Portsoy Regatta Report

The Portsoy Regatta this year was held as a stand-alone event, separate from the Boat Festival – and retained all of the fun and excitement of previous years!

Queensferry was joined by a group of rowers from Kinghorn for this regatta, so that a full range of crews could participate across the different race categories.

The regatta started with reasonably good weather on the Saturday morning, overcast but dry and not a lot of wind; the first race was the Men’s Open 2K race. Hotly contested by ten crews, and won by Golspie, in a time of 13 minutes 42 seconds, Queensferry came in 6th position, with a time of 14 minutes and 22 seconds. Altogether, there was only 1 minute and 18 seconds between 1st and last in a very exciting race.

Next up was the Women’s Open 2K race, contested by 9 crews. The Portsoy Quines won this race in 14 minutes and 37 seconds, with Queensferry crossing the line in 9th place with a time of 16 minutes and 18 seconds, just 3 seconds behind 8th place holders Findhorn.

The Mens 50+ 2K race was contested by 8 crews and won by Golspie in a time of 13 minutes and 42 seconds. Queensferry, although coming 3rd in their wave (fending off a very strong challenge from Portsoy over the entire race) ended up in 5th place, with a time of 14 minutes and 47 seconds.

By the time of the Womens 230+ 2K race conditions had worsened, with the wind picking up and the rain coming on. Queensferry were again in the second wave and had a fairly miserable time waiting to begin, however once the race had started Queensferry held on with the bunch up to about 300 metres to the turning buoy, at which point the wind really picked up and the rain got heavier. The ladies fought valiantly against the conditions but the pack got away from us and Queensferry had to deal with a much stronger wind on the approach to the turning buoy. Once round the buoy Queensferry came home in 8th place.

Following the Womens 230+ race an early lunch was called, in the hope that conditions would improve. Sadly, they didn’t and racing was cancelled for the rest of the day, when conditions became positively biblical in nature! One triumph for Queensferry was that our sturdy gazebo stood up when all others failed! Imagine solid rain flying sideways in a wind of 40mph in the gusts – in may ways it was a great relief when the team at Portsoy called a halt!

Sunday dawned fair but a northerly wind had set in, making the channel out of the harbour to tricky to attempt in rowing boats, so racing was cancelled for the day.

Despite the curtailed racing, an excellent time was had by all – Portsoy lived up to their reputation as a very hospitable club with superb food on offer at the Salmon Bothy and a most enjoyable 60s, 70s and 80s disco in the wonderfully refurbished Church Hall on Saturday evening (if only I had remembered to take the chest wig and gold medallion along!).

Altogether this was an exciting regatta and one that deserves a place in every Club’s calendar for next year!
Post submitted by Mike Breewood.

Skiffie Worlds 2019- Day 6 – the final day of the Championships!

QRC Finish 15th in the World

Saturday was the last day of the Skiffie Worlds and there was still racing to do. Again, it was another very blustery day with white horses on Loch Ryan which were to prove challenging for all involved.

The first race of the day was the Girl’s U17 Final where we had two of our Rowers rowing for a different Club. Olly and Lois joined the Deveron boat. Conditions were so bad that even though they were hugging the shoreline to get to the start at the turning buoys, some of the boats had to be towed there by the safety boats. The boats had been told to perform a starboard turn around the turning buoy before the race started and as Deveron were in the process of doing this the hooter went with no other clubs performing the same manoeuvre. Coming down the course involved a lot of surfing.
Two boats failed to start as they decided that it was too rough to go out. These were Killyleagh and Portsoy. Remarkably Strangford had a crew made up of a 12-year-old, two 13-year olds and a 14 year old. Despite the best efforts of Olly and Lois they finished sixth in a time of 06:59. A fine effort considering the conditions.

The first race that Ferry Maid was involved in was the Mixed Open B with a crew of Tansy, Gareth, Alan and Marianne, ably coxed by Keith. Getting the boat launched was a mission in itself, we have video footage of the attempt and this will be posted to the website at a later date. Having eventually made it off the shore into a severe swell the crew headed for the start line. They started in what could arguably be classed as a tough lane as it was the outside lane 10 where the worst of the chop was. They powered up the course and turned in third position. It has been discovered in these Championships that Queensferry Row very well into the teeth of a gale but less so using the waves to surf. Heading back down the course they were doing very well and getting mentions by the commentator, so shore support knew we were in with a chance here. Unfortunately, they were overtaken by Bunillidh and Ullapool but still qualified for the Repechage. They beat North Queensferry by the smallest of margins with only 1.4 seconds between the two crews.

The crew returned to shore exhausted but loving every second of their row with the knowledge that they had to do it all again.

Our Youth members took the water again, this time in the Mixed U19 Final with three different clubs. Olly rowed for Killyleagh, Lois for Portsoy and Alexander for Deveron. In previous races they had raced over 1km distance but as it was U19 they are classed as adults, so it was a 2km race. Of the three, Olly fared the best as she came home with Killyleagh in 7th position with Alexander in 9th with Deveron and Lois in 10th with Portsoy. A great effort from them all and in the words of Marianne “We are all so proud of all our young people this week! You have greatly enhanced the Club’s reputation in the coastal rowing community with your positive attitudes and sportsmanship! And hopefully made a few new rowing friends!” Our own Youth Regatta on September 7th promises to be memorable with displays like we have seen over the last week.

The final race of Skiffie Worlds 2019 for Queensferry was the Mixed Open B Repechage. Launching was slightly easier this time around as the wind had decreased by the slightest bit. The race started well and Queensferry again were getting mentioned by the commentator. Those of us on the shore were getting very excited as it was announced that Queensferry had turned first, this was short lived as it was a case of mistaken identity as it was actually Port Seton that had turned first but our boats look very similar. They raced for home and came in 11th place just ahead of Stranraer. They improved hugely on their time from the Heat. In the Heat it was 17:19 but in the Repechage it was 16:38 a brilliant effort.

This ended our racing involvement for the week and what a week it has been. It started off with the Men’s and Women’s 60+ both finishing 6th in the World with the Men’s crew posting the two fastest times of the week for Queensferry. In the Final they rowed it in 11:30.7 but had gone faster in the heat with a time of 11:28. On the Tuesday the 40+ Men made it to the Repechage. On Wednesday the Men’s Open made it to the Repechage and on Thursday it was the turn of the 50+ Women to make it to the Repechage. Also on Thursday our Mixed U17 crew came tantalisingly close to a medal as they finished in 4th, less than a second behind third position. Friday was a red-letter day for the Club as our Men’s U17 took home Bronze in the Final and Charlie then picked up a Silver in the U19 Men’s Final with Strangford. Finally, Saturday saw our Mixed Open B reach the Repechage.

At the evening event on Saturday the overall standings were announced, and Queensferry Rowing Club finished in 15th place in the World, six places better than last time and (not that there is any rivalry between the Queensferry Clubs!) we finished a full 30 places above the North in the standings. A great effort from all involved and one that we can be rightly proud of. Our aim in three years time should be to break in to the Top 10. The training starts here!

It feels somewhat strange that this is the last report I will be writing for the Worlds but I hope that you have all enjoyed reading them as much as I have enjoyed writing them.

Report filed by Dónal.

QRC’s Flickr photo album of the Worlds

To browse official photos of the Worlds, click here

Skiffie Worlds – Day 5

QRC U17s take Worlds Bronze!

Day five was a wonderful day for Queensferry Rowing Club as, thanks to the Men’s U17 team, we won our first Worlds medals. In comparison to other days the weather was horrific with winds gusting to 25mph leaving very lumpy water. At the coxes briefing it was revealed that three of the starting buoys had disappeared over night. This meant that we went from lane ten to lane 14 with nothing in between.
There were beachmasters employed to get the boats launched with the first race being the U17 Men’s. The course was from the turning buoys straight down to the finish line. To get to the start line the Crews were asked to row close to the shore as it was heavy going heading out. Our crew was Alex, Diarmuid, Fin and Charlie with Rachel as Cox. Those on shore listening to the vhf were bemused by the umpire’s orders to the crews. They were asked to keep the Bow facing in the wrong direction until they were ready to start. There was an incident between the Queensferry boat the Ullapool boat and a yacht at the start. After the start a message came over the radio commending the Coxing of the Queensferry boat for avoiding a collision at the start. There was even talk of Queensferry receiving assistance in the form of seconds being taken from the crew’s time. This didn’t materialise but wasn’t needed in the end.
If the outward journey was a hard slog, then the homeward journey was seemingly much easier but had its difficulties as well. The spectators on the shore were kept abreast of how the race was progressing with commentary and Queensferry were getting regular mentions. Ullapool and Dundrum were fighting it out for first place with Queensferry on their own in third. As the boats came closer and it was easier to see what was happening we were able to see that Queensferry were rowing magnificently and as we willed them towards the line we knew that they were going to be Bronze medal winners, the third best team in the world.
Ordinarily I would talk about the next race but as there was another medal winning performance, I feel I should write about that first. The crew of the U17 boat plus Olly all Rowed with other crews in the U19 races. Alex Rowed with Killyleagh with Olly Rowing for Strangford and Diarmuid and Fin Rowing for Deveron. However, it was Charlie that claimed the glory, rowing for Strangford. After again rowing in tough conditions he finished one better than the previous race and took home a Silver medal, an absolutely amazing performance.
With conditions still blustery and lumpy it was the turn of the Mixed Open A to head out and try to qualify for the final. The crew was Tracey, Gabe, Dónal and Anne Purcell with Anne Flanery as Cox. It is hard to put in to words how difficult the conditions were but having tracked the time on the water on my Garmin it was discovered that we had climbed 14m. Surely this should not happen on water, it gave us an insight as to how Ernest Shackleton and Tom Crean (a Kerryman!) must have felt during their Row from Elephant Island to South Georgia. The start was interesting as they didn’t use the handheld buoys to begin and we were to start as soon as we were level on the line. It was a difficult row to the turning buoy, but it was exhilarating. We had a great turn and were in the top six heading back towards the finish. Rowing with the wind proved to be more difficult than Rowing against it and on several occasions the boat surfed over the waves. It looked as though we were going to make the Repechage but just as we were approaching the line, we were pipped by a storming finish from Killyleagh and lost out by three seconds. It was a great effort from a crew that hadn’t rowed together before.
That was the last race that Ferry Maid was involved in so she was taken out and left back in the compound ready for more racing tomorrow.
The medal ceremony took place at 1615 and it was a proud moment for Queensferry Rowing Club and for the trainers and instigators of the Youth Rowing. Well done to Peter, Louise and Rachel for your hard work and dedication in getting the Youth crews to where they are today. It makes all those cold rows worthwhile.
There is not much to update from Flannery Row tonight apart from the fact that the voles which had their home under Anne’s tent have now left their home to seek shelter under some other large tarpaulin. However, not content with upsetting the resident vole population, Anne is now worried about the worms at her new site which by all accounts are enormous.
For those of you not on Facebook, Mike B will upload some of the photographs for the week on to the Website so everyone can see them. We will send a link when they are done.

Report filed by Donal.

Skiffie Worlds – Day 4

QRC U17s take 4th in the World

Day four of the Worlds dawned warm and sunny despite the forecast of thunder and rain, however the conditions were somewhat lively in comparison to previous days. These conditions were reflected in the times that were posted. The top crews were coming in at least a minute and a half slower than before.
I will return to the headline further down the report but it has been a fantastic day for the Club and we are proud of all the crew who came so close to a World’s medal.
The racing for Queensferry started at 1000 with the Men’s 50+. The crew consisted of Alistair, Rory, Alan and Mike Breewood with Mike McDowell as Cox. They had a good start from lane 11 but coming towards the buoy they were behind the crew from the Netherlands. However, they had such a good turn they overhauled the Dutch and headed for home. They ended up 10 of 12 but had amassed six seconds on the Dutch crew finishing in a time of 12:21. It was a great effort, but it was not to be.
Next up it was the turn of the Women’s 50+ with a crew of Marianne, Anne Purcell, Tansy and Tracey with Anne Flannery coxing in a meandering sort of way on the way back. By heat four the wind had increased considerably in comparison to the other three heats, but the Ladies put in a Trojan effort. They felt strong throughout and turned very well and headed towards the line. They were comfortably in sixth place, so much so that Anne told them to take it easy coming towards the line to reserve their energy for the Repechage later in the day. They finished in a time of 15:31.
We had two ladies who went Renegade today, they “dared to be different”. Mel rowed for Renegade in the Women’s 50+ finishing in 11th place while Lorna also rowed for Renegade in the Women’s Open coming in 10th place ahead of Kinghorn. Louise also rowed for another club as she teamed up with North Queensferry in the Women’s 50+ putting in a fine effort only missing out on a place in the Repechage by two places.
The Queensferry crew in the Women’s Open was Jennifer, Beth, Sharon and Jenny with Louise as Cox. In blustery conditions they put in a great effort to finish ninth of 12 in a time of 14:52 exactly a minute ahead of Gourdon.
The race of the day was the U17 and the crew of Oisín, Olly Alexander and Lois with Louise as the Cox. As it was a youth race the distance was shortened to 1km. The race started at what is usually the turning buoy making it a straight sprint to the line. They started in lane two and with the drone footage being beamed back to shore as the race progressed down the course for everybody to cheer on. Thankfully the weather had improved with the wind dying down and the sun coming out. It was a very tight race with not much in it amongst the top four. Coming towards the line they were neck and neck with Killyleagh and the masses of Queensferry supporters assembled on the beach were unsure as to the result. We had to wait a few minutes before getting confirmation that they had finished fourth but only just. There was less than a second between them and Killyleagh. Queensferry finished in 05:10.1 with Killyleagh finishing in 05:09.2. Heart-breaking to miss out on a Bronze medal but they can be rightly proud of their efforts as they are the fourth best crew in the World! A great achievement from all involved including the trainers who have got them to this level.
The final race of the day for Queensferry was the Women’s 50+ Repechage. As has been the case in most of the Repechage races so far for Queensferry it proved to be a difficult race. Unfortunately, they finished at the back of the field in a time of 12:50. This was a vast improvement on their time in the heat and shows the strength of competition there is.
A further update of Mice and Flan from Flannery Row is that the truce didn’t last long, and no amount of housewarming gifts was going to placate the incumbents of this particular patch of land. So much so that an eviction order was delivered to Anne and she was forced to move house leaving what turned out to be voles and not mice to live in peace and solitude once again, free to raise their young without any person lying on top of their home. The final straw came when the creatures managed to chew through Anne’s groundsheet.

Report filed by Donal.

Skiffie Worlds Day 3

QRC exceed expectations in Men’s Open

Day three of the Worlds brought showers and very muggy weather. Conditions for racing were perfect, with flat calm conditions. The early birds had to be at Race HQ for 0900 for the coxes briefing with Anne F, Alistair and Mike B up for guiding our crews around the course. Speaking of early birds, there is a family of swans in Stranraer with eight cygnets and they glided majestically across the Loch before coming on to the beach and up towards all the gazebos. They tried to get up on to the promenade which for the most part was achieved by all put two of the swans. The last two needed human assistance which judging by the demeanour of the adult swans was not appreciated too much. The swans then waddled off to the pond in Agnew Park.

Back to the racing and the reason we are all here. The first race was the Mixed 40+ with a crew of Dónal, Lorna, Val, Gabe and Anne F Coxing. It was noted that Queensferry were invariably in Heat 4 in most categories, which was to prove too much for one of the crews later in the day. Even though it was calm the heavens opened just before our race and we were very thankful for the rain as it was very muggy.

This heat was the strongest of the four and the crew did remarkably well finishing in a time of 11:49.2. It was later discovered that this time would have got us to the Repechage if we were in heats one or two. The crew were racing against North Queensferry so there was a wee bit of local rivalry and I am pleased to report that Queensferry were triumphant as the North finished in a time of 12:27.

The next race that Queensferry were involved in was the Mixed 280+. The premise of this is that the crews ages must add up to 280 years or more. Our Crew consisted of Rachel, the legend that is George, Cherry and Peter with Alistair as Cox. This was a straight final and the crew rowed very well. Unfortunately, they were unable to make any impact at the front of the race. At the time of writing I don’t know the full results, but I do know that Dunbar came second which was a tremendous achievement from one of our fellow Forth Clubs. The oldest person to Row in this race was 88 years of age and what makes this more remarkable is that the man in question had rowed in the 60+ with his daughter and they came 6th.

Up next for Queensferry was the Men’s Open Heat 4 with the same crew as the Men’s 40+ from the previous day. Dónal, Gabe, Ben and Stevie Watson took to the water with Mike Breewood coxing us. Again, the Heavens opened which wasn’t as refreshing as before. The crew started in Lane 9 and had a wonderful start. After the turn the Cox told us that we were in third place which was a qualifying place for the Final. The crew rowed hard for the line but had slipped down to fifth by the time they got to the line. All was not lost as they had qualified for the Repechage. One of the boats that Queensferry beat was North Queensferry. Queensferry came in with a time of 11:51 with the North coming in with a time of 12:30. That was twice in one day that the North had been defeated. Could these races be counted as the North v South for this year?

As Queensferry were in heat 4 there wasn’t much time before they were out again to try and get to the Final. There was a turnover of no more than 45 minutes before the crew was out again. The first three made it to the Final, unfortunately the race proved too strong for the crew and they finished 11th out of 12, being pipped on the line by no more than a quarter boat length by Troon but coming in ahead of Stranraer in a time of 11:54.

In an update of Mice and Flan, a truce has been called and they are all living in harmony. Anne even brought home some food that was gifted by members of the Club as a housewarming gift. This food was cheese!

Report filed by Dónal.