A New Season

Off the trailer and onto the dolly

Off the trailer and onto the dolly

We took the boats out of winter storage yesterday and trailered them to the marina. With a large crew on hand they were unloaded and put on their dollies, all set for another great season on the water.

Where the hell is everybody?

Where the hell is everybody?

Today’s warmup row was appropriately named as it took a while to actually achieve that.

No shorts today

No shorts today

 

International Crews

Ann in bow seat

Ann in bow seat

A Canadian rowed with a Scottish crew last weekend and yesterday an Irish woman rowed with a Canadian crew. Ann Fee, chairperson of Killyleagh Skiff Rowing Club, where next year’s Skiffie Worlds are being held, joined us on our regular Tuesday row. After the row we went for lunch and had a chance to hear about the nine skiffs that have been built along the County Down coast as well as all the preparations that are underway for next year’s big event. It was a delight meeting Ann and appreciate her taking the time to come and visit us. The St Ayles skiff has a wonderful way of bringing people together from around the world.

Exciseman’s Chase 2015

Stewart in his flashy Ayle of Quinte Skiff Club T-shirt

Stewart in his flashy Ayle of Quinte Skiff Club T-shirt

Ayle of Quinte Skiff Club’s Stewart Bates coxed the Royal West St Ayles skiff to a second place finish in the 2015 Exciseman’s Chase. The chase, an 8km time trial long distance race from Maidens harbour out to Culzean Castle and back: The race begins with a runner setting of from the starters tent with a token,the token on board, the skiffs set off at intervals, destination Gas House Bay under the shadow of Culzean Castle.  The plan is again for a runner to take the token from the arriving skiff to exchange on shore for a bottle of whisky back to boat, (with crew changes if available) and then pressing under all power of oar and arm back to Maidens.

Congratulations to Stewart and the Royal West crew from all of us in Canada.

Great photos on flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/134080931@N04/albums/72157658415235669

The Last Stage

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We knew the last stage of the RAID was going to be a challenge as we would be leaving the protected waters of the Bay of Quinte and heading out onto Lake Ontario. The row started in an easterly direction from Prinyer’s Cove before heading south through the Upper Gap between Prince Edward County and Amherst Island. We were making good progress despite the winds steadily increasing to 15 knots and the waves building to between 3 and 4 feet, both straight on our bows. We had gone about 6K, a quarter of the distance back to the marina, but it was now time to start heading west. With the new direction the waves were hitting us broadside. Rowing on the windward side, you were just as likely to catch air as water and on the leeward side you had to be careful not to get your oar buried under a foot and a half of water (shorter oars might of been an asset). We were faced with another 18K of rowing under these conditions. It was hard to tell whether things were going to improve or get worse. Certainly if we were to keep going and decided to turn back later we would still be faced with taking the waves broadside but on the opposite tack. We chose to turn back at this point, allowing us to keep both wind and waves directly on our sterns. Very disappointing, especially as the first stage had to be cancelled. Our end-of-RAID BBQ went ahead as planned and the disappointments were soon forgotten and our accomplishments celebrated.

Reach Two

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On today’s row, the forth stage of the RAID, we were accompanied by Carol and Maxine, two coaches from Belleville’s Quinte Rowing Club. We had perfect conditions, especially for their Hudson touring double on this 22K stretch of the Bay of Quinte called the Adolphus Reach. Even with a half hour stop along the way we were able to cover the distance in just three hours. Maybe the ice cold Beaus beer awaiting us at the finish had something to do with the fast pace.

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