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Displaying items by tag: Coastal Rowing

#2boysinaboat – They have been rowing for 40 days – non stop. They have faced huge waves, 30 knot winds, constant soaking in sea and rainwater, no more than 80 minutes sleep at a stretch. They have lost over 12kg each in spite of eating 6000 calories a day, they have excruciating salt-sores on their bottoms and aching muscles all over but students Luke Birch and Jamie Sparks have rowed approximately 2300 nautical miles across the Atlantic, leaving just over 700 to go. Once completed, their two-person non-stop challenge to cross the Atlantic Ocean will see them become the youngest pair to row the Atlantic. They are raising money for Breast Cancer Care, having so far raising £160,000.

Childhood friends Luke Birch from Lincolnshire (Doddington; also an Edinburgh student) and Jamie Sparks from London (Islington; also a Bristol student) are attempting to break the World Record for the youngest team to row the Atlantic. At the same time, they are raising funds for Breast Cancer Care.

They have battled huge waves and swells, course-deviating fierce winds, narrowly missed being hit by a container ship, losing equipment overboard including their mattress, discovering 150kg of sea water in their bilges, going overboard on a rope to clean the barnacles off the hull, being thrown around a tiny cabin whilst trying to sleep and having to eat dehydrated food every day. Four teams have already been rescued from the race, and several others have severe problems with steering and power generation, but the 2 Boys in a Boat still press on and are at the front of the 'pairs' race . Morale peaks and troughs like the waves that batter them.

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Published in Coastal Rowing
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#AllIrelandCoastal: East Ferry of Cork have been named Club of the Championships for the All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships. The event was held this year at Carnlough in Co Antrim, and next year’s venue will be in County Kerry.

All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships:

Club of the Championships: East Ferry RC, Cork.

Best Adult Crew: Cairndhu Senior Ladies.

Best Underage Crew: Portmagee, Kerry (under-12 girls).

Outstanding Rower: Lisa Cronin, Kilmacabea, Cork.

Awards for Services to Coastal Rowing: John Flynn, Wicklow RC and (ICRF): John O’Leary, Kinsale and Dock RC.

Special Award (from host club Carnlough): Bill Deasy, Myross, and Irish Coastal Rowing Rowing Federation.

Published in Rowing

#coastalrowing – Last Sunday saw the 8th and penultimate leg of the 2013 East Coast Rowing series. It was a fantastic day in Dun Laoghaire, and the heavy downpours, which at one stage saw 8mm of rain fall within 30 minutes, was not going to dampen the spirits of the spectators and the travelling clubs from up and down the East Coast.

There were 80 teams from 9 participating clubs, competing across the 12 categories on the day. This we believe is a possible record for our sport. What can be claimed as a record is the number of St. Michael's crews that were entered; 14 in all with crews from U16s to Senior Mens & Ladies.

There were plenty of activities going on within Dun Laoghaire on Sunday, including the Rainbow Run and a swimming event from Seapoint, which added to the excitement on the day. Excellent organisation by all parties ensured a smooth running of all events.

St. Michael's had an excellent day with the 2 main success stories being the Senior Ladies crew of Eloise O'Riordan, Suzy O'Keefe, Orla Stavely, Dee Friel, (Coxed by James Byrne) coming home with yet another Gold, making them the East Coast champions with 1 race to spare.

The second success story of the day was the performance of the Inter Men's crew of Colm Crilly, Ger Ryan, Dave Cullen, Alan Quigley (Coxed by Rob Moloney), who brought home the first home Gold for a St. Michael's men's team for decades.  


St. Pats Win Senior Trophy with Sponsor Arthur McKenna & Councillor Jane Dillon-Byrne

There were other super performances from the Junior Ladies crew taking silver behind a very strong Stella crew, a hard fought bronze for one of our Novice crews and strong performances from our 3 junior crews; U16 mixed, U18 Girls, U18 Boys.

St Michaels regatta 2013 results

The results from last weekend have pushed us up into 4th on the overall team standings, which is way above our expectations.

The final regatta will take place this bank holiday Monday in Wicklow. The season finale starts with a parade through the town with racing due to start from 2pm. 


Published in Coastal Rowing

#Rowing - St Michael's Rowing Club in Dun Laoghaire has posted the above video giving an oar's eye view of one of their regular evening coastal rowing training sessions.

As the description says, the three-and-a-half-minute clip was shot with a miniature GoPro camera attached to the end of an oar which "caught they action from warm-up to interval training to clubhouse".

It's certainly a unique perspective - though maybe not suitable for anyone prone to motion sickness!

Published in Coastal Rowing

#CoastalRowing - The East Coast Rowing Council has announced its list of coastal rowing regatta fixtures in Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford for the 2013 season.

Commencing with the Greystones Regatta on 26 May, the schedule also includes events in Arklow (2 June) and Dalkey (9 June), the Stella Maria Regatta in Ringsend on 16 June and the Bray Regatta on 30 June.

July will see two events, the St Patrick's Regatta in Dublin's Docklands on 14 July and St Michael's Regatta off Monkstown and Dun Laoghaire on 28 July, while the Wicklow Regatta will mark the end of 2013's summer events on 5 August.

Locations of the various regattas and suggested viewing points are available HERE.

Published in Coastal Rowing

#CoastalRowing - News comes from Scotland of an intriguing new coastal rowing craze that sounds like something from a Swedish furniture store!

As the Guardian reports, a traditional Scottish fishing skiff design provided the inspiration for the new flatpack coastal rowing boat, which began life as a prototype project for the Scottish Fisheries Museum four years ago.

Since then the St Ayles skiff concept swept like a wave across the UK and beyond - and examples of the DIY kit row boat, which is handmade in Fife, can be found as far afield as Australia.

Many of those international rowers are expected to converge in Scotland this simmer for the coastal rowing world championships off Ullapool.

The Guardian has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Rowing

Coastal rowing in Ireland is a varied sport, but early September sees a very special race come to the shores of Dublin Bay. At 28km, this is the longest annual single-crew rowing race in the country. Around a dozen crews will start from the Hobblers' Memorial in Dun Laoghaire harbour, leave the bay, round the Kish lighthouse, and pull back to the finish line at the harbour mouth in Dun Laoghaire, battling hard for the Hobblers' Challenge cup.

The 2012 Hobblers' Challenge will take place on Saturday 8th September, starting at 1.30pm at Dún Laoghaire's East Breakwater. The race is open to mens, ladies, or mixed crews, most rowing the traidtional wooden clinker-built east coast skiffs of the region. However, this year the event has been opened up to include a wider variety of boat types, from Currach to 6-oar Cornish Pilot Gig, to modern fibreglass designs, make the race even more colourful.

rowing lineup

Lined up and ready at last years Hobblers Cup

Proudly organised by St. Michael's Rowing Club in Dún Laoghaire, The Hobblers' Challenge is an annual race run as a memorial to the hobblers of Dublin Bay, who during the 18th and 19th centuries invented what could be considered as the original rowing race. These men would leave Dún Laoghaire, Ringsend and other nearby harbours to meet ships arriving into Dublin. The first crew to the ship would win the business of pilotage and unloading, a tradition continuted by the east coast's 10 skiff racing clubs to this day.

rowing cup

The Hobblers Perpetual Cup and crews racing to the Kish in last years event.

In 2010 Stella Maris Rowing Club took home the coveted cup with a time of 3hrs 3mins and 3 seconds from a field of 5 skiffs. 2011 saw their Ringsend neighbours St. Patricks Rowing Club take the cup in a time of 2hrs 57mins from a field of 10 skiffs. With 15 boats of varying types already entered at time of print, from Skerries in the north to Arklow in the south, 2012 promises to be a hotly contested race. Will the cup go back to Ringsend for a 3rd year running? Will the winning time be quicker again? Will one of the home crews mount a challenge? We'll find out very soon but what can be guaranteed is a fun day out.

Dún Laoghaire will also host the exciting MOD 70s race on the same day so there will be plenty to watch and get involved in on the East Pier. St. Michael's Rowing Club will be fundraising for the RNLI on the day. In 2011, over €1,600 was raised by the generosity of the people of Dún Laoghaire.

rowing stmichaels

St. Michael's crew in action

Published in Coastal Rowing

#COASTAL ROWING – During the May bank holiday weekend (4th-6th May), 12 men and women of St Michael's Rowing Club, Dun Laoghaire, participated in the biennial rowing race across the Irish Sea known as 'the Celtic Challenge'. It turned out to be what is widely regarded as the toughest crossing in the race's 19 year history, with just 12 of the 23 teams entered crossing the finish line unaided. St. Michael's finished 12th in the longest time ever taken for the 150km course – 27hrs, 18 mins, 21 seconds. The relay race is billed as the longest 'true' rowing race in the world and is listed as such in the Guinness Book of Records.

The run up to the event was challenging in itself with the team working tirelessly to secure a replacement support boat due to damage to the mast of the yacht that had already been confirmed. With just two days to departure, all the pieces of the puzzle were in place.

Pushing Hard with the Rib Keeping a Watchful Eye

Pushing hard with a safey RIB keeping a watchful eye

Due to poor weather conditions, the race was postponed a number of times and eventually set off from Arklow, Co. Wicklow on Saturday 5th May at 4pm. Very soon after the start, the team from Bray Rowing Club who were rowing the only other traditional east coast skiff in the race had pulled out due to damage to their support boat, meaning that St. Michael's were the only wooden boat left in the race.

Over the Line in Aberystwyth

Over the line in Aberystwyth

The format of the race is a relay. Each team has 3 crews of 4 rowers that rotate their time on the oar, resting and refuelling on an accompanying support boat. Generally 'one hour on, two hours off' is the rule of thumb, but conditions, strategies, injuries, and sickness may dictate otherwise. The first 6 hours were the toughest and most challenging physically, as the northeast wind and swells created extremely challenging conditions for the participating rowers. The start was choppy and the Arklow Bank lived up to its reputation of being an extremely tough obstacle, but St. Michaels' quarter-ton clinker built skiff was well suited to the conditions. The solid wood oars used are three times heavier than carbon fibre equivalents used by all other teams, requiring strength and a particular technique even in normal conditions.

Exhausted Bit Delighted

Exhausted but delighted

As the sun set, the crew knuckled down to what would be a tough, night-time row with changes of crew every hour. Their support yacht, the Helcia and the crew of the rib, the Wizard worked tirelessly to ensure the safety of the teams during the changeovers, both crewed by quite remarkable and extreme professionals, who gave freely of their time to the cause and to whom the club is eternally grateful. Working in two to three metre swells made rowing tough, and required 100% concentration and complete focus.

As the sun rose, it was clear the race was going to be a long one. Extreme conditions overnight meant teams hadn't travelled the distance they expected and knew they had to dig deep and work very closely as a unit to ensure spirits were kept high. As the changeovers continued and the hours flew by, the crew could see land, and somewhere in the distance was Aberystwyth. At this point, news of the night's retirements began to filter through on the VHF radio, with tales of other teams forced to pull out or turn back due to reasons including mechanical failure of support boats, sea sickness, damaged boats, lost rudders, and so on.

The final changeover was made at around 6.30pm on Sunday, and the pier could be clearly seen with cheering voices being carried on the wind. On the slip after the finish, the organisers and other crews were clearly impressed with the 30-year old 'Eileen' and her brave crew. At the awards ceremony the following day, St. Michael's became the first Irish team to be awarded the prestigious 'Spirit of the Celtic Challenge' trophy, which is given to the team which displays the greatest amount of endeavour when completing the course. This was a very proud moment for all the team as well as their friends, family, and all their clubmates back home in Dun Laoghaire.

First time Celtic Challenger was Wales born Gareth Whittington, now living in Dun Laoghaire told us, "I was told you never know what to expect as each Celtic Challenge is different because of the changing weather conditions, but I cannot and will not ever forget the way we pulled together as a team to ensure we got to Aberystwyth, an remarkable achievement".

Camaraderie between the Welsh and Irish clubs and teams involved is huge, but the team's thoughts that weekend were with the teams that did not make it, particularly their fellow Irish teams from Bray Rowing Club, Team Marie Keating, Ferrycarrig Rowing Club, and Airport Police and Fire Service Rowing Club. Congratulations are also due to the other Irish teams who crossed the finish line, Courtown, Foyle, and Arklow Rowing Clubs, the latter two of which won their respective categories.

Spirit of The Celtic Challenge Award

Spirit of the Celtic Challenge Award

St. Michael's participated in the Celtic Challenge to actively seek sponsorship, in a drive to raise funds towards new clubhouse facilities in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Currently, the club lacks space to store their three wooden boats, space for indoor training, and is without changing facilities for the men, women and children who row for the club. It is hoped that the money raised can be put towards achieving this long-standing goal and keep the club's traditions and the tradition of the Celtic Challenge alive.

St. Michaels 2012 CC Crew

St. Michael's 2012 Celtic Challenge crew

Published in Coastal Rowing

#ROWING – St. Michael's Rowing Club has run into a problem with its Celtic Challenge this weekend after a support boat required to participate in its race across the Irish Sea has been damaged in this week's strong winds, leaving the Dun Laoghaire crew out of the race unless a replacement vessel can be found.

The club is looking for the use of a motor yacht – 33ft or bigger – with or without skipper/crew to help a team of men and women row across the Irish Sea on the Bank Holiday weekend of 4th-6th May.

The support yacht is used to house 2 crews of 4 at a time, with our RIB ferrying crews hourly between the yacht and the rowing boat. All fuel, transport and accommodation will be paid for by the club.


"I know it's short notice but we would cover costs and do not necessarily need a skipper to get us there as we have somebody ready to take that forward' says the club's Gareth Whittington. 'Adventure, great fun, and helping a good cause is guaranteed' he adds.

Contact [email protected] or 087-9173959 if you're interested or know someone who might be.

Published in Coastal Rowing
Tagged under

#COASTAL ROWING – Over the coming May bank holiday weekend (4th-6th May), 12 men and women of St Michael's Rowing Club, Dun Laoghaire, will take part in a biennial rowing race across the Irish Sea known as 'the Celtic Challenge'. The race sets off from Arklow, Co. Wicklow with the finishing line in Aberystwyth, Wales. At 150km, this relay race is billed as the longest 'true' rowing race in the world and draws together 27 teams from Wales, Ireland and beyond. The team is taking on this challenge to raise funds for a clubhouse in Dun Laoghaire, for the first time in the club's 90 year history.

Not many races start and finish in different countries, a source of pride to the Welsh and Irish oarsmen and women involved. So too is the sport of coastal rowing itself, which differs from the Olympic or 'Oxford-v-Cambridge' code of rowing in a number of key ways. Seats are fixed, not sliding, and boats are of a more substantial construction to tackle the swell on the open seas, which can reach several metres.


A St. Michael's boat and crew in training for the Celtic Challenge Cox: Tania Hashmi, Nicola Fitzgerald, Sam Nagle, Kathryn O'Leary, Julia Boyle

St. Michael's take things a step further by using quarter-ton wooden clinker-built east coast skiffs rather than the modern fibreglass models, used by all other competitors in 2010. Their solid wood oars are three times heavier than carbon fibre equivalents, requiring strength and a particular technique. In common with other clubs of Dublin and Wicklow, these boats originate from the 'Hobblers' of old; crews of local men who would engage in unlicensed pilotage of merchant shipping.

Their neighbour in Dun Laoghaire, the now seasonal HSS Stena Explorer consumes 20,000 litres of fuel per hour in crossing the Irish Sea. The St. Michael's squad will be powered by pasta, fig rolls, and energy drinks. But far from taking any moral high ground, the rowers will be glad of the ferry for the return journey home.

Each competing team in the Celtic Challenge consists of three rotating crews of four rowers and is accompanied by a support boat for navigation and for accommodating the resting crews. Changeover strategy is down to each team, but most opt for a one-hour-on, two-hours-off format. Depending on weather conditions, the race may start in Arklow on the afternoon of the Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Crews row through the night, arriving in Aberystwyth the following morning or afternoon.

The squad are actively seeking sponsorship for the challenge, in a drive to raise funds for a new clubhouse in Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Currently, the club lacks space to store their three wooden boats, space for indoor training and is without changing facilities for the men, women and children who row for the club. It is hoped that the money raised can be put towards achieving this long-standing goal.

The event is unique, very challenging and will test the 12 men and women taking part, both mentally and physically. Their oarsmen and oarswomen will have to contend with waves, currents, blisters, seasickness, lack of sleep and the particular challenges of rowing in the dark. The crossing is expected to take over 20 hours, with the St. Michael's Squad currently training hard on land and sea in preparation.

Some of the 2012 squad have made the crossing before, with others new to the event. One such first-timer is Wales born Gareth Whittington, now living in Dun Laoghaire who is relishing the prospect of a free ticket home, "I've been told since I moved here that Welshmen are just Irishmen who couldn't row west to the Promised Land, so I've something to prove to my Irish teammates!"

Published in Coastal Rowing
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