Following the Scottish Government statement at lunchtime today and issue of the updated Routemap, the Management Committee will be reviewing the current restrictions to use of the Club. From an initial review these will probably be very minor changes to the procedures.

One point of note is that there can be no move to re-open any form of bar operation before a further review by the Scottish Government set for 2nd July.

Keep an eye on the website, Facebook pages and your email inbox for any changes agreed.

Following consideration of the guidance and statements issued by the agencies listed below we feel that the Club can re-open for water sports on a very restricted basis from tomorrow morning, Saturday 30th May 2020.

  • Scottish Government
  • Peel Ports
  • Marine & Coastguard Agency
  • RNLI
  • SportsScotland
  • RYA Scotland
  • Scottish Canoe Association
  • Scottish Coastal Rowing Association

The conditions under which members can re-start water sports are laid out in the attached document and MUST be adhered to.

RWSABC COVID Phase 1 Procedures V3         <—- Link to PDF Version

Click on the link above to get the PDF version of the Procedures

RWSABC COVID Phase 1 Procedures V3    <—-Link to Power Point Version

Click on the link above to get the Power Point version of the Procedures

We taken the Procedures shown above and we made a video that talks you through them.  This video lasts 10m30s and it is available on You Tube.  Click on the link below to see that video.

RWSABC COVID Phase 1 Procedures Video    <—-Link to Video describing the Procedures

The re-opening will be monitored and may be curtailed if circumstances dictate.

This re-opening is for MEMBERS ONLY.



Please read the guidance we have published on the attached. There is a simple message within it

R. – Read the guidance about how many folk and which boats

W. – Wash your hands and the boat

S. – Survive your outing without incident

A. - Again, wash your hands and the boat before you put it away

B. - Beat it promptly when you are finished

C. – Covid-19 has no cure, so stick to the rules


We have three key markers that all need to be in line
1. Approval of Scottish Government
2. Approval of the relevant marine agencies & governing bodies
3. Internal Club procedures

Once all of these in place we can commence the re-opening process.

  • The announcement this afternoon by the First Minister that Phase One of the Routemap is to be implemented, satisfies the first of our markers.
  • We are monitoring updates from the relevant agencies and governing bodies this afternoon, to see if the second of our markers is satisfied
  • We will feed any comments from these agencies and governing bodies into the guidance we already have prepared, in order to complete this guidance before issuing it

Rest assured, Committee Members are as eager as any other Member to get afloat, and we are working hard to make sure this happens as soon as possible.

Please bear with us as we assess any new guidance published today.

Adam Graham
Hon. Sec.

Following the release of the Scottish Government Routemap the Management Committee is developing procedures so that the use of boats and the river can recommence safely, as soon as all the relevant maritime agencies and the Scottish Government deem it appropriate to do so.

These procedures will be in place to protect Members and will need to be adhered to. When this document is published please read it carefully and assess for yourself is they allow you to return to your chosen watersport. It may be the case that it is not appropriate for you to return at this time.

Please monitor this website for more information.

At the onset of the lockdown restrictions we sold off to Members, or gave away to local worthy causes, the bar stock that would have gone out-of-date by the end of May. It has come time to repeat this exercise with the stock that will go out-of-date by the end of July. Thankfully there is not a large amount, with the majority being soft drinks or mixers.

To facilitate the sale we have generated a form available from the Hon.Sec. by emailing him on This explains what is available and the cost.

We would encourage you to consider the other items for sale at the same time. These will add some long term value to your purchase and possibly break any boredom you are experiencing. Included in the items available are copies of the two books by Past VP Tom Mackay and the latest version of the mugs with the Club crest on one side and a Club related image on the other.

Whatever selection of items you choose to purchase will be packaged up for your collection in a complimentary holdall from one of our former regatta sponsors, Insight Vacations of Port Glasgow.

VE Day

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.


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

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