Sweet taste of Victory – Fresh Water Regatta

Eighteen hardy rowers from RowPorty made the 74 mile journey to the Castle Semple Loch at Lochwinnoch, setting off before dawn on Saturday 27th Oct, for the last regatta of the season.

The frost gave way to a lovely calm sunny day, which lasted until the end of racing. The regatta was part of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA) and supported locally by Royal West rowing club and the Castle Semple Loch, which have great facilities (cafe, changing rooms, club house, wide concrete ramp for launching the boats, plenty of parking for trailers and cars).

A total of 8 teams took part: Achiltibuie, Anstruther, Crail, Cumbrae, Pittenweem, Port Seton, RowPorty and Royal West; a fine mix of new and more established clubs.

As Ali reported we had a good day on the water:

The 3klm was first on the menu, in which our mixed killer team, coxed by Peter A. came second to Achiltibuie, but not by much. The fixed oars did seem to give us a more power without losing power through sliding oars etc.

The Men’s and Women’s Open races were run in heats and we made it through to the finals coming second to Anstruther in the womens (beating Achiltibuie!) coxed by Margaret and coming second in the mens to Achiltibuie (coxed by Rosie in the first heat and Sean in the final); Achiltibuie did come from so far away that it was only fair really!

The Golden Ladies, coxed by Ali, smashed their opponents picking up the only gold medals for RowPorty on the day.  They looked very pleased with themselves!

Our beloved Ancient Mariners did valiantly to take bronze against a number of other teams that were “over 50’s”, whereas our lads mostly qualify for an “over 60’s” team, so respect to the boys.

Our Novices or Newbies also developed a taste for victory coming first in their heat and taking Silver on the final.

We hope they are now truly bitten by the skiffing bug and we will see them rowing frequently and getting involved with the club at every level (i.e. at the pub).x

We were not able to put in a youth team this time; as we all know, trying to get teenagers to commit to turn up for a row is like herding cats in the dark, so we hope to have more luck with this in future.  The winning team from Crail had 10 years olds in their team, who hardly stuck out above the gunnels, but rowed their wee socks off.  They did have some very light, bought oars, something for us to consider.

It was great to see a range of people who do not always row together to be able to jump into the boat and within a few minutes were rowing like they had done so for years.  There were many different people who coxed and did a grand job of it.  Although we have a large club and it may seem, at times, that we never row with the same people, it does mean that we have a wide pool of people that row regularly and can take anyone on J.

Although it was sunny and lovely, the green Rowporty t-shirts require the wearer to be hardy or hypothermic in order to be able to display the clubs colours.  It might be time to design and order some new club wear, such as a sweatshirt/fleece or jackets, maybe woolly hats and some caps which members could buy at cost.

Ali mentioned Fergus’s portable BBQ, which worked very well and kept everyone fed between races.  Many thanks chef extraordinaire, hope you did not end up out of pocket.

The few RowPorty kids that were dragged to this event did a great job walking and looking after the many dogs that travel to these events with the folk from Anstruther, not to mention our own Rosie with Murphy.

The scoring system employed on the day meant that, because we entered every racing category coming second or third, it meant that we collected more points than Achiltibuie (who won the men’s open, the mixed open and the men’s veterans, but they failed to qualify for the women’s open final and did not have a team in the Novices race) making us the overall winner on the day.  To our surprise we were presented with the Gallacher Heath Sheild, which will be inscribed with RowPorty 2012 (like the Ullapool Shield carries the RowPorty 2011 inscription J).

The overriding memory of the event was that it was a relaxed day, with a bunch of lovely folk from our community who were grateful for the weather, the facilities and the ability to take part, equally.

Thanks again to all of you who made this possible.


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