Summary Report from the World Skiffies – lbt

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Summary Report from the World Skiffies

posted Jul 21, 2019, 3:26 PM by Posts Editor   [ updated Jul 21, 2019, 4:16 PM]

When we arrived in Scotland to attend the World Skiffies at Stranraer Ali Grant warned us that the Scottish rowing community had gone mad, and had been training dawn and dusk for months. From her window over Portobello beach that evening and the next morning we watched crews out on the water who were intimidatingly fit and drilled. And that was part of the story at Stranraer. Competition was fierce, and even making it to a division final required getting past up to 48 crews. And when the spray settled it turned out that the Irish had taken it even more even more seriously than the Scots and that the winning club was Dundrum.

By far the best result for the LBT was achieved by the Castle Forbes women’s crew, who were ‘top ten’ in the over 50’s. Congratulations to them: they were great. For an inside scoop on how they did it read the attached report from Carolyn Booker, extracted from the rowers newsletter.

Fortunately for we enthusiastic but less scientific and buffed rowers the spirit of participation and fun was also strong, with lots of ring ins, and whiteboards set up to assist those teams short on numbers, and rowers needing a seat. The LBT made several new friends this way, and our often scratch crews were generally, and honorably, middle of the pack. In the case of the raft race we were dishonorably middle of the pack: it was announced that protests would be ignored, and a nod is as good as a wink.

We were also fortunate to have Troon as our sponsoring club. They lent us a boat and a marquee, supplied a new rudder when we managed to break one, and were generally unobtrusive but excellent hosts. We hope to be able to return the hospitality one day.

In fact the Scots generally were great hosts. Stranraer (the town) had done a huge amount of preparation and really turned it on, and one only had to wander down the beachfront to strike up a conversation with other teams. There were novelty events (a daffy duck parade), concerts, dancing and social nights. And of course south west Scotland is brimful of interest for we colonials, knee deep in history and culture from the neolithic through to beautiful little 18th and 19th century villages.

And most importantly of all, they turned on passable weather. Rowing into a brisk wind in chop approaching a metre on a couple of days was an experience – it was a good idea to take a cut lunch for the voyage to the far mark – but the rain generally held off. Thank you Scots!

We have had some great regattas in Australia, but the Skiff community in Australasia is tiny compared to that in the UK and Europe, and this was on another scale altogether. Hopefully it 5will all happen again in three years time, and hopefully the LBT will be there. It is a recommendation.