The club’s rowing fleet was in action on a number of fronts over the weekend, competitively, socially and promoting the club within the local (and not so local) community.

On Friday Birdie Bowers travelled to the Viking Festival in Largs to form part of the exhibition of products and services provided by The Trust in Port Glasgow ( Birdie will be on display until the Festival closes on 4th September. We have been invited to publicise the Club and Scottish Coastal Rowing, Ian Clark & John Glover are arranging to do during the week. A full programme of events is available at

On Saturday morning a group left town with Chippy McNish for North Berwick to compete in their regatta. The grim weather forecast for the day did not materialise and the crew took part in two events, Men’s 35+ and Men’s Open. The course was over 2 nautical miles from just off North Berwick harbour wall NW to Craigleith, clockwise round it and then South back to North Berwick. At times the swell was 5-6 foot and you could not see the rest of the fleet or the shore. The combination of scenery, swell and race length, all wrapped in a comfortable blanket of safety, made for some very exciting racing regardless of where you finished in the results.

A report and photos from the event can be found at

The full results are available at

In the Men’s 35+ the club came in 4th in a field of 7, in the Men’s Open we came in 7th in a field of 11. As can be seen in the times for the Open event the battle for 6th, 7th, 8th & 9th was hotly contended, far more so than 1st-5th. There was 12 seconds separating four boats after a 2 mile race. There was only one second between Royal West and Portobello.

North Berwick was the last SCRA regatta of the year, although there are some events and invitational races being planned.

On the way back from North Berwick Chippy McNish stopped over at South Queensferry to help resurrect a traditional race between South and North Queensferry. On Sunday afternoon a crew from Queensferry RC ( ) in Ferry Lass and a composite crew from Royal West & Queensferry RC in Chippy McNish raced from the Hawes Pier, under the rail bridge, on the South side to the old railway pier on the North. The event formed part of a Harbour Day Festival in the North and was being used to promote the formation of a rowing club on the North side.

Conditions were well within the capabilities of the boats and crews but the safety cover provided by the RNLI was welcome as the wind against tide was generating waves that varied from 2-5 feet. The crossing took about 30-35mins and was won by the local crew in Ferry Lass.

Burgers, coffee and cake were taken at the Harbour Festival. We were joined by the team from Anstruther who had stopped over on their way back from North Berwick to cheer on the crews.

The RNLI Lifeboat provided safety cover for the crossing South to North was called away on business prior to the return crossing. The return was more direct as the boats headed for Port Edgar marina under the road bridge. The conditions had eased slightly due to the tide having turned but the crossing was still exciting.

Once the boats were safely back ashore at Queensferry RC the tea and biscuits were broken out again and we were joined by some of the Anstruther team for a chat and debrief about the whole weekend. It was a fantastic example of the friendliness and spirit of the SCRA community.

There was also rowing activity back at the Club over the weekend. It is forty years since they’ve all been together, but on Saturday six ‘old codgers’ met up to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the longest row in the Royal West’s history.

In 1971 the ‘lads’ as they were then rowed in the Zebra from the club in Greenock to Skye and back, a round trip of some 400 miles. This time the trip was the somewhat less arduous pop across the Clyde to Kilcreggan to the local hostelry where they replaced lost fluids and blethered about old times.

“We had a great afternoon,” said Roger Graham. “We had never been together in the one place since these days and we thoroughly enjoyed it. It was difficult to get us all in the one place at the one time as we are spread all over the country, three of the boys coming from down South. In many ways it was like old times.

“Most of us were involved in several long rows at the time, including one to Ireland and another to the Outer Hebrides when we tried to get to St Kilda, but bad weather intervened. The Skye row was the longest as it turned out, probably because the weather was a bit better that year.”

“We would like to thank the club for their support in preparing the boat, and also to those who helped the old men up and down the slip with the boat.” While we all agreed that age has only leant us a certain distinguished air, we could not argue that a few pounds have gone on here and there, and I don’t mean at the Bookies.

“There was a suggestion that we ought to make it an annual event. That will be the Wizard annual, or the Beano I think.”

The ‘Lads’ in the photo above are (from Bow to Stern) Roger Graham, Colin Campbell, Sam Brown, Dugald Carmichael, Ian Cameron and Ian MacDonald.

Roger has agreed to speak on some of his Long Rows at a forthcoming SCRA coaching event at Royal West on the last weekend of October. More about that event will be posted on the website and Club notice boards.


The 2011 Oban Sea Kayak Race will take place on Saturday 3rd September 2011.
George MaCallum will be representing the club in this event and has been training hard over the last couple of months.
We all wish George every success in the race.
A number of us are going to support George on the day, probably paddling from the Puffin Dive Centre to paddle North up the sound of Kerrera to Oban Bay.
Also Oban Sea Kayak and Kari tek are having a demo day and Oban sea kayaks are also having a sale in their shop.
If you are interested we are going to be leaving early on Saturday morning (7.00am at the club to load kayaks) getting the ferry across the Clyde
The idea is to take the minimum number of cars because parking may be a problem
Race details
The course:
• The start line lies between North Pier and the Caledonian MacBrayne South Pier (Railway Steps), position approx: 56deg 24.86′ N, 005deg 28.39′ W, Ordnance Survey Grid Reference NM 858 301.
• South through the Sound of Kerrera, keeping the Island of Kerrera to starboard throughout.
• Turn right at Rubha Seannoch (Kerrera’s most southerly tip). Pass between Bach Island and Rubha na Feundain (Kerrera’s southwest tip).
• Continue north up the west side of Kerrera. N.B. From Rubha na Lice, across Slatrach Bay, it is very important to keep all of the islands and islets (Eilean nan Gamhna, Eilean nam Uan and several reefs which flood at high water) on the northwest coast of Kerrera to port, still keeping Kerrera to starboard to avoid the seal colony, see right.
• Keep the salmon farm floating structures along the northwest Kerrera coast to port.
• Turn right at Rubha’ Bhearnaig into the approach to Oban Bay: N.B. Be very aware of fast approaching ferries, which leave a large wash, this can be especially hazardous in the shallow reef waters. Leave both fixed navigational marks (red lights) to starboard.
• Keep as close to the shore of Rudha’ Chruidh island (northeast Kerrera), as is safe, cross Oban Bay to the finish line keeping the North Cardinal Buoy to port. If a ferry is close or looming, it is strongly recommended that paddlers keep to the south end of Rudha Chruidh to starboard before making the crossing of Oban Bay, in order to comply with the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREG Rule 9 Narrow Channels). N.B. Any contravention of IRPCS 1972 will result in disqualification from the race.
• Finish Oban Bay (south) The Finish lies approximately 300m east of the South Cardinal Buoy in Dungallan Park. Kayaks should be safely beached at the dingy park slip/beach, paddlers should then make their way by foot through the dingy park, following the marked route to the timekeepers.
• The race is deemed complete once the paddlers laminated number has been handed and recorded by the timekeepers.

As we draw to the end of the session for paddling on a Monday and Tuesday evenings we normally continue paddling for as long as we can. This means that we will be paddling in the dark
Night paddling can be a very rewarding experience for all but it requires all paddlers to take certain things in to consideration and carry certain items of equipment.
1 All night paddling on a Monday and Tuesday evenings must be lead by a designated Instructor/ leader approved and appointed by the Paddle Sports convener
2 All paddlers who take part in night paddles must follow the instructions of the designated leader at all times
3 The decision as to who is allowed to take part in a night paddle is at the discretion of the appointed leader
4 Paddling at night is normally cooler than paddling in day light hours so come suitable dressed
5 All paddlers must have a serviceable head torch and a chemical glow stick (the colour green is the best (or a battery operated glow stick) and cord to hang it on the rear of your buoyancy aid ( WITHOUT THESE ITEMS YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO TAKE PART)
6 Group control is vital when paddling at night and is extremely taxing on the designated leader YOUR CO- OPERATION AND COMPLIANCE WITH INSTRUCTIONS is vital to the safety of the activity and normally a diamond pattern will be adopted with a designated lead paddler and outriders to the left and right. Paddlers will normally be required to paddle in pairs (Buddy system) and must keep in contact with another pair. Paddlers may be given a number so if the leader want to check that everybody is in the group they will ask you to number off
7 Wind speed and sea conditions that you feel comfortable in daylight hours may feel challenging when paddling in the dark. IF YOU FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE YOU MUST INFORM YOUR BUDDY AND THE LEADER OF THE PADDLE
8 All leaders of night paddling activity from the club on Mondays and Tuesday evenings must ensure that they carry a serviceable tow line system and that there are at least another 4 paddlers with serviceable towing systems in the group. If possible a VHF Radio and flare pack should also be carried. The number of paddlers and destination and estimated time of return must be entered in the club signing out book
9 Owners of private kayaks can paddle at night at their own discretion, but if joining an organised paddle on a Monday or Tuesday evening place themselves under the authority and leadership of the designated leader appointed by the paddle sports convener

A new double sea kayak has been added to the club kayak fleet.




  • MATERIAL: Superlinear® Polyethylene
  • LENGTH: 18′ 1″ / 5.5 m
  • WIDTH: 30″ / 76.2 cm
  • WEIGHT: 92 lbs / 41.7 kg
  • COCKPIT: 35.5″ x 17.3″ / 90.2 x 43.8 cm
  • BOW HATCH: 15″ x 9″ / 38.1 x 22.9 cm
  • STERN HATCH: 15″ x 9″ / 38.1 x 22.9 cm
  • STORAGE CAPACITY: 190 L / 11594.5 cu in
  • MAX CAPACITY: 575-625 lbs / 260.8-283.5 kg



  • Comfortable cushioned composite seats with removable pedestal
  • Comfort Fit™ adjustable thigh braces
  • Bow and stern hatches with the Cross Lock™ buckle system and bulkheads
  • Deck bungee
  • Reflective safety perimeter line
  • Rudder system with adjustable foot

Clyde Swim 2011The route of the Clyde Swim on Saturday 20 August 2011 had to be altered due to the effect of wind strength (SW F4 gusting to F6) on safety cover. Rather than crossing over from Kilcreggan, participants swam alongside Greenock Esplanade and back to the RWSABC.  Nevertheless all swimmers and kayakers did a good job, as did the rescue cover provided by the RNLI, MOD Police, Sea Cadets and the Police launch, along with other RWSABC members.

Photos from the event can be found in Inverclyde Now.

The Riverside Inverclyde Gourock development is now open for Public Consultation.

The 3 presentation pages are available on:

The main issue for the Club is that the current beach access will be lost unless we make comments in support of keeping/improving it. This launching/landing site is lodged with planning as an official Right of Way. Riverside Inverclyde were unaware of this when I spoke to them on Tuesday night. The beach is an important safety egress, due to the pier and vertical walls / exposed coastline nearby.

The Riverside Inverclyde rep said that this is a public consultation phase and that numbers of particular comments do matter. The architect seems amenable to suggestions related to access to the water at this stage, as the plans have not yet been submitted to Planning. This is a great opportunity to lobby for improvements to access to the water in the centre of Gourock rather than lose it.

If you support retaining the ability to land there, please submit your comments in August by filling in the form and emailing it to the landscape architects:

Otherwise the possibility of landing there will be lost forever.

The form on the web page is in pdf format. I copied it into a Word doc so that I could add my comments.

If you know of anyone else who would support retaining access to the water in the centre of Gourock, please forward this email to them.

Lorna McCartney
Watersports Rep, Inverclyde Local Access Forum

Below is a list of events and activities for the next couple of months. Help and assistance to organise the events would be welcomed.

Thursday 18th August, 7pm
Meeting in Tighnabruaich to discuss starting a coastal rowing club based on the SCRA model. Ian Clark attending

Saturday 27th August
North Berwick RC regatta, One skiff attending

Sunday 28th August, 2pm
North Queensferry race against South Queensferry, One Royal West skiff being used by North Queensferry and crewed by Royal West

Late September
Closing cruise, looking for suggestions as to the date and venue. May run a closing cruise disco in the evening, opening it up to kindred clubs.

25th September
Dunbar RC are hosting a cruise up the Tweed from Berwick see the following webpage for details.

Sat 29th & Sun 30th October
Club has been asked to host Scottish Coastal Rowing Association AGM, may make it a weekend event and include coaching workshops and regatta organising seminar

If anyone can help with these events or has any suggestions please contact me.

Rowing Convener

Last weekend the club was busy rowing at a couple of different venues and with different purposes.

A large group of members attended the Sail & Oar Festival at Millport on Cumbrae taking both Chippy McNish for the skiff racing and Whiteforland to provide Come & Try event.

Both were very well received with the numbers flocking to make use of Whiteforland almost swamping the crews.

The overall prize for the racing went to Chippy McNish, having won three of the four races on the day. We received a shield specially made for the event.

Emma Newton from Sail & Oar & Chris Nicol from the Cumbrae Centre thanked us for our attendance on the day. Cumbrae launched their St. Ayles Skiff on Friday night and it also took part in the racing on Saturday afternoon alongside Gobhancroit from Galgeal . It is a beautiful skiff named Cumbrae, with a white finish externally and a blue finish internally.

The Club was also rowing back at Glenarm RC on the Antrim Coast. Alex Stewart & Calum Ford were on holiday local to Glenarm last weekend with Jim & Fiona Ford. Arrangements were made for them to have access to boats. Elaine Nelson of Glenarm RC took Alex & Calum out, coxed by Jim, round the harbour and bay. The boys had an experience of the type of boats used by the Royal West when racing there earlier in the year. Glenarm RC is keen to come to Royal West before next year’s Dalriada Festival to continue this spirit of sporting and social exchange.

Duncan Winning a world authority on the history of sea kayaking has agreed to give a talk on the origins and history of sea kayaking this winter all welcome Date to be announced

Duncan has also kindly agreed to also run a workshop on how to make your own inuit Eskimo style paddle ( see Julia’s new toy) again the date to be announced

Martime connections of Troon have offered to run a VHF radio operators course for a discounted fee of £50 per person plus £30 RYA examination fee max number of places 12 Date to be annouced if you are interested contact Dave Marquis

There will also be a lectures on
winter paddling what gear to carry and why
Packing a sea kayak for multiday trips

Winter pool sessions it is hoped that we will be getting pool session at Port Glasgow the cost, night and times have yet to be arranged but it is looking good thanks to the efforts of Jonny Bruce
we are trying to access a Coach who can run the BCU coastal and open sea tidal planing and Navigation courses because thses course can only be run by certain levels of coaches we will need to pay the going commercial rate for these two one day course DTBA

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