Archives 2013 – part 4

South Queensferry Regatta: Report, Pictures and Video – posted 3 Sep 2013 by Michael Hutchison

What a weekend that was! Firstly I would like to express my thanks on behalf of the committee to everyone who contributed, attended, raced or in any way helped to make our 2013 regatta the wonderful day it was.

The first club to arrive was Helmsdale on the Friday evening. They were camping over on the Friday and Saturday nights. We got to know them over a quick drink before pointing them in the direction of a much earned meal in the Ferry.

It was an early start on the Saturday as we prepared for the arrival of a further 8 boats.

After the coxes briefing, the first race of the day was the Women’s 40+. Despite some initial difficulties getting everyone on the line, it proved to be an exciting race – with a small collision at one point!

The Mixed Open saw Queensferry take 5th place – with only a couple of boat lengths separating us from the boats immediately in front and behind us.
It is the nature of these things that mother nature will have different ideas than the regatta committee. It was unfortunate that high winds led to the cancellation of the Men’s Open and Names from a hat race. Special mention must go to the very brave Women’s open rowers – who had to face some of the most difficult conditions seen on the Forth. Despite calls to head back to Port Edgar, a number of crews mutinied and managed to complete the course regardless!

During the morning races, the course was generally completed in under 20 minutes by most clubs. During the Women’s open, the conditions were such that the titanic efforts of Ansruther got them over the line in 21 minutes and 40 seconds and into first place. Sixth place went to Newhaven with a time of 38 minutes and 35 seconds. The final four boats did not complete the course and North Queensferry and Troon eventually accepted a tow after a futile battle against the waves.

There was a Ceilidh on the Saturday evening and a number of us took a turn on the Bucking Bronco!

The Sunday was the intended date for the Alan Meldrum Community Rowing Challenge. Unfortunately, the weather conditions did not improve from the Saturday. It was with much regret that we had to cancel the event. Safety is paramount and, while a St Ayles Skiff is incredibly seaworthy and capable of handling the roughest of seas, it was decided that conditions were not suitable for novices. This was despite the large number of lucky mascots in attendance!

Women’s 40+







 North Berwick












 North Queensferry


Mixed Open





 North Berwick












 North Queensferry




Mens 40+

North Berwick










 North Queensferry






Women’s Open
 Anstruther  21:40
 North Berwick  24:04
 PS&C  26:05
 Queensferry  28:54
 Newburgh  32:50
 New Haven  38:35
 Helmsdale  DNF
 Pittenweem  DNF
 North Queensferry  DNF
 Troon  DNF

Below – find a selection of Tony’s photos.  More photos in the club Flickr album.

Newburgh Regatta 2013: Report, Pictures & Video – posted 10 Sep 2013, 01:56 by Michael Hutchison

We attended Newburgh’s regatta on Saturday. It will probably be the last regatta of the season, but we left one of the best for last.

Newburgh is situated on the Tay, upriver from Dundee, at a point where the river is relatively narrow. The number of competing boats was therefore limited by space considerations. However, it also allowed Newburgh to be one of the most spectator friendly regattas we have been to.

It was also rower friendly, starting at around 2pm and finishing around 6:30. With virtually zero travelling between the slipway and the start, Newburgh were able to maintain a schedule of one race per half hour. They were able to host more races in an afternoon than many clubs manage with a gruelling early morning start!

The Queensferry contingent wasn’t the largest we have fielded, but it did allow for a lot more races per person. We were aided by several volunteers from outwith the club, some of whom had never rowed before! It was also an opportunity for Ally to have a go at coxing in a regatta for the first time, and she didn’t disappoint bringing in a well deserved second place in the Mens 40+.

We didn’t do too badly in terms of results with one second place and four third places.

My thanks go to Len for towing the boat and for providing me with the footage he shot on the day. I hope that my editing was able to do it justice.

The biggest win came from Robin – who won a half bottle of whisky in the Tombola!!

More photos on Flickr

Say hello to Emma – posted 16 Sep 2013

On Saturday the 16th of September 2013, Queensferry Rowing Club made the trip past the Rail Bridge to say hello to the visiting Cruise Liner. On our way there we saw two other wooden boats.

The First was made by John Watson – one of the builders of Ferry Lass. It is based on one of the earliest Iain Oughtred designs – Iain Oughtred of course being the designer of the St Ayles Skiff. Named “Emma” she shares much of the DNA of Ferry Lass.

Tweed Row to Paxton House 2013 – posted 24 Sep 2013 

The annual row up the tweed to Paxton House is a popular event – despite last year’s cancellation due to high winds. It is a row from the mouth of the Tweed upriver to Paxton House for a picnic before, after a crew change, heading back in a more sedate fashion with the current.

The row upriver was anything but sedate! The water level in the river was low – probably too low – and in future years a later start might prove necessary. The troubles started once we reached the bridges. There were 12 boats in attendance – all hitting the extremely strong current under the bridges at the same time. There were multiple near collisions, as the boats to the rear had forward momentum at the same time as the boats at the front began to struggle forward. It was soon decided that the skiffs would need to go through one at a time. Unfortunately, the low water level and the large number of rocks severely restricted the angle through the bridge which could be taken safely. Ferry Maid got grounded on the rocks – this is probably where the noticeable gouge in the paintwork came from.

Eventually, several boats including Ferry Maid managed to fight past the bridges. We rafted together for a while as we waited for the others to get through. It was soon evident that we had to keep moving, as the current pushed us back the way we came. Rowing hard, we fought for every inch of forward momentum as we watched the safety boat crew tow the remaining skiffs through the archway of the bridge.

Progress was slow and exhaustion began to set in. The low water level meant that a skiff could run aground at any moment. Peter, who was coxing, was forced to remove the rudder several times to prevent it from catching in the riverbed. There was a consensus amongst the skiffs that we should beach and await the stragglers.

Once we sat off again, we soon saw the road bridge which crosses the river. The rest of the club were there to take photos and cheer us on! At this point the river was deeper and we were able to make better, but still slow, progress.

The deep water did not last for long. As we approached the final third of our journey, the water level became ever lower. Eventually, we were all forced to get out of the boat and push it through the water – a real first for those of us who are used to the deep waters of the Forth!

Eventually Paxton House came into view – and the water was just deep enough to complete the journey under oar. Total time? Nearly 3 hours!

The club proceeded to have a picnic, visit the cafe and get into dry clothes. For myself, Ally, Cherry and Anne – the rowing was over as the next crew prepared for the row back. During the first Paxton House row, the return journey had only taken 30 minutes. This time, Ferry Maid was back at Tweedmouth in around an hour.

Fog on the Forth – posted 3 Oct 2013

Now that evening rowing has finished for the winter, our weekend sessions are busier than ever. We are generally getting both boats out with crew to spare. Last Saturday saw one of the thickest fogs we have seen descend.

Len, our resident history buff and part time ghost, happened to be telling a ghostly tale to a group of tourists – when we appeared like a spectre with impeccable timing!

Don’t forget that the club AGM is approaching – so please get any further nominations to Denise or the sheet at the hut.

Ferrie Scarie 2013: 8th November – posted 10 Oct 2013 by Michael H

Those of you who attended the Ferrie Scarie ghost walk social last year will remember an evening of spine chilling fun. Because it was such a great night, Queensferry Rowing Club will be doing it again on the 8th of November. For it to go ahead we will need a minimum of 15 people – and this is very much an event to which you may invite friends and family along to. I’ll put up a sheet down at the hut – or just drop me an email.

A number of club members are involved in putting on the walk this year including – full disclosure! – myself, Cherry and Len. We had rehearsals the other night and I was able to create the video you will see below. Something slightly different from what I have produced for the various regattas we have attended!

Mildly damp row, AGM and Loch Venachar – posted 19 Oct 2013 by Michael H

Today’s row was delayed by the unfortunately low tide. But we are a patient club and proceeded to have a cup of tea and a chat as we waited for the tide to come in. With some hubris, we commented on how it looked like it would stay dry… and then the heavens opened as we began to push the boat down to the slipway.  Both boats did get out though – and it is great to see so many new people come down in the last month or so. To find ten people willing to brave today’s conditions is fairly remarkable outside of a psychiatric institution!

Although evening rowing has finished, we have been maintaining the momentum at the weekends and will be doing so throughout the winter. In the last few weeks we have generally had both boats out several times at weekends.

Thursday was the club’s AGM. It was a textbook example of efficiency – lasting only 45 minutes – followed by drinks at the Ferry Tap. The length of the meeting should not undermine its importance however. Many of the previous committee had been serving the club for more than 3 years and felt that it was the time to stand down. As such, the newly elected committee represents an injection of new faces and new ideas. I would like to echo the sentiments expressed by Rachel at the AGM when she thanked those retiring from the committee for their valued service over the last 3+ years. They started the club from scratch – and leave it thriving with two completed boats. The old committee left big shoes to fill and it is my hope that we can go forward from here so as to protect their strong legacy.

The Committee now has the following members:

Captain: Ali
VC: Donal
Secretary: Michael
Treasurer: Peter
Anne F
John H

If there are any issues you wish addressed, please bring them to the attention of the new committee. It is my current intention to post the minutes of committee meetings to this website in future – so that the wider club is able to be aware of what is planned.

Next weekend will, hopefully, be drier! Saturday is both the SCRA AGM and the final regatta before we are truly gripped by winter. We will be heading to Loch Venachar for a day of sprint races – with many of us choosing to attend the AGM later on in the day. If you wish to attend then please sign up at the shed or send out a message on the google group. This should be a regatta which is perfect for those new to the sport.

If you haven’t had a go at rowing before, now is the perfect time to give it a go!

The omnipost – posted 20 Nov 2013 by Michael H

It won’t have escaped your attention that I havn’t posted in exactly a month – so I imagine this will be a fairly long post to get everything up to date!

Firstly, although we are now on our winter rowing schedule, the club is busier than ever at weekends. Both boats continue to see a lot of use and current numbers are at a level which one boat could not serve. This weekend marks the one year anniversary of the launch of our second boat, Ferry Maid, she has done us proud over the last year and along with Ferry Lass continues to do sterling work for our community. Come along on Saturday – Ruth has promised to make a Birthday cake!

The new Committee have taken office and held their first meeting.  As the new club secretary, I am readily appreciating just how much work is involved in keeping a club such as ours running. On behalf of the new committee I would like to express our deepest thanks to the previous committee who gave years of service to the club – and who continue to do so in a myriad of ways.

Loch Venachar was a superb Saturday away – truly marking the end of the rowing season. Without wind or tide, the conditions were ideal for racing. The weather even held off until the last race had finished! with 14 boats attending, each race was conducted on the basis of two heats with the top 3 going into the final. We did rather well! We gained 2nd place in both our mixed novice heat and the final! We also got into two other finals over the course of the day. Obligatory video is below:

As in previous years we plan to conduct a series of events over the course of the winter – rainging from socials to talks etc. Our first winter social evening was when the club attended Ferrie Scarie. Both the cast and the audience had a great time – helped along by drinks before and after in the Ferry Tap!

To Blackness? – posted 29 Nov 2013 by Michael H

Today’s attempt to row to Blackness for a picnic was… not a picnic. Facing strong winds and increasingly bumpy conditions the crew fought for every inch we moved upriver. After several hours of rowing – making little headway – we decided to head back to Port Edgar and have our picnic in the rowing shed.
Peter, Rachel. Nick, Lorna and Myself had a wonderful time – despite not getting to our intended destination. As you’ll see in the video – we did have Blackness castle in sight!

New Oars! – posted 14 Dec 2013 by Michael H

Despite the weather forecast, today’s rowing session was well attended. It was also a perfect opportunity to try out a new set of oars!

As you can see, these represent another wonderful contribution from the talented John Watson to the club. This particular set is very similar to the current light oars – except both longer and lighter. With the two sets of oars that are currently in build, we can look forward to having two sets of oars per boat which will be light enough to give us every chance while racing next season.

In other news – the club is having a quiz night next Friday! Think of it as the club’s Christmas party! All members and friends of the club are warmly encouraged to attend. It is being held at the Boat Club (to the right of the Orocco Pier) at 8PM – B.Y.O.B.

Rain, Oars and Quizzes – posted 21 Dec 2013 by Michael H

I’m sure everyone who attended Friday’s quiz evening had a great time – a massive congratulations to Mark for managing to keep us all in line! It also included a one time showing of the 2013 club “Blooper Reel”!

This morning’s session was well attended. Ruth, our resident Baker extraordinaire, outdid herself with her Gingerbread! The heavens opened in the middle of the second row – but that did not dampen our spirits as we tried out a new footrest and newly painted oars.

These blue oars are a combination of two of the previous light oars in the stroke and bow positions and two longer oars of a similar design in the centre. With two identical sets of oars – races should be a lot more interesting.

We have also received the first of two sets of oars built specifically for the club – designed to be longer and lighter than any of the other oars. Come and see them at the hut yourself – but I think you’ll agree they are a masterpiece.

The Loony Dook 2013 – posted 29 Dec 2013 by Michael H

The Loony Dook is a Queensferry tradition which has grown to become a major part of Edinburgh’s new year festivities. It started as a bet between various patrons of the Moorings Pub (presumably having partaked of the establishment’s liquid courage) and is now a major event for charity fundraising. Put simply, hundreds of people will descend on Queensferry for a swim on New Years Day.

Most of us are not crazy enough to go for a paddle (notable exceptions will remain nameless)  but, as in previous years, we will be sending out both boats for a new years day row! Crews from both boats will get a perfect view of the brave/insane loony dook participants.

There will be crew changes from Queensferry harbour – so there should be plenty of chances to have a go if you pop down to the harbour to watch. The Dooking begins around 10:30.

2014 – part 1