Ullapool certainly delivered - dramatic weather, epic racing and a ceilidh in a ferry terminal!
After a Friday afternoon arrival, we kicked off with a small bit of rehydration in The Arches and watched some of the junior racing.
Senior racing kicked off after the ferry left on Saturday morning and the skiffs lined up - with up to 17 crews in each race! The sun was out and the factor 50 was on. The first event, the Mixed 40+, got to race in beautiful flat conditions. Our crew had a great row and handed over to the Open crews, the men finished a respectable 7th in a strong field and the women topped their heat to take a favourable lane for the final. Our Mixed 50+ crew then headed out as the clouds closed in and qualified for their final as the rain started to come down. Racing was soon postponed for thunder and lightening and we got to see some of the more dramatic conditions of the day. Many retreated to the bunkhouse for coffee and cake and to rest the legs.
Two races were cancelled but once the storm had cleared, the 240+ Men headed out for their row. It was then the turn of the Open Women who stormed in first ahead of some tough competition from Strangford and Nairn. The 240+ Women had a great row and were second over the line but due to the age adjustment finished outside the medals. Last up for the day was the Mixed 50+ final, and fourth trip round the course for one of our hardy rowers. A tough race in some tricky conditions but the team flew over the line in 3rd securing bronze.
Saturday evening was spent admiring the calm waters of Loch Broom, debating if it was possible to restart the regatta in the evening and flinging each other round at the ceilidh to the exceptional RuMac Music and his accordion. Fortunately no injuries were sustained and being the somewhat sensible club we are, most of our skiffies headed home around 10pm to get some rest for Sunday’s fun.
The question was, would Sunday provide the same drama as the day before? It started dry, so far so good, and with an earlier ferry departure, racing kicked off at 10am with the first heat of the Mixed 240+. Both our crews qualified for the final, giving one crew the opportunity to race in Ullapool’s boat, Cul Mor later in the day.
As the morning progressed, visibility to the end of the course got increasingly more interesting and conditions worsened. Our Mixed Open qualified for the final and as the Men’s 40+ finished their race it was announced that the course would be shortened and turns based on a radio call. This seemed to be a good thing for the NB crews as the next 3 races resulted in medals - Gold for the Women’s 40+ and Men’s 50+ and Silver for Women’s 50+. The Mixed 240+ and Mixed Open finished off the weekend, our crews putting in solid performances. Then to pack up in the rain, medals and say a huge thank you to Ullapool for an outstanding weekend.
Overall a great fun weekend for the NB skiffies. Can’t wait for next year!
Club - Joint 4th overall
Gold - Women’s Open, Women’s 40+ and Men’s 50+
Silver - Women’s 50+
Bronze - Mixed 50+