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!
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.
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