The Tail o’ the Bank

Between 1976 and 2003 the Royal West of Scotland Amateur Boat Club (RWSABC) hosted a sea kayak race around the Clyde Estuary. Unfortunately the popularity of sea kayak racing fell away and the race stopped. In recent year’s sea kayak and surf ski racing is firmly back on the agenda. In 2016 the RWSABC celebrated its 150th birthday. It was decided to hold the race as part of the celebrations. Due to success of the event in 2016, it was decided to make it an annual event again.

On Saturday 1st September 2018, the RWSABC will once again host the Tail o’ the Bank race. The race is scheduled to start at 2pm. Registration and payment of entry fee is required by 1pm. This may need to be adjusted to take account of any shipping movements. This will be advised by estuary control (PeelPort) 2 weeks in advance of the race.

The Course

Over the 28 years that the Tail o’ the Bank was run there were a couple of different courses used. The planned course that will be used this year will essentially be the same as the last time the event was run, at this stage it is subject to approval by Estuary Control. The proposed course will be from the beach at the Club heading north to a Perch, turning east towards the wreck of the Captayannis, and back to the Club. The race will be two laps with the exception of the “Novice Category” which will be a single lap. Each lap of the course is approximately 5 miles.

The start / finish line will be formed by markers dropped near to the RWSABC beach. All participants will start from the beach side of the line formed by the two marks, this does not necessarily mean between the marks. The east most of the two marks will be the turning mark for the start of the second lap of the race. A line formed between the west mark and one on shore will form the finish line.

Classes of boats

There will be two classes of boats.

Performance Class: Surf Skis and sea kayaks designed for racing such as the Rockpool Taran, the Epic 18, Inuik and the Tiderace Pace will constitute a Performance Class.

Cruiser Class: Traditional sea boats such as Nordkapps and Tidarace XPlore will form the Cruiser Class.

Novice Category: In addition to these two classes there will also be a Novice Category. This category is limited to paddlers who have only taken up racing within the last two year and will be restricted to cruiser class kayaks.

Location / Facilities

The Club is located at the west end of the Esplanade in Greenock, the address and map can be found at

The Club does not have a private car park but there is extensive on street parking next to the club.

Launching and recovery of boats will be via the club’s private beach. There is easy access to the club’s beach via a gated entrance.

Both male and female changing facilities with showers are available at the club and all participants are welcome to make use of them.

There is limited space behind the club that could, by arrangement, be used for overnight camping on Friday the 1st of September or after the race on the 2nd of September. If you wish to make use of this please email Please be aware that space is limited.

The Club is lucky enough to have a small bar on the premises. Participants are welcome to make use of the bar after the race and into Saturday evening.

Race Rules

1. All boats must be seaworthy with sealed buoyancy sections or fixed buoyancy. The buoyancy must be capable of supporting both the craft and paddler.
2. All paddlers must wear an approved, CE marked Personal Flotation Device.
3. All paddlers must carry a whistle.
4. All participants are required to hold Third Party Indemnity insurance. Further details are given below:
5. RWSABC club members who do not own their own boat must use:
  • a club provide sea kayak if they intent to compete the course.
6. RWSABC club members who intend to use their own sea kayak must either be:
  • Full members of the Scottish Canoe Association.
  • Have their own third party insurance for the sum of £2m.
  • Join the SCA on a Day Membership.
7. Visiting participants using their own craft must either be:
  • Full members of the Scottish Canoe Association or
  • Have their own third party insurance for the sum of £2m or
  • Join the RWSABC on a Temporary Day Membership and join the SCA on a Day Membership


10:00 Club opens
11:00 “Volvo” marks positioned
11:00 Registration open
13:00 Registration closes
13:00 Race briefing
14:00 Race begins
16:30 Race ends
17:00 (once all competitors changed) Prize giving


All participants will be required to register in order to compete. Emergency contact details will be required for all participants.

Participants can register in advance via an EventBrite page at the address:

Entries will also be accepted on the day of the race but will be subject to a higher fee.

All the information above is available as a PDF below
20170811 Tail o the Bank -RWSABCWebsite-Issue01

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