Flat calm seas, warm, hardly a breeze, intermittent cloud cover to prevent glare and burning (with some looming black clouds for dramatic effect) it was very nearly perfect rowing weather on Saturday.
The beach looked splendid, with clusters of bright monocolour where crews, teams and supporters gathered at tents and markers. Dozens of children were swimming, paddling, digging holes and playing with the most dogs I've ever seen in one place. The skiffs sat along the shore and assorted other craft with varied sails bobbed about at sea. There were some very expensive pieces of camera and film equipment being dangled over the water as photographers paddled out for the best shot... The rescue boat (never needed) out at the marker buoys had the best vantage point of all.
Races started at noon and we soon realised that we could have used info boards all along the beach as the umpires' one was attracting enquiring crowds. High tide was mid-afternoon and came pretty high, so even I, parked half way up the beach with the starting horn, got to have a paddle. In fact, I (reluctantly) moved back three times yet still my wooden platform seemed to be promising that I would enter the next race as a raft. I was ready for it.
The spectators might not all have known of the work that went into this regatta - not least a long winter of organising, boat building then training - or known which race was which or whose team was in the winning skiff but they all looked to be just enjoying the general excitement, background bagpipes, intermittent blasts of the air horn, and frequent cheers. Several Row Porty green t shirted Towerbank primary school children helped out on the prom and beach all day doing everything from dog-minding to book selling to tea and cake carrying. They were great wee ambassadors.
If you have photos of the races you'd like to label here are the colours to check for:
bright blue 'Coigach Lass' all the way from Achiltibuie
cream hull, burgundy strake 'Boatie Rows' from Port Seton, crews wearing burgundy
royal blue hull, Oxford blue strake 'St Baldred' from New Berwick, crews wearing red
bright yellow hull, black strake 'Unity' from Eyemouth
Portobello's Icebreaker - white hull, pale mint green strake, crews wearing green
Tollcross's currach (non-competing) 'Mac Mhara Dhu', crews wearing flat caps
The skiff with the white hull and dark blue strake is the Jordan Boats prototype from Anstruther, crews wearing Breton blue and white stripes. If you can't see stripes then its the Newhaven crew you're looking at, as Anstruther kindly lent them their skiff so they could race too - and they won!
I didn't get any photos of the amazing cake-laden tables in the boat yard because, to be honest, I was just trying not to start eating them all. Tea and cake fuelled the teams all afternoon until the BBQ took over at teatime. Prizes then all-night celebrations followed, so not much sleep before heading back out onto the water on Sunday morning for even more racing.
I'd like to congratulate - and thank - the rest of Row Porty for this weekend's amazing achievements, and to all the visitors for travelling to Porty to take part. It was a wonderful experience. And the spectators too - I met folk on the beach who I haven't seen in ages, not to mention some new faces with very familiar names - its a small world!
The skiff rowers aren't even having a rest after all that work you know, they'll be straight back out on the water tomorrow night training as normal. Please come down to the sands if you'd like to know more or even get involved. I'd also like to thank the team for carrying me across the sand at top speed, which isn't something I thought was possible :-)
featuring a write-up in the blog http://scotland4thesenses.blogspot.com/2010/07/return-of-portobellos-rowing-regatta.html
A great wee clip of one of the races on the North Berwick website: http://www.nbrowingclub.com/
And now, the race results:
|1||Results of Portobello Rowing Regatta - July 24-25, 2010|
|6||12:00||W – open||Achiltibuie||Race 1||North Berwick|
|10||12:15||M – Open||North Berwick||Race 2||Achiltibuie|
|14||12:30||Mx – 40 +||Anstruther||Race 3||Anstruther|
|18||12:45||Mx – 40 +||Achiltibuie||Race 4||Portobello|
|22||13:00||M – Open||Port Seton||Race 5||Port Seton|
|26||13:15||W – open||Port Seton||Race 6||Port Seton|
|30||13:30||M – 40+||North Berwick||Race 7||Newhaven|
|34||13:45||W – 40+||North Berwick||Race 8||Photo finish Port Seton and Achiltibuie|
|38||14:00||Mx – open||Newhaven||Race 9||Portobello|
|42||14:15||Mx – open||Achiltibuie||Race 10||Achiltibuie|
|46||14:30||W – 40 +||Race 11||Anstruther|
|50||13:45||M – 40+||Achiltibuie||Race 12||Port Seton|
|54||15 mins break before the finals|
|57||15:15||Mx Open||Race 9: Portobello||Race 13||Portobello|
|58||Race 10: Achiltibuie|
|60||15:30||Over 60's||Port Seton||Race 14||Newhaven|
|61||Newhaven mixed ages|
|63||15:45||M – Open||Race 2: Achiltibuie||Race 15||Achiltibuie|
|64||Race 5: Port Seton|
|66||16:00||W – open||Race 1: North Berwick||Race 16||Port Seton|
|67||Race 6: Port Seton|
|69||16:15||M – 40 +||Race 12: Port Seton||Race 17||Port Seton|
|70||Race 7: Newhaven|
|72||16:30||W – 40 +||Race 8: Port Seton||Race 18||Photo finish Port Seton|
|73||Race 11: Anstruther|
|75||16:45||Under 18's||Port Seton||Race 19||Port Seton|
|78||17:00||Mixed 40 +||Race 3: Anstruther||Race 20||Anstruther|
|79||Race 4: Portobello|
|83||11:30||Men||North Berwick||Race 21||Port Seton|
|87||12:15||Women||Port Seton||Race 22||Port Seton|
|91||13:00||Mixed||North Berwick/Port Seton||Race 23||Portobello/Port Seton|