Royal West in East Neuk storm


Crews from the club attended St. Ayles RC Regatta in Anstruther over last weekend. Seven members made up three crews, competing in the Men’s Open, Women’s 35+ and Mixed Open events. Considering this was Royal West’s first regatta with Chippy McNish the three second places we achieved was a fantastic result. Full results can be found at

The Men’s Open crew was out first, crew consisted of Adam Graham (Bow), Paul Brooke (2), Alex Paterson (3), Ronald Graham (Stroke, borrowed from Loch Ard RC) & Karen Graham (Cox), this race was used as a trial of the conditions. One quote reads “the wind was howling and the sea conditions were entertaining”, the cox Karen was reminded of the final scene in the movie “The Perfect Storm”, except there was no George Clooney onboard!

Who says there is no George Clooney onboard?

It was difficult to hold station on the start line and Royal West may have started a few lengths behind the eventual winners North Berwick. The course was approx 600m into the wind and waves, turn a mark and run with the waves for 1000m and then turn back into the waves for the 400m back to the finish line. As we approached the windward mark it was clear that North Berwick had a sizeable lead, we turned neatly and used the ideal surfing conditions to minimise thier lead at the downwind mark. Turning back into the wind Royal West sprinted for the line but were just unable to close the gap. Second in a field of five on its first competitive outing was no mean feat for the crew of boat.

The Women’s 35+ crew was out immediately after the Men’s event. The crew, consisting of Rosie (Bow, borrowed from RowPorty), Avril Brooke (2), Marie Paterson (3), Karen Graham (Stroke) & Adam Graham (Cox), warmed up in the outer harbour as the windward mark was reset, having been lifted by the growing swell. When called out to the start line the crew was in the middle of the line with a crew from North Berwick to our starboard and Pittenweem to our port. Just before the start all three boats were almost overlapping oars as the conditions were forcing us to drift. Once we started it was not possible to get through the remaining gap so the cox took the decision to hold the crew back slightly and moved to starboard round the back of North Berwick. On the first leg Pittenweem slowed and started to loose contact with the main group, at points Royal West lost sight of the whole fleet due to the depth on the troughs.

Ladies 35+ crew returning to the relative calm of the harbour after coming second to Anstruther

Heading into the windward mark Anstruther (the eventual winners) were first round with Auchiltibuie second to the mark closely followed by North Berwick and Royal West. Auchiltibuie fouled themselves on the mark and failed to turn it, however they decided to continue on the course. Halfway to the downwind mark it was announced over the VHF that they had been disqualified, they did not appear to hear it initially and continued towards the downwind mark with the inside station and North Berwick outside them. Just prior to the downwind mark they appeared to stop rowing and drifted round the mark as Royal West were bearing down on them. Royal West cox Adam Graham explained in an appropriate tone that they had been disqualified and it would be nice if the did not impede other crews. However Royal West had to take action to avoid colliding with them at the mark.

Having been forced wide by the drifting Auchiltibuie skiff North Berwick  had lost thier pace, Royal West took advantage of thier tighter turn at the mark to move into second place, pressing on back into the wind and worsening sea conditions to finish behind Anstruther. Auchiltibuie apologised to Royal West & North Berwick after the race.

The racing was moved into the outer harbour shortly after the Women’s Open event and continued in the afternoon as a series of one-on-one sprint events round bouys. Royal West’s Mixed Open crew won thier semi-final against North Berwick with a display of tight and fast bouy turns that left them 100m ahead on the final leg. As conditions worsened in the harbour during the afternoon the racing became more exciting. The final race of the day was the final of the Mixed Open, Royal West against the hosts Anstruther. At the first mark the conditions on the Royal West station were very rough and they lost ground to Anstruther that could not be recovered during the following three legs and the local team took the race. However, to have made it to the final against the quality of crews attending was very impressive.

At the prizegiving Royal West presented a painted blade to Anstruther for hosting the event and for the level of friendship and hospitality shown to the Royal West team.

Family fun for all ages. Royal West on tour.

Rowing Convenor and club coach Adam Graham is more than happy with the teams performance on thier first outing. The review process began immediately after the event, over an Indian and beers at the local rugby club. Live music and friendly banter helped. The team would also like to thank Barbara and Alan for thier hospitality and recommend Royal West members to have a look at the following website if looking for accomodation in the East Neuk.

There are photos from the weekend posted on our club’s photo tab as well as on

On Sunday the team took a wander round Pittenweem and Alex Paterson managed to blag himself a job.

Alex wakens Pittenweem and calls them to prayer

The action now moves across the Forth, with Port Seton hosting short course races on 11-12 June, and South Queensferry hosting their event on 26 June.  Details on the events tab at Anyone interested in competing should contact Adam Graham or be at the boat club on Thursday night at about 6pm.