Best Wishes to all our members and visitors to the website.

Remember that the Club is open on Hogmanay

On Saturday the 19th of November the paddle sports discipline had their annual end of season Curry night. This Year it was a very special event thanks to Alan Mortimer of Ware With All services who donated 3 quaichs and 6 medals. The three quaichs were for recognition of members services to paddle sports at the RWSABC and required active paddlers nominating people from the club that have had a major impact on the success of paddle sports at the RWSABC.
Medals were awarded to 5 members of the club for various reasons, these were decided by the paddle sports coaches.
Willing Hands Quaich: DAVE MARQUIS

Just two people featured in the nominations here: for their outstanding service to paddle sports.

DAVE MARQUIS – He has devoted over 20 years to coaching and enhancing paddle sports at the club. He doesn’t get much recognition, but he does a hell of a lot for the sport. It is good to have an opportunity to recognise his efforts. Individuals highlighted the following:

1) For all the leadership he shows every time we’re on the water with him – he leaves us in no doubt what we’re supposed to be doing and when! The way he took control of the Clyde Swim day showed the strength of character of the man.

2) He “worked his butt off” to secure the grant that allowed us to renew the kayak fleet.

3) He spends an inordinate amount of time on a monthly basis sitting through club committee meetings to ensure the paddle sports group get a hearing and puts a lot of effort into securing our share of the pot.

KEITH CLAGUE – for his years of service, for organising the new racking and flooring in the boat shed and for his advice on boats and coaching over many years.

Members’ Choice Award: Keith Clague

Members were asked to vote on who this award should be presented to, for whatever reason they see fit.

Keith received multiple nominations:

KEITH CLAGUE – in recognition of many years of service and for his work in planning and building the new racking in the boat shed, for greatly improving the flooring and for his advice on boats and coaching over many years.

Seven others received individual nominations

LEWIS SMITH for his quiet reassurance and patience in general and in particular for the amazing skills he showed when he rescued Hugh and Morven on a very windy /wavy night when both capsized in the dark. Hugh recalls that his boat was full of water and as he was pumping the water out, the waves were filling it back up again. Lewis towed  Morven and Hugh back to shore – in itself impressive – and he still kept his calm even under some extreme pressure.

DAVE MARQUIS – “for his years of service to the section.”

It Easy When You Know How” Quaich: Lewis Smith

A coaching award, presented to the coach who has worked particularly well and set high personal standards during the course of the year.
Lewis Smith received multiple nominations:

LEWIS SMITH – Paraphrasing from a number of nominations: for consistently demonstrating outstanding personal skills, including an outstanding connection to his boat; for continually setting a high standard; for being up-to-date with modern thinking in paddle sports; raising the bar; and for his willingness and ability in leading groups, helping others improve their skills and for calmly keeping them safe.

Two other nominations were received:

GEORGE McCALLUM – For setting a high standard in the Round Kerrera race.

JULIA DARBY – she set herself an extremely high standard in going for the 4 Star award. We put her through her paces with “heart attacks” and the like and she didn’t complain once. I could see she was genuinely affected at the thought of one of us suffering a life threatening condition out on the water. Also for the way she responded to the difficulties with the Loch Lomond Swim – it was heartening to know she was so enraged at the organisers but took her time to point out the error of  their ways without getting into a slagging match.

FORBES SCOTT – “for Sunday paddles”

JOE DOW – “for all the work he put into getting the club painted, as well as his efforts with coaching the kids”

JANG DILAWARI – “he’s an inspiration”

JULIA DARBY – “for her dedication and continued personal development that enabled her to lead the kids”

ROSE SLOAN – “for staying afloat while Shug and Morven capsized during double rescue”

Awards by the club Coaches

Most improved Novice paddler: Gary Connor

Wet Wet Award: Hugh Jamieson

Unsung Heroes of paddle sports: Maggi Blair and Forbes Scott

Medal of merit awarded by paddle sport coaches :

Endeavour Award: Ian Leith

Ian Leith has persevered with kayaking improving his skill despite his nervousness and apprehension. Ian’s skills are better than he thinks and he keeps trying no matter what is thrown at him.

The Wet, Wet, Wet Award: Hugh Jamieson

Of all the novices paddlers Hugh has pushed the envelop to improve his skills, this has resulted in numerous capsizes and plenty of rescue practice for the instructors and his fellow paddlers. Despite the number of dunkings it has not put Hugh of the sport. Hugh is one of the few people who has the cool headedness to wait for someone to Eskimo rescue him in quite challenging conditions. He did this twice!

Most improved Novice Paddler: Gary Connor

This was very hard  for the club coaches to decide and was very closely contested.

Gary joined the club in 2011 having acquired a sea kayak and paddling with friends Gary soon realised that he need some formal training in skills and safety techniques. He put his heart and sole in to acquiring these skills paddling on club nights, at weekend with the coaches and on his own to refine the skills he needed. Gary learnt to roll one afternoon after 3hours individual instruction.

Helping Hands Award : Maggi Blair and Forbes Scott

It was decided that two people should receive this award for different reasons

Maggi Blair has, throughout the last two seasons, been behind the scenes helping with the junior paddlers issuing equipment, organising kayaks and being an extra hand on the water assisting the coaches. Maggi is always willing to volunteer to assist in paddle sports projects especially events involving the juniors.  Maggi organised all the food for the end of season BBQ.

Forbes Scott has been an unsung hero for many years quietly working away behind the scenes assisting in the repair of kayaks, tidying up equipment and is always willing to assist with any paddle sports project at the club in any way that he can.

Conveners Awards

As paddle sports convener it is vital that members of the paddle sport section take on tasks and projects. These people very often go unrewarded by the club so I decided that there should be some formal recognition for these unsung and some times under-appreciated people.

I decided that I, as paddle sport convener, would personally like to thank these people who have assisted in making paddle sports such a vibrant and successful discipline at the RWSABC. Without their enthusiasm, dedication and hard work we would have never achieved the success that paddle sports is enjoying at the RWSABC.

Conveners awards of merit:

Frankie Hanson: For her initial input and assistance in re introducing junior paddlers to the RWSABC in 2009 ( Mark Hanson should also be recognised for his hard work in obtaining the grant to purchase the 10 Roto-moulded plastic boats, paddles and spray decks that are used to coach the juniors.

Pat Johnstone: Pat Johnstone very kindly volunteered to open the club house and bar on  Monday evenings both for the parents of the junior section to get out of the cold and also keeping the bar open for when the senior members came of the water. This enabled the paddlers to avail themselves of various refreshment and to debrief the evenings activities and to plan various paddle sports activities. Without this facility provided by Pat we would not have attracted so many temporary senior members to become full members. Paddle sports is not all about being out on the water, the social side is vital to exchange knowledge, ideas and to tell tall tails of do and die.

Keith Clague: Keith has been the person I have often turned to for advice and guidance and to discuss issues and matter that affect paddle sport. On many occasions I have used Keith as a sounding board, some times Keith has moderated some of my thoughts.

Keith was also heavily involved in the first application for a grant from Awards for All to replace our ageing sea kayaks fleet. Although Keith says he has taken a back seat from actively coaching he is still a valued coach, coaching beginners adults and supervising excursions on a Monday and Tuesday evening. Keith also managed the construction of the new club sea kayak and play boat racks. Keith also provided and laid the flooring in both kayak storage areas.

Julia Darby : Over the last two seasons Julia has been a leading light in junior coaching and senior paddle sport activities. She passed her BCU UKCC Level 1 coaching award in 2009 despite severely injuring her knee during the final assessment. Julia passed her BCU 4 star leaders award in 2011. Julia quietly encourages all senior members and a number of them have adopted Julia’s flat in Sandbank as the clubs second club house across the water.

Lewis Smith: For his coaching activities on club nights and for organising weekend skill development activities for intermediate paddlers building up to their 3 star sea kayak award and for sharing his skills knowledge and love of all things related to sea kayaking.

Joe Dow: Joe gained his BCU UKCC level 1 coach award this year and has been very active in coaching the junior paddles of the club.

George McCallum : George also gained his BCU UKCC Level 1 coaching award and has been very active coaching juniors on a Monday evening. George also to part in the round Kerrera Sea kayak race and was the second traditional sea kayak home in a very respectable time.

Forbes Scott: Forbes has been a great help in maintaining the paddle sports equipment over a number of years and is always willing to assist with projects.

Maggi Blair Maggi is a godsend when it comes to organising the juniors on a Monday evening and in assisting the coaches on the water. Maggi organised all the food for the Juniors end of season BBQ.

Andy White; Andy and Sue did a Fantastic job organizing the BBQ at the end of season junior’s day. Not one burger or sausage was burnt – no mean feat.

Certificate of improvement Award: for the level of skill improvement since joining the club in 2011

Alex Workman

Eddie Workman

Gary Connor

Hugh Jamieson

Special thanks must go to Andy Adams who organized the curry night and acted as master of ceremonies on the night.

This year has seen further increases in the club kayak fleet. We have purchased:

2 Low volume Atlantic RM sea kayaks

1 Canadian canoe

1 double sea kayak

1 junior sit on top canoe

1 junior sea kayak

5 junior paddles

There are now 40 paddle craft available for club members to use.

A day to carryout some basic checks and repairs to the club fleet of kayaks
1. wash down the kayaks inside and out remove grit tie all hatches to the kayaks , check bouyancy of the play boats check all the bouyancy aid . check GRP kayaks for damage meet at 11 am

Details can be found in the Club Forum.

Hi Everyone,

The Gourock pierhead beach has been saved and access there will be improved with a new slipway, a ‘milling around’ area and an area to unload & load boats. This only happened because watersports users submitted comments during the public consultation phase of the development. Otherwise the possiblity of launching or landing at this important safety egress would have been lost forever, replaced by huge ‘shore defence’ rocks.

Project 6 of the Port Glasgow Development is an upgrade of the Coronation Park. The crumbling slipway is mentioned, but it doesn’t state whether it will be removed or improved, or what will happen with the existing beach.

I need your help if we are to retain access to the water at Coronation Park. This year, the RWSABC took over 150 people out for ‘Try Rowing’ sessions from the slipway there as part of the Comet Festival. The existing beach is also used by small craft, eg kayaks. There are many vertical sea walls in the surrounding area, making this access point a safety egress. The tide can also be fairly strong there. The access point is listed with the planning department as a Public Right of Way.

I emailed Riverside Inverclyde (RI) regarding access to the water as part of the development and the reply was “The plans have not yet been finalised and I welcome your comments so I can take account of them in the design…”

The Port Glasgow development is now in the Public Consultation phase. If we want to retain water access near the centre of Port Glasgow, we must submit our comments. During the public consultation for the Gourock development, I was told by RI that ‘numbers of comments matter’ and this proved to be true.

The form can be downloaded from here in Word format:

We only need to answer question 3:
“3. Do you agree with the proposal to upgrade Coronation Park?
Please comment on which areas do you feel require improvement: ”

Then email the form to before 30th Nov.

Five minutes of your time to do this will ensure that access to/from the water near the centre of Port Glasgow is retained (and hopefully improved) for ourselves, visitors and future generations.

Please let me know if you’ve submitted comments so that I have an idea of numbers and likely impact.

Thanks for your support,
Lorna McCartney
Watersports Rep, Inverclyde Local Access Forum

Royal West played host this weekend to two days of Fixed Seat Rowing activity. Eleven clubs were represented by 32 people attending a coach’s day on Saturday and on Sunday twelve clubs attended a seminar in the morning, then the AGM of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association in the afternoon. Clubs attending over the weekend were Newhaven, North Berwick, Royal West, RowPorty, Boatie Blest, Troon, Queensferry, Gal Gael, St Ayles, Dunbar, Lochgilphead, Ullapool, Gosforth and Cumbrae.
Saturday saw coaches from 11 clubs attend a day long workshop on what they should be considering as coaches. There was a small group from Troon CRC who attended as guinea pigs as well as 4 pupils and 3 teachers from Lochgilphead Joint Campus School.

Novices being shown round Chippy McNish

Before going afloat on Saturday the coaches had to demonstrate not only key elements of boat and equipment knowledge , but also rowing technique. Following on from this they had to work with the novices to develop skills on the water in conditions that were less than ideal.
Pictured above is a crew containing David Pestell of Newhaven at Cox, Trisha Bone of St. Ayles RC at stroke, two of the pupils from Lochgilphead and Frazer McDonald Hay of North Berwick RC, the photo was taken by Alec Ohnstad of Lochgilphead.
The water based session in the morning involved 4 of the new St Ayles Skiffs and two of the Club’s Heavy Fours, Whiteforeland and Zebra. The Club’s rescue boat was also launched to provide safety cover and a platform from which to supervise the coaching from.
Lunch was provided by members’ wives and family, much to the delight of the visiting participants. Having an hour out of the wind and drizzle with hot soup and rolls was very much appreciated.
In the afternoon crews participated in Immersion Recovery Drills (man overboard to the uninitiated). Two dummies were used to simulate casualties in the water and the crews had to take it in turn to manoeuvre and rescue them. Different people in the boats took it in turn to control the exercise each time allowing the experience to be more fully understood by a larger group.

Ferry Lass going through her paces helmed by a pupil from Lochgilphead

Before the crews returned to shore it was decided to take a short trip from the Club into Cardwell Bay. Within a few minutes of starting this trip a weather front approached from the West bringing with it waves, high winds and torrential rain. The organising group was very impressed with the decision making skills of the participating coaches in individual boats who quickly understood the change in weather and also the capabilities of their crews and turned back for the relative safety of the bay in front of the Club.

The welcoming sight of Royal West's clubhouse

Once the boats were all put away, showers taken and refreshments found there was a debrief on the day’s activities. There was no shortage of feedback on how the visiting clubs had found the day and also on what they would like to happen next. There was a strong feeling from the participants that more formal qualifications are needed at club level and the SCRA have started the process of organising a UKCC Level 2 Fixed Seat Rowing Coaches Course in the spring. Details will be published on the SCRA website as the course if formalised.
Saturday was rounded off with a Halloween Party in the clubhouse attended by approx 50 members and guests.

We were short of dwarves, Topher knelt into the breach

Sunday was a mostly land based day. There was a seminar in the morning covering;

• Regatta organisation

• Umpiring

• PVG issues

There was lively constructive debate on all these topics and a good sharing of knowledge. Watch out for information on the website as a result of these discussions.
Over lunch, again catered for by the Royal West members’ wives and family, there was an opportunity for some water based activity. The St. Ayles RC crew took Chris o’ Kinnaird out for a wander and various people tried out Alec Jordan’s new Wemyss Skiff.
The afternoon was dominated by the SCRA AGM. A report on this will be posted separately.
There have been a number of very kind messages emailed or posted on websites regarding the weekend, we at Royal West would thank you all for attending and lending a hand whenever needed.
The comments are listed below:

“felt it was a very good introductory course. It was pitched just at the right level and covered the essential basics. It also whetted my appetite to learn more.”

David Pestell, Newhaven Coastal Rowing

“enjoyed the day – it was professional, considered and friendly – a perfect combination”

Frazer MacDonald Hay, North Berwick RC

“Thanks to you and the club for such an instructive and entertaining weekend”

Topher Dawson, Ullapool Coastal RC

“We wished we could have joined for the sessions, but we enjoyed what we did partake off”

Phil Walton, Gosforth Community Rowing

“Thanks again for this weekend to all at Royal West. I look forward to where we go from here.”

Ben Duffin, Gal Gael

“…thank you for the brilliantly organised, comfortably accommodated and magnificently catered day at Royal West yesterday. There was lots of evidence of excellent planning and preparation, thoughtful and considerate chairing, and the very genuine and positive collaborative spirit that has characterised my experience of coastal rowing so far. If you can pass on these thanks from RowPorty to your Royal West and SCRA colleagues, I’d be grateful.”

Emily Griffiths, RowPorty

“Thanks very much for letting us join your coaching day… the kids have been raving about it all the way home and ever since they got home, the best advert possible!

The staff also loved it and it was great to see the skiffs first hand.”

Alec Ohnstad, Lochgilphead Joint Campus School

“worth the trek and the total soaking I got from playing in the rain all day. It was also good to be in a different boat with a different mix of people.”

Alison Grant, RowPorty

“On behalf of Scottish Coastal Rowing Association I would like to express sincere thanks to Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club for the hospitality that they extended to our member clubs over the weekend. The facilities you have were fantastic for holding our event, and as ever Royal West you made our visitors feel very welcome and safe. It is very kind of your members to share their experience with the relative newcomers to the sport from other clubs. The catering that your members provided was also very much appreciated. Best of luck to Royal West of Scotland ABC in all its endeavours.”

Robbie Wightman, Convenor, Scottish Coastal Rowing Association

I would like to say a huge thank you to all those in the Club that help organise and run this event. It has really put us on the map as regards member clubs in the SCRA and help promote rowing to other new clubs on the West Coast.
Adam Graham, Royal West

It was apparent that the slipway on the beach was beginning to show signs of becoming undermined on the west side by the constant pounding of the waves. To that end, and to protect the new extension to the slip, approximately 60 tons of reinforced concrete blocks were sourced and donated to the Club (a small fee was charged by the haulier for delivery).

Due to the sheer size and weight of these blocks manual handling was out of the question and we were fortunate to have access to a 3 ton excavator, dumper and drivers to put the stone in place for us.

These blocks, although unsightly at the moment, will bed in over the winter months and hopefully help protect the slipway for many years to come.

Our thanks must go to Mitchell Plant Hire, who provided all the plant and labour to carry out these works, also to Ewen Chisholm for quietly & very professionally organising the works.

Monthly “Boat Club Sessions” are being run by George Carson, with members and guests. This is an evening of live music and singing, bringing together the musical talents of the RWSABC. Typically held on the last Friday of the month.

Photos can be found here.

Could all members who wish to attend the curry night please contact Andy so he can confirm numbers if possible could people please leave an enverlop with your £10 behind the bar with andys name on please or post a cheque to the clun FOA Andy Adams currynight
AdamsMessage from Andy Adams, who is not on Facebook! Please reply to him at

Hi everyone,
I am trying to organise the end of season curry night which is taking place on the sat 19th of november in the clubhouse. I have contacted Priyas Palace in Robertson street about delivering the food which is £14.95 for meal for two : 2 poppadoms and spiced onions, vegetable Pakora or cocktail samosas, Choice of any two curries from “old favourite” menu including balti, Rogan josh, bhoona, madras, etc. chicken lamb or vegetable. 1 fried rice + 1 nan. If possible I would like to see this rounded up to a Tenner pp .with your first drink for free. T totalers/drivers drinkers may get 2.

This format has of having the food delivered has worked previously however ther may have been some hiccups with people getting the wrong food or it being cold and of course it means a lot of effort on the night for some willing volunteers to dish it up.

While enquiring at the restaurant the boss informed me that they can organise a “buffet style” meal at the club with staff there to serve it. The advantage of this would be that everyone could sit down and enjoy their food and that it would be definately be hot. The disadvantage is that it is likely to cost a bit more and that choice would be restricted to two or three curries to make it manageable. This may not be to everyones taste, however there is still the option to have your meal delivered seperately if you have special dietry needs.

I am awaiting a quote for this from the boss but in the meantime if you could let me know what style you would prefer It would assist me with negotiations. I am guestimating the numbers to be around 30. Usual rules apply-”Nae dosh -Nae nosh” paid by Tuesday 15th of November. If you could intimate your intention to attend then that would give me a better idea of numbers however this will not be confirmed until you have paid for your meal.

For all you Facebookers can you please forward this message on to any one who may not be on this list and apologies if you did not want to receive this message.

Andy Adams

Ladies 35+ crew returning to the relative calm of the harbour after coming second to Anstruther

The Club is hosting two days of events for the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association next weekend. All day Saturday and on Sunday morning we will have coaches from at least 11 clubs here going through training sessions.

Sunday afternoon from 2pm is the AGM of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association. This should be attended by members from the 18-20 clubs in the Association. Any Royal West member is welcome to attend.

Saturday morning will see novice rowers from Lochgilphead Joint Campus School being instructed in how to row by coaches from all over Scotland, thier methods and technique in doing this being reviewed and assessed by instructors from Royal West. In the afternoon everyone will experience Immersion Recovery Drills so that by the time they leave they have a solid understand of the actions needed to recovery casualties from the water. Late afternoon on Saturday will be a debrief and Q&A session on coaching.

Saturday evening the coaches will be attending the Club’s Halloween Party. They have to attend as one of the founding principles of the SCRA is to encourage members to meet socially.

Sunday morning is a series of discussion forums on regattas organising, umpiring and PVG. This will be rounded off with lunch in the Clubhouse.

If you want to keep track of the SCRA thier website is

Also on in Greenock next weekend is the Annual Dinner of the North British Rowing Club. This is being organised by Robert Robertson of Royal West, and takes place in the Tontine Hotel on Saturday night. We may see some of them about the Club over the weekend.

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