In sitting down to write a Captain’s report for our regatta, I’m painfully aware of two things; the newly raw areas of my bottom from one too many trips around the Craig, and the likelihood that in describing all the effort, hard work, racing success and community spirit embodied in regatta day I’m at real risk of exhausting superlatives.
The success of the regatta and the wonderful feedback we’ve had from the 13 clubs who came to race, eat cake (in vast quantities) and make merry, is testament to our little club’s diverse and talented membership. You should all be very proud of yourselves!
The day started with grave doubts about the weather and sea conditions – flat calm and practically windless is not what visiting crews have come to expect from a North Berwick regatta. Fortunately the weather gods started to see sense after lunch and conditions in the afternoon deteriorated nicely to give everyone a proper flavour of coastal rowing (I was gratified to see rowers visiting for the first time describe how rough and tough it was whilst wearing big smiles on their faces).
The full race results are, of course, available to see on the club website so I won’t go into the minutia of each race but I was delighted that over 50 rowers competed for North Berwick (the majority of whom had two rows) and every single one did the club proud. In all bar three races we had two boats entered, and in the Mixed Open and Men’s Open we went one better and had all three North Berwick skiffs on the water!
Owing to the considerable advantage of having this kind of gargantuan force we didn’t run an overall club points competition, but luckily Rain-Man Davidson (Ed: NB being an arty place, knowing your 7 times table constitutes being at the idiot savant end of the spectrum) calculated it anyway and we would have finished on top with Eastern just 2 points astray. Golds from both 40+ crews, 60+, Mixed 45+ and Men’s Open were supplemented with crucial Bronze points from our Novices, Under 19s and Ladies Open. Special mentions to novice Vana who was subbed into the Ladies Open crew at the eleventh hour (and won her second bronze of the day), Medium, Fin, The Andies and cox Elisa who formed a scratch Men’s crew with seconds to spare and came 5th, and Connor, who survived an audacious attempt by Saskia to change his hair style from the other boat.
Compared to previous years where rough water tended to spread the field widely on the approach to the island or turning buoy, the calm conditions made for fierce competition with tight packs of boats vying for position so hats off to the coxes for keeping calm in the melee and of course thanks to the safety boats, umpires, starters and timers (and David Davidson for organising them all) who kept us safe.
Rachael and Tracy did a fantastic job organising the Hope Rooms and a spread of rolls, cakes, sweets and treats made by members and their families on a sumptuous scale was happily devoured by our visitors. Thanks to all who provided the goodies and everyone who helped run the stall and clean the place up in record time.
The church hall was packed for the presentation of the 180 diving gannet medals crafted by Yolanda and her team and it was fantastic to see our visitors in their many club colours enjoying a drink and some post-race analysis. Particularly satisfying, if I may speak with my Men’s Open hat on (note to Clive: we need hats), was the proof that our sartorial elegance hadn’t gone unnoticed at the World’s and had inspired the women of Avoch to wear vibrant tutus tastefully accessorised with a black and yellow wig for Alan their cox. It feels like pebbles falling before the avalanche… As ever DJ Sandy provided the aural stimulation required after a long day at sea and although it may not have been obvious at the time I can confirm that I thoroughly enjoyed the dancing.
Without further gilding of the lily and callously ignoring the waves of sentiment lapping lightly around my ankles I would finish by saying how proud I am that we demonstrated the very best values of our club on Saturday and long may that continue.