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.

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