Port Seton 2024 – Regatta Report

The first regatta for the 2024 season was Port Seton. Port Seton is a small harbour on the east coast and east of the city of Edinburgh. The town shares a similar past to Troon. The harbour was formed in the 1600s by wealthy land owners, the Seton family. The family later lost their lands after backing the losing side in the Jacobite uprising. The York building company, who took over their estates, built the Tranent Wagonway in 1722. This was a horse-drawn railway carrying coal from the pits around Tranent to the harbour at Cockenzie. Our own harbour was built some years later in 1808 by The 3rd Duke of Portland and used for transportation of coal from his Kilmarnock mines.

Winter gym training over and, with only a few Troon harbour training sessions under our belt, the regatta crew were up for our first challenge of the year.

With Storm Kathleen approaching, an eleventh hour decision was made by the Cockenzie & Port Seton Community Coastal Rowing Club to proceed with the regatta. Game on!

The day started with the usual regatta rituals and preparation. We were even extra careful of the fresh paint on Ailsa Lass when getting her off the launch trolley. We were also delighted when one of the other teams came over to tell us how great Ailsa Lass looked.

Fifteen members of Troon Coastal Rowing Club attended the regatta.

The day was set up to be an action packed day with the Troon ladies having to put in a few extra shifts for the day. Well that was the plan anyway. It became clear at the Cox’s briefing that even the locals were doubtful about the weather but we kicked of the regatta with varying degrees of optimism, bravado and fear.

Nine clubs participated in the regatta with the best of the east coast in attendance and Troon Coastal Rowing Club as the sole west coast participants. A rest of the world “Andy” boat was also entered to make up numbers and give others a chance to row.

The course is contained within the harbour and is a Monaco race around two buoys, one located in each section of the harbour. The finishing line was the intersection of the two with a great view of the overall race.

Each race for the day was a timed race in pairs with the two fastest clubs going through to a final race.

The first race was the mixed open with Mike R as cox, Christine R in stroke, Mike K in 3, Ewan in 2 and Lizzie in bow. Troon were paired against Row Porty in the last heat and comfortably finished ahead of them. In the overall ratings Troon were third and missed the final by just over 6 seconds. Great effort by the guys.

Unfortunately Troon were unable to compete in the next race due to the ongoing success of our novices. This is certainly something we need to work on going forward and try to get involved in as many races as possible.

The third race was the mixed decades. In this one Troon were one person short and on the verge of withdrawing until a valiant, age appropriate, member of the Boatie team stepped in to assist us. Mike R was cox with Paul in stroke, Lizzie in 3, our guest in 2 and Neil in bow. Troon were again in the last heat and paired with the “Andy” boat. Unfortunately two traitorous Troon crew had volunteered for this boat and therefore against their own club. They shall remain nameless (Steve and Brian) Troon comfortably finished ahead in their race but again were pipped at the post for the final and finished 4 seconds behind the top two. Great job Troon considering you had a guest in the crew.

By this point in the day storm Kathleen (the weather one) was making her presence known and the harbour looked like a boiling pot of water with waves crashing over the harbour. The 240+ was going to be an interesting race. The Troon crew was Christine C in cox, Kevin in stroke, Christine R in 3, Adrienne in 2 and Mike D in bow. Troon again were placed in the last pairing against Newhaven. Watching the races before Troon was daunting with many boats making the turn against the wind and literally coming to a complete standstill unable to proceed against the raging storm. Just keeping the waiting boats out of the way of other boats and away from the harbour walls was an effort in itself for crews. Again Troon finished comfortably ahead of their paired rival. In this race getting round the course made every participant a winner. Coxing was not for the feint hearted.  Just to make things more interesting, one of the buoys was now dangerously close to one of the berthed fishing boats. That’s okay because the Troon crew came to the rescue and moved the buoy to a safer location. Maybe not the most restful thing to do between back to back races but we are Troon. Most of the club viewed this race from the pier watching the brave contestants on the water at the finishing line. Its rumoured you could hear shouts of “Come on Troon” from Leith.  The race was on and what a row it was. The Troon crew put their heart and soul into this one and comfortably crossed the line over 14 seconds ahead of Eskmuthe.

At this point the race organisers made the sensible decision that conditions in the harbour were too dangerous and terminated the regatta. 

Timings for each race are shown below and show how well the teams did on the day.

The original “Andy Race” was replaced as a stand-in boat in each of the races. Its always a great opportunity to get a wee row in strange boats. Christine Bolster rowed in the Mixed open and finished well up the board for a crew that have never rowed together finishing just over 7 seconds behind the leader. The traitors (Steve and Brian) managed to participate in the Mixed Decades Andy crew but only after a short sortie out of the harbour meant they had to row for their life to get back into the harbour. Exiting the harbour was banned for all after that adventure. They finished mid table but a lengthy 14 seconds behind the leaders. Everyone in TCRC who rows in an Andy race finds a new appreciation for the quality and style of our own boats! I bet though every other club says the same. Although we weren’t sure about the club who boasted they had the second heaviest boat ever, especially since they asked for a hand getting it on the beach and launching it.

The final results for the day were:

It was good again to see friends and family travelling to support TCRC. Thanks to Stephen and Rodney for their support although we think they may prefer their bikes to our boats. Odd people!

The journey home was as spicy as some of the races. Well done Mike D for getting our chariot home in one piece. Two boats closing the M8 in one week may have made the news but not have been welcomed I suspect.

Forthcoming Regattas

The next regatta is FOCCRs regatta at Largs on Saturday 11th May. Feel free to add your name on our members area if you want to participate. If you are unsure then feel free to talk to any regatta regulars and we will fill you with alcohol at nights out, bust any myths and welcome you with open arms. Novice rowers more than welcome.

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