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Regatta cup ensures Frank's spirit lives on

By Craig Christie

Findhorn Coastal Rowing Club, Findhorn Regatta, Frank Whyte, Joppa, Rowing, Sailing
Findhorn Coastal Rowing Club, Findhorn Regatta, Frank Whyte, Joppa, Rowing, Sailing

FINDHORN Coastal Rowing Club honoured one of the village's sailing heroes at their latest event.

Rowers braved stormy conditions for the second Findhorn Regatta, with the gusts failing to dislodge the spirit of the competitors.

The event introduced a special prize in memory of the late Frank Whyte, a well-known Findhorn sailor and boat builder.

Frank was a leading figure in the building of the Findhorn skiff, 'Joppa', and in getting the rowing club off the ground, but tragically died in a sailing incident two years ago.

In his honour, the Spirit of Joppa prize was given to the team showing "generosity towards fellow rowers in the spirit of good seamanship", as the award criteria states.

The trophy was created by James Chitty, a member of Findhorn Coastal Rowing Club and a past captain of the club.

It was awarded this year to Nairn Coastal Rowing Club, who were participating in their first regatta, only a week after launching their newly-built skiff.

The Findhorn Club then took the opportunity to present a cheque for £500 from club funds to the Whyte Family Trust, an initiative created by Frank's family to improve mortuary provision in Moray.

For the regatta, gusting winds on Findhorn Bay created challenging conditions on the water but the weather, with a serious chill in the strong wind, didn't deter 12 skiff teams from as far away as Golspie and Collieston from braving the journey.

On the water, a lot of effort was needed by the crews to push out across the bay in the short sprints. There was no shortage of support as fellow team members and supporters stood on the piers to cheer on their hard-working crews.

However, as the force of the gusts increased, the day's events had to be cut short for the safety of all on the water. Only two of the sprint races – which were done in six heats with two skiffs at a time – were completed. A third sprint event and all three long race events were pulled, as conditions worsened, but at least all clubs had had the opportunity to row.

Times and scores for the completed races brought the overall prize to the Cromarty club, who went home happily with a bottle of Benromach whisky, generously donated by Gordon & MacPhail, and an engraved quaich.

Findhorn Coastal Rowing Club encourages anyone aged over 16 from complete novices to experienced rowers to join.

The club's most recent 'have a go row' session on Saturday had to be cancelled but will be rescheduled. Visit www.findhorncoastalrowing.co.uk for latest events or email admin@findhorncoastalrowing.co.uk for more information.

The club shed is located next to the Kimberley Inn bar.

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