Broughty Ferry Regatta was one we had pencilled in as a good warmup prior to the Worlds in July....a triangular course of 2.3KM had been set. The first leg took the boats into the middle of the Tay where a strengthening incoming tide challenged coxes to pick a smart course to avoid being swept upriver.
Twelve clubs were represented with some travelling a long way from the North (Cromarty, Avoch, Portsoy, Colliestion) as well as some familiar rivals like Eastern (or “Western” if you rightly consider North Berwick as your point of reference…then again that would make us Berwick, and the other town South Berwick….what a tangled web, it may be too late to pursue this. :-( ) and strong crews from the host club ….we brought a squad of 21 to compete in 10 of the 11 races…..missing only a 60+ ladies crew.
But not having a 60+ ladies crew was never going to stop our club legend, Issy, from bagging a brace of medals, she and the Mixed 60+ crew, stormed to a win on the first race of the day. That set the precedent for further wins in the Women’s 40+, Women’s 50+, Mixed 40+ and Men’s Open….backed up by Silver in Men’s 50+, Men’s 60+ and Women’s open and Bronze in Mixed 50+.
The regatta was superbly hosted by Broughty the on the water racing was well marshalled, catering was top notch, and the medals were fabulous, what a great day out.
NBRC tradition saw a sprightly crew rowing our blue number 7 boat from North Berwick harbour to the harbour walls of Port Seton. On a blazing Easter weekend, the regatta season had started!
Off to start the races was our Men's Open but not before a near coxing related disciplinary for one of our members...
Regardless, heats were won and the boys beat Eastern in the final for the first victory of the season and the fastest time of the day.
The Buoy turns were seamless from Claire the cox, and the boys were looking very neat as coached on the banks by ever present Coach Thomson.
Hard work done and to the important business of cake eating and sun lounging in tropical taps off style whilst men's 50+ crew try to arrange their next outing ...
Back to racing and the women's open were next. This scratch crew put in a solid performance and came together well to be pipped to the post to the finals with a respectable 3rd place. Meanwhile men's 50+crew still trying to organise date for next practice ..
Eating of ice creams over, and the mixed 40+ were up next displaying solid recoveries after the turns and a tidy row in between. Again some good times and narrowly missing out on the finals. A respite from the diaries of the men's 50+ calendars comes in the form of the Mixed open.
Racing through the heats with the fastest time this scratch crew showed promise as they increased speed for the second heat - taking them through to the finals where they narrowly missed out to Eastern having previously beaten then in one of their heats.
Whirring them into action this near win seems to have stirred the men's 50+ into action and a date is set in the calendar for their next outing!
In the last race of the day came the mixed 50+ which was full of drama and saw the first oar of the day broken by Eskmouth in the final heat.
Class was shown by North Berwick who won their heats with ease however narrowly missing out on the finals.
Kit packed up and sun still blazing - home to dream about the next regatta and its cakes..
Five North Berwick crews travelled to the River Clyde for the second edition of the 13 mile race from Dumbarton Castle to the Finnieston Crane. Sixty St Ayles skiffs were joined by twelve other rowing boats of various classes in the biggest event for seagoing rowers, in Scotland.
The morning started at Sandpoint Marina, Dumbarton. With over 300 skiffies arriving in time to speak to friends, inspect the opposition and generally have a laugh with people of a similar persuasion. So after briefings, launching and staggered starts we all set off for the long pull towards the city. On a fairly benign day and flat calm water we expected an easier time than what could have otherwise been. And so it was in the early stage with the incoming tide pushing us all up the river towards the Erskine Bridge. The early starts got full advantage of these conditions and the skiffs disappeared into the horizon and ‘Speedwell’ (Steve Thomson/Dave Davidson/Jacque Turner) arriving first at the crane in the second fastest time of the day (1hr57mins) followed by ‘Flossie’ (Laura Cram/Louise Presslie/Kirsty Cram).
The St Ayles race within a race was perhaps the most interesting competition of the day with various male, female and mixed crews of different abilities leaving at staggered times. It is certain everybody was trying to catch the boat in front of them and keep the one behind at a distance. For some this was successful while others took a more leisurely approach. Once again conditions influenced the progress of the rowing. The early tide assistance ran out at about half way and the current changed to the river flow against the racers. So for the same effort speed reduced significantly and coxes had to judge the best line on the river, for least resistance.
‘Blackadder’ (Elisa Robertson/Jo Drewitt/Pete Mileham/Phil Robertson/Finlay Robertson) started just over halfway down through the field and managed to work their way up to 7th place in the Open category, ahead of many of the more fancied entrants. Ahead of them at the start and also working through the field ‘St Baldred’ (Simon Cowan/Rachael Porteous/Richard Budd/Duncan Mackay/Sandy Wallace) managed 5th place in their category. The late starters who were considered the fastest crews of the day ultimately suffered from the changing tide and current conditions and didn’t really ’get going.’ And so it was with ‘Skiff John B’ (Clive Rooney/Duncan Hughes/Ben Lowe/Ian Baird/Alice Everitt) who fell behind in time against clubs they would expect to beat on a normal head to head encounter. The other four local skiffs managed the course in just a few minutes over two hours and everyone is determined to return and break that barrier next time.
A unique aspect of the race is the camaraderie between crews both before during and after the race. It was usual for a cheer to go up between boats as they passed each other and shouts of encouragement to be exchanged no matter how good or bad progress was.
After all the crafts had finished there was a trophy ceremony at the Clydebuilt Festival site next to the Riverside Museum. Impressive individual trophies were presented only to the first in each of the various categories and this included the Flossie crew winning the Double Scull category, calculated after a handicap adjustment.
Festivities carried on into the evening with a party at the Archies in the city centre. A bar and live music provided the background to more skiffie socialising and the successful ceilidh was largely down to three red jacketed North Berwick members leading and encouraging people to ‘take the floor.’
The success of this huge event is due to a tremendous team led by Ben Wilde and North Berwick, and presumably, every other club are indebted to them for putting on such a magnificent event.
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!
What would you rather be doing at midday on New year's day? The chosen few donned extra layers, launched all three skiffs ( very impressed with new combo) and set off in a bit of a swell to warm up before the dookers dooked.
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