Forth Midsummer Challenge
20 June 2015
Saturday 20th June saw the ‘Forth Midsummer Challenge’ being held again and hosted by Newhaven Coastal Rowers and the Forth Corinthian Yacht Club.
A unique event in the skiff calendar, the race embraces the spirit of ‘mucking about in boats’ and involves Skiffs and yachts being paired into teams with a runner to complete a six leg relay race between Newhaven and Granton harbours on the North Edinburgh waterfront. Each skiff, yacht and runner completes two legs, with the runner acting as the baton and being carried by the skiffs and yachts during their legs too (with the yachts a tad more comfortable to travel in).
This year, teams from Broughty Ferry, Wormit, Anstruther, Crail, Eskmuthe, Boatie Blest, Dunbar, and North Berwick accepted the challenge and joined Newhaven and nine local yachts for a bit of friendly competition powered by sail, oar and leg.
Conditions were good for racing, with morning rain showers clearing to give a dry afternoon for the race and plenty of wind for the yachts.
The yachts started first, carrying the runners to Newhaven and leaving the skiffs in Granton anxiously waiting news of which boat had got there first and scanning the waterfront for sight of any runners heading their way. Pretty soon runners started to appear and the pontoon burst into life with a flurry of oars as the skiffs set off one after another on their first circuit.
After five keenly contested legs of sailing, running and rowing, everything came down to the last skiff leg which this year was arranged on a rolling ‘Grand Prix’ start basis, with the skiffs lined up in the order that their teams had completed the first five legs of the race. Boatie Blest took pole position, with their hosts Newhaven in second and Wormit, attending their first ever regatta, holding onto a respectable third. The rest of the teams stretched out behind with Anstruther and Crail bringing up the rear. The skiffs completed a lap of Granton Harbour in this order before the horn sounded and they were off, out of the harbour and round a 1.5km course. Anyone who thought it was a foregone conclusion was wrong – Boatie Blest were first to the turn, but it soon transpired that something pretty special was happening behind them as Anstruther charged through the field determined to make up as many places as possible. In the end, they made up seven, pipping Newhaven for second and giving Boatie Blest a real run for their money. An amazing showing, which earned them an impromptu award at the end!
1. Boatie Blest / Kashangie II
2. Anstruther / Castellar
3. Newhaven / Maxine
4. Broughty Ferry / Lady Nadonna
5. Dunbar / Indulgence
6. North Berwick / Silver Lining
7. Crail / Dorado
8. Eskmuthe / An Cala
9. Wormit / Eclipse
Special mention also has to be made of the fine showing from both Broughty Ferry and Wormit, both in their first racing season, and those teams who gamely turned up with one crew to row both legs.
To top off a great day of friendly competition the sun came out in time for the BBQ and prize giving. As last year, everyone went home with a medal in recognition of their contribution to the success of the day.
Newhaven Coastal Rowing and Forth Corinthians absolutely had a ball – it was great fun and its hoped next year will be even bigger and better.