Vacancies - Instructor Development Scheme

04 Nov
Vacancies - Instructor Development Scheme

Following our initial blog about this back in August, we just wanted to put this up again, as a reminder, as applications close on 1st Dec 2016.

Cumbrae is recruiting three people to join the 19 month The Instructor Development Scheme (IDS) starting in April 2017.

The IDS programme aims to target people who are interested in a career in the outdoors and particular within the watersports sector. Candidates may have reached a stage at which they are ready to move onto the middle tiers of instructor qualifications. Those selected may possibly have gained some work experience at an outdoor centre and hold a couple of basic National Governing Body (NGB) awards such as a paddlesports, dinghy, powerboating, windsurfing and cruising qualifications,. This level of experience and interest is desirable as the awards are pre requirements for the middle tier of instructor awards in all these disciplines. Opportunities are also provided to gain experience within the RYA cruising scheme. The centre is a busy place and a great place to learn and develop. At the end of the training period, trainees will be well qualified.

Duties and Responsibilities As part of the scheme there is a requirement to contribute to the day to day work around the centre (i.e. stores and basic maintenance) as well as staffing the reception desk on a rotational basis. You will be paid an allowance of approximately £6,000 per year from which you will be required to payback 120/month for your basic living expenses, food and accommodation. The standard number of working hours, as part of the scheme, is approximately 19 hours a week. The remaining time should be spent gaining experience, attending courses or shadowing instructors as part of a pre agreed development plan. Occasionally there will be opportunities to undertake paid work on courses (qualifications permitting) so a flexible attitude is important. You will have access to a wide range of free training opportunities worth around £6,000 - £7,000

The scheme will run from 1st April 2017 until 31st October 2018.

You must be available to start from 1st April 2017. If you are not available for these dates due to other commitments, college courses, etc. please do not apply this year. The next scheme will run from 1st April 2018 until 31st October 2019.

Who Should Apply? Applicants must be over 18 years of age. We are looking for responsible individuals with a variety of relevant outdoor interests who will work together during the height of the season as part of a team of six. We will therefore select people based on a balanced team structure of complementary skills and character. In your free time you will be expected to gain experience in order to complete a broad range of NGB training courses in paddlesports, powerboating, sailing, windsurfing and yachting.. The ability to be self-motivated in order to gain experience is an important selection criteria.

From the applications received we will interview 12 candidates, over a 2 day assessment centre. We’ll be recruiting for 3 posts. The closing date for completed applications is 1st December 2016. For an application form please click here .

Cumbrae's New Gym turns ONE!

02 Nov
Cumbrae's New Gym turns ONE!

Unbelievably Cumbrae’s refurbished gym is celebrating it’s FIRST BIRTHDAY already! In the past year we’ve been delighted to welcome many more new members to the gym, as well as continuing to support our members from the past. We’ve had great feedback over this past year and we’ll continue to offer you a great place to workout in over the coming winter months!

So…if you’ve not taken the plunge yet and are looking to ‘tone up’ in time for Christmas, or just want to keep active over winter, then Cumbrae Gym is for YOU! With great PAYG rates, as well as membership options to suit you, now’s the time to email us, pick up the phone or pop into ‘sportscotland Cumbrae’ to get started.

All new members will need to complete an induction before using the gym so please call the centre on 01475 530757 to book a slot (n/a to PAYG users). Inductions cost £10 per person.

For more information, visit our gym webpage.

Cumbrae delivers at Scotland's Boat Show

26 Oct
Cumbrae delivers at Scotland's Boat Show

The weekend of 14-16th October was the weekend of Scotland’s largest boat show, held at Inverkip Marina.

An integral part of the show this year was the ‘Get Afloat’ sessions organised by RYA Scotland. Cumbrae was delighted to be asked to be one of the partners delivering these ‘taster’ sessions, with participants able to try out a RIB experience and/or get out for a sail on the centre’s yacht, Santa Vey.

Over the course of the weekend, RYA(S) had over 350 participants enjoy an ‘on the water’ experience, with Cumbrae delivering more than half of these! Cumbrae instructors, Stu and Lisa headed up the RIB rides, whilst Tom and Beckie focused on the yacht sessions. Cumbrae’s Charlotte and Carla were ‘off the water’, talking to those interested in the courses on offer at the centre, as well as helping participants get ‘kitted up’ with buoyancy aids and life jackets. It was a busy, but wholly enjoyable weekend.

Friday 14th Oct - A Royal Start

To mark its ‘30th year’, the Boat Show got off to a special start, with HRH Princess Anne, patron of the RYA, opening the event this year. Charlotte got the opportunity to talk to Princess Anne about the Island and Princess Anne also talked to Stu and Tom, asking about the ‘taster’ sessions on offer.

Not surprisingly Friday morning flew by and it was soon time to welcome the first participants of the RIB sessions. The first of these were Harvie and Alan, two gentlemen from Bo’ness diving club:

First RIB participants: Harvie and Alan from Bo'ness Diving Club
First RIB participants: Harvie and Alan from Bo’ness Diving Club

Caught on camera

Before Tom headed out with that first RIB ride, BBC Alba popped over to film us, asking Tom a little more about the RIB (what the centre mainly uses them for etc.) as well as asking Harvie and Alan about what had brought them to the event that day. We were then filmed heading out onto the water, so, ‘watch this space’ to see if Cumbrae ends up on the TV!

BBC Alba interviews Tom
BBC Alba interviews Tom

After the first session finished, it was back-to-back RIB sessions throughout the day, on the two VSR RIBS Cumbrae had brought to the show. It had been a great start to the weekend really.

Saturday 15th October

RIB rides continued today, with one participant clearly inspired after his experience:

’‘Whoa…I have been out on a rib before but have never actually had a go in the driving seat! Thanks so much! It was great fun!!’‘

Today also saw ‘Santa Vey’ arriving at Kip Marina, in anticipation of the yacht rides taking place during Saturday and Sunday:

Tom sails Santa Vey to the show
Tom and Beckie sail Santa Vey to the show

Saturday was a busy day both on and off the water, with Charlotte and Carla chatting to many sailing enthusiasts – with visitors seeming to be particularly interested in the ‘Day Skipper Practical’ course offered by the centre. It was also great to hear from so many young enthusiasts, whose interests ranged from junior courses in kayaking, to windsurfing, to dinghy sailing.

A beautiful evening unfolded as Saturday’s events drew to an end:

A beautiful evening unfolds on Saturday
A beautiful evening unfolds on Saturday

Sunday 16th Oct

The weather forecast was rather bleak for the last day of the show, with heavy rain due in the afternoon. However, the morning started off dry and bright and the first of the yacht sessions got underway at 10.30am:

About to head off on for a Sunday morning sail
Getting ready to head off on for a Sunday morning sail

With 5 out of a potential 6 booked onto that slot, Carla grabbed the opportunity to join the group for what was a lovely hour’s sail, which included catching a glimpse of some seals along the way.

In chatting to the group, Carla found out that a couple of the ladies on this yacht session had completed courses at Cumbrae a few years ago (RYA Day Skipper and RYA Coastal Skipper), back then on the ‘Sun Odyssey 36’ yacht so they were delighted to be trying out the ‘Salona 38’ this time around. Jeanette, one of the ladies from this group, commented:

’‘Absolutely fabulous - loved every minute of it! Thank you.”

A participant enjoys the chance to be at the helm
A participant enjoys the chance to be at the helm. Everyone gets a chance to get involved:

Also on-board with us was Laura, the news and website editor for ‘Practical Boat Owner’. Laura is based down south, near Dorset and was embracing the opportunity to leave the PBO stand at the show for a short spell and enjoy some sailing on Scotland’s west coast. She was really taken by how quiet the waters are in this part of the world:

Laura from 'Practical Boat Owner', with Beckie
Laura from ‘Practical Boat Owner’, with Beckie

During the sail, we also came across Lisa and her RIB group out enjoying themselves:

Lisa out with her group
Lisa out with her group

Multi-talented Cumbrae Instructors

Unfortunately, the poor forecast came to fruition so, in between sessions, Stu took the opportunity to entertain visitors with his juggling skills!

Stu entertains visitors, during a very rainy spell!
Stu entertains visitors, during a very rainy spell!

The poor weather didn’t put participants off though as the ‘taster’ sessions continued throughout the afternoon. Someone took to Facebook later that night to say that they had come off the RIB ‘soaked but happy!’

Actually, those on the last of the sessions got rather lucky as the day turned into a rather settled and calm evening:

The last RIB ride of the weekend
The last RIB ride of the weekend

Another lovely night, to bring the weekend to an end
Another lovely night, to bring the weekend to an end

Packing Up

Lisa and Stu preparing to head back to the Centre
Lisa and Stu preparing to head back to the Centre

After all the sessions had ended, it was time for Lisa and Stu to refuel the RIBs for their 30min journey back to the centre. At this point a lady and her family, who had been on one of the RIB rides earlier that day, commented:

Is that you getting ready to head back now? Oh, I’m jealous…wish I could come back in the RIB with you!”

It was so encouraging to hear such enthusiasm, from someone who’d obviously ‘caught the bug’. It was especially nice to hear that her young son had been very apprehensive about going out on the RIB but had come off saying how much he enjoyed it. The whole family, as it turns out, were keen to get involved in a course in the future.

It really was the perfect way to end what had been a fabulous few days, and remembering such enthusiasm will keep us all buoyant as the winter nights start challenging our spirits out on the water!!

Just one Pico left for sale!

28 Sep
Just one Pico left for sale!

Are you interested in buying a Laser Pico?

Cumbrae has one Laser Pico left for sale. Details are as follows:

Each boat has mainsail trolley and jib sail.

Email or call the centre on 01475 530 757 for more details.

From Marketing to Powerboating

20 Sep
From Marketing to Powerboating

The below is an account of how Cumbrae’s Marketing Manager, Carla Fugaccia, got on during a weekend’s Powerboating course.

The weekend of the 17-18th September was the weekend I was due to do an ‘RYA Powerboat Level2’ course. This was part of an initiative to encourage office-based staff out onto the water, in order to gain a real customer experience. This suggestion was put forward at the start of the season when it seemed like there was endless time to choose a course to sign-up for. Of course the busy summer season came and went in a flash and it was then that I realised I really had better get myself onto one of the courses ASAP. So far I had ‘let the side down’, with Clare already taking part in ‘RYA Powerboat Level2’, Kirsty doing the ‘Dinghy Sailing Try-a-Day’ and Nancy completing the ‘RYA Sea Survival’.

Saturday 17th September

The weekend got underway at 9.30am with myself and the 3 other participants (Craig, Zac and Graham) meeting at the centre for our course introduction. Our instructors for the weekend, Tom and Stu, introduced themselves to the group, outlined what the weekend would cover and of course gauged the level participants were at. As someone who has only ever been a passenger on a powerboat I knew this would be a sharp learning curve and I was starting to feel a little bit nervous. I needn’t have been. The course flowed at a good rate, with plenty of hands-on practical experience, mixed in with a little classroom work. There was plenty of time to absorb information, as well as ample time to ask questions and go over areas that perhaps needed a little more attention. Moreover, it was fun, A LOT OF FUN in fact. Below is diary of how the weekend unfolded.


Instructors: Stu and Tom
Instructors: Stu and Tom

We were kitted up with oilskins, wetsuit boots and buoyancy aids before heading out to what was a gloriously sunny September day. The water was flat calm so, so far, so good! I was already feeling rather lucky as my colleague Clare had experienced rather challenging conditions during her course a few weeks back. It seemed like I was going to be eased in much more gently. Perfect.

The morning started with a look over the RIBs. We identified where certain things are kept on the boats and best practice concerning what to check first before heading out (does the boat have fuel?...are there keys?...a kill cord?... making sure there are no rogue lines, the VHF is on etc.). We were going to be using 2 different types of RIBs over the weekend so we got a chance to look over both.

After we heard about the importance of wearing the kill cord at all times we headed out onto the water, with myself and Zac heading out with Tom, whilst Craig and Graham were under the guidance of Stu.

After a quick demo from Tom, we were ‘straight into it’, practicing wide turns in both directions, then smaller turns, then moving on to manoeuvring around buoys and figure of 8’s (in both a forward and backwards direction). It was a ‘baptism of fire’ and I was loving it! We were soon onto practising berthing the RIB and even tried ‘holding off’; where we attempted to get very close to the buoy with touching it.

Graham takes the driving seat
Graham takes the driving seat

Suffice to say we had achieved a lot on the first morning! It was time for lunch but first we retired back to the classroom for a quick ten minutes to regroup and for a few suggestions on what pages to read in our ‘RYA Start Powerboating’ book (just a couple of pages to help with the afternoon’s activities).


Since things had gone well in the morning, Zac and I headed back out on the RIB with Tom towards Largs Marina. Here we practised lots of exercises to help us get comfortable with berthing between boats on the pontoon:

Zac practises berthing at the Marina
Zac practises berthing at the Marina
Graham practises berthing
Graham practises berthing

The temperatures had started to increase and it was now a lovely late summer’s day. The boats on the marina glistened in the sunshine. One such boat was the centre’s ‘Santa Vey’, which had crew out on a ‘Close Quarter Manoeuvring’ course. It was great to have the vantage point from the RIB as we watched ‘Santa Vey’ being manoeuvred carefully around the marina:

Close Quarter Manoeuvring’ on Santa Vey
Close Quarter Manoeuvring’ on Santa Vey

It was then time to try a 3-point turn, after a demo from Tom first. Again all went well:

Carla trying out 3-point turn
Carla trying out 3-point turn

After a couple of ‘goes’ at berthing in tighter spaces, with the boat tied on at one end, it was then time to have a look around some of the boats in the marina. By now, not only was it still very sunny, it was really warm too so it was definitely time to remove oilskin jackets for the afternoon. Tom took all four of us around the marina, explaining the different types of propellers on various boats, as well as different hulls (pointing out the different ‘chines’ on the hulls) and identifying which boats would fair better in open seas. This really was an education!!

After this, it was time to get back to the boat, where we practised leaving the pontoon in a confined space. We then tested ourselves with some more berthing manoeuvres before heading full-speed back to centre!

Carla and Zac heading back to the centre
Carla and Zac heading back to the centre

Again we regrouped back at the classroom for a quick demonstration of knots. Our homework for the night was to try tying various knots and to read a couple of key pages from our handbook.

With it being such a beautiful evening it was lovely to be able to sit and relax outside the centre, reading in the sunshine, with birdsong for background ‘music’. Stunning:

View from the front of the centre
View from the front of the centre

After dinner, I got practising on the knots (never thought I’d ever say that!). I had the ‘reef knot’, ‘sheet bend’ and ‘clove hitch’ nailed but the ‘bowline’ was giving me headaches. It was time to ‘rope in’ (sorry!) Sam, who was ‘on-call’ in the office, for another ‘bowline’ demo.

Time to retire for the night and, unsurprising, I slept like a log!

Sunday 18thSeptember

After breakfast, the day got started with a quick discussion back in the classroom, this time looking at rescuing a man overboard (MOB), as well as a quick introduction to anchoring.

Once we were in our oilskins again were headed out to practise on the water. There was a little bit more wind this morning but generally another fair start to the day.

Again Zac and I headed out with Tom and after a quick demo of rescuing a MOB it was time for us to try. My first attempt would probably have resulted in the MOB being run over, rather than rescued, but I quickly got the hang of it, as did Zac, and it was really interesting to be carrying out such an important, practical, exercise. I definitely have a newfound admiration for those doing this exercise ‘for real’.

After we were comfortable with the MOB exercises, it was time to try more ‘holding off’ exercises - with attempts being a little different today due to the windier conditions.

We then moved on to ‘reverse berthing’ at the pontoon. Tom broke this down into its component parts and, surprisingly, this was fairly easy to achieve. Of course Tom made us both do the exercise a few times to make sure our successful attempts hadn’t been a fluke! Now seemed like a good opportunity to get out of the boat to take some photos of Zac for his Duke of Edinburgh portfolio:

Tom explains reverse berthing to Zac
Tom explains reverse berthing to Zac

Zac reverse berthing
Zac reverse berthing

Whilst this was going on, the other group were busying practising ‘picking up a mooring buoy’ and they seemed to be having a lot of success with that:

Graham picks up a mooring buoy
Graham picks up a mooring buoy

Now came the time to practise anchoring so we headed round to ‘White Bay’, the northernmost tip of the island. Here we met up with the other members of the group as Stu was carrying out an anchoring exercise with Craig and Graham. In the classroom that morning we had learned that a mixed ‘chain + rope’ anchor requires the anchor line to be 6 times the depth, so, after we did a few sums, we let out the required amount of line and checked we were stationary, using fixed points:

Anchoring exercise
Anchoring exercise
Graham and Craig anchoring
Graham and Craig anchoring

Carla and Zac prepare to anchor
Zac practises anchoring
Zac practises anchoring

With the anchoring exercise having gone well, it was now time to turn our attention to towing. We moved closer to the other boat for a demo of towing ‘best practice’ and then we each had a ‘go at the wheel’. After Zac and I had had our turn we swapped boats with the other group, enabling them to tow us for a while:


After the towing exercise, we separated again and headed back to the centre for lunch. The trip back to the centre in itself was another learning point as, since we were still in the other group’s RIB, we got a feel for the various nuances of different RIBs…the difference in sensitivity of the throttle, the throttle position, seat positioning, ignition location etc.

Once back at the centre, we had a quick classroom discussion before lunch. This time we discussed ‘Collison Regulations’ (what vessels should you ‘give way’ to etc.). We also watched a video showing a powerboat capsizing and the importance of not being complacent as you can easily be ‘caught out’.

Sunday Afternoon

Tom discusses chart work with Zac, Craig and Graham
Tom discusses chart work with Zac, Craig and Graham

After lunch it was back to the classroom for some chart work - such passage planning being crucial to safe travel and since we were heading off to circumnavigate the island later that afternoon we needed to get the basics right first. Our instructors suggested a route to take around island and thereafter we plotted direction, distance and timing, based on our RIBs travelling at 20knots. This was a teamwork exercise, or more accurately, an exercise in the team helping me out (!), as most had some experience in this area and I was rather lost!

Chart work teamwork
Chart work teamwork

Before long we had charted out our route and so it was time to head back out to the RIBs to put our plan into practice. The weather had now deteriorated as the winds were stronger and it was now raining. However, we all agreed that this was beneficial to us, giving us a truer ‘taste’ of things and different challenges to deal with.

Zac and I started out well, then a few little errors in our chart work stated to appear…we realised we had one of the angles very wrong when we were pointing straight to the shoreline! Still, it was a good lesson in getting bearings from what’s around you rather than what’s written down. We decided on a course to take and headed off again. There was a bit of difficult decision making as we tried to judge the line to take to get us into Millport. Tom’s advice on what to line up with in the distance helped us out here. Once we got near to Millport, we tried a couple of mooring buoy exercises.

It was now time to head away from Millport and continue the circumnavigation. Some local knowledge from Tom helped us avoid potentially dangerous rocks as we made our way out. We successfully followed the notes from our chart work and before long we were on the last stretch back to the centre, with Zac and I each having a chance to have a final shot in the ‘driving seat’:

After we had de-robed from our oilskins, it was time to meet back in the classroom for a final debrief. We were all delighted to have passed and were given our certificates, which Tom explained last a lifetime.

All that was left to do was to thank Tom and Stu for their fantastic (and patient) instruction over the weekend, hand in our ‘feedback’ forms and make a sprint for the ferry off the island! Zac, Craig, Graham and I were all on the same ferry so more ‘debriefing’ followed, with us all agreeing that we had gained a lot from the weekend and had had a great deal of fun along the way.

It was then time for farewells and I promised to email the group with some photos taken over the weekend. These guys were a lovely bunch to spend the weekend with, and Zac, as my fellow crew member, had the patience of a saint!

In choosing this course, I had challenged myself with a fairly intensive 2 days, however the fantastic tuition made it all very manageable. I’m absolutely sure that it won’t be long before I’m signing-up for another course as this was a truly exhilarating weekend, one that I’d repeat in a heartbeat!

If you’re feeling inspired, the next RYA Powerboat Level2 course is running on the 15-16th October this year. If you have previous experience there’s an RYA Intermediate Powerboat running on 1-2 October and an RYA Advanced Powerboat on 19-20 November.

Now I’m left thinking about what to sign-up for next…?

Another year, another successful 'Great Cumbrae Kayak Race'

26 Aug
Another year, another successful 'Great Cumbrae Kayak Race'

Last Saturday saw the annual return of the ‘Great Cumbrae Kayak Race’. An event which before last year hadn’t run in 39 years!

With such a great reintroduction into the centre’s events programme in 2015, there was a lot for the 2016 race to live up to. As we started to ‘set up’ on Saturday morning, last year’s race was clear in our minds…it had been a day you only dream about on a Scottish summer’s day…calm, warm and packed full of sunshine. This year brought rain (lots of it!) and VERY strong winds. Still, as enthusiastic participants started to arrive, we wouldn’t be disheartened! Plans for the outside ‘reception’ were abandoned, fearing the marquee would end up in the Firth of Clyde! Race registrations were, wisely, taken indoors and proceedings got underway!

Like last year the race attracted a good number of entrants - 32 in total. It was also great to see so many of the same paddlers from last year, whilst having the opportunity to welcome new participants to the event. We were particularly delighted to see the return of the same 3 junior racers. Watch out for these 3 when they’re old enough to enter the adult race!

This year’s race began with a challenging start - with the clapotis causing quite a few issues! However, once the race got underway, things quickly settled and paddlers found their stride, finishing with impressive times (results are listed in the table below).

Once the final participants were back on dry land, it was time for a much welcomed BBQ, though this year it was enjoyed indoors, in the comfort of the centre’s lounge, with the Olympics on for some extra entertainment. Better still, the day coincided with the great news that Team GB’s Liam Heath had won the Gold medal in the the individual 200m kayak sprint event.

A huge THANKS from Cumbrae to all participants who helped make this such a special event! Special congratulations has to go to Calum Urquhart (overall winner), Lizelle Kemp (1st Female) and Archie Anderson (1st Junior). Once again, a special mention has to go to Andrew Morton, who having won 1st place in the race back in 1976, was back participating again and on tremendous form; taking 2nd place no less!

Finally, many thanks to participants for their valued feedback, a selection of which is included below:

“Thank you for organising the race - a great day out after we got that rather challenging start out of the way!!!” (Jane Egan).

“A great day with fab folks AGAIN, the racing was tough and full-on as it should be. Big Big THANKS to sportscotland Cumbrae and Lorraine for braving the elements with her camera” (Kevin Locke).

“Thanks very much for a wonderful event yesterday. It’s a huge pleasure attending a well organised race with fantastic facilities to boot” (Lizelle Kemp).

As promised here’s the race results:

Position Name Category Race No. Start Time Finish Time Elapsed Time Podium
1 Calum Urquhart M 11 1300 1429.32 1 29.32 1st Male
2 Andrew Morton M 7 1300 1431.18 1 31.18 2nd Male
3 Brian Turnbull M 31 1300 1432.06 1 32.06 3rd Male
4 Neil Turnbull M 30 1300 1435.23 1 35.23
5 Gilbert Spiers M 8 1300 1436.11 1 36.11
6 Kevin Locke M 10 1300 1436.17 1 36.37
7 Lizelle Kemp F 1 1300 1438.44 1 38.44 1st Female
8 Douglas Wilby M 24 1300 1440.59 1 40.59
10 Alan Hunter M 34 1300 1446.43 1 46.43
9 Kevin Ramsay M 16 1300 144138 1 41.38
11 Martin Tonge M 22 1300 144828 1 48.28
12 Mark Peters M 25 1300 145711 1 57.11
13 Malcolm Stubbs M 9 1300 145742 1 57.42
14 Peter Mackman M 26 1300 150215 2 02.15
15 Tim Stuart M 36 1300 150644 2 06.44
16 Chris Nichol M 5 1300 150656 2 06.56
17 Susan Smith F 27 1300 150739 2 07.39 2nd Female
18 Andy Dickson M 19 1300 152812 2 28.12
19 Jane Egan F 17 1300 152813 2 28.13 3rd Female
20 Peter Harrison M 23 1300 152836 2 28.36
21 Ewan Walker M 13 1300 152952 2 29.52
22 Gordon Dobbie M 6 1300 153004 2 30.04
23 Ben Beachell M 21 1300 153422 2 34.22
24 Rob Anderson M 14 1300 154217 2 42.17
Retired Race No.
Steven Whipp M 12
Kate Dix F 20
Alan Murray M 28
Paul Bunis M 32
Paul Hill M 35
Junior Race Name Category Race No. Start Time Finish Time Elapsed Time (mins) Podium
1 Archie Anderson J 4 1300 131524 15.24 1st Junior
2 Greg Bunis J 33 1300 131529 15.29 2nd Junior
3 Harvie Anderson J 3 1300 131533 15.33 3rd Junior

We’ve put a selection of photos on Facebook and you can access these via the below links:

Photos of the Start of the Race

Photos of the Junior Race

Photos of the Race Finish

Photos of Medal Winners

Cumbrae and Glenmore Lodge host the UK's first 2 Day Sea Kayak and SUP Symposium

23 Aug
Cumbrae and Glenmore Lodge host the UK's first 2 Day Sea Kayak and SUP Symposium

Paddlesports are becoming increasingly popular, with Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP), in particular, being the world’s fastest growing watersport. Both Cumbrae and Glenmore Lodge are at the heart of this growth and development within Scotland. Therefore, it was a natural fit that both centres joined together on the weekend of 12-14th August to offer participants a symposium celebrating Sea Kayaking and SUP. Guest coaches were present and the 26 participants experienced an exciting mix of workshops, talks and demos throughout the course of the event.

We’ve charted a diary of the weekend’s activities below:

Friday 12th August - The Symposium gets underway

It’s a wet and windy Friday night as guest coaches arrive with a selection of boards for participants to try out over the weekend.

Participants arrive in advance of the symposium ‘Welcome’ talk.

Our first guest speaker, Zoe Newsam, gets the weekend underway with an insightful talk to guests:

Zoe Newsam's insightful talk
Zoe Newsam delivering an insightful talk

There’s plenty of material as Zoe has paddled on the sea in a wide variety of locations: the Hebrides, Shetland, Northern Ireland and the Irish West Coast, Anglesey, North and South Wales, the Southwest and Northeast of England, and on rivers in the UK, Canada, Slovenia and the French Alps!

It’s a great start to the weekend and everyone is looking forward to getting onto the water the next day.

Saturday 13th August - Our first day on the water

We needn’t have worried about the weather as Friday night’s conditions have cleared and the next two days bring plenty of sunshine.

The kayaks and SUPs are out on display in front of the centre today and it’s great to see such a wide range of kit making its way over for the symposium. Demo boats from P&H, Pyranha, Think & Jobe SUP Boards are all available for participants to try.

Demo kit
Demo kit

The time has come to get on the water so the coaches head out to lead the workshops. Caroline Carr and Sam Dean deliver a SUP session:

First morning's SUP session
First morning’s SUP session

Today’s other sessions include a ‘Sea Performance Clinic’ with Matt Haydock. This is a practical workshop, looking at how to get the most of the body boat blade. This workshop also includes tactical choices for what strokes to use and when.

Matt Haydock heading out to the south of the island
Matt Haydock heading out to the south of the island

There’s a ‘Sea Kayak manoeuvring and handling’ workshop headed up by Zoe Newsam. Zoe provides a practical workshop with great advice on how to control your kayak when the wind or waves are pushing you around!

Zoe Newsam with her group
Zoe Newsam with her group

Myles Farnbank leads a very practical and extremely interesting ‘coastal wild food and fire lighting’ session:

Myles Farnbank introducing the group to the delights of wild food
Myles Farnbank introducing the group to the delights of wild food


It’s been a great day around Cumbrae, with various workshops/sessions taking place. We’re all looking forward to the BBQ and band this evening!

Saturday night’s Entertainment

Before the band gets underway guests are treated to 2 guest speakers, Andrew Morton and Duncan Winning. Andrew delivers a fantastic talk on: “Bagpipes, aerosols and keeping kayaks running in a straight line!”. Not surprisingly this is a fascinating talk from a man who’s not stopped canoeing for more than a few months in the past fifty years!

Andrew Morton's enlightening presentation
Andrew Morton’s enlightening presentation

Next up is Duncan Winning. Duncan gives a slideshow presentation about a recent trip he and Gordon Brown (owner of Skyak Adventures) carried out to Greenland; tracing the history of the modern sea kayak to its ancestral home.

Duncan Winning's historical insight into kayaking
Duncan Winning’s historical insight into kayaking

It’s time for music

Guests are treated to Donal Boyle, with a 3 piece live band, playing acoustic folk music. Donal is a past Cumbrae instructor and is always delighted to get a chance to come back to the centre. Some guests stay up into the wee small hours!

Winding down at the end of the night
Winding down at the end of the night

Sunday 14th August - A second day of fun and challenges

It’s been a late night for some but, after a hearty breakfast, guests are beginning to feel refreshed and ready for today’s activities.

Today’s sessions include many of the workshops from yesterday, giving participants a chance not to miss out. An addition for today is ‘Sea Kayak Sailing’, a workshop delivered by Cumbrae’s Tim Stuart, looking at the world of modern sea kayaking. Sea kayaks are all set up and ready to go to help participants capture the wind. This workshop looks at a variety of aspects, including boat set up.

Zoe Newsam takes participants out on a local full day trip, including practical navigation. It proves to be a great workshop for those new to the area and looking for a little help along the way.

Calum McNicol leads a ‘British Canoeing Discipline support module’ on SUP. This is full day, interactive workshop, covering areas such as how to get others into the discipline of SUP:

Calum McNicol gets the British Canoeing SUP module underway
Calum McNicol gets the British Canoeing SUP module underway

The weekend comes to an end

Cumbrae and Glenmore Lodge reflect back on a weekend packed full of activity. What’s clear is that participants and coaches alike seem to have had a fantastic weekend on the island:

“Thanks for a great Symposium, we really enjoyed it. Easy to book and very accommodating. Food great, tuition great, informative and patient. Lovely to find great coaches who can find solutions to challenges. Like me not being able to get back on that SUP!” (Suzanne and John Roberts).

“A lovely, friendly, relaxed event - looking forward to next year already” (Zoe Newsam)

“What a superb weekend of SUP! Big thanks to Dave, Calum, Caroline and Sam!” (Nick Evens)

One participant summed up the event:

“A great event, with a good balance of coaching between SUP and sea kayak, allowing participants to focus on one discipline, or mix and match. There was an excellent selection of new boats and boards to try. Great food and a fairly quiet, yet accessible location”.

'Sailing for Gold' on the Clyde

19 Aug
'Sailing for Gold' on the Clyde

On the 17th and 18th August, the RYA Scotland hosted a very special ‘Sail for Gold’ event at Quayside, Glasgow.

The event saw around 200 pupils, from 8 primary schools, take to the waters around the Riverside Museum. sportscotland Cumbrae led the ‘on the water’ activities under the leadership of Cumbrae’s instructor, Charlotte MacBeath. Other Cumbrae staff we also on hand to help things run smoothly.

Children out on the 'hansas'
Children out on the ‘hansas’

On-the-water fun for the school kids

The sun shone for the entire event, from set-up on the Tuesday, right through to close on the Thursday, serving to make it even more of a spectacular event. Seeing the children out on the water in ‘hansas’, with the backdrop of the Tall Ship and the Riverside Museum was something to behold. It was great to see the youngsters getting so much out of their experience, made even more special as some Team GB sailors were present all throughout, offering encouragement, advice and of course INSPIRATION!

As one teacher commented:

‘Three days into term and it’s going to be difficult to beat this as a highlight for them this year’.

The Tall Ship and Riverside Museum make for a stunning backdrop
The Tall Ship and Riverside Museum make for a stunning backdrop

Sparking National Interest

On the first morning of the event, ‘BBC Breakfast’ had a live feed to Quayside and later that day one of the presenter’s interviewed Cumbrae’s Chief Instructor David Frame:

BBC interview Cumbrae's David Frame
BBC interview Cumbrae’s David Frame

Watch the interview here (nb. David comes on around the 13min mark)

Outdoors Race Screenings

A large outdoor screen was put up on both evenings of the event to allow 100+ plus ticketholders to watch live medal races of the Olympic Sailing taking place in Rio. People had come to watch both Luke Patience and Charlotte Dobson trying to secure medals, both of these sailors passing through Cumbrae over the years. Unfortunately,on the first night, conditions in Rio meant that that no racing took place,however spirits remained high as the crowd gathered in the sunshine.

Team TB sailors waiting to support their collegues on screen
Team TB sailors waiting to support their collegues on screen

The next evening did bring race screenings and although the Scottish hopefuls on Team GB didn’t secure medals they had impressive performances over the course of the games and can be proud of their achievements!

All in all the 2 days on the Clyde were truly special and will have a golden place in the memories of all involved!

Join Cumbrae for RYA's 'Sail for Gold' Roadshow, Glasgow, 17-18th Aug

11 Aug
Join Cumbrae for RYA's 'Sail for Gold' Roadshow, Glasgow, 17-18th Aug

Come and help cheer on TEAM GB Sailors!

Looking for something unique to do in Glasgow on the evening of either 17th or 18th August? Look no further. To celebrate the Rio 2016 Games, RYA Scotland is hosting a special ‘Sail for Gold’ event and Cumbrae is proud to be a delivery partner, helping to make this a truly fantastic celebration of sailing!

Cumbrae’s Olympic connection

Cumbrae’s delighted to be involved in ‘Sail for Gold’, particularly as we’ll be able to show our support for our local athletes competing in Rio: Luke Patience and Charlotte Dobson. Both Luke and Charlotte have trained at the Centre over the years! In fact it was Cumbrae’s chief instructor, David Frame, who first selected London 2012 Silver Medallist Luke for the development team many years ago. Charlotte, like Luke, trained at Cumbrae during her RYA squad years. She’s currently making her Olympic in a new event for Rio, the 49erFX.

Helping to Get Kids involved

During the morning and afternoon of both event days, school pupils from 8 local schools will be out on the waters around the Riverside museum, getting a little taster in sailing. Cumbrae instructors will be delivering the on-the-water activities taking place.

Scottish members of the British Sailing Team who aren’t in Rio will be sailing alongside the pupils and offering analysis and commentary during the races. These include Eilidh MacIntyre, daughter of Scots Olympic Gold Medallist Mike MacIntyre; Anna Burnett from Helensburgh, Rory Hunter from Arran, Fynn Sterritt from Kingussie and Flora Stewart, originally from Edinburgh.

So…it’s all set to be an exciting few days!

Good luck Luke and Charlotte from everyone at Cumbrae!

A podium spot for Cumbrae's Dan and crew of Derry~Londonderry~Doire!

01 Aug
A podium spot for Cumbrae's Dan and crew of Derry~Londonderry~Doire!

After 11 months, the 2015/16 Clipper Round the World Race came to an end on Friday evening with the completion of Race 14, ‘Den Helder to London’. This last race saw Cumbrae’s Dan Smith, skipper of Derry~Londonderry~Doire, and crew, secure another race win, taking their total to an impressive 4 wins throughout the 40,000 nautical mile circumnavigation.

A Podium Spot

Everyone at Cumbrae is immensely proud of Dan as Derry~Londonderry~Doire took SECOND PLACE overall out of the 12 yachts taking part this year. What’s more it was an extremely close finish, with only 4 points separating the first and second spot! The top 3 places were as follows:

  1. LMAX Exchange (152 points)
  2. Derry~Londonderry~Doire (148 points)
  3. GREAT Britain (126 points)


On Saturday, the race fleet performed a colourful Parade of Sail on the River Thames. Many spectators gathered at St Katharine Docks to celebrate the race finish and the prize giving ceremony.

Returning to Scotland

In an interview earlier this year with Dan, he commented that:

‘Despite there being some awesome ocean views and incredible coastlines around the world I’ve missed the scenery of Scotland’s coastline. Ironically one of the furthest places away, Tasmania, reminded me most of home. It had a similar rocky coastline to that of Skye’.

He also talked about missing his bike and said he was looking forward to getting out on the trails again after the race finish.

So WELL DONE Dan, now you can enjoy the cycling!

Most Recent Entries