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Cong-Galway Hat Trick for Yannick & Sean Lemonnier in Ireland’s Oldest & Europe’s Longest Inland Yacht Race

25th August 2020
Father and son winners Sean (left) and Yannick Lemonnier of Galway Bay Sailng Club Father and son winners Sean (left) and Yannick Lemonnier of Galway Bay Sailng Club

Taking the top spot this year at the annual Cong Galway Boat Race was Sean and Yannick Lemonnier of Galway Bay Sailing Club, making it three-in-a-row for the father and son duo, who won a luxurious night at the 5-star Ashford Castle for their skilled sailing endeavours.

The Race, sponsored by Ashford Estate, took place last weekend against a backdrop of challenging weather conditions.

Second place was awarded to Gary Mangan and Thomas Mills of Blessington Sailing Club, who won a night at the sister hotel, The Lodge at Ashford.

Cong-Galway Race 2020

Setting off a day later than planned, the high winds and choppy water didn’t put racegoers off, with a bumper fleet of 40 boats registered for the competition. There was strong representation from local clubs including Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club, Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil, Galway City Sailing Club and Galway Bay Sailing Club.

The dinghies underway in the 2020 edition of the Cong Galway raceThe dinghies get underway in the 2020 edition of the Cong Galway race

The longest inland boat race in Europe, The Cong Galway Boat Race started in the picturesque shadow of Ashford Castle at the northern end of Lough Corrib and followed the old steamer route to the city of Galway. Strong winds greeted the competitive fleet as they set off from Lisloughrey Pier. There were very few dry sailors as the boats picked up speed from the windward mark and made their way to the halfway point at Kilbeg.

First across the line at Kilbeg Pier were Yannick and Seán Lemonnier in a time of 54 minutes and 34 seconds, pipping Gary Mangan and Thomas Mills by 28 seconds. Amongst the larger boats, Cóilín Óg Hernon led the way in the gleoiteog Asurnaí, ahead of the Manta 19 of Connor Little and the second gleoiteog, Anam Cara, where Jonathan Curran was at the helm.

After a well-earned break at Kilbeg, the boats faced into the tricky, twisty narrow channel to the lower lake. With no sign of the winds abating, there were several altercations between rock and boat, with the rocks invariably coming out better. After navigating the lower lake and moving into the river Corrib, competitors quickly made their way to the finish line with help of favourable winds.

The 2020 Winners: Yannick and Sean Lemonnier

The winners in the dinghy fleet were determined based on the Portsmouth handicap scheme with Yannick and Seán Lemonnier of Galway Bay Sailing Club (GBSC) awarded first place. As the overall winners, Yannick and Sean were presented with the CRYC trophy as well as a stay in Ashford Castle, presented by Paula Carroll, Director of Sales and Marketing, Ashford Castle and The Lodge at Ashford.

Peter Fergus, Thomas Mills, Gary Mangan, Paula Carroll, Leo Leonard (President, CRYC)Peter Fergus, Thomas Mills, Gary Mangan, Paula Carroll, Leo Leonard (President, CRYC)

Second place, and winner of a stay in the Lodge at Ashford, was Gary Mangan of Blessington Sailing Club and his crew Thomas Mills. The prize was presented by Peter Fergus, Hotel Manager of the Lodge at Ashford.

Third place and first monohull was awarded to Rob Talbot of Cumann Seoltóireachta an Spidéil and NUIG alongside his crew, Rian De Bairéad of Galway City Sailing Club.

LR Peter Fergus, Cóilín Óg Hernon (skipper of Asurnaí), Paula Carroll, Leo LeonardPeter Fergus, Cóilín Óg Hernon (skipper of Asurnaí), Paula Carroll, Leo Leonard

First gleoiteog /cruiser was awarded to Asurnaí, skippered by Coilín Óg Hernon of the Galway Hooker Sailing Club.

Published in Cong-Galway Race
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The Cong-Galway: Ireland’s oldest inland sailing race

The annual Cong – Galway Sailing Race is Europe’s oldest and longest inland water sailing race.

The original Cong-Galway Race started at the Royal Galway Yachting Club in Galway City and travelled to Ashford Castle in Cong before returning to Galway City, a race distance of 61.5 nautical miles.

The 2020 race is the 137th such race. 

The Cong-Galway Race was a huge social event in Galway until 1914. It never recovered after the First World War and was last held in its old format in 1931. The race was later revived in 1972. Now half the original length, the race starts at Lisloughrey pier, near Ashford Castle, and ends just past the Quincentennial Bridge in Galway City.

Cong Galway Race Winner

The winner, which will be determined based on the Portsmouth handicap scheme, will be presented with the CRYC Trophy, a treasured possession of the Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club. 

Cong Galway Race Course

The Cong to Galway Race start is from Lisloughrey Pier in Cong, Co. Mayo and is typically scheduled for 10.30 a.m. on a course through Upper and Lower Lough Corrib to the finish line at Corrib Village on the River Corrib in Galway. The race makes a stop for lunch at Kilbeg Pier, approximately half way, where timings will be taken for the restart.

Cong Galway Race Organisers

Corrib Rowing & Yachting Club, Galway Bay Sailing Club, Galway City Sailing Club and Cumainn Seoltóireacht an Spidéil.

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