A wet start
Saturday began early in the morning with a hive of activity in the pouring rain. As the last crews arrived on the first ferry, Lamlash Yacht Club was humming – gazebos going up, rowers welcomed with hot drinks, the course laid and the hard standing quickly filled up with a long row of skiffs: South Queensferry, St Ayles and Rowporty from the East Coast, the Clyde was represented by Stranraer (at their first ever regatta), Troon, FOCCR, Prestwick, Royal West, Renegade teaming up with Cumbrae and Arran’s northerly neighbour Islay. All races were over 1.5km with two port turns over two timed heats.
Despite the downpour and Holy Isle enveloped in mist, everyone was in good spirits and chatted with old friends and new, all the time crossing their fingers that the forecast for brighter weather later in the day would be proved right. By the time the first race started at 11 o’clock the rain had eased up and the Open Men got underway. After some tough racing, Arran won the gold by 3 seconds from Royal West, who took the silver, and Troon the bronze.
Next up was the Open Women. The Arran lasses kept tight on St Ayles’s heels but couldn’t manage to overtake the strong Anstruther crew and secured an impressive second place with Islay coming in third.
This was followed by the Mixed Novice race, which was won by Islay, who came in seventeen seconds ahead of South Queensferry, with Prestwick just a few seconds behind them.
The Open Mixed was the last race of the morning session before the officials on the water had a chance to warm up and get some lunch. By now the sun was ever more present and all the participants were drying off and enjoying the warmth. In a tightly contested fight in the second heat with a determined Royal West crew, Arran maintained their initial lead and managed to pull away on the home straight to a hard fought first place. FOCCR in the first heat got a good time and came second, pipping Royal West into third place by only five seconds.
Time for a break.
A magnificent team of volunteers put on a fantastic spread for lunch, which was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone but soon it was time to get back to the oars, made easier by the blue sky and sunshine.
Starting the afternoon session was the Mixed 240+. As with the other races holding a line on the start was challenging due to a strong southerly wind. St Ayles were on top form and were quick to challenge Arran on the starboard side after the start. But the hosts managed to get ahead by the important first turn and were first over the finish line in their heat to cheers from the watching crowd. Troon, however, had an even better time in the first heat, snatching away the gold medal by one second, with St Ayles taking the bronze.
The following race was the Mixed Decades. Arran’s four got a substantial lead in their heat and came away with an impressive win in the fastest time of the day, with FOCCR second and Islay third.
The penultimate race of the day was the Mens 220+. Very strong Troon and Largs crews battled it out for first place, Troon eventually winning by a second, while Arran and Greenock fought valiantly on the home straight for third, the latter just managing to pull away and clinch the bronze, also by a second.
And last but not least was the Womens 220+ which was – not surprisingly – won by St Ayles with Islay and Rowporty winning their well deserved silver and bronze medals respectively with only 2 seconds in it.
Time to freshen up and gather for the prizegiving. Bathed in sunshine and with a backdrop of Holy Isle and the Arran skiffs sitting proudly on their double trailer, the table loaded with medals looked resplendent: gold, silver (handmade soap on the rope) and bronze (hand turned laburnum mini fenders). The winning crews also received some liquid gold with their medals – miniatures of Arran whisky, very kindly supplied by the distillery. And each participating club took home a handsome looking handmade rope fender.
The chair of Arran CRC, Cecilia Paul, announced the winning teams and to much joy and applause the well earned fruits of hard labour were presented to the smiling rowers. To round off the ceremony, the magnificent Arran Trophy, won last year by Troon CRC, was presented to the new winner by Troon’s Chairman Harry Risk. Everyone waited with baited breath for the announcement of the winning club, which when it came was met with a roar of applause: Arran CRC were the overall winners of the regatta and proudly accepted the trophy.
To see the results please click here. 1 discard per club is shown in red and 11 points were given for avno entry (NE) or disqualification (DSQ).
Time for fun
Now it was time for fun – the bar opened and the evening’s entertainment began with a much praised BBQ. Once everyone had had their fill, the winners of the raffle were announced and the party started, the Yacht Club resounding to a great selection of music from DJ Steve while dancing, singing, chatting and drinking went on until late at night.
Sunday Hamilton Rock Challenge
Sunday morning saw the rowers congregating again for a hard fought 6km race around Hamilton Rock and after the presentation of the medals and a fine, new trophy to the strong FOCCR crew, the clubs departed, tired but in good spirits.
A big thank you from Arran
The Arran CRC committee would like to send their heartfelt thanks to all the wonderful and friendly rowers who came from far and wide to take part and to the whole club and their families and friends for working tirelessly to make this event thoroughly enjoyable for all.
They would also like to thank the Arran Distillery, Arran Deliveries, Arran Haulage, the Brodick Co-op and Wooleys for their very generous support.
Photos courtesy of Dave Ingham – Arran Photography – firstname.lastname@example.org – see his album on Facebook.
and click here for Heather McLintock’s photos who supported her dad on one of the safety RIBs.