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Nithraid River Race 2023

September 2 @ 12:30 pm - 3:30 pm


Nithraid is back! Join us on the river and battle it our for the best time. Sailing, Rowing , Kayaks and other water vessels welcome!

The Nith is a tidal river that runs through the historic market town of Dumfries, connecting the town to the sea, which in the 18th century saw the town and its neighbouring villages of Glencaple and Kingholm Quay become Scotland’s largest and busiest trading ports.

To celebrate this rich history, we hold an annual River Race, which sees teams of coastal rowers, sailing boats and various person-powered vessels race the river, battling for the best time with each boat carrying a cargo that was traded in those times.

The river’s importance to Dumfries as the region’s largest market town is immortalised in the Nithraid logo. Our festival mascot, ‘Salty Coo’ symbolises the historic journey made by herds of cattle, led by their farmers, across the river at low tide, from Maxwelltown on the west bank to the cattle market at Whitesands on the east side of the river. This historic crossing site now marks the half-way point of the Nithraid River Race.

Please read the race rules on our website (link below) as you will be required to declare that you have read the race rules and notes and agreed to comply with them when when booking your ticket.

Date: Saturday 2nd September 2023
Course: Glencaple to Mill Green, Dumfries and back.
Pre-race brief: Glencaple – venue TBC
Start time: 1300 BST (+ or – 0.30)
Entry fee: £15 per boat.Classes: Unrestricted sailing dinghy race. Coastal Rowing Assoc. St Ayles Skiffs.Racing KayaksOther watercraftHW Dumfries: 1430hrs. BST
Course: The 2023 Nithraid is a River Race in two parts over a navigable section of the river Nith between Glencaple and Dumfries. Final details of the start procedure will be given at the pre-race briefing. Please refer to the maps posted on the Stove/Nithraid website.

Part 1. Glencaple to Dumfries

Start: 1300 (or later) at Start Line, Lifeboat Station.

Finish: Dumfries Finish Line, between Mill Green Dumfries and Whitesands steps.

Interval for Picnic Lunch on Mill green

Part 2. Dumfries to Glencaple.

Start: 1500 approx. Dumfries Finish Line

Finish: Start Line, Glencaple Lifeboat Station

Notes: Nithraid is a celebration of the river Nith in the life of the community and a regular racing fixture on the national calendar. Please tell everyone you know who may be interested in taking part to contact the organisers.

Race start & times: Because of the strength of the flood tide the start will be a staggered running start with a time taken as each boat crosses the start and finish lines. Details will be confirmed at the briefing. Times below are for guidance. Crews should arrive with enough time to prepare their boats for racing, leave them at the slipway then attend the briefing where numbers and other details will be given out.

Approx. start times

Sailing vessels: 1300 Others: 1300Coastal Rowing Assoc: 1315Racing Kayaks: 1330Return – All vessels: 1500 (at your discretion)

Distance, tide and wind:The distance is 5.25 miles each way. The race will be with the tide in both directions but, please note, one leg is likely to be against the wind.

With the wind assisting it will take sailing boats about 1 hour. Against the wind it could take 2 hours. Normal winds in August are SW. The incoming tide can be quite strong at Glencaple, care must be taken when launching.

Winner:There will be an overall winner in each class: sailing, coastal rowing, kayak and other, based on their aggregated times, up and downstream. A timetable will be published so that crews can also see their split times. Boats will be given cargoes at the briefing which they will carry from Glencaple to Dumfries. To complete the first leg of the race cargoes must be deposited at the stakeboat on the Dumfries finish line.

Prize-giving at the Barbour Hall after the race.

Safety:Boat crews must wear buoyancy aids while on the water. There will be safety boats in attendance. A competing boat shall give all possible help to any person or vessel in danger in the absence of a safety boat.

Bridges:There are three bridges on the course, the clearance under the lowest is about 14ft. in the centre of the span. Sailing vessels with an air-draft of anything approaching this will have to lower their masts, or capsize, to get under them. A Mirror dinghy, for instance, can get under by dipping the gunter, but a GP14 must lower its mast.

Anyone who has not taken part before and needs information or guidance about this, please contact markzygadlo@btinternet.com

Trophies: Would last year’s trophy winners please return them. They have every chance of winning them again this year

Nithraid Racing Rules:

General: There are likely to be concentrations of competing boats at the start, finish and at bridges. The river is a restricted space so please let common sense and good sportsmanship prevail. Normal racing rules apply and:1. When in proximity to sailing vessels, all other boats are considered as ‘powered’ and must give way if on closing courses.2. All vessels approaching each other on reciprocal courses must pass, port-to-port.

Sailors: There are no marks on the course.

1. Normal racing rules apply between sailing boats.

2. A sailing boat being passed by a powered vessel must not change course unless tacking of necessity, and if so, shall hail or signal the overtaking boat of its intention to tack in advance.

3. A sailing boat overtaking a powered boat may pass either side and must hail them in advance.

4. A sailing boat that is rowing will become a powered vessel while rowing.

Coastal Rowing and Other boats:

1. Boats may pass either side of each other. An overtaking boat must hail the boat ahead in advance. 2. A boat being overtaken must not alter course to avoid or block being passed.

£15 Per boat


River Nith
United Kingdom + Google Map