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Displaying items by tag: Offshore Rowing

Ireland’s first solo transatlantic oarswoman Dr Karen Weekes crossed the finishing line off Barbados yesterday evening after 80 days at sea.

Light winds made for a slow final two-knot passage into the Caribbean island where a team of Irish supporters joined Bajans to welcome her ashore.

However, official adjudicator the Ocean Rowing Society confirmed that her 2,614 nautical mile trip was “100 per cent” complete last night, even as she was waiting to step ashore.

Ocean rowers have to pass through a set of co-ordinates set by the society in the vicinity of land to have completed their transit.

Weekes, a sports psychologist from Kinvara, Co Galway, becomes not only the first Irish woman to have completed the solo crossing, but the 20th female globally to have rowed an ocean on her own.

Cork mountaineer and fellow adventurer Mick Murphy, who was one of the welcoming party, confirmed that a couple of boats had gone out to meet her.

Dr Karen Weekes The Ocean Rowing Society confirmed that Weekes' 2,614 nautical mile trip was “100 per cent” complete last night, even as she was waiting to step ashore Photo: Mick Murphy

Recording her last video by sunset on her 79th day out, Weekes was in good spirits but spoke of a “hard grind” against a north-easterly wind which was pushing her constantly south towards the Venezuelan coastline.

However, “patience is the key”, she said, adding she couldn’t wait to reach land again and meet her project team and sponsors who have given her so much support over the past year.

Atlantic storms and squalls, a close encounter with a hammerhead shark and early steering problems were among her many hurdles after she set out from Puerto de Mogan, Gran Canaria on December 6th.

On her birthday, she completed one of the first of several swims under “Millie” to clear the hull of barnacles slowing progress.

She witnessed spectacular meteor showers, was escorted by dolphins and curious dorade fish, and provided a refugee for exhausted storm petrels.

However, she said her main focus on approach to southern Barbados was to avoid shipping and to be mindful of coral reef.

Weekes, who lectures at Munster Technological University, has already sailed the Atlantic twice, circumnavigated both Ireland and the Lofoten islands off Norway in a kayak.

She has cycled solo and unsupported 4,000 miles across Canada, through Alaska and the Yukon among other adventures

Along with Orla Knight, a physical education teacher at Castletroy College in Co Limerick, she cycled across North America from San Francisco to Washington DC.

Unlike other extreme challenges, a solo row allows no time for a break or a rest, she has pointed out.

Weekes is undertaking her row, after costs, for two charities, the Laura Lynn Foundation and the RNLI.

A welcome reception has been planned for her by Barbados Tourism in Bridgetown, while well wishers in Kinvara gathered in Tully’s Bar last night to watch her final row relayed by satellite onto a big screen.

More details on her GoFundMe page and on her progress tracker are on her website here

Published in Coastal Rowing

The Irish Offshore Rowing Championships take place in the village of Portmagee on the weekend of the 26th/27th of September. This is the second time that the Portmagee Rowing Club has been awarded the honour of hosting the National Championships. The event is being run under the auspices of Rowing Ireland, the National Governing Body for all types of rowing in Ireland.

Running any event in these challenging times is difficult, but the club is delighted with the support they have received from the local community, the volunteers from other clubs and the club members who have freely given their time over the last few months. The restrictions imposed by the Covid 19 pandemic will mean a lot of extra work in contact tracing, sanitising and crowd control, but these are necessary to run a safe event under the government guidelines. With hardly any regattas this year, the athletes are really looking forward to competing and training has been stepped up in all clubs around the country during the last few months.

The event will start at 8 am on Saturday morning with the crew captains meeting and the racing will start at 9 am. First up are the heats for the men's double. The heats will run all day Saturday and only the top five in each heat will qualify for the finals. There will be two finals run on Saturday, the women's quad at 10 am and the women's double at 12.30.

The favourites for the women's quad have to be Killorglin who are aiming to make it 3 in a row. They have two-time world champion Monika Dukarska and World Junior finalist, Rhiannon O'Donoghue in their ranks. However Castletownshend also have a very strong crew and with the local Portmagee crew medalling in Bantry three weeks ago as well, it has the makings of a very competitive race. The second Saturday final is also dominated by Killorglin who have three crews and Castletownshend, but the course on the Portmagee channel is tight and tricky and requires excellent navigational skills as well as rowing ability so a surprise result is quite possible here.

Sunday racing begins at 9.30 with the men's double final. In the Bantry regatta Callinafercy, Killorglin and Myross gave a great account of themselves before being led to the line by the winners, a composite crew of Dave Duggan from Kilmacsimon and Tom Stafford of Killurin. With more crews entered this time around it's anyone's race. This will be followed by the men's single final. James Lupton from Myross had a fine win in Bantry and would be the favourite in this race, but there is real quality in the opposition he faces. Andrew Hurley from Bantry was a close second last year and if he gets out in front it will be very hard to reel him in. Former three-time gold medalist Cormac Kelly from Arklow lines out alongside powerful Galley Flash oarsman, John Harrington, as well. Dark horses for this event could be the former Czech international Marko Tot and Rosscarbery's Kealin Mannix while Bryan Foran will represent the home club.

Next up is the men's quad. Myross have a lot of work put in this year and put on a superb display to win in Bantry. However last year's champions, Wicklow will be returning to the water and Muckross have 2 crews, one containing Irish Olympian, Paul Griffin and they have a very strong chance. St Michaels from Limerick will also compete along with Callinafercy who were also placed in Bantry.

The women's single has two very strong boats from Killorglin, Zoe Hyde and the aforementioned Monica Dukarska. They will line up against 2018 champion, Sionna Healy from Arklow and Xena Jordan who medalled in 2018 as well.

The mixed double is the last race and has a large entry of 16 crews. It's the hardest one to call. In Bantry three weeks ago, there was nothing much between the first 8 boats at the first mark, but Cormac Kelly and Sionna Healy from Arklow did just enough to clear their boat and steer clear of the packed field. Again good navigation will decide the winners of this race. The Portmagee club would like to extend a warm welcome to all clubs for the weekend and wish you all the best of luck on the water.

Published in Coastal Rowing
Tagged under
27th February 2018

Big Year for Three Rowing Codes

#Rowing: The year 2018 is set to be big one for Rowing Ireland. The National Rowing Centre will host a festival of rowing over three weeks in July. The Irish Championships, with an anticipated entry of over 1,100 crews, is first up. This is followed a week later by the Home International Regatta between Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. The highlight of the festival will be the Coupe de la Jeunesse, which is a European junior tournament, with crews from 14 countries set to compete. All of this activity is taking place in Olympic or river style boats.

 Now there are two other rowing codes under the Rowing Ireland umbrella.

 In 2017 Rowing Ireland formed an Offshore Division. Offshore rowing or “FISA Coastal” rowing takes place in single, double and quad scull boats which are wider than Olympic boats and are self-bailing. The crews race a course with multiple turns around a single buoy where navigation is as important as pulling hard. The inaugural Irish Offshore Rowing Championships were held in Arklow in 2017. Over 20 crews competed in the FISA World Championships in France and they returned with a silver medal, taken by Monika Dukarska.

 Rowing Ireland also created a Coastal Division in 2017. Coastal rowing has a tradition going back centuries and was often associated with boats rowing out to arriving ships to obtain work. Competition in traditional wooden boats or coastal fours takes place in lanes, with crews rounding individual buoys before returning to the start/finish line. The inaugural  Irish Coastal Rowing Championships under the aegis of Rowing Ireland will take place in the National Rowing Centre in August on a separate part of the lake to the Olympic course.

 Rowing Ireland brought boats from all three codes together for the first time at the National Rowing Centre on Saturday, February 24th for the picture above.

Published in Rowing