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Who Will be King Cong in Race the Length of Lough Corrib this Saturday?

26th June 2019
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Attractive start port – Lisloughry Harbour at Cong will see the start of Saturday’s Cong-Galway race on Lough Corrib Attractive start port – Lisloughry Harbour at Cong will see the start of Saturday’s Cong-Galway race on Lough Corrib

Life was simpler back in 1882 when the sailing folk of Galway Bay and the stunningly beautiful Lough Corrib inaugurated the Galway to Cong race the length of the great lake writes W M Nixon. People didn’t have cars, and still less had they efficient road trailers. So if you raced the whole way from Galway up the lake to Cong, you then had to expect to sail back again, and you’d have covered at least 60 miles by the time the day was out, though it’s likely they made at least two days of it.

But now with modern road trailers and dinghies dominant, complex logistics enter the equation. Since its revival in 1972, the race has been just one way – southwards from Cong to Corrib Village in Galway city. In order to ensure a smooth state of affairs after the finish, competitors are offered the option of leaving their boats by road at Lisloughry beforehand, then leaving their cars and trailers at Corrib Village where a bus will be on hand early in the Saturday morning to get them back to their waiting boats in Cong.

lough corrib2The basic shape of Lough Corrib indicated in this plan gives some idea of the length of Saturday’s race, but doesn’t fully reveal the lake’s island-studded nature (below) Photo: W M Nixon
lough corrib3Not only is the race now a convenient half size in length (though still all of 30 miles), but there’s a pit stop for lunch and conviviality at Kilbeg, more or less halfway down the lake where the expansive Corrib is at its narrowest, and there’s a pub nearby. But the very fact that your car and trailer are waiting at the south end of the lake is a real spur to completing the event

On the other hand, with people making last-minute decisions based on the fickle weather of 2019, maybe the handiest contact is direct to organiser John Barry, Rear Commodore (Dinghies) Galway Bay SC, at 086-8111269 – he reports that entries already in range from 420s to a selection of RS dinghies, participant ages are from 15 to 85, and there’s a strong female contingent taking on the challenge.

Meanwhile, the GBSC cruisers are recovering from their Summer Solstice Cruise to the Aran Islands at the weekend, which had a dozen boats taking part. While the sail round Inishmore on Saturday enjoyed Mediterranean conditions, Sunday brought driving easterly rain and a very damp beat home - all very character-building stuff.

Published in Galway Harbour
WM Nixon

About The Author

WM Nixon

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William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland for many years in print and online, and his work has appeared internationally in magazines and books. His own experience ranges from club sailing to international offshore events, and he has cruised extensively under sail, often in his own boats which have ranged in size from an 11ft dinghy to a 35ft cruiser-racer. He has also been involved in the administration of several sailing organisations.

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