The Club has very loose links to Catherine Grainger, we have a signed top she used at the Beijing Olympics and she was born a few miles away in Glasgow. That was until yesterday when one of our Hon Life Members encountered her at his work. I will let Sam Brown explain further:

“Came on site yesterday to find Kath coming on site too, in her little blue Mazda. She had been invited by Pitney Bowes to open the Grainger Room which is next to the Redgrave and Pinsent Rooms.The site was rammed as people wanted to hear her speak.

I was able to put her at ease as I spoke of my old rowing mates-George Parsonage, Sandie Walker and Alan Hodgins in Glasgow, Maureen Simpson in USA, Stein Hoff in Norway and Graham Butler and Tony Dean etc., she knows them all. I told her about rowing for Greenock High when Watson’s produced their fastest ever crew, John Munro at bow, Glass and McFarlane in the middle with their Italian rig and Mike Masson at stroke, she knows them all too.

I had my arm round her at one point, her body hard as a door. I don’t think she knows herself about Rio. I told her to forget it and concentrate on generating an income.

She went away with flowers and a nice little model sculling boat for her sideboard. Nice person.”

Catherine & Sam (proudly holding her medal)

Clyde Coastguard is, for good reason, distressed and in serious need of assistance.

The specialist Clyde Coastguard station – the third largest in the entire UK – known immediately to those working, travelling and taking their leisure in Clyde and west coast waters will not exist beyond the end of this year, unless everyone who cares about this issue takes determined action to prevent it.

Save Clyde Coastguard, the campaign to save it is asking for everyone with a boat to spare a little time to join a Red Flare Flotilla off Greenock at 8.00pm on Friday 31st August.

Save Clyde Coastguard hopes that this distress flare of its own will be seen by commercial, naval and leisure craft users of the Clyde waterway system. This includes the naval ships in the Gare Loch and Loch Long, familiar users of our water; tug companies, shipping industry operators, Clydeport, lifeboats, ferry operators, fishing boats, dive boats, waterborne visitor experience providers, yacht clubs, boat charterers – every and all type of craft.

What to do
Be there – on the water or, as a spectator, on the Greenock Esplanade – at the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club end. Spectator presence is equally vital to show public support for the Clyde Coastguard service.

All boats:
•Muster off the Clyde Coastguard Station at Greenock well before 8.00pm.
•Keep radios open on Chanel 12 VHF DSC.

Information copied from Argyll News and posters in the Clubhouse

There are a number of matters that need to be discussed for the remainder of the season, winter and next year. Alex Paterson has called a meeting on Sunday at 3pm to discuss these. They are as follows:

Compliant oars – The Club has been granted £ 600 by Inverclyde Sports Council to address this, we need to agree a design.

North Berwick Regatta entry – Event is the last formal regatta on the SCRA calender for this year, and is on 1st Sept

SCRA AGM and sprint regatta – Have had an informal request that we organise a venue for October, possibly at Castle Semple RC

St. Ayles Skiff World Championships – 8th-14th July 2013 in Ullapool. Would like to discuss the RWSABC entry in this event and get focused for it.

All members welcome and encouraged to attend for any and all of it.

Adam Graham
Honorary Secretary

Heather Scott has tidied up the gallery on the website and added in photos taken at the Clyde Swim over the weekend. Have a look.

If you have any Club or watersports related photos you want posted on the gallery please contact Heather or email them to

It has been decided to move the next fun day from this Saturday to 8th September, and run it in conjunction with the Open Doors Day being organised by Inverclyde Council. The Club has agreed to participate in this national event on both the Saturday & Sunday.

There should be the usual activity on the water and a higher degree of activity onshore around the clubhouse, as we show visitors round and explain some of the Club’s history. Anyone interested in helping out either on the water or in the clubhouse should contact myself.

Adam Graham
Hon Sec

Congratulations to everyone who competed in this years Clyde swim a fantastic day where everyone finished with some very impressive times, thanks to all the paddlers and Clyde Diving club for rescue cover..

Club captain

Saturday’s Sail & Oar Festival on Cumbrae included a Skiff Regatta in Kames Bay. It was hosted by the local club assisted by members from Boatie Blest & Royal West.

In attendance were crews from Boatie Blest, Royal West, Pittenweem, Troon, Galgael and of course Cumbrae. Racing started at 12:00 and continued until approx 15:30. It include nine categories; first, second & third places as follows:

Mixed 40+. Boatie Blest, Royal West, Cumbrae
Ladies open. Boatie Blest, Pittenweem, Cumbrae
Men’s Open. Boatie Blest, Royal West, Troon
Ladies 40+. Boatie Blest, Pittenweem
Juniors. Cumbrae/Boatie Blest, Cumbrae
Men’s 40+. Boatie Blest, Royal West, Cumbrae
Mixed 50+. Boatie Blest, Pittenweem
Mixed Open. Boatie Blest, Pittenweem, Royal West
New Clubs Event. Pittenweem, Cumbrae, Galgael, Troon

The course was South from the beach at Kames Bay, straight into the incoming tide, waves & wind. Approx. 700m out the course turned to Starboard round a bouy and then headed for the next bouy 300m West. This leg was at 90 degrees to the incoming waves and resulted in a few folk falling off thier seats. The last leg was straight from the second mark back towards the finish line off the Kames beach. With the tide, waves and wind at thier backs the skiffs flew back to the finish line.

In the Men’s Open event there was a close race going on between Galgael and Troon for third place during the last leg. Galgael were coming back strongly when they had an equipment failure and lost an oar, Troon powered on and took third place. Galgael’s oar was returned to them by the rescue boat and they finished fourth.

The Juniors race was contended by a composite Cumbrae/Boatie Blest crew and a Cumbrae crew. The composite crew used Chippy McNish from Royal West and performed remarkably bearing in mind that they had never rowed together or used the boat before. They rowed over a shortened course. The composite were in the lead as they turned the mark but were caught by the local crew as they came out of the mark. On the return leg the composite managed to recover a boats length of a lead before crossing the line. The local cew then challenged them to a race back to the beach. It was encouraging to see 6 local kids very keen to get afloat and race.

The Mixed Open event also saw a major equipment failure. Within 100m of the start Royal West broke an oar, unlike the British Olympic double scullers they did not request a restart. The crew continued rowing with only three oars and managed to finish third out of five.

Following a suggestion from Boatie Blest a race was run at the end of the day for the newer clubs. Each was invited to enter thier best crews. This resulted in a much tighter pack round the course and a closer finish. Pittenweem performed very well leading the pack back from the seond mark.

The organisers also ran a scoring system in order to award an overall trophy. This was won this year by Boatie Blest with 28 points. Remarkably there were three clubs in equal second, Royal West, Pittenweem & Cumbrae with 15 points. Third was Troon with 9 and fourth was Galgael with 6.

The event was very well supported and the organisers in Cumbrae thanked all those who attended and assisted on the day. This event should see an increase in rowing activity on Cumbrae as well as further afield on the Clyde Estuary.

You may have picked up from the SCA website recently that Gavin Millar, an open canoe sailor is attempting to sail around Britain. He left Southampton on 7th June, heading anti-clockwise around the coast, always intending to take the Caledonian Canal. He has reached the Inverness end of the Canal this morning (15th August), having entered Scottish waters on 24th July at Eyemouth.

This trip is not escorted, and Gavin has had no land support for most of the way, hauling ashore to camp most nights. Sailing a 16 ft. canoe for up to 10 hours a day is major feat of endurance, and Gavin has suffered both back and knee problems recently. There is no record in Europe of any such recent voyage in a small craft, and Gavin has extended the known capacity of the modern sailing canoe (a Shearwater Mark 2 built by Solway Dory).

Gavin will end this year’s voyage at Tighnabruaich on 24th/25th Auggust, as he has to return to work, and he will continue next summer. He is likely to be sailing down the west coast between about 19th-25th August, and any company you can provide would be most appreciated. All sea kayakers welcome!

You can follow Gavins progress, including hourly updates of his position, on

There have been a number of reports over the last few weeks of the boat shed doors being found unlocked & open with no-one around the Club. All members with keys to the sheds are reminded to make sure they lock up when leaving the sheds unattended.

Adam Graham
Honorary Secretary

The following is recollections I have from the late 1960s/early 1970s including some information on the above boat.

In the spring of 1969 myself and Jimmy Hendry (jeweller) were about to become senior members and had to make a decision about remaining in the club which we hadn’t used very much in the previous year. We decided that if we were going to pay the senior membership that we were going to make more use of the Club and, in particular, the rowing fleet.

Over the winter of 69/70 we became involved with the boat convenor Dick Downie and his helpers Alan Bownes Snr and Kenny Campbell in refurbishing the boat fleet. They were doing simple repairs scraping, sanding and revarnishing a number of the pairs which also included recocking them. The boat fleet had very strange numbers and they had decided to renumber the refurbished boats starting at No. 1.

Round about this time the club sent an old pair down to boat builders in Fairlie with them to build a new copy of this boat, repair it, revarnish it, etc. I unfortunately don’t remember what number was given to the brand new pair and the rebuilt pair but neither of them was numbered 11 and they were built of the same wood that No. 11 is.

No. 11 was still in use at that time with another number. I can’t remember which year but this boat was badly damaged by some fool jumping into it off the slip, landing on one of the seats. That seat was broken and the impact was so great that the other seat was ripped off its rivets detaching it from the side. The broken seat was bows and the detached one was the stroke seat. The effect of this was that the boat started to open up like a clam. Jimmy and I put a rope around it and cut an oar so that it could be jammed into opposite rollocks. We used the oar like a tourniquet to pull the boat together putting the oar between stroke and bows rollocks to keep the boat from becoming irreparable. Over that winter we made a new seat which we had to attach to the sides with brass bolts as we couldn’t rivet. We also refixed the stroke seat likewise with brass bolts. Over that winter we scraped sanded and revarnished the boat and also recocked it.

Many of our peers thought that we were wasting our time on this exercise and had thought that our tourniquet on the boat was going to prove futile. They were also vastly amused by our use of stale white paint which was like a paste to fix the cocking string into the keel and our use of bathroom sealant on top of that. Dick’s group had used white lead to fix the string but that was exhausted. No 11’s strange shape might be the result of this repair though boatman Colin has subsequently also refurbished this boat. I assume it’s not been renumbered.

We numbered the boat No.11 which was out of sequence with the then refurbished pairs plus the 2 boats from Fairlie. The reason for using 11 was that I could not paint numbers with curves in them whereas I could create 2 ones using masking tape.

No one can say that Jimmy and I were not clever! Instead of putting the boat of the floor we hung it from the roof and each time we took it out we also marked it back into the boat book as “leaking badly” or similar comments. You can see the difference between at that time Jimmy and I who had been at the Academy and the bulk of the members who were ex Greenock High School. None of them noticed that Jimmy and I were using this boat twice a week even though it was in such bad order per the boat book!

I really can’t say whether No. 11 was the oldest boat in the club at that time, nor do I know whether the boat that was refurbished in Fairlie is still operational or whether it was older. Of those who are still about the Club Jimmy Crawford might remember when the boats went to Fairlie. The boat to be refurbished I think was selected by the late Bobby Peat as being the best shape and in his recollection at the time the fastest and lightest. This may not be correct as it’s a long time ago.

Stewart Bates
31 July 2012

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