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!
Was that the best North Berwick Regatta yet? The weather was warm, dry and mainly sunny, but with enough westerly wind to provide testing conditions. NBRC welcomed twelve visiting clubs who brought enough crews to fill most events. Thanks for coming to Boatie Blest, Broughty Ferry, Coigach, Crail, Dunbar, Eastern, Eskmuthe, Islay, Row Porty, Royal West, St Andrews and St Ayles.
Broughty Ferry led the way in the first race, the men’s 50+. After that the wins were shared by Eastern (mixed 60+, mixed U19, men’s open and women’s open) and North Berwick (women’s 50+, men’s 40+, women’s 40+, mixed open, mixed novice and mixed 45+).
Pleasingly, many of the other clubs won silver and bronze medals. It was also good to see eight boats in the 60+, as a result of relaxing the entry for this event to average age rather than minimum age.
A few of the races were won convincingly but others were very close. 7 seconds covered the first three boats in the men’s 50+; 6 seconds for the first three in the men’s open; and closest of all, 6 seconds for the top four of the mixed open. Very small margins in nearly 20 minutes of rowing. And very painful. One of the best performances was from NB’s novice crew who rowed through South Queensferry from two lengths down, with Eastern chasing hard the whole way. What an exciting way to win your first race.
Have I mentioned to anybody that the fastest time of the day was from NB’s men’s 40+ crew in 00:17:25?
I should also report Broughty Ferry’s discovery of a new land mass behind Craigleith, on which they perched their boat while attempting an overland route in the women’s 40+. It is possible the SCRA race rules need to be amended to deal with porterage.
Once again the Hope Rooms were the hub of the regatta, with a fine array of rolls and cakes provided by members and organised by Tracy Ramage and Rachael Porteous. The evening was warm enough for the prize giving to take place on the beach, with this year’s medals using flat pebbles.
Thanks to Sandy Wallace for coordinating the regatta and acting as beach master; to David Davidson for organising the racing, umpiring and safety boats; and to all those Club members who helped with the many activities that make NB Regatta the climax of the racing season.
A squad of 20 rowers from NBRC went to South Queensferry and boy was it blowy, white horses across the Forth under the bridges made “interesting” rowing conditions. Various club gazebos needed to be held down with concrete slabs. The triangular course meant a fast wind-assisted first leg to the buoy then across the wind and waves to the next turn, followed by the final leg hauling through a wall of wind.
The seven main races all went ahead, although as wind conditions worsened in the afternoon Andy’s race was called off. The first race was the 60+ ladies and the NB ladies put down a strong start winning in style. The 60+ men also did a great job coming in joint first with South Queensferry. There was strong competition from the other clubs such as Crail, Broughty, St Andrews and Anstruther. For the novice race we managed to hijack a novice from Broughty to make up a crew. The women’s open came in second to Anstruthers’ indomitable ladies and the final race saw our open men win another gold for NB.
The medals were beautifully crafted by a knot-maker, each one cleverly tied into a “Monkey's Fist”. The excellent home baking and soups certainly helped counter the wind exhaustion! Many thanks to South Queensferry for a great day under the famous bridges.
Helmsdale, as we discovered, is a long way from North Berwick to drive on a Friday afternoon. We've bumped oars with the Bunillidh crews at many regattas over the last few years, but they'd always said that their own regatta was just a wee affair for local clubs only, well we asked, and we pestered and finally we said, "We don't care if we're not invited, we're coming anyway", and they got the hint, North Berwick fancied a road trip North.
So we gathered a small, but perfectly formed squad (just 6 in the end), packed the boat and zoomed off to sit on the Edinburgh South Car Park, I mean Bypass. 8 1/2 hours later we were definitely not in Kansas anymore, but up in Sutherland pitching our tents in the dark at Helmsdale.
The morning brought strong strong wind, but it was blowing offshore and the sea was perfectly manageable. The course at Helmsdale was a straight 1KM race, and up to 8 boats racing. With a squad of just 6 it meant plenty of races, which we were all up for, everybody got 4 or 5 rows. We had 3 men and 3 ladies, but Laura and Jo were able to step into the Men's 40+ and Men's Open races respectively, and we borrowed Julie from Burghead and Ann-Marie from Coigach to make up the Ladies crews.
It took us a couple of races to get the hang of the local start procedure, but our ladies did very well getting silver in the Ladies 40+ and winning the Ladies Open. Our 40+ men (with Laura rowing) were squeezed out of the medals by 1 second, and our Open Men (with Jo being honorary 4th man) got a hard fought bronze.
The afternoon was mixed races, however it seemed that the back to back rows were beginning to tell on our stamina, and we didn't threaten the podium for the rest of the day, but enjoyed some great rows and loved the days racing.
We were so happy to have come, and were made to feel very welcome by all the great people at Helmsdale, special thanks to Andy for spotting our thirst before the medal ceremony and magicing up a few beers for us from the boot of his car, top man!
Apres racing we managed to quaff a few in the local pub and learned how to fold a crisp packet into a nice neat triangle, which is apparently a skill acquired on an elective course for an accounting degree at Aberdeen University.
A post regatta boogie saw the end of a great day, thanks very much Bunillidh for a fantastic weekend.David Davidson
North Berwick was well represented at Saturday's Regatta, hosted by Royal West at Greenock. 14 intrepid enthusiasts braved unrelenting summer showers, in search of on the water success.
Anstruther, Royal West, the FOCCRS, NB and Arran, who were an unknown quantity, made for a thoroughly jolly, competetive, yet friendly day.
Memories from 2015 were of relaxing on the beach, where the warmth of the pebbles massaged tired muscles, after a gruelling 1500 metres time trial over a triangular course. There was no sun worshipping between races on Saturday, although the welcome from our hosts was warm and exuberant.
This was an unusual event in that it was a time trial, rather than a head to head competition. Teams needed a crew member to start the time trial by picking up a baton from the race hut, sprinting across the shingle beach navigating two tyres, strategically placed on the slidy concrete slip, running across the remaining shingle to then leap majestically into the bow seat with all the grace and poise of a balerina. Unfortunately, there were few gazelles amongst the NB visitors and the choice of footwear thwarted attempts at grace and elegance even further, crocs and sandals will no doubt be left at home next year. Once all four rowers were in the boat the rowing began, finishing on the beach and the clock stopped when the, by now exhausted, runner once again hurdled over the bow onto the beach to return the baton to the official at the race hut. A great deal of hyperventillating was witnessed but, thankfully, there was no need for a defibrillator.
During the break for lunch, the re-dedication of the Zebra on its 50th birthday, named after a visiting cricket team, and the Whiteforeland, two newly reburfished by GalGael Community Enterprise boats, provided a historical diversion from the racing.
Always keen to extend the hand of friendship to other clubs, NB responded in the affirmative when Arran, short of a full 50+ women's crew, approached and politely requested one of our many ladies switch allegiance for the last race of the day. Exceptional PR proved to be a coup for Arran, who proceded to beat the NB ladies by one second to take the medal.
Our two juniors,Kirsty and Saskia, rowed in the women's open crew with great gusto and applomb and later in the day made up a composite crew, ably assisted by Arran and Royal West in the junior category, racing against two FOCCRS teams. Further highlights were the 40+ women securing victory, open men scoring the fastest time of the day at 11:01, 40+ men storming to an impressive win, the joker was played by the open mixed crew, securing double points for that win.
North Berwick were overall winners and won the Colin Ross trophy, which will be displayed with great pride when our trophy cabinet,or even clubhouse, is built.
Team NB departed with a warm, fuzzy glow and sense that a thoroughly pleasing time was had by all, thanks to the exceptional Gastfreundlichkeit (Ed: v nice in a roll with mustard) extended to us by our friends in Greenock.
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