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Displaying items by tag: Coastal Rowing

There was disappointment for Irish coastal rowing fans at the weekend when Dalkey Rowing Club cancelled its 90th-anniversary Regatta on Dublin Bay due to an adverse weather forecast. 

Unfortunately, the forecast for Sunday worsened and organisers deemed it unsafe to stage the event despite a strong entry, a full card and having laid the course in Scotsman's Bay in the south of the Bay for the two-day event.

"In a statement on social media, the club said: "The tides in Scotsman’s Bay don’t allow a full days card (when they’re low they’re low) which is why it [the regatta] was over two days. And we can’t then run only half a card, it had to be all races or none. It’s the winds that are the issue and we had to be safe for everyone’s sake".

Published in Coastal Rowing

The Airport Police & Fire Service Rowing Club has thanked River Liffey-based St. Patrick’s Rowing Club in Dublin city for the loan of its quad boat to train for this year’s ‘challenging’ club charity event.

‘Endeavoar 2022’ is a 250-kilometre coastal row along the West Coast of Ireland in aid of the three Dublin Airport Authority staff charities which are, St. Francis Hospice, Feed our Homeless and The Mater Foundation.

Part of the challenge will be to climb Sceilg Mhíchíl and then continue north passing The Blasket Islands, The Cliffs of Moher, The Burren and finally into Galway Bay.

The club says this “three-day event will be one of the most challenging and spectacular we have ever attempted”.

Unfortunately, strong winds thwarted plans for the scheduled May 19th start but it is hoped to make the attempt again in September.

“Thanks to St. Patrick's Rowing Club for allowing us to train using their boat and to Portmagee Rowing Club for giving us their offshore quad during the event. Without their kindness we could not attempt this challenge”, the club ytold followers on social media.

Thanks to St. Patrick's Rowing Club for allowing us to train using their boat

The donate page is here

Published in Coastal Rowing

From 6.30 am on a damp and drizzly Sunday morning May 1st, 29 boats of all shapes and sizes started to arrive on Clogherhead Strand to prepare for the sixth Annual Boyne Boat Race, taking place later that morning writes Sarah McCann of Inver Colpa Rowing Club

The race was a huge success with the Inver Colpa Men’s crew not only winning their category, but also taking home the inaugural Cassidy Cup.

Speaking after the event the club Chairperson James McKevitt, who was also a member of the winning men’s crew stated:

The day was a huge success for the club and all involved. The Boyne Boat Race hadn’t been held since 2019 due to Covid, so it was very exciting to bring the event back. All the members put in a great effort in organising the race, with special mention going to Grace and her race committee. The club are very grateful to the many who made the day possible: Drogheda Port, Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue & Recovery, the RNLI, and the Red Cross. We are also indebted to our sponsors: Flogas, The Mariner, and Grennan’s Bar.

Even though the route up the river from the mouth of the Boyne is so scenic, passing maiden tower, Baltray, Queensborough, Beaulieu House, and in under the viaductEven though the route up the river from the mouth of the Boyne is so scenic, passing maiden tower, Baltray, Queensborough, Beaulieu House, and in under the viaduct Photo: Robert Hatch

The two Inver Colpa race crews, both mens and ladies, put in a mammoth effort on the day and in the months leading up to it in training. The race itself is a real challenge - 15.5km long, starting on the open sea at Clogherhead and then entering the Boyne at Mornington, requiring the cox of each crew to navigate the Boyne into Drogheda, and finish under the De Lacy bridge at Scotch Hall.

James continued: It was fitting to see so many friends, family and Drogheda folk line the river and quays cheering on the rowers. A true spectacle seeing nearly 30 boats crossing the town waters. Even though the route up the river from the mouth of the Boyne is so scenic, passing maiden tower, Baltray, Queensborough, Beaulieu House, and in under the viaduct, all the participants were rowing too hard to notice! It is a very special route considering the history of that short stretch of river, following in the wash of St. Patrick, the Vikings, and even the Salmon of Knowledge. Our own Gerry Hodgins is said to be still trying to catch that Salmon!

This year saw a record number of entrants into the race with crews travelling from as far as Strangford Lough, Ballygally and Whitehead in Northern Ireland, along with crews from Dublin and Wicklow, amongst others. The boats that travelled across the country to compete were a mixture of East Coast skiffs, St. Ayles skiffs, currachs, All-Ireland one-design boats, Fiesas and Celtic Longboats.

The weather didn't dampen anyone's spiritsThe weather didn't dampen anyone's spirits Photo: Robert Hatch

Glenda Carter, Club Secretary and a member of the women’s crew commented: The weather didn't dampen anyone's spirits on Sunday. It was great to see so many boats on Clogherhead Strand that day after two years of not being able to host the race due to the pandemic. We're really proud of the effort put into the race organisation by all our club members and look forward to it being even bigger & better next year!

Boyne Boat Race 2022 results

Skiffs St Ayles - Men - Strangford Lough - 1:45:46

Skiffs St Ayles - Women - Strangford Lough - 1:55:24

Currach - Mixed - Carlingford Lough - 1:55:37

East Coast Skiffs - Men - St. Patrick's - 1:28:37

East Coast Skiffs - Mixed - St Michael's - 1:42:46

All Ireland One Design - Men - Inver Colpa - 1:30:55

All Ireland One Design - Women - Castle - 1:37:53

All Ireland One Design - Mixed - Whitehead - 1:25:35

Celtic Long Boats - Women - Vartry - 1:47:35

Celtic Long Boats - Mixed - Vartry - 1:44:30

Fiesa’s - Male Double - Greystones - 1:19:32

Fiesa’s - Mixed Double - Vartry - 1:35:49

Fiesa’s - Male Quad - Vartry - 1:12:37

Sixth Boyne Boat Race Photo Gallery by Richie Hatch and Tony Campbell

Published in Coastal Rowing

The “All in a Row” team which smashed a 1,000 km target in eight hours on the Liffey late last year has presented €20,000 to two leading marine rescue charities.

The RNLI’s Howth station and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit were nominated to benefit from the event, held last December on the River Liffey.

Some 40 skiffs, kayaks, canoes and currachs participated in the event, which started from St. Patrick’s Rowing Club at the Tom Clarke Bridge (formerly the East Link Bridge).

Rowers turned at the Ha’penny Bridge, before heading back downriver to the Tom Clarke Bridge.

Rose Michael, (right) Howth RNLI Lifeboats and Pauline McGann, RNLI Community Manager receiving the funds raised

The event, now an annual challenge, is undertaken to raise monies for marine rescue and also to highlight the Liffey as one of Dublin’s best amenities, according to the organisers.

Speaking at the presentation, Mayor of Irishtown/Ringsend Derek Buckley said “the local community effort involved in raising these funds is remarkable and we look forward to hosting this event in our community again next December”.

The All in a Row Crew are Dave Kelly (Chair) - Draiocht Na Life, Philip Murphy -St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Eoin Gaffney - Phoenix Masters Swimming Club, Mick Curry -Stella Maris Rowing Club, Peter Carey – Phoenix Rowing Club, Tony Kelly – East Wall Water Sports Group, Dave Cox – St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Chris Kennedy – St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Gerry Coonan – Wild Water Kayak Club, Eimear McCormack – St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Seamus Hallahan – Dublin Vikings Dragon Boats, Eugene Kierans & Richard Kaye – Irish Underwater Search and Recovery and Rose Michael, Royal National Lifeboat Association Howth Station.

On the water support was provided by RNLI Dun Laoghaire, Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club, East Wall Water Sports Centre, Irish Underwater Search and Recovery and the No. 11 Liffey Ferry.

The Sea Scouts from 1st Port Dublin and 5th Wicklow (Bray) provided “very welcome hot drinks ashore”, the organisers said.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Kilrush may be best known internationally these days as the place where the Dublin Bay 21 fleet - originally from 1902 - is being re-born through the developing skills of the Steve Morris-led boat-building team in the south Clare harbour town.

But the local maritime group Seol Sionna have long been noted for their breadth of interests, and though their flagship continues to be the charismatic 25ft Shannon Hooker re-creation Sally O’Keeffe – one of the best-looking character boats in Ireland – the group’s members and associates take in a wide selection of craft, one of the more recent being a new-build gleoiteog – the Naomh Fanchea – which chimes very well with the spirit of the times as her auxiliary is an electric motor.

The St Ayles skiff concept is now well provenThe St Ayles skiff concept is now well proven

In recent months as pandemic regulations ease, Seol Sionna have added yet another dimension by building themselves a St Ayles skiff in one of Steve Morris’s sheds under the tutelage of Steve himself. Although the 22ft St Ayles design by Iain Oughtred has very specific origins at Fair Isle in the far north beyond Scotland, midway between the Orkneys and Shetland, the result – thanks to edge-glued marine ply clinker construction with just six planks per side – is a four-oared easily-handled craft of notable lightness, a more manageable proposition for a small group than the traditional 32ft Irish coastal rowing skiff.

The new Kilrush skiff starts to take shapeThe new Kilrush skiff starts to take shape

The new skiff ready for turning in Kilrush – any Viking would feel at home with this hull shapeThe new skiff ready for turning in Kilrush – any Viking would feel at home with this hull shape

For an organisation like Seaol Sionna, this offers the option of easy trailering to rowing and trad-sailing events at some distance from Kilrush. For although Kilrush undoubtedly feels like the hub of the universe when you’re actually there, other “less important” traditional boat centres tend to seem a long way away, and maintaining healthy interaction with them will be facilitated by a proper road trailer being part of the grant package which made the project possible.

The traditional classic Sally O’Keeffe slipping effortlessly along on a sunny Shannon Estuary evening   The traditional classic Sally O’Keeffe slipping effortlessly along on a sunny Shannon Estuary evening  

That said, most of the new boat’s activity will be in the Shannon Estuary, and as she is just about as different as possible in concept from the hefty but surprisingly swift Sally O’Keeffe, a certain level of competition can be expected in the local sailing waters round Scattery Island. The St Ayles boat may be primarily a rowing craft, but they can give a good account of themselves under sail, and the challenge is right there, ready and waiting.

Encouraging junior sailing talent at the helm – Sally O’Keeffe plays a central role in the maritime life of Kilrush.Encouraging junior sailing talent at the helm – Sally O’Keeffe plays a central role in the maritime life of Kilrush.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Dr Karen Weekes will be spending Christmas Day, New Year’s day and more at sea on her 3,000-mile row from the Canaries to the Caribbean in her bid to become the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic.

Weekes, the Kinvara-based sports psychologist and lecturer at Munster Technological University, set off in her vessel Millie, named after mother, from Gran Canaria on December 6th.

Her campaign manager Suzanne Kennedy spoke to Wavelengths about the challenges she faces, and how they have both sailed the same route – heading south till the butter melted, as Kennedy put it – and so they both have some idea of what’s ahead.

Weekes has sailed the Atlantic twice, circumnavigated both Ireland and the Lofoten Islands off Norway in a kayak, and has cycled solo and unsupported 4,000 miles across Canada, through Alaska and the Yukon.

Dr Karen Weekes (left) and Dr Suzanne Kennedy - many adventures togetherDr Karen Weekes (left) and Dr Suzanne Kennedy - many adventures together

She has shared many adventures with Kennedy, a lecturer in physical education and sport at Letterkenny Institute of Technology and highly experienced sea kayaker, sailor and mountain biker.

As Kennedy explains, part of her focus is on researching the impact of the experience on her own psychology. The Shecando campaign also aims to provide a platform for encouraging women, and girls, to believe in their abilities to succeed”, and to highlight two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically “gender equality” and “life below water”.

Karen Weekes’s progress on her 70-day row to Barbados can be followed on her tracker on the link below, and all funds raised on the Gofundme page for Shecando2021 from the day she started rowing in December will go to two charities, Laura Lynn and the RNLI.

Listen to Lorna Siggins speaking with Weekes here and check out the tracker here 

Published in Wavelength Podcast

The Wicklow Rowing Club has will be supported by the Mercedes-Benz organisation in Ireland towards its participation at the World Coastal Rowing Championships which take place in Oeiras, Portugal next month.

Recognising the important role that the Club will have in being a standard-bearer for Ireland at the event, its Chief Executive, Paddy Finnegan extended the best wishes of the Mercedes-Benz organisation to the club.

Over the years, Mercedes-Benz has given its support to a number of water sport activities, most notably in its sponsorship of Ireland’s Olympic medal-winning sailor, Annalise Murphy in her preparations for the Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games and also Howth Laser ace Aoife Hopkins and prior to that Round the World sailor Enda O'Coineen in his Irish debut in the Vendee Globe Race.

Published in Coastal Rowing
Tagged under

If you were to bring together even half of the boats built with the involvement of the late great George Bushe of Crosshaven, you'd have the makings of a fascinating maritime museum. The master boatbuilder – whose skills live on nationally and internationally in his sons Mark and Killian – was game for any challenge, whether it was of complex boat engineering, or a world-class yacht finish. And if it came to the pinch, he was more than capable of turning his hand to boat design as well.

It says everything about the quality of George's work that he is still remembered for building a boat too well. In the mid 1950s, he was commissioned to provide one of only two International Dragons ever constructed in Ireland, in this case Melisande for ace Cork Harbour helm Joe FitzGerald.

With Melisande finished and looking exquisite, the Class Surveyor was brought over from Scandinavia to certify her as a true International Dragon. But she was rejected. It seems that George had rounded off the edges of all the bent timbers within the hull when apparently the Dragon small-print rules – in a throwback to the class's origins as an inexpensive weekend cruiser – insisted that the timbers be left basic finish, with angled edges and no fancy smoothing off.

It was quite a challenge to re-frame Melisande without damaging her superbly-finished hull, and by the time she was finally certified as a Dragon, the overall cost was well north of the economy package which had been the thinking at the class's origin in 1929.

The traditional Crosshaven Boatyard setup of camping out in the main boatshed, complete with a small shed shed for your own gear, the spars newly varnished, and a mysterious old boat lurking alongside with a magical little transom that suggests serious ambitions in rowing races. Photo: Darryl Hughes   The traditional Crosshaven Boatyard setup of camping out in the main boatshed, complete with a small shed shed for your own gear, the spars newly varnished, and a mysterious old boat lurking alongside with a magical little transom that suggests serious ambitions in rowing races. Photo: Darryl Hughes

But getting it right was one of the many challenges George took in his stride. Another was the very Corkonian one of a local dinghy sailor ordering a new Bushe-built IDRA 14, with the deal only being finalised and the boat accepted if she had won the up-coming IDRA Nationals on Lough Derg. The word is George built the boat as the ultimate IDRA 14 of that year's crop, and then raced her himself to victory on Lough Derg, with a done deal following immediately afterwards.

With such a talent - whether ashore in the building shed or out on the racecourse – you'd think any way at all of linking a boat to George Bushe is something special. So it has been something of a wonder that in Crosshaven Boatyard, where he has been re-fitting his 1938 43ft Tyrrell classic gaff ketch Maybird, that noted mover and shaker Darryl Hughes has managed to find a very special George Bushe boat called Lorelei of early 1950s vintage, a boat which had more or less slipped away under the radar.

All is revealed as Lorelei is turned for the first time in years – this was George Bushe's 1953 take on a serious racing skiff. Photo: Darryl Hughes   All is revealed as Lorelei is turned for the first time in years – this was George Bushe's 1953 take on a serious racing skiff. Photo: Darryl Hughes  

He'd become curious about a 30ft long and very slim four-oared classic rowing skiff, dusty and hidden in the shed against the wall beside a space where he'd found some room to do the usual wellnigh perfect varnish work on Maybird's already many spars, which seem to double in number whenever varnishing time comes around.

In Crosshaven, where boats are involved, you approach such mysteries as this sidelined skiff with care and diplomacy, and it has been doubly difficult with the pubs being shut. However, eventually, it was revealed that the last known owners were the now non-functional Crosshaven Rowing Club. But the boat hadn't been used for at least twenty years, and if rowing does revive on the Owenabue River, it will more likely be with more modern design concepts which emerged from hotbeds of design development such as the Ron Holland Office.

The old hidden boat was built to race with a class of similar skiffs which were very active up in Cork City at the time, based around Marina. In her day, she must have been quite the hot property, as George incorporated lots of weight-saving techniques such as notably wide plywood planking which was edge-glued, while the reinforcing hull timbers are of minimal size. And as each rowlock had its own reinforced bracket external to the hull, he didn't feel the need to reinforce the entire gunwhale with further weight other than using a slightly heavier gauge of marine ply as the top strake.

Seen from ahead, the lightness of construction is evident, yet there is no sign of it having been too light. Photo: Darryl Hughes   Seen from ahead, the lightness of construction is evident, yet there is no sign of it having been too light. Photo: Darryl Hughes  

This makes you think that the boat must have wriggled along when they were rowing at full power, but the fact that after nearly 70 years, the hull is still in basically good order seems to indicate that George got it right.

After her period up at Marina, she was acquired by the expanding Crosshaven Rowing Club, but for at least two decades, she had become out-of-sight and out-of-mind in this hidden corner of the boatyard until Darryl came poking around.

As it's a time of change at Crosshaven Boatyard, he reckoned that the occasion was ripe for this remarkable boat to find a viable new home and guaranteed future. So having contacted the surviving members of the CRC and Mark Bushe, permission was given for Barry Saunders and the Stella Maris Rowing Club in Ringsend in Dublin to take her over, and now this remarkable craft has a new home on the banks of the Liffey, with her first appearance afloat under the new custodianship a keenly-anticipated event.

Changed circumstances – Lorelei in her new home at the Stella Maris Club in Ringsend, her slim lines much in evidence in her first appearance in sunshine in 20 years.   Changed circumstances – Lorelei in her new home at the Stella Maris Club in Ringsend, her slim lines much in evidence in her first appearance in sunshine in 20 years. Photo: Barry Saunders

Yet what, you might well ask, has all this to do with Tinseltown's blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe? Well, the mystery skiff is very clearly named Lorelei. So it could well be that her early crews were enthusiasts for Germanic mythology and its influence on Wagnerian and other operas through the story of Lorelei, the doomed Rhine maiden.

There's no doubting the boat's name, but why was she so-called? Photo: Darryl HughesThere's no doubting the boat's name, but why was she so-called? Photo: Darryl Hughes

But the smart money bets otherwise. It doesn't see lusty rowing crews as being into opera, notwithstanding the importance of the Cork Opera House. However, at the time Lorelei was built, one of the great new box office movie hits was the musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, starring Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell. Monroe was on top form as the showgirl Lorelei, she was at her best, and of course if a crewman's missus or girl-friend threw a frost over the boat being name after a Hollywood pin-up, the advantage of a rowing club is that you could say it was nothing to do with you personally, but everyone else seemed to want it……

Whatever, it gives us an opportunity to draw your attention to a YouTube clip which dates from a time when movies were supposed to be totally entertaining, songs were expected to be witty and tuneful, and musicals required a mind-boggling level of choreography:

Published in Cork Harbour

As we emerge from what we hope will be the country's last lockdown, St. Michael's Rowing Club based a Dun Laoghaire Harbour, is nearing completion of its longest race yet. Inspired by Jules Verne's Phileas Fogg, over the last 80 days, members and friends of the club were invited to participate in a Round the World in 80 Days challenge, virtually of course, and log their progress online writes the club's Claire Sheehan

Healthy competitiveness ensued, with times and distances uploaded, from various disciplines- kayaking, cycling, running, walking, swimming, indoor and outdoor rowing, and even surfing, an unusual sight on the east coast! All while observing Covid restrictions.

Social distancing, 40-foot styleSocial distancing, 40-foot style

Sixty-three members and friends of the club participated, clocking up a total of 33,703.7 KM and providing much-needed distraction- as these pictures demonstrate, we have a tremendous amenity on our doorstep. 

Sonja Storm swimming in KillineySonja Storm swimming in Killiney

As we near the end of our journey this week, Seattle-based member Jon Phillips is speeding towards virtual victory, with locals Brendan White and David Cullen coming in for silver and bronze.

Club member Rob Collins, kayaking at dusk in Dun Laoghaire harbour   Club member Rob Collins, kayaking at dusk in Dun Laoghaire harbour  

After all that excitement, attention can at last turn to getting our youth section back in a skiff and on the water for real, and hopefully our grown-ups shortly after. It's been a long winter.

Paddleboarders doing their bitPaddleboarders doing their bit

Published in Coastal Rowing

Cork Harbour Festival’s flagship Ocean to City race will be going ahead this June with an altered format.

Collaborating with national rowing associations in Scotland and Wales, this year’s Ocean to City will be part of a unique, international time trial series called the Five Miles From Home Series 2021.

The Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home is the second leg in the Series, and will take place 4-6 June 2021. The challenge can be joined from anywhere in the world; rather than asking participants to travel, Ocean to City invites people to participate in this international challenge from their home waters.

Taking part is simple! Just form a crew, plot a 5 mile (8047meters / 4.345nm) course, cover the distance as fast or as stylishly as possible during the designated time windows, submit your times and join the online celebration afterwards.

Coastal Rowing crews at the Ocean to City Race in Cork HarbourCoastal Rowing crews at a previous Ocean to City Race in Cork Harbour

The Five Miles From Home Series has a ‘Main’ and an ‘Alternative’ Challenge. The Main Challenge is open to fixed-seat rowing boats such as currachs, skiffs, gigs and yawls. The Alternative Challenge is open to kayaks, SUPs, canoes, dragon boats, offshore sliding-seat boats and outriggers. Incorporating a dedicated Under-19s youth category, the organisers are also keen to involve and celebrate young people on the water.

The full Five Miles From Home Series includes the Scottish Castle to Crane leg on 7-9 May and the Welsh Sea Rowing leg on 9-11 July. Participants can take part in the whole series, allowing them to compare and improve on their results as they progress, or just in one single leg. Each leg in the series has a 48-hour window during which the challenge has to be completed.

With covid-19 constraints making large events off-limits, it is hoped that by the summer restrictions will be relaxed sufficiently to allow clubs from across Cork Harbour, Cork County and beyond to organise their own Ocean to City - Five Miles From Home micro-events.

Adrienne Rodgers, Director of Services at Cork City Council said: ‘We have been very proud to be involved in the Ocean to City Race, as part of the Cork Harbour Festival, over the years. Although like a lot of other events, it is not as we know it this year, we’re concentrating on the positive and congratulate the organisers on the wonderful alternative concept of Five Miles from Home. It won’t replace the elation of an actual race, but it will give us all a focus, to work safely towards a great event.’

Not only will the altered format encourage rowers and paddlers to get back training and competing on the water, but participants will also be part of a big international challenge connecting boating communities from across the world. Welcoming a variety of human-powered, sea-going craft, Ocean to City aims for the event to be as inclusive, adaptable and enjoyable as possible!

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley said: ‘Cork County Council is especially proud to be a major sponsor of the Cork Harbour Festival, which has a strong legacy of celebrating seafaring culture, synonymous with Cork’s position as Ireland's ‘Maritime Haven'. We are delighted that our sponsorship of the ‘The Five Miles from Home’ initiative will help to sustain the festival despite COVID-19 challenges. Festivals and events strengthen the fabric of our communities and celebrate the very best of what our county has to offer, such as our spectacular coastline and rich maritime history. The Council’s continued support of festivals plays a key role in strengthening our tourism industry and ensuring Cork County is best placed to welcome visitors when safe to do so.’

Entries for Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home open on the 1st of March 2021 and participation costs €10 per boat per leg, or €20 for all three legs. For kayaks and SUPs it is €5 for one leg, or €10 for all three.

The organisers encourage rowers and paddlers to enter the Five Miles From Home Series with optimism and confidence. If, for whatever reason, participants are unable to complete the course on water, they can transfer their entry to the ‘Land Challenge’ and walk, wheel or run the 5 miles.

Paddlers at the Ocean to City Race in Cork HarbourPaddlers at the Ocean to City Race in Cork Harbour

Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Cork said: ‘During these challenging times, it’s really refreshing to hear that the Cork Harbour Festival’s flagship event, Ocean to City will go ahead, albeit in a different and exciting new format. The Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home is completely achievable and we would urge people to take part. Congratulations to all the team at Cork Harbour Festival, we are delighted to support this great event once again.’

Published in Coastal Rowing
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