For the first time ever the Management Committee hade a Virtual Committee meeting on Wednesday night.

A few things came out of the meeting that need to be intimated or re-iterated to the membership.

1. As there are no solid prospects of the suspension of the current social distancing guidelines, we have taken the decision to postpone the AGM for a further month. The revised date is now Thursday 25th June 2020.

2. The clubhouse and grounds remain closed until such time as we are advised by The Scottish Government that it is safe to re-open.

3. All functions or events at the Club are currently cancelled up to 25th June.

4. Guidance from National Governing Bodies of the sports we offer, as well as the Coastguard and Peel Ports, is that the river is not to be used for leisure activities. This is to avoid any chance of burdening the emergency/rescue services at this time.
VP Heather Scott applauded the membership for their continued adherence to this guidance and their acceptance of the current restrictions.

5. A small group of Members is monitoring the clubhouse and grounds on a daily basis, carrying out essential checks and maintenance. This includes opening the shed & balcony doors to air these areas, cutting grass and cleaning. These Members are working in small family groups or individually. Please do not be offended if they decline any offers of assistance you may tender when you see them.

6. In addition to the Club’s monitored alarm system, some of our newer members who live in the new Ogilvies development have been keeping watch over the grounds & beach well. An informal neighbourhood watch. Thanks due to them.

7. Rose Sloan & Joe Heffernan have been working incredibly hard this year with the swift creation and implementation of a new Subscriptions renewal system. The response by the membership has been heartening with 57% of the membership confirming renewal by the end of April. The Subs, boat storage fees & donations raised to date equates to 85% of the income figure required to balance the emergency budget set for this year. There are still 11 months of the Subscriptions year to run, so that is an incredible achievement in a single month.

8. Membership of the 200 Club has also shown a dramatic increase this year. The next draw will be as soon as the Hon. Treasurer Marie Paterson can have someone outside her family group assist in drawing the numbers.

On a general point, the Management Committee would like to thank the membership for their support of the Club at this time. Prompt payment of Subscriptions, offers of assistance/advice as well as simple supportive messages. These all confirm to us how much you folks care for the Club and in turn helps us make sure it is safe & ready when we can use it again.

Stay Safe

Management Committee.

Read about the sections of the virtual row that the Club started this morning.

Day 1
Greenock to Port Bannatyne

Day 2
Port Bannatyne to Kames

Day 3
Kames to Lochranza

You can read about the journey from Gretna and then follow the progress in the coming months at the same website.

Folks,

Following the statement from the Scottish Government at lunchtime today, it would be highly irresponsible of us as a Club to put any unnecessary strain on the emergency services. This includes providing a location for the virus to be transmitted while taking part in water sports or taking part in activities that may require them to attend to assist in any way (Ambulance, RNLI, Coastguard, etc).

This being the case the Members are advised that forthwith the clubhouse, beach and grounds are NOT to be used for any form of gathering. Neither are they to be used to enter or exit the water in any craft or swimming.

It has probably been over 75 years since the Club requested this of the Members, back when the clubhouse was requisitioned by the Admiralty during World War 2. It is therefore not without precedent that we ask this of you.

In our archives is a photo of the clubhouse and Members celebrating the end of the South African Wars (1899-1902). When we come out the other side of this battle we should gather in the style of that and record it for posterity.

John McCann, a long-time member of Royal West, died peacefully in Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley, aged 84, on 23 March following a short illness. As with all deaths at this time, his funeral was attended only by a few – his wife, Brenda, his two daughters, Jane and Elizabeth and their husbands. Brenda has intimated that, at a suitable date, there will be a celebration of John’s life where his other relatives and many, many friends can join together to give thanks for knowing this remarkable warm-hearted gentleman.

John was a local lad being brought up in the Strone of which he was proud (he used to style himself in his teaching days as “McCann of the Strone”). Born in August 1935, he made his way in the world by sheer hard work, sharp intelligence and a cheery disposition. His career path took him into teaching at which he excelled. In his early student days he supplemented his grant by working during the summer holidays – a spell as a galley boy on the “Jeannie Deans”, constructing oil storage tanks at Faslane and working in farms in the countryside behind Greenock.

Following Jordanhill where he trained to be a “Techie” teacher his first school was St. Mirren’s Academy, Paisley, but with call-up he found himself in the RAF which proved to be of great significance in his life. On the first night in uniform at RAF Cardington, Bedfordshire for training, he attended a dance where he met Brenda, and the rest is the story of their life together; marriage and family came along and living in a bungalow at Gray Street, at the top of Bawhirley Road.

John’s teaching career went down the mathematics route and for seven years he taught at John Neilson Institution, Paisley where he worked under two outstanding Principal Teachers, Andrew Alan and then Alec Young, both of whom went on to become Head Teachers, in Mr. Young’s case at Port Glasgow High. John’s teaching path took him to Port High where he led the Maths department with the vigour and diligence characteristic of him. His influence on his pupils produced excellent results. Fond memories of “Genghis McCann” for both his teaching and his skill in dealing with his pupils come from the Graham family. Recognition of his qualities took him to the post of Assistant Head Teacher in Grove Park School, Greenock where he remained until 1987.

Rationalisation of the provision of secondary education in Inverclyde led to the amalgamation of Cowdenknowes and Grove Park to form Wellington Academy. John was offered early retiral and, as Brenda recalls, he says he thought about it for all of two minutes and accepted. In following years John did some supply teaching, including a spell at Gourock High where, I heard from one admirer of John’ s, that her daughter had said that he was the best teacher she’d ever had.

In preparing this I spoke to Billy Paul who worked with John in Grove Park. Billy and John formed a great team and Billy expressed the greatest admiration for John – “great to work with”, “a joy to be in his company”, “warm-hearted”, “very professional”, “nobody messed with John”, “old blue-eyes”. I can add my tribute, when as a young teacher, John would give me a lift to and from JNI where I started my career. He and Brenda also arranged for me to make some extra money by tutoring.

Apart from Brenda and his family, John’s great loves were sailing and playing the fiddle. He first got into dinghy sailing back in his RAF days when he crewed in the finals of the RAF championships at Coats Water near Swindon. Brenda recalls that following one regatta he and his mates got gloriously drunk and he fell down the stairs into the pub’s cellar. The landlord dusted off his uniform with the dartboard duster!

John had caught the sailing bug and he pursued this at Royal West and in the Renfrewshire Schools Sailing Scheme based at the club when, under Andy Harvie, he was one of the instructors. When the family moved to Kilbarchan John built his own dinghy. With his woodworking skills this was no problem for John and to complete the work he varnished the mast, balancing one end on Brenda’s cut-crystal salad bowl, which to this day still bears the varnish mark on its silver rim. At Royal West John took part in the racing and, according to Brenda, in recruiting a crew member, he would announce “crew member required, need not have sailed before”.

In his time at Royal West John had three keel boats, all moored off the club. The second, a 21 foot Jaguar, was driven ashore and wrecked in a great storm. The final one, a Sadler named “Lyonnesse”, purchased in the 80’s, was John’s pride and joy for 30 years. Tuesdays saw John and pals, including Bob Hughes, Ted Kelly and Jim Kerridge set off in “Lyonnesse” to Kilcreggan on a “Bass Special” weekly outing.

John and Brenda, often in the company of Allan McDougall, another of John’s teaching pals and one-time Rector of Greenock Academy, would sail the west coast. We once met this group when we kayaked into Arinagour, Coll and shared a hearty meal with them that evening. During his retiral years he and Brenda spent many happy years both sailing and visiting foreign lands, often in cruise ships.

John’s other great love was playing the fiddle and for many years he entertained at the Boat Club Burns Suppers and was in great demand to play at ceilidhs, etc. in Brookfield where he lived for forty two years. He continued to play and for several years was an active member of Bearsden Fiddlers. When John and Allan arrived at a port on a sailing expedition in the Western Isles they would make for a pub and entertain the punters with their lively fiddle music.

While John’s funeral was as demanded by the circumstances we find ourselves in during these dark times, it was not without music. Recordings of “The Lords My Shepherd” and “The Dark Island” were played and, in a wonderful touch, the recessional music was that beautiful violin piece “Ashokan’s Farewell” played by Bearsden Fiddlers, with John playing at his own funeral. Brenda’s comment: “John McCann, Live at the Crem”

Hugh Kerr

The Royal West Club House is currently closed due to lock down associated with COVID-19. Therefore, the tradition of paper forms to collect information about Members is nearly impossible to implement. Therefore, the Committee has set up an on-line form to collect information from you. If you are currently a Member of RWSABC, you should have received an email on the morning of Tuesday 31 March. This email contains a link to the on-line form.

We know that everyone is under pressure in these exceptional times. Some of us will be experiencing financial problems. The Royal West understands, and we will be sympathetic and supportive. We also know that the Royal West is resilient, and we are going to be around, stronger and better, when this trial has passed. Life will go on.

As life will go on, we hope you will remain part of the Royal West family. Unlike most families we need to ask you to reapply each year.

If you can’t find or accidentally deleted or have changed email address or just want to get the email again, please send an email to our Subscriptions Convener and she will forward you the email with the link to the on-line form.

The email address of the Subscriptions Convener is subscriptions@rwsabc.com

The Committee requests that you pay your fees this year. If enough people were to decide that they will not pay fees until things are back to normal, then much of the success we have recently experienced will be undone.

Thank you in advance for taking the time to complete your 2020/2021 Subscription Form. Once the current situation has passed we are going to celebrate so loud they’ll hear us in Helensburgh.

We hope you and yours are keeping well.

Sincerely,

RWSABC Committee

The past year has been a pleasantly busy one at the Club, and looking after the Clubhouse has been no exception.

Keeping any 150-year-old building in running order means there’s always a list of on-going maintenance, from simply replacing bulbs and locks to fixing plumbing or roof leaks. The Club has always depended on the goodwill of members to lend the occasional hand, and this past year more of you than ever have risen to the challenge.

So, firstly, a huge thank you to everyone who’s helped out over the past year. It’s been really great to see the time and expertise that so many people have contributed. Lots of things simply wouldn’t have been possible otherwise!

As well as individual contributions, we organised a number of work parties over the year. These were all well attended and also really good fun. (Combining these with a BBQ and refreshments seemed to be a particularly popular idea that we’ll be continuing!)

Some of the things we’ve achieved with the help of members:
1). Kayak Store: this was emptied of boats so the back wall could be reinforced and relined- the wall had been badly damaged from boats piercing it (right through to the boiler room beyond).
2). Painting: The boathouse doors were painted. The entire balcony and front stairs were re-painted. The balcony timbers were re-stained. The metal handrails on the ramps were repainted, as were the handrails and balustrade at the front entrance. Hopefully you’ll agree the finishing touches of bunting and flowers (thanks Rose Sloan!) have made the front of the club look much more attractive.
3). Beach wall: we’ve made a great start on repairs the sloping beach wall. It’s still work in progress, but this major task was long overdue. With the help of our volunteers we’ll complete this for a fraction of the quoted cost, and it’ll further improve the look of the beach frontage.
4). Defibrillator: thanks to the fund-raising efforts of members and donations from Jayden’s Rainbow and Cardwell Bay Community Council, our publicly accessible defibrillator has been installed on the front of the building. We think this is a great community asset and it’s generated lots of positive feedback both from Club members and the general public.
5). New winch post: This was installed outside the new boathouse to allow for heavier craft to be winched up the slipway.
6). Spring Cleaning: As the Club gets busier, storage space is at a premium. As a result, we’ve managed to clear quite a lot of unused junk from all the downstairs storage areas. Some of it dated to the 1960’s and earlier! There’s still more to be done though.

We brought in outside contractors last year to repair roof leaks and install power for the defibrillator, but otherwise most jobs have been tackled under our own steam!

Sustainability

We’re actively doing what we can to reduce the environmental impact of the Club. So, over the past year we’ve:
• Replaced our plastic straws with recyclable paper ones. We’re trying to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics generally and cut down on our waste. Reducing our use of paper plates, cups and disposable cutlery are next on the agenda.
• Introduced a recycling collection for our waste. Special thanks are due to the bar staff for the extra effort this involves.
• Started insulating the roof-space areas. There’s no insulation anywhere in the building, and we intend to tackle this as funds allow. Overall, it’ll reduce running costs as well as our carbon footprint.
• Started a programme of replacing all our lightbulbs with low-energy fittings.

Stuart Barr is also organising more regular beach tidies to keep our foreshore clean. We’ll also be putting more litter bins around the grounds of the club. If you have any other suggestions, we’d love to hear from you.

Testing, Testing, Testing

These routine things have to be done to keep us safe and legal every year. This list includes arranging annual inspections, tests and maintenance of fire and security systems, electrical equipment, gas appliances, fire-fighting equipment, emergency lighting etc. All these tasks, which have to be carried out by specialists, are currently up-to-date, and are part of our annual running overheads.

Our Fire Risk Assessment, which is required by law, has been re-evaluated and updated over the past year. As an additional safety measure, we invited our local Fire Prevention Officers to inspect the Club buildings. They were happy that the club has a higher than required standard of safety features.

We’ve also added some extra fire-fighting equipment in the kayak store (water extinguisher) and the boathouse on the beach (CO2 extinguisher).

It’s worth sparing a thought for our Office-Bearers here; because our alarm systems are remotely monitored, it’s not unknown for them to get called out in the wee small hours to investigate false alarms going off!

Tasks for this Season (2020)

Obviously, none of us know quite how things will develop this year, but there’s a list of some jobs in the pipeline for when the club re-opens. These include:

Repair Shed:
This roof was due to be stripped and re-slated in the coming weeks, As this would have been a reasonable amount of expenditure we’ve decided it prudent to put this on hold temporarily. This roof has been leaking for some time now: it’s long overdue a refurbishment and the ‘sticking plaster’ approach of patch repairs is proving to be false economy.

Lighting:
The main hall lights were about to be upgraded and various other broken/obsolete fittings replaced with new low energy LED lamps. Similarly, we’ve decided to put this on hold temporarily until we see how this year’s finances work out.

Front entrance:
We’d like to get some hanging baskets put up at the entrance. Rose Sloan does a fantastic job in planting and maintaining the flower baskets on the balcony, and it really improves the look of the place.

Beach Wall:
Finishing the repairs here will be one of the major, but very worthwhile jobs come the better weather.

Taskboard:
There’s a new whiteboard to be mounted in the main boatshed. It will list any small tasks that can be tackled by members with some time to spare. Any help you can give will be most appreciated.

Back wall:
The back wall of the club takes the brunt of the weather, especially over the winter months. This year was particularly wet and windy, resulting in numerous water leaks in the gent’s changing rooms. We hope to get a scaffold put up and a proper waterproof coating applied before next winter. Paint brushes at the ready folks!

Painting:
Outside doors and window frames are on the ‘to-do’ list for this year. Timber and hinge repairs to the boatshed doors are also on the list.

Of course, there are many other improvements we’d like to make around the club. Due to the current circumstances we’ll leave setting out our priorities until we see what the coming months bring.

We’re always keen to hear your suggestions for improvements. Similarly, if you spot something that needs fixed around the buildings please let us know.

In the meantime, we hope you stay safe and look forward to seeing you all later in the season!

Allan Downie
House Convenor

I would like to think that 2019 was the year in which we continued with the development and growth of the kayaking section started in previous years and before I became involved.

2019 started with the normal pool sessions at the Waterfront Leisure Complex. As always, they were well attended and greatly benefitted those who participated.

We moved back to the Boat Club and the River Clyde after the Opening Cruise. Unfortunately we were beset with poor weather and this got us off to a bumpy start, with several sessions having to be cancelled at the last minute. The weather eventually settled down and we continued with the regular Monday and Tuesday evening training.

Having a very consistent number of paddlers on a training night, it was decided 2019 was the year for increasing skill level.

Courses

A Foundation Safety & Rescue Training course was held. This course was extremely successful and beneficial, so much so we held a further 2 courses, up-skilling 17 paddlers.

We have 74 paddlers registered on the Scottish Canoe Association database. This obviously “pinged up” on somebody’s email and as a result the Royal West was asked to host a Coaching Matters training day. This is where any qualified coach in the Scottish Region is invited to attend and learn about latest best practice and development on kayak coaching. This was attended by 5 Royal West coaches. It allowed 3 of our 4 coaches to maintain their “active” status and more importantly 2 of our “expired” coaches to revalidate to “active”.

To continue the up-skilling theme, we held a 2-day First Aid course specially tailored to water sport. This course also proved very popular and so we held another.

Now, there is no good being a skilled paddler if you cannot understand how to get between 2 locations on the water. To overcome this it was decided to hold a Coastal Navigation & Tidal Planning Course. Situation normal – this course proved to be so popular we had to hold a further two.

With so many paddlers out on the water and having to cross busy shipping and ferry lanes, communication is important, especially if you need to summon assistance in a hurry. A number of paddlers sat the VHF Radio course. This course was run by the Greenock Sea Cadets. This course is in 2 parts – lecture and practical. We only held one lecture session – but due to the number of paddlers we had to hold the practical session over two evenings.

The Foundation Safety & Rescue Training course covers the safety and rescue from various types of kayak & canoe and paddle board. Although we are primarily a sea kayaking club, many paddlers are involved in other disciplines particularly when they are on holiday or away from home. We may also come across other people in difficultly when we are out on the water. Matt and Colin, two of our coaches, are now qualified as FSRT Providers allowing us to carry out in-house training at the Club. To gain the FSRT Provider certificate Matt & Colin had to gain Awards in Open Canoeing and Stand-up Paddle Boards.

Going back to the needs of the members – a one day FSRT day does not make the standard paddler highly proficient in providing safety cover and carrying out rescues. I am hoping that with Colin’s and Matt’s guidance I would like to think very soon every member of the kayaking section would be extremely proficient in safety and rescue work.

Upgrading Facilities

With the new Boathouse, the opportunity was taken to improve the storage of kayaks. We refurbished the Kayak Shed fitting plastic covers to metal scaffold tubing. Additional racking was built in the Boathouse and the racking in the Main Shed was replaced.

The profile of the fleet has also changed. We purchased 2 Surfski’s and 2 paddle boards. The paddle boards are needed for the FSRT course. A fact about the surfskis – they are the most signed out boats, of any boat, and both have covered over 1000 miles each since being launched. I will qualify that by saying most of the 1000 miles have been covered by 2 paddlers.

Wheels to Water

A special mention to Tom Kater who represented the Royal West by helping at the Disability Scotland event “Wheels to Water” at Castle Semple.

Tail o’ the Bank

We had hoped that the surfskis would encourage competitors in the Tail o’ the Bank – this being an annual racing event held at the Royal West. 2019 was the 4th consecutive year since the race was reintroduced. The 2019 race was carnage due to the weather, but a good day for action filled photographs and for a number of paddlers from the Royal West regarding medal wins. Colin Campbell was 1st in the Sea Kayak Men 10 mile and Mark Hanson and Mark Gallacher were 1st and 2nd in the Sea Kayak Men 4 mile. As an aside, Colin also won the Cumbrae Sea Kayak race having won it previously the last time he entered in 1975 as a junior.

The Greenock Sea Cadets provided rescue boat safety cover for the Clyde swim and the Tail o’ the Bank. I don’t think we could run these events without their help.

Pool Sessions 2020

This year, the winter pool sessions started off sharing the pool with the scouts and sea cadets in a single session. In the space of 3 weeks, this has escalated to 3 – 1 hour sessions per week for each individual group. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Inverclyde Council and the Waterfront staff for all their help.

Winter Talks

I thought that the Winter Talks had peaked last year, even although we didn’t have the favourite (should that be infamous?) “cooking night” I am pleased to report that the talks this year have been just as good, if not better. Thanks to Paul and Tom for all the organisation.

What’s happening 2020 (Provided Covid-19 restrictions are lifted)

The kayaking section is aiming to continue with the roll out the courses held last year. These will be aimed at members who missed the early courses and especially new members.

We hope to add a number of Personal Performance Awards to the portfolio, in particular sea kayaking, open canoeing and perhaps SUP.

This year we must aim to hold more Club Trips having only managed the Erskine Bridge last year. Several organised trips had to be cancelled last year due to weather conditions, although we did complete many informal trips from the Club. We have already started to address this with Ewen Chisholm arranging a paddle from the Erskine Bridge to the centre of Paisley.

Hopefully we can tie in with Visit Scotland’s campaign “Year of Coasts and Waters 2020”. One suggestion is holding a day trip from the Boat Club where we can showcase our local attractions – leaving from the Esplanade, going to Rosneath Point, view of the Arrochar Alps, Sugar Boat, Newark up at Port Glasgow and back down past a number of historical landmarks.

We would like to continue to work with the scouts, sea cadets and any other like-minded interested group and especially individuals in promoting water sport for everyone.

Conclusion

Finally, on a personal note, I would like to thank – Club management, especially the coaches, helpers and members who came along on a regular basis and supported all aspects, and especially kayaking, at the Royal West Boat Club.

William Bell
Kayaking Convenor

I am going to apologies in advance as it was only when I sat down to write this that I realised how busy we had been this past year. So please bear with me as I take you through a brief summary of another successful rowing year for Royal West.

Let’s start with a statistical FACT courtesy of Joe Heffernan. Participation in rowing activities is up by 6.2% on last year and 149.5% on the year before.

The main element of rowing activity is based around competition, training & attending regattas. There weren’t as many regattas to attend as usual because all clubs within the Scottish Coastal rowing community had their sights firmly set on the upcoming St Ayles Skiff World Championships (affectionately known as SkiffieWorlds) which were held in Stranraer in July.

We kicked off the main season in March with a training day held in the clubhouse. The primary reason behind this was to prepare our team for the SkiffieWorlds. The focus was on terminology and rules of racing and the day itself was led by Adam and Ronald Graham, 2 of the clubs most experienced competitive rowers. The day was a huge success and all who attended indicated that it was of great benefit.

The Opening Cruise was our first main event back on the 6th April, where members across all the sporting disciplines headed to Kilcreggan in various craft to enjoy some refreshments before heading back to the club.

We attended Regattas in Port Seton, Inveraray, Largs and Arran. Troon which is always a firm favourite with Royal West was unfortunately cancelled twice due to weather. In Inveraray we were asked by Alastair Rodden to run the regatta to help promote the local community to build a skiff and get involved. It was heartening to see a few non-competitive members turn up and offer support.

Our own regatta was on the 1st June and saw the return of clubs from North Berwick, Anstruther, Portobello, Largs and Arran. Another fantastic regatta with all clubs expressing their appreciation of the facilities we have and the welcome they always receive.

And before we knew it, the 7th of July was upon us, and we were off to the SkiffieWorlds in Stranraer. With a record entry of 693 crews from 55 clubs worldwide, including teams from as far away as the United States, New Zealand, Canada and Tasmania, this World Championship event for the St Ayles Skiff class of Coastal Rowing Boats was one not to be missed.

On the Thursday before setting off, we had a final formal briefing to the team at which the new racing kit was issued. The kit was paid for by a very kind sponsor Orr Kerr Dyke Financial Services Ltd. (owned by one of our members, Elaine Hunter). It was presented to the team by the Vice President Heather Scott, who wished them all the best at the championships and thanked the sponsor for their generous donation.

A team of 18 competitors headed to Stranraer to Camp Royal West as it became known. We basically took over a farm site with caravans, campervans, tents and a lovely 3 bed cottage! The Club was asked by the chairman of the SCRA to entertain the Chairman & Chief Executive of RYA Scotland on the Monday following the official opening by HRH Princess Anne. One of the highlights of the week was when I and some other members had the opportunity to meet and chat with Princess Anne where I explained a little about our Club.

We raced on five of the six days of the regatta in eleven events. The racing was intense and conditions sometimes a little trying but nothing that we weren’t used to. I am pleased to say that Royal West made five finals with the best place we achieved was 4th in the world. I can report that Royal West finished 25th overall out of 55 clubs at this World Championship event. We are aiming for top 20 in three years’ time.

As you can imagine, we were all somewhat exhausted after our Skiffieworlds adventure and so most of the competitive rowers had a bit of a rest. Not too much though as we still had the Castle to Crane in September to prepare for.

Castle to Crane on 21st September 2019. This is the biggest open water rowing race to be held in Scotland. 13 miles of racing from Dumbarton Castle to the Finnieston Crane in the heart of Glasgow. The race is open to any fixed seat, coxed rowing boats of at least four oars. This was the third year that this spectacular race has been staged and the third year that the Club has entered as well as been prominent in organising the launch site & start.

Seventy-five boats gathered from as far south as Sidmouth in Cornwall and as far North as Kirkwall on Orkney. We also had a boat over from Strangford in Northern Ireland. The organisers expected a slump in participants due to the high level of commitment put into the SkiffieWorlds in July, however, even with several overseas clubs not attending, there were more boats this year.

As well as having entered four competing boats in the race again this year, the Club and its members also provided two of the safety boats. The Club’s RHIB and a RHIB Phil Jones borrowed from Briggs Marine.
Jollyboat Naiad’s progress through the fleet was quite remarkable. Having set off 37th were the 5th boat to cross the line recorded the fastest time on the day at 2hrs 13mins 19secs.
Jollyboat Sprite did not perform quite as well as last year, however still managed to be the 18th boat across the line and finished 11th overall and 3rd in category.
St. Ayles Skiff Chippy was 34th across the line, finished 54th overall but 9th in category.
St. Ayles Skiff Birdie was 74th over the line but 70th overall and 28th in category.

As well as picking up the Four Oared Other trophy again this year we have also received a lot of thanks from participants and event organisers for our support of the event.

We ended the racing year with another great turnout by the Club at the SCRA sponsored Freshwater Sprints at loch Tummel Sailing Club. Again, with the largest number of participants of any club. We retained the Picnic Class Trophy. Karyn Donnachie & Adam Graham have won this Trophy in one of our 16’s for the last three years.

In other developments we hosted a corporate day for a local firm, Insight Travel Services, with whom VP Heather & I both worked at the time. This saw us coaching in the morning and having a short regatta in the afternoon. All wrapped up with a barbecue. This brought us in a new member and encouraged one of the Glasgow staff to take up rowing in the city. The day was such a success that they plan to return.

Our wider involvement in the resurgent coastal rowing community includes Adam Graham’s return to the Committee of the SCRA in October last year. He has responsibility for the South West Region of Scotland.

We are currently involved with a charity in Dumbarton who are forming a new rowing club who have asked for our help and advice. Similarly, we are in discussions with Royal Gourock YC who are in the process of building two skiffs. They have also asked for our advice with the build and are keen to build closer relations between our two clubs. This will include coaching at their club and here, as well as support of their launch event.

We can make a tentative claim to three impressive rowing records set last year. A former club Captain and Life Member, Duncan Graham, who started rowing at Royal West about 40 years ago, was in the crew who set new world records for rowing the length of Loch Ness, set a new course record for the Great River Race on the Thames and a new world record for crossing the English Channel. Duncan is part of a crew of veteran oarsmen based on the Thames.

We also played host to an informal gathering of the major fixed seat coastal rowing associations from all parts of the UK and Republic of Ireland. Associations that represent about 20,000 participating members. This gathering was a significant moment for fixed seat rowing and Royal West were incredibly privileged to play such an important part in this event.

As you may be aware this is Visit Scotland’s Year of Coast & Waters. As part of this the Club was in discussions with Inverclyde Council to promote our activities through their various promotional events to do with this. The Club is also involved with the SCRA RowAround Scotland batten relay, which received a substantial grant by Visit Scotland. Under the current circumstances, a virtual version of this event, started yesterday (25th March) in Gretna and will circumnavigate (in a virtual sense) the coast of Scotland, finishing its trip in mid-September in Eyemouth. It passes through Inverclyde twice. Once in late April and then again in September as it is transferred from Inverclyde to Dumbarton for the start of the Castle to Crane race on 19th September.

Rowing at Royal West encourages existing members to take part, new members to join, new clubs to form and the wider community of coastal rowing clubs in Scotland and further afield to work together for the benefit of all. I hope that we can get back on the water in the not too distant future.

Trust this explains the key points of the last year.

Karen Graham
Rowing Convenor

Hi all,

We would normally have posted the 2019/20 Accounts and Proposed Budgets for 2020/21 on the Club Noticeboard last weekend. This would have been pointless as the clubhouse is closed and things were evolving hour-by-hour, that would impact on the 20/21 Budget. I will come back to the year ahead a little later.

Looking at our Financial Year 2019/20, it was another success for the Club. The Bar showed a profit of £1,157 and the House showed a profit of £578. The Clubs accounts were independently audited and signed off on 3rd March 2020 by Louise Wilson CA. A full set of the accounts will be available for everyone to view as soon as the clubhouse can re-open. They can be discussed and any explanations provided at the AGM when we can hold one.

The good performance last year was in part due to prudent management of our costs, but also in the increased activity on and off the water generating income through Subs, Bar revenue & Fundraising events. Long may this growth continue.

As regards the year ahead, we need to make sure the Club survives this international crisis. We are looking into various rebates and other cost saving measures. You may also have heard we sold bar stock last weekend that would have gone out of date in the next 2 months. We also gave some to the IRH staff and a local food bank. We may do a similar exercise in the future depending on how long the bar needs to stay closed. As we have not relied on income from the Bar to support the Club’s House account its closure will only really impact on our ability to pay the staff wages. We should be able to get some assistance from central government towards this. We have good staff and will need them for the After Party.

On a serious note though, we do need to ask you to pay Subs for the coming year to cover costs. The level of these Subs should be published shortly and will be set to make sure we pay our essential suppliers, insurance and have something in reserve for unforeseen maintenance. They also allow for the possibility that some of you may choose not to renew.

The package we will propose is at a lower level than last year, will have flexibility as to when you start paying and over what period. Please read it carefully before making any decision. If you are in any doubt contact Rose or myself to discuss payment. We want to retain the membership numbers we have all worked so hard to build for years now, but we also need to make sure the Club survives so we have somewhere for the After Party.

Marie Paterson
Honorary Treasurer

Membership

There are currently 320 members which is a considerable increase in last year when we had 294. (8.12% increase).
Female membership currently stands at 24.1%, an increase of 4.1% on last year, not including Ogilvies members. Listed below is current membership by category. There were 20 resignations and 1 demise.
Clubhouse – 70
Country – 6
Honorary Life – 51
Honorary Member – 1
Honorary Member (Post.) – 2
Honorary President – 1
Life – 39
Life/Family – 3
Junior/Family – 17
Ordinary – 98
Ordinary/Family -9
Student – 2
Ogilivie – 42

Ogilvies

The complimentary membership for the residents of the Ogilvies development is coming to an end in the new season, except for the new block which is in the process of being occupied. All affected by the changes have been notified in advance of the new season and invited to join as Clubhouse members or indeed Ordinary members, when the renewal notices go out. Many members from the new flats have played an active part in the club and there have already been some positive responses although I expect that not all will renew. There are currently 42 Members within the Ogilvies development.

Temporary membership

47 individuals took advantage of temporary membership. This, as signalled last year, is a significant reduction. However, the percentage transferring to full membership has remained stable at 45%. Full credit is due to the sporting conveners given that it was a less than ideal season weather wise.
Clubhouse – 4/4/100%
Kayaking – 33/12/36%
Kayaking/Swimming – 2/0/0%
Rowing – 5/3/60%
Sailing – 2/1/50%
OWS – 1/1/100%
Total – 47/21/45%

SCA

It is hoped that we can make some changes to the renewal form to include an “opt in” for affiliation to the SCA. This will avoid the need for two forms.

Due to the extraordinary situation we are currently in, I will make no reference to the level of subscriptions or payment methods as this will be dealt with separately.

My sincere good wishes to all in this difficult time.

Rose Sloan
Subscriptions Convener
RWSABC

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