St Ayles Skiff International

SkiffieWorlds 2019

Day 1 – 8th July

First day of competition at Stranraer dawned with a gentle wind blowing up the course from the start, and an overcast sky in contrast to the bright sun the day before: perfect rowing conditions. We were joined by the Princess Royal who met skiff crews and organisers, started the 60+ women final and presented medals to the medal winners in the 60+ Women Race, our first final of the week. North Berwick took that bronze, Dundrum just pipping them to silver by less than half a second, and Eastern ARC taking the first gold of the championships. Eastern also took a gold in the Men Under 40, Sketrick took the ladies under 40 gold, and Dundrum won the Men 60+.

Notable results further down the field came from Glasgow, Lake Champlain, Alnmouth and Crail.

Day 2 – 9th July

Tuesday started driech, but decent sea and wind conditions made for enjoyable racing. With poor visibility there was a risk that racing might need to be changed to time trials….. Mass races would not be started if the coxes were unable to see the turn marks 1km down the course. However visibility improved, so a full days racing could take place.

All racing was under the new format including repechage. With four heats in each of the events raced, the first three in each heat went straight into the final, and the next three in each heat went into the repechage for a second chance to reach the final….. the first three in the repechage going through. This of course adds another tight race into the programme.

There were two finals held on Tuesday, the Men 40+ and Women 40+. Excellent to see a new gold medal winning club, in Broughty Ferry whose women dominated their final. Congratulations to Dundrum who won the Men 40+ final. Special mention for a great result from local Hippo Coastal Rowing Club from Gareleston, who came 12th in the final, in their fist ever regatta as a club.

The lighter side of skiff community was shown with various duck related events including a skiff parade.

Day 3 – 10th July

A variety of conditions, but fairly calm overall with an offshore light wind at times giving a slight side wind for the crews. Turns needed to be tight, with occasional time penalties being given where crews failed to stay in their own lanes at the turn.

We had three finals Mixed 50+, Mixed 280+ and Mixed 60+.

Day 4 – 11th July

A big day of racing. Some lively conditions compared to previous days with a NW wind blowing in to Loch Ryan.

The U17 Mixed was the first final of the day, held over a 1km course. Congratulations to winners Dundrum, and to Eastern and Killyleigh who came second and third respectively. Well done to all those who took part from Queensferry, FOCCR, Strangford, Ullapool, Avoch, Carrick and Deveron.

Quite possibly the closest race ever at the worlds saw four boats crossing within just over a second of each other. Boatie Blest won the 40+ mixed by half a second over North Berwick, with third place shared between Eastern and Woudrichem.

North Berwick won the men’s Open.

With expected weather disruption on Friday, the finals of the Men and Women 50+ were brought forward to Thursday night.

Mens 50+ won by Dundrum, Sketrick second and Woudrichem third.
Women 50+ won by Dundrum, second Woudrichem, third Strangford.

Day 5 – 12th July

Friday was expected to be a bit wild and windy. And it was. The strong wind started the day as a head wind out the North West, sending white horses down the loch towards the start line. Even launching was tricky, and many hands were needed to help with recovery with a swift exit required to avoid waves running into both sides of the skiff and over the cox.

And the first crews to brave the conditions were the Under 17s. As Rory Chief Umpire said during the prize giving, the bravery of the youngsters gave confidence to the adults going out later!

The Under 17s raced a 1000m course. They were kept pointing to the wind until given the go, when they turned to starboard and rode the white horse rollercoaster back to the normal finish line. Congratulations to all the youngsters who completed the challene for their clubs: Broughty Ferry, Avoch, FOCCR, Strangford, Queensferry (third), Dundrum (second) and Ullapool (First).

U19 Girls was won by Dundrum, followed by Ullapool and Avoch.

U19 Boys was a popular win for Woudrichem, followed by Strangford and Ullapool.

Open A mixed heats and repechage took place, determining who will be in Saturday’s final.

The wind backed slightly as the day went on, and came to blow more from the shore. Boatie Blest won the women’s open final late afternoon, with Dundrum in Second and St Ayles, who had qualified through the repechage, in third.

Day 6 – 13th July

A cracking final day of racing with clear sunshine and a wind screaming straight down the course giving us white horses in true coastal rowing style. Crews had to pull just to stay on the start line, and then haul away hard on the bouncy racecourse to get to their turning mark. Turns were tighter than in mild conditions, as bows were whipped round by the wind. Well drilled crews with experience of this sort of condition managed to catch some of the waves and surf on them for a few stroked, jumping up the positions on the return leg.

Congratulations to all the crews who took on the conditions, and to the coxes especially, who were commended by the chief umpire for their skill. Thank you to all those on the beach who helped the crews in and out, often getting completely soaked in the process.

Open Mixed A, won by North Berwick, with a photo finish between Dundrum (second) and Eastern (third).

Under 17 Girls did a tremendous job, and deserve praise and recognition for braving the course, so well done Deveron, Carrick and Stranraer for getting out there even although you did not get a medal. Third place went to Strangford, second to Eastern, with Dundrum taking the gold.

In the Under 19 Mixed FOCCR won a bronze medal and Ullapool got the Silver. Gold went to Woudrichem, one of the visiting Dutch clubs.

Open Mixed B had heat, repechage and final all on the same day. A tough schedule for some of the competitors, especially given the conditions. In the final Strangford romped away, with the biggest winning margin of the week…. 34 seconds. Broughty Ferry were second and Avoch were third.

Congratulations to Dundrum who won the points competition, based on a clubs best six results over the course of the week. Woudrichem, fifth equal overall in the points table, were rewarded with an extremely special prize as best overseas club.

Celebrate with the St Ayles Skiff World Champions 2019

While we celebrate our communities, and the inclusiveness and welcoming nature of our sport, now is the time to recognise that some of our crews trained very hard, got their technique spot on, and managed to qualify for finals and then get from A to A, via B, quicker than the rest of us. More than 700 crews entered skiff worlds. Our champions have beaten international competition, and have earned the right to call themselves the best St Ayles skiff rowers in their categories.

Pic of Dundrum crew – Photo by Saskia Coulson / CT Productions