North Berwick take top honours at third successful Arran regatta

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The third Arran skiff regatta hosted by Arran Coastal Rowing Club (ACRC) welcomed boats and rowers from all over southern Scotland to competing at the Yacht Club in Lamlash, writes Stuart Turner.

Clubs from the Clyde region: Troon, Largs, Greenock, Maidens, Prestwick, Renegade, Cumbrae and Stranraer; the East Coast: South Queensferry and North Berwick, as well as from our island neighbour Islay, all battled it out on the water over a 1.6km course around the moorings, cheered on by a lively and enthusiastic crowd.

The clubs’ colourful gazebos sprang up in sunshine on Saturday morning to a buzz of friendly chat and the hard standing came to life as over 150 rowers prepared themselves for the eight races ahead: Open Women, Men and Mixed, Mens and Womens 220+ (ages of the four rowers must add up to at least 220), Mixed Decades, Mixed 240+ and Novices.

As expected, North Berwick, one of the strongest clubs in Scotland, dominated the morning session going in to the midday break with three wins out of the first four exciting and hard fought races. Hot on their heels, the local team also looked strong with two seconds and a fourth.

A great spread for lunch was enjoyed in blazing sunshine, giving all the chance to meet old friends and new, relax and muster their energies for the races to come. Two third and one fourth place for the Arran rowers in the afternoon session against determined competition gave them more valuable points but the highlight was definitely the Open Women race, which saw the local ladies storming through on the home straight with an impressive lead to take Gold.

The organisation ran like clockwork and the racing came to an end on the dot at 4pm as planned and after a break to get changed and recover, the prizegiving ceremony kicked off an hour later. Beautiful woven gold, silver and bronze medals made by John Baraclough were awarded for the individual races and then the chairperson of Arran CRC, Cecilia Paul, announced the final overall positions: Troon in third place, Arran second and North Berwick receiving the handsome Arran Regatta Trophy for a well deserved first place.

This was followed by a raffle to support club funds (thank you to all those who donated the lovely prizes) and the barbeque and bar opened to refresh the tired competitors, who danced and celebrated the night away under the magical fairy lights and bunting in the yacht club shed.

Still feeling elated, although in many cases perhaps slightly the worse for wear, the rowers met around 10am on Sunday morning to compete in the Hamilton Rock Handicap Challenge, a 6.2km race with a staggered start in the reverse order to the final positions the day before. This gave all clubs the chance to win and was a fitting end to the great weekend. The elegant stone and wooden trophy and unique, woven, dragonfly-shaped medals were won for the second year running by the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club from Largs with a close and exciting finish against the local club. And so the third Arran Regatta came to a close with much talk of how much everyone had enjoyed it and requests for invites next year.

Without the dedication and generosity of everyone involved, far too many to name individually, the whole event just wouldn’t have been possible. It was indeed astonishing how tirelessly they all worked to make it the best regatta yet. Heartfelt thanks to you all.

Special mention must be made to all the non club members who helped out so kindly: David, Susan, Jo, Janet, Helen and Billy. Also to Sarah Wilson and Siobhan McGinlay, who were rowing in their first regatta and did a great job.

And last but not least, many thanks go to the generous event sponsors: Arran Distillery, Arran Haulage, Fulton Decorators, Arran Dairies, Arran Electrical & Refrigeration. And, of course, to the Arran Yacht Club for the use of their excellent facilities.

Note: can you put this in a box

Arran will this week take part for the first time in the World Championship Coastal Rowing and Shoreside Festival on Loch Ryan.

The Stranraer SkiffieWorlds 2019 starts tomorrow (Sunday) and will continue all week. It is a colourful and friendly celebration of coastal rowing for St Ayles Skiff class boats. With a record entry of 693 crews from 57 clubs worldwide, including teams from as far away as the United States, New Zealand, Canada, Tasmania and Europe it will be great experience for the Arran teams.

Arran preparing to overtake Troon. No_B27regatta01

Arran’s Open Women crew with their gold medals. No_B27regatta02

Hamilton Rock Trophy winners, the Firth of Clyde Coastal Rowing Club. No_B27regatta03

Arran chairwoman Cecilia Paul presents a representative from North Berwick with the trophy. No_B27regatta04

Winners of the Arran regatta, North Berwick, celebrate their win. No_B27regatta05

Rowers round the second turn during the Arran regatta. No_B27regatta06