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Displaying items by tag: Coastal Rowing

When Fergus Farrell was paralysed after a workplace accident, he may never have imagined he would watch the sunrise as he plied a currach across Galway Bay.

However, the former rugby player did just that with close friend and extreme sports athlete Damian Browne this week, when the pair completed a 40 km (25-mile) row from the Aran islands into Galway city.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

As Afloat reported previously, The row – which took place the morning after Galway city was embroiled in controversy over a large student gathering at Spanish Arch – was completed in less than nine hours.

The pair aimed to highlight their bid to set a new Guinness world record in an unsupported row some 4,937km across the Atlantic in two years’ time.

The two men from Renmore and Athenry have been friends and players with Connacht and Galwegians Rugby Football Club since they were young.

Farrell was diagnosed with a serious spinal cord injury after a workplace accident in 2018.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

After treatment in the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) in Dun Laoghaire, Co Dublin, he walked 206 km from the place of his accident to the NRH in late October 2019, and raised €70,000  for the hospital.

Browne successfully rowed across the Atlantic solo in late 2017-early 2018, enduring nine-metre high swells, head lacerations, a complete steering system failure, a capsize in a storm and a near-miss from a cargo ship.

He completed the crossing in 63 days, 6 hours and 25 minutes.

He has completed the six day, 257km-long Marathon des Sables across the Sahara, and has climbed five of the seven summits or highest peaks on each continent, with Everest in his sights for next spring.

The record of 55 days and 13 hours for an Atlantic crossing from New York to the Scilly Isles was set in 1896 by George Harboe and Frank Samuelsen. They had none of the satellite communications and safety equipment available now for such ventures.

Transatlantic Currach Rowers

Some 11 pairs have attempted to break that record but failed, with six of the 11 completing the crossing.

There have been 52 previous attempted crossings in an unsupported row, with 18 successfully making land in some part of Europe.

Browne and Farrell’s transatlantic bid is named Project Empower, and their ocean rowing boat will be built by master builder Justin Adkin of Seasabre, who also constructed Browne’s vessel for his solo crossing.

Website here: http://www.projectempower.ie/

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Bray Rowing Club said goodbye to its founding member and legend Mr Noel Walsh yesterday (Tuesday, September 16) writes club member Mick O'Toole

Noel, we thank you for your years of commitment and selfless dedication to Bray Rowing Club. A true community man, gone but never forgotten. We will make sure that your years of service to the club will not be in vain and strive to continue the high standards you have set. There is no doubt that the rowing club would not be where it is today without you. You have paved the way for rowing in Bray for generations to come. We are forever grateful.

The sea stood still and the sun shone through for your send-off, something we always pray for on regatta day.

We would like to thank everyone who came to give Noel the send-off he deserved, the turnout was overwhelming and no doubt he was looking down on it a very proud man.

A special thanks to the other clubs on the east coast for making the long journey to show support for Noel. The east coast rowing community stood tall yesterday and it was a testament to the character of the people in the rowing community.

We send our condolences to Anne, John and the extended family.

Rest in Peace Noel, till we meet again my friend.

Published in Coastal Rowing

An inaugural coastal rowing event on August 22nd between Bray Rowing Club and Greystones Rowing Club will feature a traditional skiff rowing challenge along the coastline of Bray and Greystones in County Wicklow.

Spectator viewing will be possible all along the cliff walk from 7 am until the teams reach a distance of 500kms.

The event is to raise funds for a safety boat and to encourage participation in rowing. All of sports Ireland safety guidelines are being followed regarding Covid-19 and social distance.

The Challenge is for each club to row 250 km culminating in a total rowing distance of 500 km. Multiple crews will row legs of the journey starting in Bray and Greystones.

Both clubs would like to be able to increase their youth membership and continue to offer all adult rowers an opportunity to improve their physical and mental well-being. Crews will be made up of all club members from 14 years old to senior rowers working together to achieve a common purpose.

Bray Rowing Club urgently need funds to facilitate its growing membership. The funds raised during the 'Braystones' event will be used to purchase a safety boat.

The purchase of this boat is essential for the clubs continued participation in the regatta series.

A GoFundMe page is available for donations has been set up here.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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An unusual visitor to Glenarm Marina in County Antrim recently was the rowing boat of the GB Row Challenge. After what must have been an uncomfortable time lying in the open in Glenarm Harbour in a north-westerly, the GB Row Challenge berthed alongside a pontoon, permissible for safety reasons.

This event is the ultimate rowing challenge and covers about 2000 miles. Complex tides and very changeable weather mean good navigation skills are required, as well as the tactical ability to make the most of weather and sea conditions, which can be as important as a team’s strength, stamina, and endurance. The race is organised by rowers who have been there themselves, meaning GB Row’s priority is to ensure teams have an enjoyable and safe race round the spectacular British coastline.

Making up the team are skipper Charles Bromhead (21), Oliver Daw-Lane (21) Harry Lidgley ( 22) and Arthur Chatto (20). In these COVID 19 times, they have been living together and as a result are able to race. The money raised will be split between two great causes; The British Red Cross to help with the Covid-19 efforts and Just One Ocean who are committed to preserving the ocean for future generations. The team have been taking water samples for plastics and carrying out acoustic recordings to test sound pollution in the sea. The acoustic recordings will be analysed by RS Aqua and Portsmouth University and it is expected that the water sample testing will be done there too.

They are also aiming to beat the current Guinness World Record for a UK team rowing unaided around Great Britain which was previously also set by a team led by Will de Laszlo in 2005 at 21 days, 21 hours and 14 minutes.

On board is 35 days’ worth of food and they started on 5th July from London’s Tower Bridge. At the time of writing (9th Aug), they are off the Firth of Forth on the East Coast of Scotland so might have to go easy on the rations or do a bit of fishing!

From Tower Bridge, they headed west down the English Channel and encountered very heavy weather before rounding the Lizard to head across the Bristol Channel and up the Irish Sea. From Glenarm, they continued up the North Channel past the stunning Antrim Coast with its impressive headlands and strong tides, round the most northerly point of the British mainland at Dunnet Head and through the Pentland Firth. Now it’s a southerly passage and you can track the boat at undefined

Event owner of GB Row Challenge Ltd., William de Laszlo is keen to encourage interest in the challenge. He says “You can be any nationality, men or women and can sign up. Entries for 2021, 2022 and 2023 are now being accepted”.

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With 22km winds howling around Cork Harbour last Saturday morning, the Ocean to City team should have been in a frenzy reorganising the race routes, but instead, they were online in the middle of launching their Ocean to City Virtual Challenge. From the comfort of their homes the organisers did a countdown for over a hundred participants, from all over the world, who were getting ready to row Ocean to City on their rowing machines.

At 10.30 am the Zoom screens were filled with participants from Ireland, UK, Portugal, USA, Australia, Germany and Lebanon. Race Director Donagh MacArtain began the event talking about the difficult decision to cancel this year’s race and thanking those who supported and continue to support the Cork Harbour Festival: Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Fáilte Ireland and many more who have ensured the future of the festival and Ocean to City. Lord Mayor of Cork City, Cllr. John Sheehan joined in the Zoom meeting to formally welcome all participants. The Lord Mayor spoke on the importance of a collective in these strange times and how vital it is to bring people together. He remembered starting his term as Lord Mayor launching the Lee Swim and how apt it was to finish it with the Ocean to City.

The event had two categories to choose from, the Rowing Machine Challenge – where participants rowed the equivalent time to either the Ocean Course (2hr23min39sec) or the Monkstown Course (1hr1mins12secs). The furthest distance rowed within the time limit would win. The second category was the Fun Time challenge – where participants had to record their most creative rowing or paddling training on land. The event was also joined by UK runner Lawrence Washington who ran for the full Ocean Course time limit, from his home to the town of Porthmadog and back.

The race began at 11am and stayed live on Facebook and Zoom where spectators could watch the efforts of the participants in the rowing challenge. Along with the rowing challenge, participants were asked to send in videos of their creative home training and the submissions were fantastic! All submitted videos are available on oceantocity.com along with the full results on the day.

The 16th Ocean to City was a very different day but thankfully the day and the ethos of this wonderful race was marked, as a community of like-minded people who have a love of the water, of Cork and the spirit to adapt to new circumstances.

Ocean to City – An Rás Mór, the flagship event of Cork Harbour Festival is organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. The event is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Fáilte Ireland and made possible with the help of dozens of Event Partners and hundreds of volunteers.

Cork Harbour Festival will be back next year 5-13 June 2021 with the flagship Ocean to City – An Rás Mór taking place on Saturday 5 June 2021.

Published in Cork Harbour

Portmagee Rowing Club was one of the first coastal rowing clubs in Ireland back on the water on Monday morning. The restrictions were lifted to allow single sculling to begin while using set precautions and observing distancing. Portmagee owns a coastal single scull and the junior members were delighted to be back in action. Portmagee owns several sets of new oars which were purchased under the sports grants last year thus allowing each member to use one specific set preventing cross-contamination and the scull is wiped down with sanitiser after each session. Water, soap and sanitizers are also available at the slip where training takes place.

Portmagee crews usually train on the rowing machines and do gym work during the winter and then move into the crew boats as the weather improves in the spring. Speaking to the athletes at training today, Aoife Murphy (who is also the club PRO) said that it’s been nine weeks since they were last on the water. She found it difficult to keep training at home on the erg and doing circuits as its hard to train on your own, but now is delighted to have all that work done for the coming season. She found a routine at home that allowed her to train daily and is looking forward to the highlight of the season, the Irish Coastal Rowing Championships, later on in the year. She feels that training will be more intense due to the shorter season and is really looking forward to it.

Jane O’Connor found no difficulty getting back into the boat after a nine-week layoff. She also found it hard to remain motivated training on your own as opposed to group training. She finds crew rowing better as you push yourself more during training with others and is also looking forward to the National Championships.

Also during a conversation with our neighbours, Cahersiveen Rowing Club this morning, they revealed that they are preparing to get back on the water with their junior crews in the coming weeks. Cahersiveen has always been recognised as a proud, traditional club that is very passionate about preserving the traditions of our sport for future generations. They have done a massive refurbishment job this winter on their seine boat, the Liberator. The Liberator was built in 1969 by the legendary boat builder, Johnny Mahony of Ardcost, and has been winning races ever since. With a crew ready to go and a boat nearly ready, here’s another club only delighted to be finally able to get back on the water.

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County Down has become an important centre for coastal rowing with clubs dotted around Strangford Lough and the Ards Peninsula. This is very much a community-based activity with skiffs active at Strangford, Portaferry, Portavogie, Donaghadee, Dundrum, Killyleagh, Sketrick, Strangford, and Kircubbin. There is also rowing at Ardglass and Ballywalter.

Down Coastal Rowing Association was set up in 2014 by the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) working with the PSNI to revive traditional boatbuilding and coastal rowing as part of a wider effort to regenerate communities through their maritime heritage. It was approved by the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) as part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas, supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and Down District and Ards Borough Councils.

This revival of an old sport has been a phenomenal success with community boats built, virtually all St Ayles skiffs, and clubs established. The St Ayles class has spread very quickly with numbers growing all the time. A key player in the construction of the boats is Jeremy Duffin of Strangford.

Northern Ireland coastal rowingNorthern Ireland coastal rowing

Strangers become friends and teamworking has forged relationships across and between communities. There is also healthy competition and each community holds training and competitive activities all year round.

"Teamwork has forged relationships across and between communities"

The rowing has also brought people into contact with the area's landscape and wildlife and they, in turn, have helped to look after it, taking care not to disturb seals and birds and taking part in shore clean-ups. This is important because Strangford Lough is an Area of Special Scientific Importance.

The World Championships, (Skiffie Worlds) were held in Strangford Lough in 2016, hosted by Strangford Lough & Lecale Partnership (SLLP) working closely with the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association (SCRA), and with the support of local councils and communities along the County Down Coast. Last year Stranraer hosted the World Championships in which the Dundrum team were the overall winners.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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St. Patrick’s Rowing Club Ringsend has received a national IPB Pride of Place award for their commitment to the community.

The 17th Annual All-Ireland Pride of Place Gala Awards Ceremony was held in the Lyrath Hotel in Kilkenny last Saturday night the 30th November 2019.

The purpose of the IPB competition is to acknowledge the work being done every day by communities all over the island of Ireland. Since the competition commenced the IPB judges
have met hundreds of thousands of people, all of whom are proud of their place. St Patrick’s Rowing Club won the best Urban Neighbourhood project in an area with a population of
between 1,000 – 2,000 category.

The judges were particularly impressed with St. Patrick’s Rowing Club with its role as a “key community energiser in their area, which actively involves community, influences well-being and cares for the vulnerable in its area.”

Eimear McCormack Public Relations Officer for St. Patrick’s Rowing Club said: “This award showcases our club at a national level and credits those who volunteer to keep our club
going year on year”. She went on to say “however, we can’t forget past members to laid the foundations of the club and set the community ethos of the club we are today. This is a
fantastic achievement and one we will celebrate for a long time”.

St. Patrick’s Rowing Club is no stranger to awards, last year the club won “Dublin’s Best Sports Club” awarded by the listeners of 98FM and this year they were highly commended
by Dublin City Council for the upkeep of their club area.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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The World Coastal Rowing Championships were a big success.

The Hong Kong sights provided a spectacular backdrop for a huge event. Ireland sent a big team, with multiple A Finalists, five in the solo women’s class: our top two, Sionna Healy of Arklow and Miriam Sheehan of Castletownbere, placed seventh and eighth.

Here are some striking images which recall this memorable occasion:

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Two rowers from the St. Michael’s Rowing Club Dún Laoghaire, Colm Crily and Martin Dowd, qualified for and participated in the World Coastal Rowing Championships, which took place from the 1st to the 4th of November in Hong Kong. This is the first time that rowers representing the club participated in a World Championship. They competed in a coastal double scull (CMx2).

The team faced a difficult qualifying heat on the first day, Friday, when they rowed a 4,000m course consisting of 5 turning points, as they had to deal with an unexpected hand injury, but they managed to qualify for the Final B on Saturday, where they placed 14th.

‘Participating in the Worlds was an amazing experience for the team, as we were venturing into uncharted territory for us.’ said Colm Crilly.

St. Michaels rowing2Colm Crily and Martin Dowd, qualified for and participated in the World Coastal Rowing Championships

‘It was a tough competition, but we are proud to have represented the club and worn the colours. Thank you to everyone for their support,’ said Martin Dowd.

The St. Michael’s Rowing Club has so far promoted traditional East Coast clinker built skiff rowing, building on the heritage of the hobblers of old. Having two rowers compete in a men’s double coastal scull is an exciting beginning for the club, which is currently looking to expand its current fleet of 6 skiffs and a One Design boat to include a Celtic Longboat.

‘This is a great feat for the team. The club is delighted and proud of what they achieved.’ said Gary Bryne, St. Michael’s Captain. ‘We would like to thank the organisers, Rowing Ireland and Irish Offshore Rowing for their efforts in promoting this wonderful sport.’

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Page 1 of 7

Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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