North Berwick Rowing Club hosted the "Trades Cup" on Tuesday 17 March.  The Cup is a community rowing competition, where a team of four with no rowing experience represent their organisation or trade. Crews entered this year included a new crew from last year's winners "North Berwick Rugby Club", along with "Homeworkers", "Firefighters" and "Team Genghis Khanny Row" representing SPACE,  a local social enterprise of "Uprising East Lothian".  The crews were using the two matched St Ayles skiffs "St Baldred" and "Skiff John B" both of which were built by North Berwick community boat builders at Wamphrey in 2010.  The rowing club are committed to organising this competition party as a thank you to the community who have given them so much support both to build the boats and now to represent the town at various regattas around Scotland's coast.

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Crews were each given a handicap time to reflect age and gender, so that all crews could compete fairly against each other. In the first race the two all male "scratch" crews scrapped it out to determine who would contest the final. The course was a 750m out and back course, parallel to the harbour pier and platcock rocks, giving excellent and entertaining viewing for the crews' supporters. The young and canny Genghis crew went off hard but were down by a length at the turn. The Rugby Crew had managed to get out for an extra practice session in advance of the night, and their practiced technique and matched timing was obvious  allowing them to pull away further after the turn finishing the course in 2 minutes 59 seconds, against the 3.24 of Ghenghis Khanny.

The second heat saw the Firefighters take on the Homeworkers.  The Homeworkers handicap gave them a six second start.  They were quick out of the blocks, and led the Blue Lichties into the turn.  Spinning round 180 degrees, they were still up by a length as they pulled away from the turning buoy, and held the hard working Firefighters off all the way to the line, pulling away to two lengths clear by the finish which they crossed in 3 minutes 11 seconds, against the Firefighters 3.21.  The final therefore looked tasty, with the 12 second handicap which the homeworkers were due to enjoy reflecting exactly the difference between the  times the two crews had posted in their heats.

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Before the final however there was the matter of the third/ fourth race off to be determined. Both the crews in this tussle improved their times from their heats, but the Firefighters' more polished technique allowed them to pull smoothly away from the determined Space men, finishing in 3:11.

The crews for the final looked slightly nervous as they returned to the two matched St Ayles Skiffs.  Each had a short practice along the course, parading like race horses for the anticipating crowd, before getting lined up for the start.  The Homeworkers enjoyed their 12 second start. Despite a bit of a wobble on the outward leg, the led the Rugby Crew into the turn.  However the oval ball players, resplendent in their viking hats and red and black striped shirts, excecuted a fantastic turn, approaching the buoy wide and hauling the boat round the starboard turn.  Having been down by a length going into the turn, they managed to come away from the buoy half a length up.  The Homeworkers would not give up and kept fighting all the way back up the course, but the viking raiders pulled away winning by 20 seconds on the line to retain the Trades Cup, having completed the course in a corrected time of 2 minutes 52 seconds.

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The crews with supporters and Rowing Club members retired to the presentation at the Auld Hoose, who had presented NBRC with the Cup used for the competition.  Ghengis Khanny Row are now set to use the lessons in teamwork to help them through their next challenge, an epic 10,000 mile journey in a Skoda Fabia from London to Mongolia as part of the Mongol Rally taking place in July.  North Berwick Rowing Club always welcomes new members from their community. Information on other coastal rowing clubs can be found at www.scottishcoastalrowing.org .

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Finishing positions:

4th Genghis Khanny Row
3rd Firefighters
2nd Homeworkers
1st North Berwick Rugby Club


Winners*
Race 1
*Rugby 2.59
Genghis 3.24

Race 2 (handicap 6 secs to Homeworkers)
*Homeworkers 3.11
Firefighters 3.21 (3.15)


Race 3 (handicap 6 secs to Firefighters)
Genghis 3.24 (3.18)
*Firefighters 3.11


Race 4 (handicap 12 secs to Homeworkers)
Homeworkers 3.24
*Rugby 3.04 (2.52)