Video of racing at Portobello

You can see Portobello’s Icebreaker towards the end of the video.

Thanks to North Berwick Rowing Club where I found the link!

Never mind the rollocks: Rowporty Rocks!


Andres writes to the Rowporty crew and extended crew:

Dear everyone of you,

I am getting loads of positive feedback for the event we all hosted over the weekend, which was truly kick-ass brilliant, but this only happened because you all pitched in and made it pretty special. Everything we planned we did, and we did it bang on time too! no one got hurt, no one sunk and nothing broke! and at this stage I reckon we probably broke even! 

The delicious treats and cakes on offer, lovingly made by loads of you, were greatly appreciated by everyone. The burgers were a welcomed energy boost, and the T shirts were an instant hit with many being sold to the public (we have probably covered costs now if everyone pays up). 

Barbara and Nik set the tone for the event welcoming all 15 folk from Achiltibuie with 4 dogs in their cat friendly home for the weekend.  Barabara hand made more than 50 glazed pottery medals, which were worn late into the night with much pride, some still had theirs on the next morning! and Nik’s gift of “a piece of our boat” carved in the shape of the skiff added a great personal touch. 

Ali Grant ran an impressive collection of local rowing heritage on Thursday last week, which made a connection with rowing in porty dating back to 1885.  The venue at the library was packed with a wide range of people from the community interested in heritage and mow also in the Ice Breaker. Ali has worked on this project since its conception in October last year and has help with build the Ice Breaker, getting a generator and sourcing stuff, plus securing funding, getting the kids stories printed, and you still managed to help heaps on Sat & Sun!.

A massive respect to all those rowers (20) that took part in 8 fiercely contested races, many rowed in two races and some had three, but every one gave it their all and more, there are blisters and callouses and bruises been nursed tonight, well done everyone!! respect. We have suddenly got so much better, the bungees helped on the day, but we are getting stronger and learning how to take long strong strokes, in time, every time.  Our coxes where also much sharper at getting us quickly round those buoys, even the wrong ones Peter! We had several very close races where we were beaten to the line by inches.  

All credit to the un-bribable umpires Jo, Alex, Mo and Osbert, who had to make some tough decisions on some of those slow motion photo finishes, thank you for making it run so smoothly. I think we only managed 3 false starts but no one noticed, so it went swimmingly. 

John and Steve on the rescue boat did a sterling job. They were able to tweak the course after the first race and they also took camera folk out, so expect to see yourself somewhere in the press.  Many rowers commented on how great it was to row and have a rescue boat out there that does not go careering around causing tidal waves everywhere. The VHF radios worked well too. 

We also had the support of lots of family and friends working behind the scenes  making things like the flag! doing us a favour here and there, knitting the community together. To all of them a big thank you from me and everyone else in the rowporty festival!   

Thank you also to the team from the swimming pool who ran a rowing challenge, Maddy was very happy with her women’s prize in the form of free membership. It complemented what we are trying to do with rowing at sea and there maybe an avenue to develop closer links with staff & resources at the pool.  

Many thanks to our local police, who were in attendance and were treated to an incident free event and lots of boats to watch. 

Yours truly knackered


Porty Regatta Results

Andres writes:
Dear Skiff Friends from Anstruther, Achiltibuie, North Berwick, Port Seton and Newhaven, 
Firstly thank you for making the Portobello regatta a resounding success.  Portobello is buzzing with talk about the skiff races and the event we pulled off on the weekend, there is already talk of doing it again next year!
I would like to thank the Port Seton syndicate for all their help with setting out the course, lending rowers to other teams and a special thanks for the delicious lobsters which were enjoyed by those that were still standing at the end of the clear up. You probably should have also got medals for the over 60’s category as we all agree the Newhaven team included some rather young over 60’s.
Achiltibuie made a big effort to attend and they lead the way in quality racing with kabes and long oars winning the Mens Open category and having a very very close heat in the Women 40+ category.  We hope to make a trip up to see you in May for a weekend of exploring and fishing.
Anstruther retain the Mixed 40+ crown and had an excellent heat in the Women’s 40+ beating Portobello and only just loosing to Port Seton in the final. We hope to have matched the great hospitality we received at the hands of Barbara and Alan at the inaugural regatta at Anstruther earlier in the summer.  Alec, I hope you enjoyed your day without having to do any organising whatsoever 😉
North Berwick looked strong from the start and despite many members being on holiday were able to attend and take part.  There were no medals for you this time, but you had a convincing win in the Women’s Open heat, beating Achiltibuie.  We enjoyed having you both days and I think Issy’s pup was pampered all afternoon by several of the Portobello children.  We look forward to taking part at the North Berwick event in August 28 and 29; see you then.
Newhaven, who despite not having a boat on the water yet where able to win the Men 40+ heat! well done Gert and others.  Let’s hope this gives your team the motivation to have your boat at North Berwick next month.
We hope you have all arrived home safely, especially North Berwick and Port Seton who rowed over to Port Seton yesterday as the wind was picking up.  Port Seton, you were lucky to get an Easterly on Friday and then a Westerly on Sunday; good planning!
From all of us here in Portobello many thanks to you all for coming to our beach this year and I suggest you pencil in a trip to Portobello next July.

Rowing IS back in Porty!!!


What a great weekend we all had!

Once we’ve recovered we’ll get some news up here – though for those on tenterhooks I’ll just say that the overall winners were Por…something…

In the meantime this blog really captures the feel of the event from a visitor’s perspective. I think this was just what all the people involved wanted the regatta to be.

Thanks to every single person who helped in any way with preparing, running, supporting and tidying up! And to our visiting teams – some who travelled a long long way to be here.

BBC – Portobello revives regatta days

Icebreaker boat

Icebreaker was built by RowPorty volunteers

The promenade at Portobello is set to host its first rowing regatta in more than 40 years.

Portobello Sailing and Kayaking Club is holding the event at West Sands on Saturday and Sunday.

Clubs from Achiltibuie, Anstruther, Port Seton, North Berwick and Eyemouth are to compete against local teams in 20 races.

They will include RowPorty, a local group which built the St Ayles Skiff for the races.

Rowing and racing

Harry Mayers, a local resident who is rowing on Saturday, said: “The regatta is particularly poignant for Portobello as there used to be a thriving rowing club here.

“That history has been dormant for the past 40 or 50 years. Some of the guys who rowed then are looking forward to it immensely.”

The Scottish Coastal Rowing Project, supported by the Scottish Fisheries Museum, aims to revitalise interest in rowing and racing around the coast and on inland lochs.

Oar in a clamp

Two pre-1930s copper riveted boats are being restored in the workshop

They supplied the design for the St Ayles Skiff, which took the team of volunteers about two months to build.

Andres Leslie, team captain of RowPorty, said: “It makes the water accessible to a wide range of people.

“New friends have been made in the community and with other coastal communities.”

Pupils at the local primary school wrote stories to name the new boat and these have been published in a booklet. Icebreaker was chosen as the winning entry because members of the community came together to build the boat.

There are plans to hold a regatta again next year and RowPorty has been granted funding to build another boat and to create an archive of material for the library.

Portobello Library is hosting a display of rowing memorabilia from the area.

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Portobello Regatta Sat/Sunday 24/25th July


Help us mark the first Portobello Regatta for over forty years on Saturday & Sunday 24th & 25th July.

Portobello’s Icebreaker will be racing against boats from Achiltibuie, Anstruther, Port Seton, North Berwick and Eyemouth.

The races in these traditionally inspired five man rowing boats is exciting to watch as they start and finish on the beach.

On Saturday, racing from 12 noon to 5pm.

On Sunday, racing from 10am to 1pm.

We’ll also be joined by an Irish Currach – one of the earliest forms of boat – from Tollcross, and by boats from the Portobello Sailing & Kayaking Club.

Come and join the fun on Portobello beach – between Bath Street and Bellfield Street.

Saturday training

Just to remind everyone that there will be training on Saturday from 9.30 am- email me to get on the rota.

There is a possibility that Icebreaker is going on a pleasure row to inchkeith island on Sunday, weather dependent, so may not be about for taster sessions, but I will keep you updated.


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