The Club

Crab’s first St Ayles Skiff

The Coastal Rowing Association of Blakeney (CRAB) is a friendly, inclusive and approachable group based in North Norfolk, England. We encourage coastal rowing for fitness & pleasure as well as racing.

CRAB is centred around 2 St Ayles Skiffs, built and maintained by the club. These are 22’ fixed seat boats, for 4 rowers & cox, designed for coastal use. Stable, dry, and light enough to be launched by the crew, they are based at Blakeney in summer, and Barton Broad for the winter

All members have full use of the boats, the only constraint being that all outings must include an ‘Authorised Rower’, one of many in the Club, who is formally recognised as having the experience & expertise required to ensure safety.

Boats have participated in National and International events such as the Great River Race in London, the Ocean to City Race in Cork, Ireland, and the Semaine du Golfe festival in France.

We welcome new members and enjoy teaching people to row. We do not assume or require anything beyond normal levels of physical fitness. Subscriptions are kept low (£75 PA in 2021) and members are involved in all aspects of the club, including maintenance, transport and organisation.

Prospective members are encouraged to participate in 3 ‘have a go’ rows before making any commitment. Please click on Members and use the email link on that page to get in touch.

Organisation of the Club
CRAB operates under a formal constitution and is organised by a committee elected by the membership at an AGM. Communication and organisation are web & email based, including an on-line booking system used by members to set up outings on a peer-to-peer basis.  

How an Outing is organised
Sessions are only booked using an on-line calendar. This is pre-set with days and times that are available for outings at Blakeney, taking account of tide & daylight. These are the only times that rowing is possible. Outings must include an authorised user who has the final say on the row proceeding or not, having regard to weather, crew experience etc.

Any member can put their name down for any available time slot and there is no requirement for an authorised user to initiate one. Members keep an eye on the calendar and, typically, once a slot gathers a name or two, more join in, including one of the authorised users. Outings are for 5 crew members.  A passenger may be taken, but solely at the authorised user’s discretion.

In the event of adverse weather threatening a row, the Authorised User will contact the crew to cancel. Every attempt is made to do this so that people do not travel needlessly but circumstances may dictate that a row will be cancelled when the crew turns up. 

Club etiquette is to arrive before the time stated for rows booked, unless told otherwise. This allows time for boat preparation. Crew members are responsible for all aspects of launch, recovery, cleaning etc. Times given on the calendar are when the tide should allow launching. 

In the event of a crew member having to withdraw, etiquette is for them to email all club members to see if anyone can take over and to keep the rest of the crew and Authorised User informed.

Rows are typically 2 hours in duration, have breaks, and vary in the physical effort required. Hydration is vital and rowers should carry their own (ample) drink and snacks.

The launch & recovery at Blakeney requires that you stand in the water up to your knees.  You should wear shorts or trousers & footwear that you do not mind getting wet and rowing in whilst wet.

Launching the boat at Barton Turf, if done correctly, does not involve getting wet.

The boats are kept in the dinghy park at Blakeney (the Carnser). The NT car park at the Carnser is tidal and will flood. Please see and take account of the tide notice on the shed at the entrance. Rows always take place before high tide so, if in doubt about water levels, confer with other crew members or park at the Village Hall.

Clothing & Equipment

Club policy requires everyone on board wear a lifejacket when on the water.

Clothing for general exercise, such as running or cycling, is suitable but should be weather appropriate. For example, it is advisable to always bring a windproof jacket or a fleece as body temperature can drop quickly when you stop rowing and the effect of wind whilst on the water must be considered. Sunscreen is essential in summer.
Sailing/weightlifting/cycling gloves are useful to protect hands. Pads are provided for the boat’s seats, but some rowers wear cycling or wet suit shorts to prevent rubbing or blisters. Extra pads are sometimes used on seats.  

Rowing regattas, races and events
These events are subject to organisation appropriate to the event. Members will be informed of arrangements by the Captain of Rowing. Seat fees, travel and accommodation costs and towing expenses are not paid by the club and are the responsibility of the attendees. CRAB will not book accommodation or organise members’ travel. Members attending events are expected to wear CRAB kit.