Royal West win 8K Exciseman’s chase at Maidens

On Saturday a mixed crew made the trip down to Maidens in Ayrshire with Skiff Chippy McNish for Carrick’s Exciseman’s chase, this event replicated times where smugglers would attempt to out run the authorities. One crew member had to take a Bottle of Whiskey (Miniature) from the start then sprint to their waiting boat, each boat set off at two minutes intervals with the winner being the club with the fastest elapsed time over both legs. Royal west drew number one from the pot and first away despite the individual being told to pick any number other than No 1.  There would be a crew swap at Gas House Bay at half way, just past Culzean Castle, which meant replacement crew members running for 30 minutes through the grounds of the castle to meet up with the boat.

The boat arrived at gas house bay ahead of the runners which cost us 4 minutes of time and with other crews eating into our advantage thing got quite tense. Crew swapped out and on the way back we encountered a large swell and it was hard rowing into a head wind for 4k back to maidens harbour. It looked as we were increasing our gap between the next boat GalGael from Glasgow, what happened next took everyone by surprise, especially Mat Henderson and the Cox. After making the final marker bouy we had run a good course taking a wide sweep we upped the pace and run at almost full pressure into the narrow harbour. Rocks flanked both sides and some being marked and obvious others not so, as we were heading into harbour entrance the cox didn’t see a large pole marking a rock, the boat hit the pole which stopped the boat dead and caused the boat to list to starboard as it then slid down the Port side gunwale taking out the port oars, Mat was knocked into the bottom of the boat by the oar. After a quick check that every one was ok there was a sprint to the slip and finish. Our completed time was 1hr 7 minutes

The recriminations started at the bar which had been set up by Carrick and the very experienced cox was suitably beaten… the collision had cost us around a minute and it was obvious that some boats had made good time. It turned out that we had won by around 5 minutes easing the Cox’s emotions. We would have done this course in under an hour without the time delays.

At the  presentation Carrick handed out a commemorative bottle of Whisky to each of the 6 clubs, Royal West were also presented with a silver Quaich which is now in the club bar. The whisky was shared out and drank from the Quaich by everyone in the club that night.

Special thanks for their hospitality and congratulations to Carrick Coastal Rowing Club in pulling this event together at quite short notice

See below a short video of the event

Alex Paterson

Captain of Boats