On 10th September Prestwick Coastal Rowing Club held their first ever regatta, inviting Clyde-based clubs from Troon, Maidens, Largs and Girvan, as well as Arran. Sadly Girvan’s skiff couldn’t attend due to stormy weather on the Friday evening.
After coming 2nd, 4th and 5th in Largs the previous weekend expectations were high. This time the team was well prepared and as a novelty the crews for the seven races were already set up in advance – up to then we had left it to the last minute 🙂
A tough regatta weekend was waiting for us because only 8 rowers for 7 races were available which meant that everybody had between 3 and 5 races to row plus some coxing. Thankfully we can always bank on Geoff Norris, our loyal supporter/driver/organizer (what would we do without him – a big thank you Geoff!).
The rowers of the day were: Rory (the builder of our skiff – thanks Rory for driving and towing Iolair), Dave, Uel, John, Stuart, Emma, Cil and Fritzi.
After a stormy Friday and a very blustery forecast for Sunday the weather conditions on Saturday were astonishingly pleasant – dry and sunny. But when we arrived at Prestwick we got quite nervous while unloading our skiff when we saw (driven by a stiff southerly breeze) the white sea horses racing in and breaking on the beach. We all thought that rowing in these conditions would be very interesting to put it mildly.
The atmosphere was very warm and welcoming and the hospitalty couldn’t have been better. Although Iolair was still the new skiff on the block, it nevertheless felt like a family gathering and we enjoyed seeing many familiar faces and meeting new people from other clubs.
With Emma, Cil and Fritzi present we only had three ladies. Julie and Shirley from Prestwick kindly filled up our crew for the Open Women’s and Open Women’s Novelty races, respectively. Thank you Prestwick ladies! Two of our rowers also helped to fill crews for other clubs. This spirit of helpfulness and generosity reflects the sporting and friendly nature of skiff rowing.
ACRC entered crews for all seven races – four 1 km courses in the morning (Open Women, Open Men, Novice Mixed and 50+ Mixed) and three fun, novelty sprints in various categories in the afternoon, which were not only about speed but also about tactics with items having to be collected for additional points.
The bravest had to test the waters for the first race and who else could it have been other than the ladies crews:-) After they succesfully mastered the waves with great aplomb, all the other scheduled races went ahead as planned. Rowing was certainly challenging and very bumpy and wet (we all got drenched with big splashes of sea water) at times but nevertheless tremendous fun and extremely exhilarating.
Our Arran team proved to be in especially good form and at the end of the day we came in in second place five times, only losing by one second in the Men’s Open, and achieved first place twice.
In the final tally of points, we were the overall champions (by 3 points) of the day. Hurraaahhhh – our first win!!!! We were extremely proud of the medals we received and didn’t take them off anymore for the rest of the day 🙂 We also received a wonderfully shaped driftwood fish sculpture as a trophy. What a special, great trophy – thank you Prestwick!
Prestwick certainly set high standards in organizing such a perfect first regatta. We hope to do as well when having our first regatta which we hope to host next summer. As almost all of our members only started rowing last October, the Arran Coastal Rowing Club is delighted with the results achieved in the club’s first competitive year.
We desperately need some new rowers – as we won, we can’t start in the Novice races anymore. It would be great if some ladies were willing to join our team and/or rowers under 45 – but generally all interested rowers are very, very welcome to join our club and crews – also absolute beginners. So don’t be shy and join us for some great fun.
Photos by Emma and Dave Ingham (http://www.arranphotography.net)
You can find more super photos of a great regatta day on the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club website www.firthofclydecoastalrowingclub.com