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
22 North Berwick red shirts (nearly a quarter of the club) braved the 13 mile row up the river Clyde on Saturday. NB sent a fleet of 5 boats, some with 4 rowers, 3 rowers and 2 rowers - but all with 4 oars! There was a total of 75 boats in the inaugural Castle to Crane race (actually, two castles, and three cranes, but let’s not be picky), and the greatest gathering of St Ayles skiffs ever seen. Amazing sights included the historic Birlinn rowed by Galgael and the dazzle camouflage skiff.
The course is long, passing many landmarks and finishes in the heart of Glasgow. After nearly two hours of hard rowing it was wonderful to hear our cox say that he could see the Armadillo and the Tall Ship. It wasn’t easy to maintain our composure and discipline when we rowed under the pipe band on the Millennium Bridge up to the finish line at Finnieston Crane. A super way to finish!
The North Berwick team did well, all boats finishing in the fastest third. Skiff John B bagged the fastest time of the day, 1 hour 54 min, winning the St Ayles Mixed 50+ trophy, Speedwell won the coxed double scull trophy in a time of 2 hours 14 min, Blackadder came fourth in the open Women’s St Ayles with a time of 2 hours 6 min and St Baldred was third in the St Ayles Mixed 50+ with 2 hours 10 min. Zev came first (and last!) in her own category with a time of 2 hours 9 minutes. (All times are actual, before adjustments for handicap).
We then recovered in the fabulous Clydebuilt festival atmosphere - super food, music, beer and traditional boat building exhibits. And beer. Did I mention beer? That was important. And FOOD. Lots.
Well done indeed to the organisers of the Clydebuilt festival and the Castle to Crane race, and many thanks from North Berwick to all the volunteers who made it all possible. We’ll be back...
Thanks to Allan Robertson and Daren Borzynski for permission to use their photos.Clive Drewitt
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.
On a sunny autumn morning the intrepid "North Berwick Ten" made their way westwards in good heart for the Largs Regatta. Crews from around Scotland were joined by an Irish crew from Killyleagh and the crazy Dutch of Woudrichhem who had bought two racing Skiffs with them bringing a total of 14 Skiffs competing.
So first the facts;
- The course was a straight 500m race
- Races were set of in 2 waves of 7 with the best times over the 2 waves getting the medals
- The Dutch were crazy (did I mention that?)
First up for NB were the <220 Mixed crew. I'm not going to lie this Author panicked a bit as he initially thought that the category referred to an individuals weight limit in lbs. Happily for the said Author the 220 actually referred to the combined age of the crew so pulse rates soon returned to normal and he was able to take part.
The <220 mixed crew went out hard and in what ultimately turned out to be the fastest race of the day and, with less than 3 seconds separating the top 3, secured a bronze, the Gold going to those pesky Dutch. This set the flavour for the day with the Dutch dominating the regatta in the same way as the great Ajax team of the early '70s did.
Bronze medals also came the way of NB in the mixed decades and >200 mixed crews before the weather whipped up the waves into a more NB friendly state and the Women's Open crew waltzed effortlessly through the field for the first Gold of the day. A truly brilliant row.
The Men's Open also looked set for Gold after a blistering start - and indeed were initially awarded first place - before it went upstairs to the TMO who looked at a frame by frame replay, announced a dead heat, and awarded the Gold to the Dutch! To be fair I think they probably did nick it in literally the last stroke.
Finally the Andy's race had NB's top cox manage his crew to a creditable bronze in SJB
So the "North Berwick Ten" ended up as overall runners up with You-know-who the deserved winners.
However the NB medal haul hadn't finished as throughout the day there was a separate onshore 200m ergo competition for those who wanted to have a go. This led to young Sam Cowan winning the under 19 men age group, Lizzy winning the 40-49 women age group, Simon not winning and letting the family down, and Captain Jaq winning the 20-29 women's age group (ok it was another age group but I'm hoping to get picked for future regattas)
The day then ended in traditional style with plenty of carb-loading at Nadinis
Of course thanks for another great regatta go to the FOCCRs
Slog indeed! It seemed like a great idea to throw in a 25km warm up for Castle to Crane in 3 weeks time. Sunshine, pastries, music and plenty Vaseline, Dave, John, Laura, Lou and their cox Emily set off at 6am, heading for Newcastle. After dropping off the trailer at the finish, we enjoyed Tyne RC’s luxurious new boat house and fantastic hospitality before the safety briefing and start of the race.
We set off in the first wave with several other fixed seat boats, including the only other St Ayles Skiff, Whitby Gigs and Celtic Longboats. We lead the field for the first 19km, passing through rural and industrial scenery, and one or two much appreciated supporters cheering us on through Newcastle city centre. It was all going so well…
The next phase, through the Port of Tyne, presented us with different challenges. The legs and joints were starting to ache, the slidey seat quads were fast approaching and quickly they went through us. We pushed on through choppier waters and when the DFDS ferry came into sight we knew the finish line wasn’t far away.
We were beaten by the Whitby Gigs for the fastest fixed seat trophy, but nonetheless, had a great day and despite a minority preference for refueling at the ‘Golden Arches’ (aka Mcdonalds)(Ed: BOO! Happy Meal toy is an Emoji, what a missed opportunity), we enjoyed a lovely meal in Tynemouth before heading back home.
Many, many thanks to Colin Percy and his team for a superbly organised event. We will definitely be back!
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