Summer 2017

Outings are routinely scheduled, by request, for Fridays at 1800, and Sundays at 1400, although of course folk can row at any time. The midweek afternoon outings have been abandoned as it is always very difficult to get enough folk interested. Should we continue to have fixed times, or should it always be ad hoc?

The routine is that the first one to pop their name up emails members 24 hours before the proposed outing, should there be a gap in the crew. Sue puts up the post, on the ‘Book A Rowing Session‘ each week, but this does not necessarily mean that she is free to row, unless she puts her name down of course! Occasionally, more exciting opportunities are also advertised on our facebook page.

Just to whet your appetite:

Sunday 14 May Glencoe
Melfort Muster 27 May
Loch Sunart Raid, 10/11 June
Iona Regatta, 28-30 July
CASTLE TO CRANE, 23 September (Clyde)
Tay Row, on a date (midweek) to be confirmed by Seil members.

Sign up on the Book a Rowing Session tab!

Talking about Oars


 

I hope that this post won’t be too technical, but at least it could provide something to talk about if anyone is out on a first date in Anstruther, North Berwick or Ullapool, where oars are the talk of the steamie.

 

At the last AGM the membership of SCRA approved a motion to set up a group of builders and trial rowers with a view to moving towards a standard oar that perhaps might at some distant future date become compulsory for use in racing. Because people are fond of their individual designs and skiffies tend to cherish the slightly anarchic nature of coastal rowing the latter was maybe only a remote possibility.

 

The group recently reported and SCRA has now decided to recognise the general feeling against compulsion, with the result that two choices are now offered to clubs for each of oar length, construction, type of blade and oarlock system. Clubs are now invited to offer to make a new set of oars incorporating these variations and allow members from other clubs to visit and try them out.

 

Our club had already decided to make a new set of oars and been accepted as a “testing” club, so we can now go ahead.

 

Every one of the recommendations would produce a significant improvement in terms of efficiency and comfort over what most clubs have been using.

 

Regarding length, some clubs are sold on short oars and the recommendation would be for these to be 3.5 metres, which happens to be the length of our existing oars.

 

Longer oars would be 4.3 metres, 14 feet 1 ½ inches, which is a bit shorter than what some have been using, but gaining efficiency by positioning the pins on the inboard side of the gunwale by about 70 mm. In this event the stroke oar would be 4 metres, a foot shorter. Avoiding the extreme lengths in excess of fifteen feet, that some clubs have gone for, keeps the oars manageable and reasonably light.

 

Your committee feel that we should go for the longer length.

 

Regarding construction, the choices are an all softwood oar or a mix of softwood outboard and hardwood inboard. The latter is what we already use and produces oars that are better balanced and that would be our choice.

 

Blades can be flat or spooned, in the latter case to a specified design. Spoon blades seem to be more efficient, in that they scoop and hold water better, but this comes at the cost of being a bit more difficult to use, because you have to learn to lift them at the end of each stroke to avoid catching a crab! Because we row so often with relatively inexperienced people it seems better to stick with the flat blades we are used to.

 

Finally, regarding oarlock systems, the choices are between an improved version of what we already use, giving a more positive entry angle to the blade and better control, or an innovative new idea, with the oar slotting over a special pin with a round top. In either case the pin will be made from a tough acetal, rather than oak, greatly reducing friction. Our idea would be to stick with what we are used to and benefit from the acetal pin.

 

The plan is to go ahead with oar workshops as soon as we have acquired the timber needed. The sketch shows the basic design that we will be working to.

 

Tay Row

We have been invited by Broughty Ferry for a social row up to the Tay Railway Bridge. They will provide a Cox and a boat, and we would row in company. They have given various weekday options with good tides to help us on our way. accommodation could be provided. Anyone fancying a trip away, please contact Sue and we’ll sort a mutually suitable date. We would host them back here on a reciprocal visit.

REMINDER

For information:
(taken from the membership form)

Coxes/organisers for a rowing session should:
• Look up a weather forecast
• Check the tide
• Tell someone, who is not going out, when you expect to return
• Ring/tell this person you are safely back
• Check the boat equipment before going out
• Report any damage or missing items to a committee member
• Please treat Selkie and her equipment as though you, and friends of yours, had spent hundreds of hours making and painting her
• Everyone to wear a lifejacket onboard
• Make sure that at least one of the crew knows how use the VHF radio

To become an ‘approved cox’ (if you havn’t been on an SCRA coxing course), you should come out with an experienced cox (who can either be sitting in the passenger seat or rowing) to make sure that you know the ropes. Its good for everyone to take a turn in case the cox is taken ill; plus it gives a whole new dimension to rowing for you. Coxes need lots of extra clothes (and/or a dog) ru8v7q9.

AGM 5 December 1830 @ Tigh an Truish

The 4th Annual General Meeting will be held in the back room at the pub, starting at 1830, on Monday 5 December. The pub closes at 2000, so no chance to enter into long discussions about oars (on this occasion, anyway!) Items for AOCB to Sue asap please.

AGENDA

1. Apologies
2. Draft minutes of the 2015 AGM
3. Matters arising
4. Convenor’s report
5. Treasurer’s report
6. Setting of membership fees for 2017
7. Election of officers and management committee
8. Winter maintenance
9. Regattas and events for 2017
10.AOCB

Circumnavigation of Seil, and Ceilidh, 11 June

This year’s regatta is a circumnavigation of the Isle of Seil, anti-clockwise, on Saturday 11 June, starting from Balvicar at 0900, Hunters Quay at 0930. Crews which have confirmed so far are Selkie, Isle of Mull, Pittenweem and the Isle of Luing. We hope to shoot the bridge around 1000.

A ceildh will be held in the Seil Island Hall in the evening. A buffet will start at 1900, and the ceilidh at 2000. Live music will be performed by Seil Sound and by The Brother. There will be a raffle and a pay bar. For details see the regatta tab above; tickets are now available from Balvicar Stores.

Fundraising such as this helps keep our membership costs down. This year, we would like to make a new set of longer oars and have more comfy seats to help alleviate ‘rowbot’ as well as undertaking general maintenance on the hull and cover.

See you on the water, and/or at the Ceilidh! All welcome.