Clubs from East Lothian and the Borders met on neutral waters for a Championship Regatta on Saturday 1 October. Conditions were flat calm on Whitadder Resevoir in the Lammermuir Hills. Cockenzie Port Seton dealt with the altitude best! They had wins in the East Lothian Championships against local rivals Dunbar and North Berwick in Mixed and ladies open, and Mens and Ladies over 35. North Berwick won the Men’s Open Title and the Over 5o mixed the latter giving the most exciting racing of the day with Dunbar taking an early lead before being overhauled.
The Borders Championship was decided in a one off race, with St Abbs coming in just ahead of an enthusiastic but as yet inexperienced crew representing Eyemouth.
In the Under 19′s Race, Cockenzie Port Seton led home a North Berwick/ Eyemouth composite crew, and a crew of youngsters from Duns enjoying their first outing in a St Ayles.
A sociable day of friendly competition was enjoyed by all.
Six different clubs took home the winners prizes from the eight races at the 2011 North Berwick Regatta. Nine clubs attended the regatta, with 12 St Ayles skiffs, each of which had been built within the community that they represented.
There were light winds for the event, but a swell gradually gathered from the East, giving some lively rowing conditions. The course was one of around two nautical miles, starting on a transit off Platcock Rocks, heading North to Craigleith Island, with the crews then rounding the island and surfing with the waves back towards a finish line just off the old pier at North Berwick harbour. The conditions were especially challenging at the North East corner of the Island, giving visiting crews a real taste of the sort of conditions that local crews often have to train in.
The first race of the day for 35+ Men went to the hosts’ neighbours, Cockenzie/ Port Seton, followed by Portobello and Anstruther. The fifers from Anstruther then brought home line honours in the Women’s open category, a feat that they repeated in the women’s 35+ in the afternoon. The just failed ot make it a fife female triple whammy when Portobello pipped Anstruther by one second in the Women 50+ category, with North Berwick coming third. The 50+ men event was won by the hosts North Berwick, leading in a crew of their clubmates in second place.
The Open Mens crew from Coigach, who row out of Achiltibuie on the Coigach peninsula in Wester Ross, simply outclassed the rest of what was a strong field in the Mens Open, coming accross the line in 18 minutes 47 seconds, half a minute ahead of Portobello, who had a similar gap over North Berwick in third place.
An invitation race, the Convenor’s cup, designed to encourage new entrants to St Ayles skiff coastal rowing was won by East Lothian Yacht Club, withDunbar coming second and Newhaven third. The win was popular with North Berwick Rowers, as the yacht club had given very generous support by way of facilities to assist in the organisation of the regatta, and had kindly cancelled their own club dinghy racing for the day allowing the rowing event to be held safely and efficiently over the course favoured by the visiting rowing crews.
The sun came out for the final race of the day, the Mixed Open category. Supporters were crowding onto all the vantage points on Platcock Rocks to welcome home the ten crews that raced in the category. They witnessed a very exciting finish, with the Portobello crew just holding off Coigach by around three feet. Both teams were given the time of 19:46, an increadably close and exciting finish after almost twenty minutes of racing, and a great way to round off an enjoyable and sociable days racing.
North Berwick rowing club always welcomes new members. Details of open club night sessions are here. More information on St Ayles skiffs and the Scottish Coastal Rowing Project at www.scottishcoastalrowing.org .
Here are a few Youtube clips from the race
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