On Saturday 29 October the Club joined forces with members from Royal Gourock YC, Wigtown CRC & Firth of Clyde CRC to form the Southwest Regional team at the SCRA’s annual end of season Fresh Water Sprints event at Loch Tummel Sailing Club. This year we also welcomed into the regional team members of other regions who either had no race or only one. We were a hybrid South West & Rest of the World team.
Royal Gourock has kindly agreed to take Spirit of Ashton for the regional team to use. Royal West were already taking No. 15 to compete in the Picnic Class.
Although the weather had not been great in the week running up to the event, Saturday was glorious at Loch Tummel SC. The club is based at the West end of Loch Tummel, on the south bank. Views north from there at this time of year are always stunning.
Most of the Royal West team travelled up to Pitlochry on the Friday afternoon and stayed in the Milton of Fonab caravan park. This has become a favourite with the Club members as it is within easy walking distance of the town centre. As well as the static caravans there are pitches for tourers, motorhomes, and campervans. We had a mix of these there from Friday through Monday. As ever Royal West formed the largest contingent within the regional team, with nine attending to row and another three there as supporters.
Saturday started well with everyone up bright eyed and bushy tailed ready for the day ahead (well almost). Arriving at the sailing we quickly established the regional headquarters using the Club’s BIG pop-up gazebo. This gave the regional team a base and also provided space to display the crew sheets so delicately prepared by Gillian the night before. Shortly after Royal Gourock’s skiff arrived and was unloaded and made ready for racing. There had been a few modifications made to the skiff since we last saw it at the Largs Regatta. A new rudder was in use that hinges up to minimise the chance of damage when coming into shallow beaches. This new development, although ingenious, caused a few moments of consternation during the racing.
The event has long been a chance for some umpire training by SCRA and this weekend was no different. The starters, water-based umpires and finishers were all trainees. This also caused a little bit of frustration amongst a few coxes during the day, as the trainees were being assessed and did EVERYTHING by the book. Even attempts by coxes to gain an advantage at the start were corrected and minor infringements during racing, regardless of how innocent, were punished (Julie). It kept the racing fair and really kept the coxes on their toes.
There are five regions designated by the SCRA.
Southwest which covers the SW of Scotland coast from Glasgow to Annan, but also picks up the North side of the Clyde estuary, so includes Royal Northern in Rhu, Bute, Cumbrae and Arran
Southeast which covers the coast from Queensferry to Berwick
Fife which includes all the Clubs from North Queensferry round to Perth
Northeast runs from Perth to about Inverness
North and West covers from Inverness round to the clubs on the Mull of Kintyre
This year Fife borrowed a boat from Loch Tay SC, who have started rowing St. Ayles Skiffs a few miles from Loch Tummel. It was great to see one of the inland clubs represented.
Of the 16 races for St. Ayles Skiffs the SW team got 6no 5th places, 8no 4th places and 2no 3rd places. Our fastest time of the day was 2mins 59.8secs in the Men’s Open. This was only 12.2secs behind the winner. Overall we were fifth, but only by a single point behind Fife. The big surprise was that the North & West won the overall trophy because of a technical penalty applied to the otherwise very successful North East.
In the Picnic Class, created to encourage small fixed seat boat racing, the Club did not retain the trophy this year. It was won by Collieston from the North East in a Wemyss Skiff that was part of the development SCRA have been encouraging. Although Adam won the men’s event, just ahead of the Wemyss Skiff, Claire from Royal West (in her first competitive outing and only her third every outing) in a 16, came in 3rd. Collieston’s 2nd & 1st trumped Royal West’s 1st & 3rd. Collieston were advised to keep the trophy safe, as Royal West expect it to return to Greenock next year.
The event encourages regional clubs to work together on the day, but also helps cement relationships across the regions. Our hybrid team took that a step further we had crew members from all the other regions too. At time Karyn, Julie and Adam were coxing groups of people they had never met before and who had never met each other before. It is an incredible melting pot event which helps keep a lot of the original principals of the SCRA alive. It is a community activity where crew members help each other, clubs help neighbouring clubs, regions help regions. Regardless of the results by attending the event you are a winner, as you make friendships that span the country.
Thanks to Adam Graham for preparing the text of this posting.