When FoCCRC arrived at Maidens harbour the sun was out, however there was a stiff cool north westerly breeze which resulted in a sea state of white tops and a rolling swell running into the bay outside the shelter of the harbour.
As always the teams received a warm welcome from Carrick, in the boat shed tea and coffee and BBQ’d bacon rolls set the day off.
The competition of the day was short sprints and then the main race of the Exciseman’s Chase, a timed pursuit over 8kms with an optional crew change at the half way point, (Culzean Castle gas house bay).
There was concern about the sea state for safe rowing.
It was decided that the sprints would take place, to give crews a feel for rowing and boat handling in the conditions.
Coming out the harbour to gain the start line west of the harbour, was into the rolling swell, as Bob commented “bouncy bouncy”; holding the line was very difficult and then the race was a bit of surfing with the rolling swell coming onto the port side. Very tricky conditions which needed the skill of coxes, Bob and Lizzie and the attention of the rowers to race well. Both crews for the sprints said it was pretty challenging albeit good fun and good to experience rowing in these conditions.
The results of the sprints never appeared in the competition, however Sketrick were first in their two sprint heats.
A decision was made not to race along the long course to Culzean, due to the swell and direction of the sea which would have been beam on the skiffs, pushing them towards the rocky shore and cliffs.
The shortened course to be raced was from the slip of the harbour, out the harbour turn west and round the yellow cardinal buoy, north east and down around a large orange tea bag mark, south to a yellow pencil mark and then into Maidens sandy bay for a beach crew change and exchange of the starting time token for a bottle of booty (Whisky). Then the reverse back to the slip and time out with the booty.
There were not enough rowers for our complete crew change and Jim Gregor rowed the two legs, well done and thanks Jim, a big ask in those conditions.
Hugh was using a reworked Anstruther pattern oar and was very pleased with how it handled and the set will now be available for use. Thanks Hugh, Ian and Bill for all the time put in to getting the optimum kit for use.
With the racing finished, the boat shed was then again the focus of the day, along with a myriad of home baking on offer, a hog roast had been prepared along with a spread of salads and pasta, fantastic, very tasty, well done Carrick.
The prize giving took place with every competing team getting a prize of a bottle of whisky, with its own unique label of the excisemans’s chase: FoCCRC were placed 4th =, should have been 3rd = ? a great result.
Sketrick were the overall winners who received the trophy, well done to them.
A big thanks to Carrick, great hosts, great food, and a great day for all the competitors and supporters.
A big thanks to Paul and Heather for towing Thistle to the event.
Photo gallery of the day click here to view