© Findochty water sports club
Findochty Water sports Club
© Findochty water sports club
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Coastal Rowing 2016
OUR skiff named MORAG is now available to club members and trialists. We launched her on the 18th October 2015, a proud day, but she is not on
a pedestal, she is there to be rowed.
Since 18th October 2015 she has visited Avoch in November and a few visits to the new sea school, developed by the 3 Harbours Association, at
Cullen. This is apart from the storage and maintenance shed plus maintenance at the 3HA Sea School. Scottish Summer plans are yet to be
finalised but we hope that she will be available to a wide grouping of rowers be it a race team of men, women, young or older, or the exercise
group going on the water rather than doing yoga at home !!!!
MORAG will pay a second visit to Avoch on Sunday 28th February to greet, their, second skiff ZEPHYR to the water. Cold as it may be a few of us
will take our lady to the event. Next up is a local event at Banff Bay, launching from Banff Harbour, on Saturday 19th March or secondary due to
weather, Sunday 20th March. The Banff event will be a mini regatta between local boats. More details will be following soon.
MORAG must be at all local events. For 2016 these include:
Avoch February 28th
Banff March 19th
Loch Muick (Possibly) June 18th
Finechty (Definite) July 23rd
Cullen (Definite) July 31st
There will be other dates and events which folks interested can participate in without MORAG being there, the Worlds for instance: 
Skiffs have arrived. Here is a list of the registered skiffs:
And around the Moray Firth
Wick               x 2
Avoch             x 2
Finechty Water Sports Club
3 Harbours Association of Findochty, Porknockie & Cullen (Skiff Mairi, in build, with another scheduled)
Portsoy with the “Soy Loon and Soy Quine”
Whitehills Rowing Club, in build
Banff with  “Banac”
Rumours about Gamrie getting a kit
Then roond the corner we have
We will be promoting the individual events they organise. Attendance is an enjoyment  with winning  being a small bonus.
The Launching of Zephyr
MORAG was at Avoch on Sunday for the launch of their skiff “ZEPHER”.
Proud day to be on the water with our own skiff there to recognise the
launch of another. They had 6 boats off Avoch in fantastic conditions (For
February). Ourselves with our “Morag”, Avoch’s “Zulu” and “Zephyr” plus
Burghead, Chanonry (Fortrose) and Ullapool. We had a great day out,
meeting the others, blowing away the cobwebs and having a gentle nae
pressure row between harbour and beach with trials on other boats thrown
in. Great way to spend a bonny Sunday.
Anyway with that day now
behind us and the season
before us we have started on maintenance of “Morag”.
The inside has now had another coat of paint as much scuffing does and will
occur. This was completed
before Avoch to have her
looking bonny.
We have started work on
the oars and rowlocks.
For this week we are
fitting slate plates with
holes to fit over new rowlock pins. Going to get a row from Bert for my
terminology here but never mind.
Hopefully 4 oars completed and ready for new set up by tonight.
New pins ready either tonight or tomorrow.
Sunday 6th March 2016
 and despite the snow dinging down when
we arrived at Finechty harbour an intrepid bunch of FWSC members and
trialists launched our Skiff “Morag” into the harbour for our first local club
row of 2016. Having tracked the weather forecast for the preceding week
we didn’t expect as much snow as fell between 9 and 10 but we knew it
was to be cold. With that in mind everybody wrapped up for the day and
although there were a couple of nippy fingers all in all it didn’t appear
anybody was any the worse, if anything enlivened by getting out into the
fresh air after long days inside.
There are now posters around the coast and in social media proclaiming we
are now in business with “Morag” to promote rowing at Finechty. We
proposed Thursday
evenings and Sunday mornings and with this in mind headed out this
Mothering Sunday to make a start for the future. It was also a bit of trial of
“Morag’s” oars and rower positioning. We think everything about “Morag” is
special but that is not to say we cannot improve on that, and that is what
we try to do with everyone having a say to help us better understand the
mechanics of rowing a St Ayles Skiff.
Apart from the snow there was a North Westerly breeze blowing and after
stronger winds on Saturday we had a swell and a chop outside the harbour
whilst rowing to Sterlochy pier and back. But “Morag” carried us through
with everybody staying mostly dry. However, rowing in a seaway presents
slightly different challenges compared to rowing in the flat of sheltered
waters. There is a need to keep the oar clear of the water on all recovery
strokes before the next power stroke and anybody who managed to catch a
wave on a recovery stroke paid a brief visit to “Morag’s” bilges, generally
on their back with feet in the air.
“Morag” is back on her trailer after our 3 hours playing boats in the
harbour and of the dozen people who turned up for the morning all were in
total agreement of how worthwhile it had been to get out of bed on a cold
winter’s Sunday morning to come down to the harbour. Evening rowing is
probably not feasible until the clocks change when we will look to get on
the water and continue to build our strength and numbers. As more join
then possibly there will be different group using “Morag” for a row around
the harbour or Sannie Craig and back.
For the time being a little more work needs to be done on oar design but everyday it’s get better and better.
Anybody interested in getting involved in whatever manner or simply for more information please contact
Mairi (01542 832 022) or George (01261 818 613)
We took MORAG to Banff
in support of the launch of the
Deveron Coastal Rowing Club and their first regatta. For a variety of
reasons we were a bit short on numbers for the regatta racing but as is
the case it would appear that it is as important to have boats on the
water and for everybody who wants to row, to get a row, than it is to
follow the letter of the rules. Our mannies race was ably supported by
two lassies from the Academy, and our ladies race was supported by the
mannies. Isobel and Jamie were there from Burghead without a boat so
they joined us for a few of the outings. It was a great day with an exciting
swell rolling across
Banff Bay providing an opportunity for some wonderful photographs. Check
out Alan Robertson Photography.
On Sunday 20th having consulted our band we proposed afternoon rowing
as our main outing whilst arriving mid morning to get the best of the tide.
We had hoped that we could work with the neap tide but as Finechty
harbour flattens below the end of the slip there comes a point when we
had to accept there was insufficient water. LW was forecast for 1.0 metre
we suspect it may have been below prediction. Observations will continue
to gage what our limit is as this will curtail evening rowing when LW coincides. We also noted a rusty pipe stump in the
middle of the harbour which could damage MORAG were we to cross the
pipe near LW. If we can’t dig out we will get a mark for it so we can
Sunday 27th March, who will be there? I will, and with HW scheduled for
14:00 GMT and being the day after clocks forward will give us 15:00 mid
afternoon. We will schedule afternoon rowing for definite but I will get
MORAG there for the rising tide after 11:00. Present forecast has a strong
southerly breeze so should be flat. Possible showers and possible sunny
spells. A few days to go but nothing to stop us getting on the water. So who will be there????
27th March
Just home from another successful Sunday outing for Morag. About 16 folk around apart from a few interested heeds up on
the pier. We tried the 2 long oars geared to work with staggered rowing seats on seats 2 and 3. Pulling being done from
across the boat nearer to the far gunwhale. Other clubs use this set up but it didn’t work for us. We then made beach
modifications and tried a shorter oar with a ratio of about 2.8 to 1. This appears to work for us and we will do some more
oar modifications on Tuesday morning to make this work with 2 and 3 staggered towards the gunwhale they are rowing
from. We are getting there and getting faster. However, I feel speed is not the all for Morag but to achieve comfortable
rowing positions for all, with balance between all rowers.
Tomorrow is Easter Monday and not a holiday for the BUSY folk but us UNBUSY folk are going to get Morag back in the water
and take advantage of the afternoon tide.
Well the unbusy among us proceeded back to the harbour with Morag for more rowing and as it was a bonny day and also
Easter Monday 28th March
, there were a number of interested folks about. 7 regulars or returning for another shotty, 3
folks who weren’t out rowing but supported the cause and an additional 11 first time or visitors. Another great afternoon on
the water. It started off with a cool breeze blowing through the bones from the North West but thermals on and off to it and
we never really felt the cold again until the afternoon end when dampness and a wee bit of tiredness crept in. Overall we all
had a good row day with plenty of trips around the bay and  a successful introduction to the wider community and holiday
Doddie got a red card from the commodore as an oar broke in his hands. If he can rectify on Tuesday then it may be reduced
to a yellow. In general the rowing positions seem much better with some thought needed to be put into feet bracing, looms
need extending, oar lengths need modifications and a touch of paint onto hull where the launch trolley wheels have rubbed.
Onwards and upwards, Sunday 3rd April:
HW 0900 BST; LW 1540 BST; Forecast South Breeze, cloudy, no rain (Subject to change as 6 days ahead)
As we ran out of water on previous Sunday on afternoon LW, suggest we head to harbour for back of 0900 (or whenever you
can get there). We will keep Morag available into the afternoon and pack up when interest fades and fatigue sets in or we
are beaten by the tide. Due to our uncertainty on how much water we need to safely row Morag we cannot guarantee the
afternoon hence the focus on a morning row.  Previous Sunday was predicted afternoon LW of 1.0 metre and this coming
Sunday is predicted for LW 1.3 metre. I am suspicious that the previous Sunday was below prediction and the extra 0.3
metres predicted for the coming Sunday may be sufficient to row all afternoon but we cannot bank on this just yet until we
gain a greater knowledge of water depth requirement to row and recover Morag in Finechty harbour.
So who all plans to be at harbour for Sunday morning rowing with a maybe for the afternoon?
I will be there and will take responsibility for the day and to ensure Morag is there with sufficient unbroken oars for the day.
Well don’t know about the rest of the intrepid Sunday rowers but I am now dry and warmed up. Twas a wet and cold
Sunday 3rd April at Finechty
 but it did not deter 17 faithful folk who turned up at the harbour for a chance to row
onboard “Morag”. HW was minutes after 09:00 with LW not due until 15:42. By 1PM although managing to reach the beach it
was fairly obvious that the afternoon would be too shallow so we decided to call a halt. But everybody did well considering
the cold and wet. Had it not rained it might not have been quite so cold but a trip rowing out of the harbour and back soon
heated you up and the decision for the cox to be from previous rowing crew saved hypothermia setting into the rear most
seat on any of the trips. The modifications to the oars with all 4 oars being shortened to 11 feet meaning the numbers 2 and
3 rowers were offset towards their gunwale. No clashing between oar looms and backs occurred and there were many happy
faces and appreciation for the latest configuration, declared as the latest best and the new favourite oars. A little
maintenance will be done this week to wear plates and feet bracing but otherwise we will try to consolidate on this setup
for the next few outings.
Next big jobs are to make new oars in case of anticipated breakages and to modify the Howff fence to allow us to store
“Morag” at the Howff ready for launch as and when required.
Our numbers are slowly climbing and, with the lighter nights coming, we are very close to seeing dedicated groups taking
“Morag” for dedicated team rowing sessions as opposed to our open sessions of Sundays. We have no format for this as yet
and we are working on club guidelines for the use of our shared resource. However, in the short term, should any group wish
to use “Morag” for rowing, let’s say an evening ladies session which seems to be gathering momentum, the following would
be the basic guidance. Any usage of “Morag” must have a declared responsible person present. In common with our club
sailing practice we will call this person the Officer Of the Day (OOD). They will be responsible for ensuring safe practice;
ensuring each outing/trip on the water will have a responsible cox in position or overseeing cox training; ensuring recovery
of lifejackets and radios; ensuring recovery and storage of “Morag” and to report any damages, losses or issues for repair,
replacement or maintenance. With our own boats we deal with these issues on a daily personal basis, however, “Morag”
belongs to all of us and there must be a shared consideration for “Morag” and all of us as club members and users of our
shared resource.
10th April 2016
Another good day on the water with 15 for a head count and an extra couple down for support. We are working on the
configuration and the 11 foot oars seem to be ticking the boxes for many. The foot rests are down for consideration next
although no definitive on how to resolve them. We will look at firming and stabilising them in the meantime. The pins and holed
plates seem to be a good option but we continue to trial. We should not be aiming to have one position working really well but
for all four oars to be in balance and working together.
The afternoon tide meant there was not enough water before past 11. Rain postponed the start a little further, with Mairi being
officer of the day (OOD) (Responsible person onshore), launching was around 12 and the afternoon was fine. Not the best. We
continue to dream of the coming days when we will be there in strappy tops and shorts. Hold the faith I have my optimistic cap
on, they will  come. Sorry to be repetitive but just another successful day on the water.
Onwards and upwards:
The gates have been formed at the Howff. The garden needs slabbed to allow Morag to be brought in and to sit in the Howff
garden. Morag has returned to Sea School for the moment. Work continues on the formation of new oars.
Team Days:
We are close to having smaller groups who might take Morag out and be working on team building. Put your bids in here but
first up who have put themselves in a frame are the ladies looking at possibly Tuesday evening when tide suits. Not this week
but possibly starting Tuesday 26th April, again watch this space. Tides may determine where launch takes place.
27th April 2016
Here we have our weekly report on how the weekend went and initial plans for the coming week.
Start off with an update on our three communities (Findochty, Portknockie & Cullen) skiff to be named "MAIRI" presently
building in the Sea School at Cullen. "MAIRI" is pretty well complete apart from foot rests. This does not mean launch is
imminent! The seats are shaped and are getting final trimming and fixing. Oar pins are in place. A major rub down is ongoing in
preparation for the application of paint, stain and varnish, both inside and out. Work and thought still ongoing with oars and
foot rests. Rudder stained and fitted. Tiller formed and in the process of being stained. No mention of launching yet but should
be in the water for this summer or during the summer. When summer arrives, as apparently it is just around the corner,
from my window today it is more like a very very large bend.
Sunday 24th April
Port Seton club from the Firth of Forth and Buckie lifeboat through the
common link of Stuart Mack organised training in Buckie harbour for Sunday
morning. A few clubs were invited to attend but with minimum crew.
Therefore we contacted the regulars and gathered 5 club members to crew
Morag for the training. Also in attendance were Macduff inshore lifeboat,
Burghead club,
Portsoy and Port Seton with one of their fleet of 4 boats. There were multi
aims of the training. Apart from training personnel both from rowing clubs
and from the RNLI there was also the interaction between the differing
vessels and how best to achieve rescue. It was a tremendous morning with
recovery of a casualty by lift and stretcher onto the deck of the large
Buckie  lifeboat.
All skiffs had the opportunity to take part individually with the lifeboat
deploying their "Y" Boat (Small rib) to act in conjunction
keeping each skiff in turn close onto the side of the "William Blannin". We
then practised the recovery of an unconscious casualty from the water into
the skiff, this was done in the calm waters of the harbour. Then to make it a
bit more interesting and lively we exited the harbour into quite testing
conditions, to get the flavour we actually shipped a few waves into Morag
during the adventure but never felt unsafe at anytime. They are very
seaworthy craft for all
their size. Out at sea we
practised the recovery of a conscious casualty into our skiffs. As someone
pointed out, it is difficult to see how someone could inadvertently fall
overboard from the skiff but there are canoeists, body boarders,
windsurfers, jet skis etc. all enjoying the waters we may row in and if ever
called upon to rescue another person in the water, we have been trained in
the skills that would help in the rescue of another human being perhaps. We
are compiling a FWSC Skiff Guidance manual and will include what we have
gleaned from our morning outing with the RNLI. Must thank the guys from
RNLI as they were the volunteers who went dipping and none of the skiff
crews got seriously wet.
Sunday afternoon was over to our regular open rowing and with a small change over in crew members we continued rowing
Morag although we never ventured far from the harbour entrance. The harbour is a good size for an outing without the need to
go to sea although every week would get a bit boring. An ideal location when northerlies prevent rowing out of any of our other
harbours or the need for flat water for coaching sessions. Another good outing for Morag with 11 for the day out rowing, 6 in
support mode and many others from all walks viewing from the quayside.
Evening Rowing Sessions.
We discussed who would be available or want to have an evening session during this coming week. This is another thread that
has been discussed that Morag will ultimately be available and used by different groups at differing times. A Ladies group, Mens
group, a Juniors group? All this is feasible and hopefully time will bring the people with a want, to get together and organise.
All you require is a responsible person (OOD Officer of the day) to organise and take the responsibility for the preparation, the
beach, crewing and clearing up. In its simplist form. At least 1 cox (who may double as the OOD) and a further 4 people to row.
We have discussed for this week between the rowers at Buckie on Sunday although the weather looks to be
against us. We shall keep you posted on this subject.
Sunday 1st May
This coming Sunday tides are on the awkward side. HW/AM 10 past 7, LW (1.4 metres) 13:46, HW/PM 5 past 8. It may be that
we could launch and work from the east beach? Do we go all day or Morning or Afternoon? Perhaps if no sea running we could
use Cullen or even link with Portsoy? Lots of options????
and we will make a decision later in the week.
Right that s all for now will be in touch later in week to declare where we
will be on this coming Sunday.
Sunday 1st May
 outing for Morag was back in Finechty after her adventures of last weekend in Buckie. This coincided
with the 6 harbours walk in the community. Tides appeared unfavourable with HW around 08:00 and 19:00 and LW just before
14:00. However, being NEAPS, the LW at 1.4 metres, with water edge in line with midpoint between the 2 wall ladders of sea
wall, we just managed to continue throughout the day. 3 to 6 inches less of water would have put a stop for an hour either
side of LW.
Techy bit out of the way, we had a great day or at least Finechty harbour had a great day with a day long buzz of people
coming, stopping, going, resting or just watching the world of Finechty revolve around the harbour area.
The FWSC Howff was utilised for marshalling, so we flashed up the barbecue to feed anybody who willingly dedicated their
scran for cremation. Anyone who ate from the barbe be rest assured nothing there had spent a previous life in George's fridge.
This in answer to a question raised on the day.
Sandy B dug out one of FWSC marker buoys from the shed and deployed just off the harbour approach beyond the maiden
rock. We used this during the day as a focus and target to round, also practising our buoy rounding skills for future racing. Nae
as easy as it sounds to get right/perfect, might we add.
Another great day on the back of a dodgy forecast, who knows how great it will be when we get to strappy top and shorts
weather which is just around the corner.
Need to try to keep a better track of participants but our reckoning was 15
rowers, 2 passengers and 4 supporters.
8th May
Portsoy have had their skiff "Soy Loon" out of the water over winter making a number of repairs and upgrades. They re-
launched on Sunday and invited all from round about to join them or just to go along for a row in a skiff.
Along with the "Loon" the "Soy Quine", our own "Morag" and "Admiral Red Socks" from Collieston were all in attendance.
Everybody had a great day with good weather, once the fog cleared, although a bit of swell running in from the North East
made exciting rowing clear of the harbour. It was nice to see Portsoy harbour buzzing with lots of folk and many new to rowing
had shotties with a lot jumping skiffs and trying out the different configurations. All in all another good day with 17 club
members in attendance either rowing Morag, rowing other skiffs or simply there in support. No head count made on this day of
the number of others who also managed to get out for a shot in Morag. Well done everybody and thanks to Johhny Smith who
was our OOD for the day looking after our "Morag".
Launching Mairi
For those of you who couldn't make it on the Saturday 4th June, 
unfortunately you did miss a great occasion. Weather was OK and did 
improve as the day went on but nothing there to dampen the spirits except 
for celebratory glasses shared among friends, members, sponsors and any of 
the additional throng that witnessed the naming and launch of skiff "MAIRI".  
We had a great crowd at the naming at the sea school and then an 
accompanied procession led by Adam the piper. A great spectacle for Cullen 
and there are many many people who should feel very proud for the lead up 
to the day and the success of the day. "MORAG" and the "SOY LOON" were 
there on the water to greet and salute "MAIRI" as she 
entered the water in the late morning. Apart from the 
people there was the fire engine and team, the 
coastguards, Buckie Lifeboat and crew and Macduff 
Lifeboat and crew. I just hope they were there in
celebration and not through any miss placed doubt as to 
the quality of build by the build team.  
After the launch all skiffs were rowed by a wide variety 
of club members and folk wanting to try a shotty. There 
was a big swell 
running on the day and if you get a chance check out Alan 
Robertson photography for some great shots of the skiffs 
in the swell as well as the launch and procession. We 
were back at the harbour on the Sunday again for social 
rowing where the swell had picked up just a fraction 
more making for some exciting adventures out of the 
harbour and coming back in, with the suck and blow 
created by the swell washing across the harbour entrance. We had a number 
of visitors and locals out on Sunday all of whom expressed a lot of enjoyment 
and will be giving some serious consideration to joining either 3HA of FWSC 
to continue with the rowing. So Portsoy Festival is only a fortnight away and 
possibly too late to start training but hopefully we will have "MORAG" and 
"MAIRI" at least making a showing in some of the races. Next year may be a 
different thing once we get winter training sessions started. 
October 30th 2016
Flat calm with a lazy ground swell rolling in from the
north east. Great weather for rowing and for the
fortunate few that made it to the Howff. Took Morag
around to Craigenroan and on to the first sannie
beside Bijou. Slipped in past the old salmon pier and
backed out again as we were feeling the swell rolling
in. Went west about Craigenroan, around the north
side, spoke to a few seals then a row back taking the inshore route from the Shall midden. Good fun.
The next run out we did a circumnavigation of "Destino" both
going ahead and in reverse. Bob was in search of wind but there
wisna much there. We then had a row into the slip shorrie with
much discussion about the history before a return to harbour.
Johnny put in a bit of effort during the week and provided raised
seat heights on bow and stroke. Definitely showed that we need
to raise seat height during our winter modes. Thanks Johnny.
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