Royal West played host this weekend to two days of Fixed Seat Rowing activity. Eleven clubs were represented by 32 people attending a coach’s day on Saturday and on Sunday twelve clubs attended a seminar in the morning, then the AGM of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association in the afternoon. Clubs attending over the weekend were Newhaven, North Berwick, Royal West, RowPorty, Boatie Blest, Troon, Queensferry, Gal Gael, St Ayles, Dunbar, Lochgilphead, Ullapool, Gosforth and Cumbrae.
Saturday saw coaches from 11 clubs attend a day long workshop on what they should be considering as coaches. There was a small group from Troon CRC who attended as guinea pigs as well as 4 pupils and 3 teachers from Lochgilphead Joint Campus School.

Novices being shown round Chippy McNish

Before going afloat on Saturday the coaches had to demonstrate not only key elements of boat and equipment knowledge , but also rowing technique. Following on from this they had to work with the novices to develop skills on the water in conditions that were less than ideal.
Pictured above is a crew containing David Pestell of Newhaven at Cox, Trisha Bone of St. Ayles RC at stroke, two of the pupils from Lochgilphead and Frazer McDonald Hay of North Berwick RC, the photo was taken by Alec Ohnstad of Lochgilphead.
The water based session in the morning involved 4 of the new St Ayles Skiffs and two of the Club’s Heavy Fours, Whiteforeland and Zebra. The Club’s rescue boat was also launched to provide safety cover and a platform from which to supervise the coaching from.
Lunch was provided by members’ wives and family, much to the delight of the visiting participants. Having an hour out of the wind and drizzle with hot soup and rolls was very much appreciated.
In the afternoon crews participated in Immersion Recovery Drills (man overboard to the uninitiated). Two dummies were used to simulate casualties in the water and the crews had to take it in turn to manoeuvre and rescue them. Different people in the boats took it in turn to control the exercise each time allowing the experience to be more fully understood by a larger group.

Ferry Lass going through her paces helmed by a pupil from Lochgilphead

Before the crews returned to shore it was decided to take a short trip from the Club into Cardwell Bay. Within a few minutes of starting this trip a weather front approached from the West bringing with it waves, high winds and torrential rain. The organising group was very impressed with the decision making skills of the participating coaches in individual boats who quickly understood the change in weather and also the capabilities of their crews and turned back for the relative safety of the bay in front of the Club.

The welcoming sight of Royal West's clubhouse

Once the boats were all put away, showers taken and refreshments found there was a debrief on the day’s activities. There was no shortage of feedback on how the visiting clubs had found the day and also on what they would like to happen next. There was a strong feeling from the participants that more formal qualifications are needed at club level and the SCRA have started the process of organising a UKCC Level 2 Fixed Seat Rowing Coaches Course in the spring. Details will be published on the SCRA website as the course if formalised.
Saturday was rounded off with a Halloween Party in the clubhouse attended by approx 50 members and guests.

We were short of dwarves, Topher knelt into the breach

Sunday was a mostly land based day. There was a seminar in the morning covering;

• Regatta organisation

• Umpiring

• PVG issues

There was lively constructive debate on all these topics and a good sharing of knowledge. Watch out for information on the website as a result of these discussions.
Over lunch, again catered for by the Royal West members’ wives and family, there was an opportunity for some water based activity. The St. Ayles RC crew took Chris o’ Kinnaird out for a wander and various people tried out Alec Jordan’s new Wemyss Skiff.
The afternoon was dominated by the SCRA AGM. A report on this will be posted separately.
There have been a number of very kind messages emailed or posted on websites regarding the weekend, we at Royal West would thank you all for attending and lending a hand whenever needed.
The comments are listed below:

“felt it was a very good introductory course. It was pitched just at the right level and covered the essential basics. It also whetted my appetite to learn more.”

David Pestell, Newhaven Coastal Rowing

“enjoyed the day – it was professional, considered and friendly – a perfect combination”

Frazer MacDonald Hay, North Berwick RC

“Thanks to you and the club for such an instructive and entertaining weekend”

Topher Dawson, Ullapool Coastal RC

“We wished we could have joined for the sessions, but we enjoyed what we did partake off”

Phil Walton, Gosforth Community Rowing

“Thanks again for this weekend to all at Royal West. I look forward to where we go from here.”

Ben Duffin, Gal Gael

“…thank you for the brilliantly organised, comfortably accommodated and magnificently catered day at Royal West yesterday. There was lots of evidence of excellent planning and preparation, thoughtful and considerate chairing, and the very genuine and positive collaborative spirit that has characterised my experience of coastal rowing so far. If you can pass on these thanks from RowPorty to your Royal West and SCRA colleagues, I’d be grateful.”

Emily Griffiths, RowPorty

“Thanks very much for letting us join your coaching day… the kids have been raving about it all the way home and ever since they got home, the best advert possible!

The staff also loved it and it was great to see the skiffs first hand.”

Alec Ohnstad, Lochgilphead Joint Campus School

“worth the trek and the total soaking I got from playing in the rain all day. It was also good to be in a different boat with a different mix of people.”

Alison Grant, RowPorty

“On behalf of Scottish Coastal Rowing Association I would like to express sincere thanks to Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club for the hospitality that they extended to our member clubs over the weekend. The facilities you have were fantastic for holding our event, and as ever Royal West you made our visitors feel very welcome and safe. It is very kind of your members to share their experience with the relative newcomers to the sport from other clubs. The catering that your members provided was also very much appreciated. Best of luck to Royal West of Scotland ABC in all its endeavours.”

Robbie Wightman, Convenor, Scottish Coastal Rowing Association

I would like to say a huge thank you to all those in the Club that help organise and run this event. It has really put us on the map as regards member clubs in the SCRA and help promote rowing to other new clubs on the West Coast.
Adam Graham, Royal West

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