For over 150 years sea rowing has taken place on the Yorkshire coast between the Tees and the Humber, beginning with friendly rivalry between the fisherman and the jet miners from Blyth (sometimes known as the German Ocean Race) the sport has progressed to what it is today.
The heavy fishing cobles have been replaced with racing gigs which apart from being clinker built, bear little resemblance to their predecessors.
The modern-day boat is light and fast, with provision for four oarsmen and a cox. Sliding seats and outriggers are not part of the boat design, and the exposed position of the rowers can result in wetting in all but the calmest seas.
The Scarborough Amateur Rowing Club was founded in May 1869, and is the oldest surviving Rowing Club on the North East Coast.
The first wooden boats were made locally, and raced coast-guard boats in Regattas organised by visiting businessmen. These boats were stored in an empty coastguard shed on the West Pier before permanent premises were obtained in 1874 on the nearby Foreshore Road. Taken over from the local lodge of the Grand Order of Druids, the building was developed for rowing purposes.
Competitive success eluded the Club for many years. The local rivals from the two Whitby rowing clubs proving too strong in all rowing events. This altered in 1979 when all three clubs tied for overall points awarded in the eight events at Scarborough Regatta, the home club winning four events outright. That was followed by a Scarborough Men’s Over 30’s crew winning their event at the Whitby Regatta, the first time in over 50 years.
Two years later in 1981, saw the start of the Scarborough club’s dominance of the “Blue Riband” event, the Men’s Senior Race, this putting the Scarborough club firmly on the rowing scene.