Dalriada Regatta – smiles all round

Where to start, another brilliant event, which made me proud to be part of such a great club, happy to be rowing somewhere new, heartened by how everyone pitched in, helped get boats there (thanks Claire Alex, Ali and King Connel) and of course lashed down and supplied with oars, seats and the other essentials. (Still got the VHF) We came from different directions, but most people opted to do a short or longer bit of sightseeing. I was just thrilled to be camping in Glenarm Castle grounds: felt like a house guest, apart from the portaloo and cold dishwashing!

The Motorhome Club made for interesting neighbours in the field. Kaftans, projected roaring fires, sing-a-longs, slide shows. They had it all! We were in company with North Berwick, and Port Seton camping, Royal West were in a B&B and Anstruther were in a house up the hill. We were made so welcome by organiser Elaine – check her smile on the facebook page – and all set for the coxes briefing on Sat, and the aptly named endurance race. We entered a men’s team, the other skiffs were women or mixed teams. The starts were every minute from 11am, an interesting idea. We overtook Anstruther, and nearly caught NB – gratifying as they began 3 minutes before us. Our champion men managed the truly huge course in 38 minutes, the shortest time by the Universal Yawls, rowed by the Irish clubs, was 30 minutes. So, that was how we won the first race, but Anstruther Ladies got Gold medals for being the first skiff ladies. The album on Facebook of the prizegiving does correctly indicate just how many medals and smiley faces there were. Next three races were U14s, U16s, and U18s, with the Baccica family making up half the team, Joe and we recruited young Leo Murphy from Port Seton to make the only skiff crew. Those Universals turn on less than a sixpence, so did make the sprint course a bit faster than us. Interesting start: coxes had to hold a numbered lane buoy, and turn around a numbered one too. Made for very prompt starts.

Andres coxed Claire, Sarah, me and Syb to victory in the women’s category, but the compeition from Anstruther had rowed the endurance race too, so tough for them. But I am not going to say I wasn’t thrilled to get a rowing as well as a coxing gold medal. Great stroke from Claire, and generally great team effort. Our men had all rowed the 6k endurance, and a tough warm up and reccy with me earlier, so did well to come 3rd in their race, and Frannie and Patsy made fresh muscle sufficient to win the last race, the mixed. Yahoo RowPorty, what a day.

So after the courtesy £5 lunch vouchers had been spent at the fair, we had much smiling to do at the prize giving (try to spot El Spando in the snaps on Facebook, as the juniors nicknamed a lycra sporting young winner) Must work well with all the Pledge they use to make their seats especially slide-y.

Next delight for some was a shower courtesy of the lovely marina manager, then it was all on for the Pirates of Porty, as we donned stripey tops, eye patches and swashbuckled with our  cardboard cutlasses. Many thanks to the Mauritzens big and small for cutting eye patches, cardboard, foil work, and generally using their Blue Peter genes. Some of the costumes in the fancy dress parade were awesome, Mr and Mrs Potato head, lots of cute tots, vintage vehicles. We processed down through the village centre, to a free BBQ, then there was a concert, and a late evening firework display from Glenarm Castle. Astonishing, and delightful. We then were just a bit tired to manage the disco in the room over

 the pub where Elaine assured us Steve would keep the bar open as long as we wanted!

I am probably biased, but it really was a brilliant regatta, we were made so welcome, the races were great, I would HIGHLY recommend going next year, and perhaps we could better co-ordinate vehicles and things the way Port Seton did, and share vehicle costs on the ferries.

As ever, the people made it. Patsy is the most independent, smart travelling and compact camper ever, as well as a winning rower. Claire and Alex we all know are extraordinarily helpful, gracious and effacing, the Baccicas were all their usual brilliant selves, the Mauritzens are always there and generous with shower gel, rocky road, a helping hand, funny song or good grace when you need it, and it was lovely to have Francis, Ruby and Andres back, making us smile, challenging my coxing (guess who?). All the Porty Rowers got gold medals, and we have a new trophy for our non existent trophy cabinet, in our non existent club house. Yay!

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