Archives 2014 – part 1

Happy New Year – the Loony Dook – posted 2 Jan 2014 by Michael H

2013 was a great year for the club – world championships, a second boat and an ever growing number of people who come along every weekend for a row. We can only hope we go from strength to strength in 2014!

We certainly started as we meant to go on – rowing out to watch the packed beaches of the Loony Dook! We were joined by North Queensferry and even a representative from Troon! It gives a certain feeling of satisfaction knowing you aren’t the coldest person on the water – not that we let the weather stop us.
In other news – Ferry Maid was placed on the road trailer immediately after the dook. She is about to undergo a series of renovations – most notably the conversion to a pin system. She will also get a fresh lick of paint after the rigours of her first full season (not to mention that Tweed row!)

Press Clippings! – posted 19 Jan 2014 by Michael H

Scottish Coastal Rowing has done rather well for press clippings over the last year – as has Queensferry Rowing Club specifically. Many of you will have seen Rachel H’s wonderful photo of the Road Bridge which was featured next to the letters page of Thursday’s Scotsman.

While we are on the topic of pictures, you will notice that the club’s Picassa page is in the process of being updated with photos from 2013. If anyone wishes to add their own photos then feel free to contact me.

Can you use medal as a verb? – posted 17 Feb 2014 by Michael H

This weekend, the SCRA held a two day event on the organising and running of regattas. This was a great opportunity to both learn and reinforce the theory, before putting it into practice with a mini regatta the next day.

Donna, Andy, Ruth and myself therefore made the journey across snow covered mountains to Loch Insch.

The seminars were informative and highlighted the differing approaches between clubs on various issues. Hopefully, the points raised should be of assistance when we get to work on organising our fourth regatta! With ever increasing numbers of clubs, rowers and boats, we are at a stage where there is a real need to ensure that lessons are learned and indeed shared across all clubs in the SCRA. For example, one issue of debate was the extent of information that should be asked for when clubs are registering. One club was advocating that details of all rowers should be submitted in advance – including all medical conditions and emergency contact details. The consensus of opinion however, was that best practice is not to put yourselves at risk of liability in such a way – and that such matters should be the responsibility of individual clubs. It is for individual clubs to ensure – and sign off on – the competency, ability and fitness to row of their crews.

While Queensferry was well represented, there were large delegations from a number of clubs whose boats are still in build or are new to the St Ayles family. It was therefore a great chance to get to welcome these clubs to the sport.

The Sunday played host to a mini regatta – teams were randomised with two experienced and two novices per boat. Ruth was recruited to gain some practical experience as an umpire – out on the umpire boat! – while Donna, Andy and myself found ourselves on separate teams ready for some racing. The boats were provided by Ardersier and Portsoy – whose second boat is as luminously yellow/green as their first boat was pink!

Donna and Myself won our way through our respective heats and semi finals to find ourselves head to head in the final. In a close race, Donna’s boat crossed the line first!

Congratulations to Donna and all who took part in a very worthwhile event! With Gold and Silver medals to the club’s name – hopefully this is a good sign for the coming season!

Busy few weeks – posted 2 Mar 2014 by Michael H

It has been a busy couple of weeks! We have taken delivery of a brand new launching trailer.

The launching trailer is one of the many things a new club has to get right. Our previous two have served us well – but the weight of a St Ayles skiff is a lot heavier than the typical sailing dinghy of the same size. Our previous trailers have fought valiantly under the weight we placed on them – but the tyres and frames undertook some significant punishment. Hopefully, this new trailer will be much stronger.

Since being given responsibility for the shed, Anne has been keen to start knocking down walls! Last week, she finally got out the sledge hammer and removed the former toilet cubicle. We now have a lot more room for storage in the shed.

Finally, we now have both our boats ready and waiting to get on the water! Ferry Lass has returned with new pin system all ready to go!

Next Sunday we are having visitors! A new club is being formed in Broughty Ferry. We have invited them to come down and have a go of our boats. Hopefully, we can get them bitten with the rowing bug and provide them with any help or advice they might need. It will probably mean a slightly earlier start on Sunday – but it would be wonderful if as many people as possible pop down to say hello. Broughty Ferry, we look forward to seeing you.

Broughty Ferry Visit – posted 9 Mar 2014 by Michael H

Today, we were visited by a number of people from Broughty Ferry, one of the many new St Ayles Skiff clubs who have boats in build. We are glad to say that we were able to give them a taste of what awaits once the boat is completed and the rowing can begin. Having an earlier start to accommodate the extra people, both boats were in and out of Port Edgar for an extended session of rowing.

While the focus was on getting our guests into the swing of things, we did also find time for a couple of races!

Broughty Ferry said that they would keep in touch to inform us of the progress of their build – we look forward to the day their first boat launches onto the water.

If there are any other new clubs who would like to come and have a go – get in touch and we will be happy to arrange something.

Membership renewal and Membership Pack – posted 30 Mar 2014 by Michael H

All members will have received an email to inform them that the 2014/2015 annual membership fees are now due. Also included in the email was a link to the new Membership Pack.

The membership pack is intended to be a comprehensive collection of club rules, forms, training materials and all other essential information. We ask all club members to review the contents in their entirety – as use of the boat will be contingent on following the rules and procedures contained within.

The membership pack contains a new membership form. All members must complete this new form and return it to the club Secretary or Treasurer along with their subscription.

The latest version of the Membership Pack is available in our resources section.

New season approaches – posted 30 Mar 2014 by Michael H

Queensferry Rowing Club has certainly not been idle over the winter. We have been out on the water at least once every week – and generally with both boats seeing plenty of use. However, as the clocks go forward, the club enters the busy season. An email will be sent out to all club members soon to announce the start of evening rowing. Also, the first regattas begin to loom on the horizon.

The first regatta we will be attending is Port Seton. Those who have attended in previous years will know this to be a great way to get the summer rowing season started. In a change to previous years, Port Seton will be hosting events on both the Saturday and the Sunday. The Sunday events are just a touch different compared to what you would usually expect. Foremost amongst these is “Bosage”, Dressage for boats! Synchronised rowing to music.

As you can see, the team are getting some practice in!


Both boats have been going through fairly extensive modifications of late. Ferry Lass now has footboards using a similar design to Ferry Maid. Final modifications are being made to get identical foot rests installed. Unfortunately, a combination of repainting and modifications has kept one or other of the boats out of use for the last few weeks. However, March did see some internal races.

And despite fog preventing a Mothers Day row, I think we can all be proud of the amount of use our boats have gotten lately. As a community group, Queensferry Rowing Club wishes to welcome everyone who wants to take part.

Evening Rowing Restarting! – posted 3 Apr 2014

It has been a long winter – but from Tuesday the 8th Queensferry Rowing Club will be back to it’s summertime schedule!

This means there will be evening rowing on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from the 8th of April 2014.

All are welcome – with regatta season approaching – now is the perfect time to join us for a row and learn about our sport.

The Alan Meldrum Community Rowing Challenge – posted 26 Apr 2014

Many of you will be looking forward to the Community Rowing Challenge in a few weeks time. As an event which brings the community together, we feel that it is a fitting way to honour the memory of our late friend who did much to bring the club together in the first place.

The Alan Meldrum Community Rowing Challenge is dedicated to the memory of our first Vice Captain and founder member, Alan Meldrum or better known to his friends here in the Ferry as Mel. It was Mel who formed our constitution, arranged radios and generally encouraged everyone to become involved with rowing. As one of the members with previous rowing experience he was one of the crew at the launch of our first skiff Ferry Lass on 17 April 2011. it was Mel who organised the bottle of Vat 69 with it’s Queensferry connections for the launch of both skiffs. He towed the boat with his distinctive and iconic VW Camper to several regattas and notably towed Ferry Lass to our first Portsoy experience after looking after the broadcast of the Queen’s visit to the Scottish Parliament in 2011. He and Jenni did not depart Port Edgar until about 1830 hrs, arriving at the camp site at Portsoy about 0100 hrs. He still managed to get the skiff to the harbour and took part in many races the following day. I suspect that he knew then that he had the illness that was to see him off in January 2013. He was in a way a quiet man but in other ways, a gregarious fun loving man who wore very colourful shirts and had a varied taste in music. He was also a leading light in ‘Ferrie Scarie’ and other organisations in Queensferry.

It is for these reasons that we have created this Community Rowing Challenge in memory of Mel and we encourage all members of The Rowing Club and Community to become involved with the preparation and running of this worthwhile event.

Port Seton 2014 – posted 29 Apr 2014

Regatta season has officially opened with Port Seton hosting their 2014 regatta. A two day event playing host to a variety of racing and other activities.

Queensferry Rowing Club has had a large influx of members over the winter period. For many members, Port Seton will have been their first regatta – and hopefully the first of many in an increasingly busy summer season.

It was also the first Regatta outing for our beautiful new oars – which had many admiring glances – as well as our new pin system. We may look into longer pins – Richard provided us with a wonderful example of what happens when you pull on an oar which has come off its pin!

Port Edgar – posted 5 May 2014

Port Edgar has been home to Queensferry Rowing Club for over 3 years now – but the once familiar landscape is now beginning to change.

The sailing school shed, above, is in the process of being torn down.

The now empty site will allow better access to larger boats to the slipway. It is also a very visible sign of things to come – the redevelopment of Port Edgar as a whole.

Team Hopetoun Win! – posted 12 May 2014

A great time was had by all at the Alan Meldrum Community Rowing Challenge 2014. Teams representing all corners of Queensferry competed over three heats and a final.

Queensferry Rowing Club express our gratitude to all those who attended, helped out and generally made for such a fun day!

A full report will follow shortly….

Port Seton Kicks off Regatta Season – posted 13 May 2014


On Saturday last Queensferry Rowing Club headed for the opening Regatta of the season at Port Seton just along the coast. Memories of last year’s regatta were still in the memory as it had been held in glorious sunshine last year and Queensferry came away with a victory. This year was different as it was overcast and not very warm and unfortunately we were unable to emulate last season’s efforts.

Queensferry went with a strong contingent and were hoping to get to a final or two. It was not to be as semi-finals were all we could hope for. There was a special category this year known as The Lions, this was a crew made up of members from the different clubs. Queensferry played their part in this and in two separate crews we had three of the four rowers. These were the Mixed Open and the Mixed Novice crews.

In the Mixed Open, the first race of the regatta, Ally, Donal and Robin raced against newcomers to the Coastal Rowing scene, Eskmuthe from Musselburgh. In a hard fought race The Lions came through as winners and progressed to the semi finals. The Queensferry Crew that took part in the Mixed Open were unfortunately beaten by Anstruther.

As was mentioned by Ally in her email there were some teething problems with the John Clenshaw oars and these were at their most problematic in the Mixed Over 40 category. Much was hoped of this crew as it was felt that it was a strong crew. However three of the four rowers had their oars come off the pins thus putting an end to any hopes they had of emerging victorious. The same issue happened again with Women’s Open and it was decided to try and remedy the problem. This was done by using the fender ropes to tie the oars in position. Our start was also changed to just three short strokes instead of five and this seemed to have the desired effect.

With the oars in place the Women’s Open was the next race up and even up against the might of the Anstruther ladies they felt that they were in with a chance. The crew of Ally, Rachel, Lorna Cattanch and Anne Flannery rowed well and raced to the line but were pipped by Anstruther. The ladies rowed very well and surely a victory will come before the season is out.

Unfortunately it was the same for the Mixed over 50s and Mixed over 40s who failed to get past their heats, this despite high hopes beforehand. Richard of course did a great example of an upturned turtle but managed to right himself and the crew fought courageously but were unable to fully recover from their unfortunate start.

Next up was the Men’s Open with Dónal, Derek, Kenny and John trying to make it to the Semi Final. They were kept in line by Anne as they raced against a strong Portobello team. They got off to a great start and we could feel that the boat was moving well and as we approached the line we did not know if we were ahead or behind but there was great joy amongst the crew as the umpire signaled that Queensferry had won.

Two races later Dónal, Ally and Robin were back in the Lions team knowing a victory would get them to a final. It had been decided that Dónal would hold back as he had to race for Queensferry in the Men’s Open semi final. However with Wendy from Anstruther as Cox this was easier said than done as she is a hard task master as Len’s photograph attested to. We lost out to Dunbar so it was just down to the Men’s Open.

The semi final was against North Berwick and I would say it was a good job that we didn’t know who was in their crew before the start of the race. It was a very tight race and we pulled hard to try and make the Final but as they neared the line they heard the whistle to signal that North Berwick had just beaten but not by much. There was disappointment among the crew but on later learning that three of that crew had won Gold in the Men’s Over 40 at the World Championship last year in Ullapool we felt that we had acquitted ourselves more than adequately considering that three of our crew had only seriously started rowing around Christmas time of last year.


We all headed back to Port Seton on Sunday and again we thought we might have some success most notably in the Mixed Novice. However it was three members of our club that were in the Lions team for the mixed Novice that stole the show. Lesley, Paul and Alister rowed against Port Seton in the first race. Things were going well until the Lions got snagged on the turning buoy and did an emergency stop. It was deemed that the race should be run again and on the second time of asking they got through to the semi final.

Queensferry were supposed to race against Eskmuthe but they had told the organizers the day before that they probably wouldn’t return for day two and so it proved. Instead, Anstruther who had been given a bye were pitted against us with Robin in the Bow. We battled hard and raced well but it was not enough in the day as Anstruther took the honours. In the final the Lions had another mishap this time breaking an oar on the harbour wall with the race being won by North Berwick.

The Freshers crew was next up, this was for rowers who were in their first season of racing and we had a crew of Alsiter, Lesley, Ruth and Davy going up against the Lions team. In a thrilling race it went down to the wire and coming towards the line it was difficult to see who would come out on top. The whistle blew for both crews almost simultaneously with Queensferry losing by a hairs breadth, there was just inches in it.

The was the ending of the sprints for Queensferry but there was the new if somewhat bizarre category of Bossage, Dressage for Boats. Queensferry were first up resplendent in Tartan Tammies hand made by Ruth. Peter had put together a routine to the Skye Boat Song which involved rowing in squares followed by mimicking a helicopter but it was decided not spin the oars but rather tilt from side to side, then back row and spin the boat and finish up by raising oars all in time to the music. It was very well executed and now all they had to do was wait and see how the other boats fared. There were only two other boast in this category, these were Anstruther who did a Canadian Barn Dance in a Boat and Port Seton who did a lot of things with eight oars which included standing up and rowing backwards. Queensferry finished on 19 points with Port Seton on 21 and Anstruther on 22.

Next up was the relay which was a race to Cockenzie Harbour where there was a crew change and a race back to Port Seton. The Ladies team started off with a crew of Ally, Donna, Irina and Rachel who despite rowing backwards when the whistle went to start, through no fault of their own. The Umpire had asked Queensferry to back up a bit and while we were doing this he started. Not the best ways to start a race but the Ladies soldiered on and passed one of the Port Seton boats and were making inroads on the Portobello boat. Once into the harbour we changed crews with Andy, Paul, Pancho and Len taking over. They came out of the harbour and had Portobello in their sights but they were also rowing into an East wind with some choppy water. Despite gaining on Portobello we were never able to catch them and had to settle for fifth out of six crews.

The last action of the weekend was another new category this time Slalom with a crew of Dónal, Lorna Cattanach, Anne and Robin. However the most important person in this crew was Andy as the Cox had a lot of work to do in trying to steer between eight buoys in a relatively straight line. We watched Portobello go first and they finished in a time 2min 50sec a very good time. The first leg of the Slalom was not too bad but the way back proved difficult with a lot of corrective rowing and steering to be done to get the boat through all the obstacles. We finished in a time of 3min 30sec. This was only good enough for fourth as Portobello took the honours. We did have the comfort though of beating Ally who participated for the Lions.

That was the end of the Regatta one in which we can be proud in how we rowed and have learnt what we need to do in order to become better over the season, one in which I am sure there will be a victory or two for Queensferry Rowing Club.

See you all at the video training from the Regatta in Queensferry Boat Club on May 16th.

Hopetoun Dig Deep for Victory – posted 13 May 2014

On Saturday Queensferry Rowing Club hosted the inaugural Alan Meldrum Community Rowing Challenge at Port Edgar Marina. The Challenge was in memory of Alan Meldrum our first Vice Captain and founding member of Queensferry Rowing Club. The idea was to get teams from various businesses and establishments to put teams together of mostly people who had never rowed before and see how they got on with it. The teams involved were two from Queensferry Medical Practice, Hopetoun Estate, Queensferry Churches Care in the Community, Sodexo, Scottish Parliament Broadcasting and New Forth Crossing Builders.

The weather forecast had promised a dismal day with wind and rain. This proved to be untrue as despite rain in the morning it cleared up to produce a beautiful day and a wonderful day for rowing. The racing started at 1100 after words of welcome from Alison and Peter as to why we were there. The first race off was the Medical Practice team one against Hopetoun Estate. The course was an Easterly one heading towards the Forth Bridge to a buoy and turning towards Queensferry Harbour where we turned west back to the start/finish line.

The race started well for Hopetoun and they pulled ahead of the Medical Practice but a few strokes in and the Medical Practice were thrown a lifeline when one of Hopetoun’s oars came off the pin. The Medical Practice started to gain on Hopetoun but once the oar was back in they started to pull away again. On turning the first buoy there was a noticeable change in conditions. Both boats battled on with Hopetoun reaching the second buoy first and headed for home. The Medical Centre gave it their best effort but Hopetoun proved too strong for them and finished in a time of eight minutes and 24 seconds.

The second heat was a three boat race with New Forth Bridge Builders racing against Medical Centre 2 and Parliament Broadcasting team. The Parliament Broadcasting Team were involved as despite them not being from Queensferry, this was who Mel worked for. We had been given the use of one of North Queensferry’s boats in order to race three boat races. All teams started well and it was fairly tight coming up to the first buoy. From the turn though the Bridge Builders started to pull ahead despite what could be classed as a disadvantage as they had the shorter oars. This didn’t seem to hinder them though as they powered clear and were well ahead coming around the second buoy. They took the win easily in the end which set them up for the final.

There was one more heat to go. This was QCCC against Sodexo. This was to prove to be the surprise of the day as Sodexo had only been in the boat once before the day and one of them hadn’t been in the boat at all. It was somewhat of a surprise then when they tore round the course leaving QCCC trailing in their wake. They finished the race in an amazing time of seven minutes and 37 seconds which was an astonishing time for a crew who had never rowed before. This was a wakeup call for the others, how could they hope to beat Sodexho when they were both nearly a minute behind this time.

There was an hour’s gap between the last heat and the Final with The Bridge Builders, Hopetoun and Sodexo set to do battle. In the meantime there was plenty of opportunity to stock up on the many cakes and soup and sandwiches that were provided by members of the Rowing Club. Or if the fancy took you, you could have a go at the Tombola set up by QCCC and win a myriad of prizes mostly bottles of alcohol or chocolates or even some bath accessories.

The crews made their way to the pontoon to get ready for the final. All the teams got a rousing send off with good luck wishes ringing in their ears. There was a tense start as all three boats lined up waiting for the starters orders. Once the hooter went the boats started frantically with Hopetoun getting the best start and moving ahead marginally. It was a race to the first buoy as whoever got there first would have the advantage. It was Hopetoun who prevailed and on taking ten hard strokes out of the turn they put some distance between themselves and Sodexo followed by The Bridge Builders. Once Hopetoun had the lead they powered on and did not let up in their intensity. They reached the second buoy with Sodexo still hot on their heels. All crews gave it their all and raced for the line, however Hopetoun had opened up enough of a gap to take the win and become the first winners of the Alan Meldrum Community Rowing Challenge. Hopetoun finished in seven minutes and 41 seconds with Sodexo coming in at eight minutes 20 seconds. It was a close run thing for second place as The Bridge Builders were only a further three seconds behind them.

The crews headed back to the pontoon to rapturous applause and congratulations from all attending. The medal ceremony was carried out of Jenni Meldrum who had commissioned a beautiful wood carving of the Forth Bridge with Ferry Lass in the foreground to be presented to the winners. The second and third boats in the final received a bottle of champagne per boat and all the teams involved received a certificate to commemorate their involvement. The winning crew also received medals as a memento of their day.

After the ceremony thanks was extended to North Queensferry for the use of their boat, The Sea Cadets for providing a safety boat and to City of Edinburgh Council and Activcity for sponsorship. The day could not have gone ahead if it were not for the hard work from the Club Members and QCCC who provided refreshments and entertainment. All in all it was a very enjoyable day and we could not have planned it better. It was felt that it really brought the community together and provided the Club with some new members.

Greenock Regatta – posted 16 Jul 2014

Greetings all from a unbelievably wet Greenock. We have had a great day here despite the horrendous weather. We rowed in conditions which we are unfamiliar with. Very choppy and a fair bit of wind.

We are improving all the time and to this end we reached five finals. These were the Women’s Open, Men’s Open, Men’s 40+ Mixed 40+ and Mixed Novice. We gave North Berwick and Anstruther a run for their money in most of them. However we emerged victorious in the Novice race beating Wodrechim by over a length and Royal West by a distance

The showers were a lifesaver in the clubhouse as we were all soaked right through.

I should also have mentioned that Andy did his moonlighting again and this time came away with First in the 60+ with Carrick.

Portsoy Boat Festival – posted 16 Jul 2014

The Portsoy regatta is part of the Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, an event that takes over the whole town. With a variety of traditional boats on display it’s a perfect location to find a skiff.

On Thursday evening, Ferry Maid was one of the first skiffs to arrive in the harbour, at the same time the festival was being opened by a distinguished guest. Katherine Grainger, Olympic Double Scull (with moving seats and all that fibreglass – it’s basically not proper rowing is it?) Gold Medalist from London 2012. Ally and crew decided to take Ferry Maid out for a little jaunt into the North Sea in company with Portsoy’s Soy Quine boat with Katherine Grainger having a go in a real rowing boat. It would appear that rowing in the North Sea is a little different to our gentle patch of the Forth! “There was a little bit of swell” was I think the understated way Ally described it.

Saturday morning and a few rumours were around the camp site that the sea gods might not be in our favour. On arrival at the harbour our fears were confirmed and the expected long course races would not be able to take place. On looking over the harbour wall into the North Sea the first word to leave my mouth was unprintable in this form of media. It was a little rough shall we say.

In order to keep 16 skiff teams out of the pubs for a few hours, along with the carnage that would likely ensue, a rowing competion was organised within the relative calm of the harbour walls. The row from old ‘old’ harbour to the ‘new’ harbour did involve a little venture into the open water, but further ventures out were not possible. The regatta safety team warned that no safety boat would accompany you if you decided to go a little further!

The aim of the competition was to row to a buoy at the far end of the harbour, carry out a 360 degree turn (avoiding some very nice, and probably expensive, old boats at the same time) then back row to a buoy in the middle of the course, turn 180 degrees and then sprint to the finish line. The races single boat timed heats. The final positions for this are a little hazy, but suffice to say that some Queensferry teams did better than others. It was all for fun and at least we all got a little row.

Sunday morning brought slightly calmer sea conditions but still not good enough for what had been planned. However, it was decided that races out of the harbour were possible. So we had a mixed open, mens 40+ and womens 40+ sprint races. The rowing was exhilarating as I think you will be able to tell from the photos below.

Not The World Championships – posted 16 Jul 2014

Last weekend, in a vein similar to the Irish approach to fielding a national rugby team and with a sense of harmony that should be a model that Israel and Palestine could do well to look at (along with other lands at war with each other throughout the world), South and North Queensferry joined forces to create a Mid Queensferry team for the Ullapool regatta. With the talent available in South Queensferry and the fact that the North had a spare boat a match made in heaven was sure to prevail…

Here’s Donna’s report.

Just to let you know we had a fantastic time this weekend at Ullapool.  Andy won a medal whilst racing for Crail, coming first for the men’s team.  We had second place in the mixed over 50s heat, (Anstruther first), however we didn’t win any medal in the final, but put in a good effort! However the conditions were excellent and thanks to Andy’s organisation, we all had a great time and enjoyed plenty of racing. 

Thanks also to Davey who towed the North Queensferry boat for us to use, it was very much appreciated.  The NQ team and ourselves rowed well together and they are keen to join us for future events.

On behalf of all who attended, thanks again Andy for helping to make this happen.  We attend Regattas and have little insight as to the work that goes on behind the scenes, which our Captain and many others pull together for the benefit of us all, so I just wanted to say a big “thank you” to everyone involved in the organisation, towing, race planning etc for our past and future Regattas!

Looking forward to the next one…

2014 – part 2