Skelf @ Portsoy regatta 25 & 26 June 2016

The journey north was so wet we could probably have rowed Skelf to Portsoy for the regatta during the 23rd Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, but by the time Easterners began to arrive at our beachfront campsite on Friday evening, the clouds were clearing and we pitched camp in the dry. When Skelf arrived, towed by Sean and Laura, we were settled in and anticipating a great weekend of racing and merriment ahead.

Entertainment started early on Saturday courtesy of the pod of dolphins who decided to have breakfast in the bay, to an appreciative audience of Easterners. Skelf then headed for the New Harbour to join the dozen or so other skiffs from all over Scotland taking part.

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Men’s Open 2k opened the weekend with a creditable fourth place for Eastern, followed by Women’s Open 2k who brought home the first gold of the weekend by one second over North Berwick. The longer races were followed by a series of out and back sprints from the harbour, which were an exciting show for spectators. After a bronze in the Mixed Freshers and a strong mid-table finish for Men’s 40+, Eastern were back to winning ways with gold in the Women’s 40+. That was followed by fourth place in the Men’s 50+ by Eastern’s (75% female) crew, and another gold in the Women’s 50+. The day’s racing concluded with a good performance by a scratch Eastern crew in the Mixed 40+.

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Some intrepid Easterners had gone fishing for the afternoon, and caught a small flatfish (returned to the waves) and, er, several packets of halloumi, sausages and burgers for the evening’s campsite barbecue. Just at the point we were almost too full to move, we migrated to the beach for a bonfire, and sat for probably too long into the night sharing stories and the odd “sports recovery drink”.

Sunday started with a silver in the Mixed Open 2k, before the Mixed Freshers went one better with gold in their 2k. Women’s Open sprints saw Eastern complete their clean sweep of golds in the women’s events for the weekend, and the formal racing concluded with a sprint bronze for the Men’s Open team, who were unlucky with an unfavourable lane for the final.

Fabulous freshers finishing first..

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The sun had come out mid-morning, and everyone enjoyed the fine weather, food and music on offer in the beautiful setting of Portsoy. The weekend concluded with the “Andy Race”, a tribute to coastal rowing stalwart Andy Jarvis who sadly passed away recently. The format, no two people from the same club in the same boat racing over 2k, saw Skelf come home first in the first wave. A perfect way to celebrate the spirit of coastal rowing.

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Once the final calculations had been made, Anstruther won the regatta with 139 points, Eastern were second with 125 points, and Avoch third with 120 points. A fantastic sociable and competitive weekend, and a great overall result for Eastern. Bring on the Worlds!

Photos above courtesy of Adam Hardy Photography

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