Chippy retains Maidens title

Against tough opposition and in very challenging conditions a squad from the Club retained the trophy for the Exciseman’s Chase at Maidens.

The event, organised by Carrick Coastal Rowing Club, involves racing from a tent on the shore at Maidens Harbour, North up the coast to Gashouse Bay under Culzean Castle, about 4kms away. At this beach you exchange a token for Whisky, and can also change crews, before racing back to the tent in Maidens where the clock is stopped.

Start of first leg (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)

Royal West were drawn to leave last of the 7 clubs, approx 12 mins behind the first crew from Girvan. The crew for the first leg consisted of Jim Ford (coxing on both legs), Adam Graham, Mat Henderson, Ian Clark & Robert Dowell. They started strong catching Firth of Clyde within 15 mins and then Troon soon after. The conditions as they headed North was challenging, rowing into 4ft swells, breaking at times. This slightly older crew have had experience of such conditions and this showed as they arrived at Gashouse Bay in approx. 42mins. Only a few minutes behind Girvan and 7 mins behind the North Berwick crew, who had started 10 mins ahead of Royal West.

The performance of the first crew in getting to Gashouse Bay was not matched however by the second crew, who had run up from Maidens. The President at Carrick, a former geography teacher, has offered some map reading lessons to the second crew of Alex Paterson, Colin Campbell, George McCallum and Calum Ford. Thier choise of route differed from the organisers suggested route, handed to them as a map, and took them along the A719 towards Maybole, instead of through the Culzean Estate. They also arrived at the wrong beach initially and were curious why no-one was there. In total thier run took them 61mins, luckily they had left earlier than the boat so arrived at the correct beach with 4 mins to spare.

After a very slick crew change they made up for thier ealier mistakes by taking advantage of the waves on the way back. Passing three more boats, including the local club Carrick inside the harbour, they arrived back with an elapse time of 69 mins. The only boat we did not pass on the water was from North Berwick, however their elapse time was 73 mins, meaning Royal West won the Exciseman’s Chase for the second year in a row. The trophy is on display in the clubhouse bar.

Final times
1st Royal West (1hr 9mins)
2nd N.Berwick (1hr 13mins)
3rd Carrick (1hr 16mins)
4th Cumbrae (1hr 18mins)
5th Firth of Clyde (1hr 19mins)
6th Troon (1hr 29mins)
7th Girvan (1hr 34mins).

Returning into the harbour, passing Carrick CRC (Courtesy of Troon CRC)

After a well deserved rest two shorter races were organised just outside the harbour mouth. One was for junior crews and involved crews from Troon, Carrick, North Berwick and Girvan, plus two composite crews racing in Cumbrae and Chippy McNish. The starts was a little haphazard due to the conditions but did result in a very good race, challenging both crews and coxes. About half way through it was clear the winner would be either Chippy McNish or North Bewrick. Chippy was coxed by Adam Graham with Calum Ford as Stroke, there were also two juniors from N. Berwick and one from Troon. As we neared the finish line the consistancy and timing in Chippy McNish prevailed and a slight lead was apparent. As the horn sounded Chippy had racked up his second win of the day. Again the trophy is on display in the clubhouse bar.

Winning Junior squad in Chippy (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)
Start line of the Junior race (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)
Chippy with Troon in the background (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)

The final race of the day was an adult race made up of randomly selected crews from all of the attending clubs. In Chippy McNish Adam Graham once again coxed, Issy Anderson (N. Berwick) stroked, Mat Henderson (RW) was at three and the Bow pair was made up of two powerful guys fron Cumbrae. Clear guidelines were issued to the crew as Chippy left the harbour for the final time, that no quarter was to be given and that Chippy was to return triumphant again.

Once again the start line resembled more of a starting box. Crews were turned and pointing in the right direction but not all aware that the start was about to happen. The crew in Chippy became aware when other boats started to row. Acting quickly to recover the situation we heading straight for the back of Girvan’s boat. As we took evasive action to go round Girvan, once again it became clear that Chippy and the North Berwick boat were evenly matched. Trying to get clear of Girvan Chippy caught a particularly good wave and surfed into a small lead that the crew then took advantage of to power away to a convicing victory.

There was a brilliant atmosphere back at the slipway as everyone mucked in to get all the boats out and onto trailers. The close proximity of the cars, trailers, catering facilities and admin at Maidens is a good environment for clubs to socialise.

Beach, Boats and a Barbecue (Bob Dawson Troon CRC)

At the prize giving Alex Paterson spoke on behalf of the visiting clubs to thank Carrick CRC for organising another great event.

Today there was a trip up to the River Leven, hopefully we will have a report to post about this in the next few days. Next weekend the Club is competing in the Nith Navigation from Glencaple up the River Nith to Whitesands in Dumfries. It is the intention to take Chippy to this but also the Jollyboat Sprite.