-final, but it was our hosts for the day, Boatie, who were cleaning up with the medals.
It was a great day, great hospitality, and good experience for our crews, with some very tidy buoy turns executed on the day (and some not so great turns, but don’t think too much paint was scraped off that fishing trawler in the harbour!!).
We have plenty to build on for the regatta season to come … and perhaps NB is more suited to the longer distance races! Luckily, somebody did bring the empty trailer for boat at the end of the day, as it would have been a very long row back to North Berwick.
So how long does it take to organise a small flotilla to the Bass Rock? You get a message on Monday to say Murdo McLeod would love to do the Bass with folks from Portobello, then Dunbar come and bag a couple of our islands on Thursday, and want to join us and then Alan (ex NBRC) and Amble have filled two boats with a wee extra of Andreas in Pascal. Thirty seven folks in total with two North Berwick boats too...
The day dawned as Magic Seaweed had predicted.....walking down the beach at half eight for a quick jaunt to the Craig with the girls, Portobello and Pascal were pulling down the slip and Amble had stopped for breakfast at Berwick.
Conditions were totally perfect. After a quick briefing we set out , jollying along, chatting but putting on some pressure, changing coxes at the Poo buoy and onto the rock.....not too many gannets present to put us off our snacks. Quite a few puddles of puffins already here to enjoy the warmth. Plenty seals surrounding the skiffs too. So good to be back on the water.
After devouring cake and rehydration some headed to find Seacliff harbour, others to round the Craig. All were safe back on land by half past two. Coffees in steampunk, plenty piccies and a fantastic day sharing our rocks.
Thanks must go to Murdo for setting the oars in motion, and to all for coming to join us. Here's to many more outings!
I'd forgotten what it was like getting up and out quite so early, on the move by 6:15 very dark and quiet. NBRC had let free a wee group to do the umpire course the night before and most had camped as well. Hardy lot. As the sun started to rise above Fife (Ed: That wasn't the Sun it was Mossmorran!), we'd managed the new crossing without dropping a gear. We sped (Ed: within the speed limit of course) on through the ever changing scenery to the stunning and very colorful Loch Tummel Sailing Club. Nestled mainly out of the building breeze if you positioned yourself right. The cosy and spacious club house was a great welcome place to group and chat, plot new adventures and dissect every race. Bacon rolls and copious amounts of tea and coffee. The coxes briefing promised of ever building winds and fast turn overs of crews to ensure we got as many races completed.
It was a tad mind blowing for our regional captains Stuart and Ali with 81 signed up to squeeze into two boats,Port Seton boats changed their names for the day being Bass Rock and St Kilda and the challenge was set, also to the new umpires to help make the day run smoothly and without having to issue any penalties, or predict any issues before they happened. Getting the names of each boat and their numbers is often hard enough but remembering which region they came from was a bit of a challenge when setting up and starting races, especially with the strong headwind and powerful currents, staying on the line was tough on the coxes too.
So down to working out which boat you were in which team and whether you were coxing, all tables sent out beforehand were told to be discarded and to watch our white board. When to eat, hydrate and what clothes to wear all the usual scenarios....
Racing was over a 500m course into the strong westerly wind with a starboard turn and sprint half way back with the following wind to cross the transit with the watch hut. All races were closely fought, and very hard to predict who crossed the line first even from the coxes seat. For me the tender steps up and down the pontoon were spent on my knees a lot too, and the Port Seton lifejackets were certainly hard to adjust everytime, glad of helping out each other in all situations.
As the day went on more white horses appeared and the loch turned into more like coastal waters. As the novice crews took to the water, gusts were reaching up to 40 mph and it was decided to postpone for a while to see if the last races could take place. We were treated to a very informative chat by the Teale Trailer rep with some very good points to highlight for the future. Regional coxes then retired to discuss the weather, whilst we all proceeded to eat our way through the amazing spread of soup, rolls, pies and cakes.
And....yes we were back on the water, not for the novice but the shortened long distance last two races, they really did have a hard slog. After retrieving boats to trailers and packing up all our layers, points were counted....the lovely wooden medals were shared out in the warmth of the club house. And the overall shield......YES back to south east again.
What a fantastic days racing, knowledge, catching up with new and old pals, hospitality and fun. A much needed stop to refuel with amazing pizza on the way home and in bed by ten.....old/new time. Thank you to all the powers that be for the great organising of so many members of the SCRA from all over the country. I do hope you had a good AGM and slept well after a long and fruitful day.Jacque Turner
On Monday, September 4, two crews from the club rowed in formation with fifteen other St Ayles Skiffs, to celebrate the opening of The Queensferry Crossing by HRH Queen Elizabeth. The drizzle did not dampen the enthusiasm of all that took part in this memorable event joining fellow skiffies from all over Scotland.
Queensferry Rowing Club welcomed their visitors with helping hands, tea, coffee, cake and bacon rolls and we thank them for giving us the opportunity to participate. Clubs from North Queensferry, Newhaven, Eskmouth, Portobello, Dunbar, Eastern, Troon, Golspie, Collieston and Kinghorn rowed for over an hour as part of a flotilla of 100s of craft as The Queen cut the ribbon on the third iconic crossing of the river Forth at Queensferry.
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