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Europe's Oldest Sailing Race, the Cong-Galway Sailing Race, Set to Take Place in Setpember

21st August 2023
September's Cong-Galway Sailing Race holds a special place in the hearts of Galway sailors
September's Cong-Galway Sailing Race holds a special place in the hearts of Galway sailors

The Cong-Galway Sailing Race, claimed to be 'Europe's oldest and longest sailing race', is set to take place on September 2nd, 2023.

Since its establishment in 1882, the race has been a true test of skill and endurance, attracting sailors from all over the world. This year, the event promises to be even more exciting, with sailors and enthusiasts expected to converge from all over the country.

The race, which stretches approximately 30 nautical miles from Lisloughrey Pier near Cong to the city of Galway, follows the historical steamer route. Against the backdrop of the iconic Ashford Castle, the race kicks off at the northern end of the lake, presenting an awe-inspiring spectacle. Divided into two legs, the first leg concludes at Kilbeg, providing competitors with a chance to refuel and refresh. The second leg introduces a narrower channel in the lower lake, leading participants towards the river, where the finish line awaits at Corrib Village. The final stretch includes the captivating sight of boats manoeuvring to fit their masts under the Quincentennial Bridge before reaching the Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club for the historic trophy presentation.

The Cong-Galway Sailing Race holds a special place in the hearts of Galway sailors, commemorating the area's rich maritime history. The collaborative efforts of five distinguished clubs—Galway Bay Sailing Club, Galway City Sailing Club, Galway Hooker Sailing Club, Corrib Rowing & Yachting Club and Spiddal Sailing Club—contribute to the seamless organisation of this iconic race, fostering a sense of unity among sailors and enthusiasts.

The public is invited to spectate along the 30-mile route and take part in the fun of this race. The sight of old meeting new as the iconic Galway Hookers sail alongside modern dinghies and sailboats is truly a sight to behold. The Galway Hookers joined the race lineup three years ago and have enjoyed being a part of history and maintaining tradition along Lough Corrib.

The Cong-Galway Sailing Race is a celebration of maritime heritage and a beloved tradition. Sailors and enthusiasts alike are sure to embark on an unforgettable journey along the challenging course, culminating at the Corrib Rowing and Yachting Club. With the collaborative efforts of five clubs, this event promises to be a unifying effort that showcases the best of sailing in Galway.

Published in Cong-Galway Race Team

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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.