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Displaying items by tag: Damian Browne

Ocean rowing has come up before in our Sailor of the Month listings. But it’s an understandably rare feat, and noted former rugby player Damian Browne’s huge achievement of rowing from New York to Galway is put into deeper perspective by knowing that his shipmate at the start of the voyage had to be air-lifted off at an early stage owing to illness. Thus Damian made his way solo across a notably obtuse ocean in what was essentially a two-man boat, resulting in a time scale which is difficult to grasp.

He departed on June 14th and reached Ireland on October 4th, by which time the ocean swell and the Atlantic winds were already well into the beginnings of their winter routines.

 

Published in Sailor of the Month
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Galway city’s mayor was advised against attending the official homecoming for transatlantic rower Damian Browne after an application for city council funding for the event was rejected.

Mayor of Galway Clodagh Higgins (FG) has declined to comment beyond stating that she had “other engagements” on the morning of Browne’s homecoming into Galway docks.

However, sources have said that the mayor was very keen to attend the event but was advised against it the night before due to Galway City Council’s lack of financial support for the official welcome.

In a statement, Mayor Higgins said that Browne “is a huge inspiration to us all”, and his story was one of “resilience, endurance and superior mental and physical strength”.

She said she wished to offer her heartfelt congratulations on a “wonderful achievement” and wished him “the very best in his next expedition”.

Hours after his early morning capsize off na Forbacha in a force nine gale, Browne was applauded by over 1,000 people in Galway docks when he was driven in by RIB through the lock gates.

When his vessel Cushlamachree was refloated by a community team out at na Forbacha, he returned to sea and rowed the vessel in through Galway dock gates just before they closed on a falling tide.

Galway City Council has confirmed that Project Empower - which was set up to back the transatlantic row planned by Browne and his close friend Fergus Farrell - did make an application to the Galway City Council marketing fund.

The detailed application submitted in 2021 outlined the many benefits to Galway city of the project and invited the city council to be the title partner for Project Empower at a value of €30,000 + Vat.

The city council said that the marketing promotion fund was established to ensure that the council could provide support for the holding of major events and festivals in the city.

“ Events or activities that would take place from October 2021 to April 2022 were eligible to apply,” it said.

Guidelines state that the funding “should only be provided to projects that will support local economic development, i.e. attracting or generating investment, spending, jobs or additional events in the city”.

" Funding should only be provided to projects and events that have a city-wide impact. This is not a fund for small-scale, local events nor is it an emergency fund for existing projects that may have lost other sources of funding,”it said.

It said that “proposals must detail the economic benefits of the activity or event”, and “the full extent of co-funding or matching funds either sought or obtained from other sources must be disclosed”.

“As Project Empower could not demonstrate a major impact in relation to attracting significant bed nights, it was deemed ineligible for this fund,” the city council statement said.

Published in Coastal Rowing

Well over a thousand people turned out to welcome transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne home to Galway docks yesterday morning after he survived his fifth capsize and was washed ashore in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Hours after he was located by three gardai on rocks at Na Forbachas (Furbo) and taken home to Renmore, he returned to the docks for the official celebrations planned in his honour.

The extreme adventurer and former Connacht rugby player is the first man to row from New York to Galway.

A flotilla took Browne through the lock gates to the blare of ships’ horns, flares, drum beats and cheersA flotilla took Browne through the lock gates to the blare of ships’ horns, flares, drum beats and cheers Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

He is also one of only a handful of people to have rowed solo across the Atlantic in both directions.

Browne and his boat was located by three gardai on rocks at Na Forbachas (Furbo)Browne and his boat was located by three gardai on rocks at Na Forbachas (Furbo)

Browne was not injured, and his vessel, Cushlamachree, was later refloated from rocks at Na Forbacha (Furbo) by Ciaran and Patrick Oliver and a number of local vessels.

Even as this effort was underway, a flotilla organised by Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan took Browne through the lock gates to the blare of ships’ horns, flares, drum beats and cheers.

Damian Browne, his daughter one-year-old Elodie and her mother Rozelle greet the rower who became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Photo:  Photo: Joe O'ShaughnessyDamian Browne, his daughter one-year-old Elodie and her mother Rozelle greet the rower who became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway after 112 days at sea. Photo:  Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Pupils from his former secondary school, “The Bish”, who were among many schoolchildren at the event, formed a guard of honour with oars.

Dr Karen Weekes, who became first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic, was among the many wellwishers.

Transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne with Dr Karen Weekes, the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic, at the Galway docks homecoming Photo Joe O'ShaughnessyTransatlantic oarsman Damian Browne with Dr Karen Weekes, the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic, at the Galway docks homecoming Photo Joe O'Shaughnessy

Browne could have made his landfall in Kerry, but reached the Aran islands on Monday night where a bonfire was lit on Inis Oírr and he was delivered ham and cheese sandwiches made by his mother Mary.

A bonfire was lit on Inis Oírr for BrowneA bonfire was lit on Inis Oírr for Browne Photo: Paddy Crowe

Swaying slightly after 112 days at sea, he described how he had to crawl ashore at Na Forbacha (Furbo), but felt he wasn’t in any great danger.

He encountered a force nine south-westerly gale with wind gusts of up to 44 knots as rowed from the Aran islands to Galway in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Browne reached the Aran islands on Monday nightBrowne reached the Aran islands on Monday night Photo: Paddy Crowe

He said he misjudged how close he was to two large rocks. As he tried to row back out, several large breakers capsized his boat and snapped one of his last two oars.

He said used a broadband satellite link to raise the alarm with weather router Chris Martin, and saw a flashlight about 20 minutes later.

Damian Browne with his father Joe at Galway DocksDamian Browne with his father Joe at Galway Docks Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

Garda Micheál Ó Ráinne from An Spidéil, Garda Vincent Kelly from Indreabhán and Garda Eoin O’Malley from Carna located him, and ensured he was checked out by emergency first responders.

He was then driven home to Renmore in Galway by his team manager MacDara Hosty.

“So I am knocking at my parents’ door at 2.30m and my partner Rozelle put her head out,” he laughed.

His teammate Fergus Farrell drove out to Na Forbacha with boatbuilder Justin Adkin and Martin, and they confirmed that the Seasabre 6.2m craft Cushlamachree was not seriously damaged.

Fellow Project Empower team mate Fergus Farrell with Damian BrowneFellow Project Empower team mate Fergus Farrell with Damian Browne Photo: Joe O'Shaughnessy

The craft was refloated by a number of vessels, coordinated by Ciaran and Patrick Oliver of the Claddagh, and towed into Galway shortly after midday.

Browne was then brought out to sea again by RIB and boarded Cushlamachree. Ships’ horns sounded up as he rowed into the lock gates just before they closed on a dropping tide.

Browne rowed east-west solo from San Sebastian to Antigua in 2018.

However, he said this crossing was much longer and far harder as he encountered headwinds and currents for much of the route.

This year’s west-east crossing was to have been completed with his close friend Fergus Farrell after the pair left New York in mid-June for Galway.

However, Farrell had to be evacuated at sea after 13 days, when his oxygen levels dropped to 86 per cent, and he was at risk of blood clots.

Farrell said he was “thrilled for Damo” and delighted to know he was safe.

Entitled Project Empower, the row has raised funds for four charities: National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and Galway Simon Community.

Browne has completed the six-day, 257km-long Marathon des Sables across the Sahara Desert - also known as “The Toughest Footrace on Earth”.

He has also climbed five of the seven summits or highest peaks on each continent and had planned to attempt Everest last year, but both he and his Sherpa got Covid.

“Everyone should do an ocean row,” he said, describing how much he learned about himself.

“You learn to appreciate the small things we take for granted,” he said.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Transatlantic Rower Damian Browne is due to be welcomed at Galway docks this morning after he was swept into rocks in a force nine gale in the early hours of this morning.

The extreme adventurer was not injured after his boat Cushlamachree was forced onto a lee shore at Furbo west of Galway city shortly before 1am and he raised the alarm.

He had been making his way into Galway on the final leg of his 3,500-mile voyage from New York.

Southwesterly winds were gusting to 44 knots with a heavy swell.

The boat 'Cushlamachree' was forced onto a lee shore at Furbo west of Galway cityThe boat 'Cushlamachree' was forced onto a lee shore at Furbo west of Galway city

He was located by three gardai from Spiddal, Inverin and Carna and checked by paramedics before being taken to his parents' home in Renmore by MacDara Hosty. Mr Hosty said he was in good spirits.

A homecoming is still planned for 11 am at Galway docks.

A statement issued by Project Empower said:

On Tuesday, October 4th shortly before 1am Irish time after 2,686 hours at sea and over 3450 nautical miles rowed, Damian Browne became the first person in history to row from New York to Galway when he and Cushlamachree came ashore on the rocks at Furbo Beach, just short of The Port Of Galway.

Efforts will be made at high tide to refloat Cushlamachree at Furbo(Above and below) Efforts will be made at high tide to refloat Damian Browne's transatlantic rowing boat Cushlamachree at Furbo

Efforts will be made at high tide to refloat Cushlamachree at Furbo

Having left Chelsea Piers, Manhattan on Tuesday, June 14th at 03:10 am (GMT + 1), Damian had spent almost 16 weeks or 112 days at sea, fighting Mother Nature every step of the way and eventually, in the last hours of this epic, unforgiving undertaking Mother Nature had her way and forced Damian ashore in precarious circumstances on the rocks at Furbo Beach, Galway.

Damian immediately called Chris Martin, the Project Empower land support officer, who in turn contacted the relevant emergency services who mobilised immediately. First on the scene were Garda Micheál Ó Ráinne from An Spidéil, Garda Vincent Kelly from Indreabhán and Garda Eoin O’Malley from Carna who found Damian and Cushlamachree on the rocks and helped Damian to safety. Damian and The Project Empower team would like to express their sincere gratitude to the Gardaí and the Emergency First Responders who looked after Damian so well.

Tyres are put between the rocks and the fibreglass hull in a bid to prevent damage to Damian Browne's transatlantic rowing boat Cushlamachree at FurboTyres are put between the rocks and the fibreglass hull in a bid to prevent damage to Damian Browne's transatlantic rowing boat Cushlamachree at Furbo

While gutted not to have made it to The Port Of Galway, Damian is now reunited with his family, is in good spirits and is very much looking forward to celebrating his amazing achievement with the people of Galway at his homecoming which takes place as planned at 11 am in Galway Docks on Tuesday, Oct 4th when the hope is that there will be hordes of people present to celebrate the successful completion of this mammoth adventure.

The journey, which has been entitled Project Empower, is part of a fundraising effort for four charitable organisations: National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and The Galway Simon Community.

Those wishing to support Project Empowers charity partners - National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and The Galway Simon Community - can do so by visiting: http://www.idonate.ie/projectempower2022

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Extreme adventurer Damian Browne rowed into Galway Bay after his transatlantic crossing and is due into Galway docks from 10.30 am on Tuesday.

The former Connacht rugby player will have become one of a handful to have rowed both ways across the Atlantic when he berths after 112 days at sea.

Browne rowed east-west solo from San Sebastian to Antigua in 2018. This year’s west-east crossing was to have been completed with his close friend Fergus Farrell after the pair left New York in mid June for Galway.

However , Farrell had to be evacuated at sea after 13 days, when his oxygen levels dropped to 86 per cent and he was at risk of blood clots.

Transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne passing a crowded Inis Meain pier last evening. Liam O'Brien of the Co Clare Doolin ferry company provided an escort for Browne in his RIB Photo: Paddy CroweTransatlantic oarsman Damian Browne passing a crowded Inis Meain pier last evening. Liam O'Brien of the Co Clare Doolin ferry company provided an escort for Browne in his RIB Photo: Paddy Crowe

Farrell, who survived a traumatic spinal injury in 2018 and  learned to walk again, said his online medical support took just 30 seconds to inform him his row was “finished”.

Video by Michael Gill

The pair were attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft.

Entitled Project Empower, the row continued by Browne is raising funds for  four charities: National Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, Ability West, Madra and Galway Simon Community.

Browne survived a number of capsizes and has been living on cold food after losing vital equipment in storms.

He  could have  made his landfall in Kerry, as his first sight of Ireland was of the Irish south-west coast  last Thursday.

Instead, he  has been transiting north along the Irish Atlantic seaboard to ensure his first landfall is in his native city.

Challenging conditions forced him to deploy his para-anchor, with south-westerly winds sweeping him up to Foul Sound between the Aran islands of  Inis Meáín and Inis Oírr  last  evening (mon) where a crowd of islanders greeted him from shore and a large bonfire was lit on Inis Oírr.

Weather permitting, a flotilla of vessels will accompany him in on his last leg into Galway docks early this morning.

“"When I started out on this project some three-and-a-half years ago, the final destination was clear from the start; Galway. Home,”Browne said in a statement from his boat, Cushlamachree, yesterday.

A welcoming bonfire for transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne lit on Monday evening on Inis Oírr Photo: Paddy CroweA welcoming bonfire for transatlantic oarsman Damian Browne lit on Monday evening on Inis Oírr Photo: Paddy Crowe

“The great hope with this was to give the next generation of kids in the west and throughout the country a real image, and touchable action to emulate, and hopefully inspire them to dream big and work hard in whatever avenue of life they decide to explore,” he said.

 “After 112 days of stresses, strains and doubts only an endeavour like attempting to row 3000 miles across the unforgiving North Atlantic can elicit, I’m incredibly excited to close out this beautiful project in my hometown, surrounded by my family, friends and supporters; making my dream a reality,”he said.

It is anticipated that he will be greeted in Galway docks by his partner Rozelle, baby daughter Elodie, parents Mary and Joe Browne and siblings Andrew and Gillian and their families, along with Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan and supporters including Fergus Farrell and MacDara Hosty.

A golf buggy has been provided to drive him around the docks to meet wellwishers, before he is taken to the Harbour Hotel for a private reception.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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“I see land and it’s Ireland”.

After sending that WhatsApp message from sea several days ago, former Connacht rugby player Damian Browne could have berthed in Kerry by now after rowing 3,500 nautical miles across the Atlantic.

However, the extreme adventurer was so determined to become the first person to row solo from New York to Galway that he has eschewed hot showers, hot food and a bed on land for several more days.

Instead, Browne has been transiting north along the Irish Atlantic seaboard over the weekend to ensure his first landfall is in his native city.

“I see land and it’s Ireland”

Bonfires are planned on the Aran islands as he approaches the southernmost island, Inis Oírr, having passed Loop Head in Co Clare on Sunday evening.

It is anticipated that he will time his row into Galway docks for the high tide on Tuesday morning (Oct 4), when the Port of Galway harbourmaster Capt Brian Sheridan and team open the lock gates from 10.45am.

Weather permitting, a flotilla of vessels is planned to accompany him in for the last 30 miles from Inis Oírr early on Tuesday.

Browne, who has survived a number of capsizes during a most arduous crossing, has already rowed east west across the Atlantic.

This west-east crossing has been particularly challenging, as weather often forced him off course – meaning he has rowed 3,400 nautical miles on a 2,600 nautical mile distance as the seabird flies.

Loss of vital equipment during storms and heavy weather has also meant he has been surviving on cold food.

The unsupported row began on June 15th with his close friend Fergus Farrell, also a former rugby player.

However, Farrell had to be evacuated at sea after 13 days, when his oxygen levels dropped to 86 per cent and he was at risk of blood clots.

Farrell, who survived a traumatic spinal injury in 2018 and learned to walk again, said his online medical support took just 30 seconds to inform him his row was “finished”.

The pair were attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft.

“Damian is very stoic, focused and very present,” MacDara Hosty of his Project Empower support team said at the weekend.

It is anticipated that he will be greeted in Galway docks by his partner Rozelle, baby daughter Elodie, parents Mary and Joe Browne and siblings Andrew and Gillian and their families.

A golf buggy has been provided to drive him around the docks to meet wellwishers, before he is taken to the Harbour Hotel for a private reception.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Former rugby player Fergus “Gussie” Farrell who was medically evacuated from rowing vessel Cushlamachree 600 nautical miles out in the Atlantic late last month has said he is gutted at having had to leave his rowing partner Damian Browne.

Speaking on RTÉ Seascapes on Friday, Farrell has also paid tribute to the master and crew of the Singapore flagged tanker, Hafnia Shenzhen, which responded to a US Coast Guard request for assistance.

The tanker diverted, and Farrell was brought on board using the gangplank, and taken to the medical room for further assessment.

Farrell’s oxygen levels had dropped to 86 per cent on June 26th, and he was at risk of blood clots.

He described on Seascapes how his online medical support took just 30 seconds to assess the information and inform him his row was “finished”.

The pair were 13 days out from New York on an unsupported row to Galway, and were attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft.

Fergus Farrell prepares to board the ship Hafnia ShenzhenFergus Farrell prepares to leave Cushlamachree and board the tanker Hafnia Shenzhen Photo: via Facebook

Farrell survived a traumatic spinal injury in 2018, learned to walk again and walked across Ireland to raise funds for the National Rehabilitation Hospital of Ireland Foundation in 2019.

The Hafnia Shenzhen took him to New York where he was taken to hospital for further tests and cleared to fly back to Ireland.

Browne is continuing the row solo to Galway as part of Project Empower, in aid of four charities, and has three oars left after he capsized three times.

Speaking on a Linked In post while on para-anchor for 17 hours, Browne said he had “no interest in capsizing again” but was a “sitting duck” in huge waves.

The position of rowing vessel Cushlamachree on July 17The position of rowing vessel Cushlamachree on July 17 with Damian Browne onboard

He said the boat was “decimated”, with the ocean ripping away oars and he nearly lost his seat.

He lost items including a -jet boil, ten-litre drinking container and compass.

He said it was the first time that he was “a little bit scared for expedition’s success”, with so much water in the cabin after the capsizes.

These are “very very very long hours”, he said, and the lyrics of a Johnny Cash song kept coming into his head – as in "Son, this world is rough, And if a man's gonna make it, he's gotta be tough"

“We’ll see how we go,” Browne said.

Listen to Fergus Farrell’s interview on Seascapes here

Published in Coastal Rowing

Galway adventurer Damian Browne’s transatlantic rowing partner Fergus Farrell has been referred for tests to a New York hospital after he was forced to leave their vessel, Cushlamachree, after almost 13 days at sea.

The pair had set off from New York in mid-June on an unsupported row to Galway, and were attempting to set a new Guinness world record in their purpose-built Seasabre 6.2m craft.

In a statement from MacDara Hosty on Project Empower’s Facebook page, he said it was with “huge regret” that Farrell had to depart on Sunday, June 26th at 4.45 pm, Irish time.

“Fergus is now doing well, has arrived back in New York, and is awaiting transfer to a hospital in New York where he will undergo tests,” the statement said.

“Chris Martin, who is operating as on-call land support officer for the team, was called by Fergus on Sunday, June 26th at 1 pm Irish time,” it said.

“Fergus had been experiencing severe exhaustion, and despite lots of rest was failing to recover,” it said. In 2018, Farrell experienced a traumatic spinal injury, was paralysed but learned to walk again the following year against all odds.

The statement said that Fergus “had started to experience tightness on the left side of his chest and had a very low blood oxygen percentage”.

“After consultation with our medical consultants and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) flight surgeon, it was decided that Fergus should be extracted with all possible speed.”

Weather conditions in the area were “benign”, with light winds and small swells of around a metre, and by 15.58 Irish time, the Singapore flagged tanker, Hafnia Shenzhen, had responded to a USCG request for assistance. The tanker diverted, and Farrell was brought on board using the gang plank, and taken to the medical room for further assessment.

“Fergus responded well to initial treatment on board the Hafnia Shenzhen, and the decision was made not to airlift him by USCG or Navy helicopter to hospital, electing instead for him to remain onboard the Hafnia Shenzhen until she docked in New York,”the statement said.

Paul Cleary, a friend of Project Empower in New York, arranged to transfer Farrell to hospital for tests and a full assessment.

“Fergus is hugely disappointed at having to leave Cushlamachree, but understands that his and Damian’s health and safety has, and always will be, the primary concern for Project Empower,”the statement said.

It said Damian Browne has chosen to stay with Cushlamachree, and would row the vessel solo to Galway over the coming weeks. Browne previously rowed the Atlantic solo from the Canary islands to Antigua.

“Project Empower wasn’t planned this way, and none of us wanted it to be this way,”it said. “Gussy and Damian were supposed to do this together and row into Galway docks together. We are all absolutely gutted that they won’t now get to complete it together,” it said.

The project expressed thanks to the staff at USCG District 1 rescue co-ordination centre, USCG sector New York, and Capt Sanjay Karki and crew of the Hafnia Shenzhen for their “rapid response, expertise and kindness in dealing with this situation as professionally and courteously as they did”.

It has been estimated that it will take 1.5 million oar strokes to complete the 5,000 km crossing. The pair nominated four charities to benefit from the row– Ability West, the Galway Simon Community, Madra animal rescue and the National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) foundation.

Browne is well familiar with what is ahead, having spent 63 days 6 hours and 25 minutes at sea completing the Talisker Whiskey Atlantic Challenge to Antigua in 2017-18.

The existing world record for an unsupported row was set over 120 years ago by Norwegians George Harboe and Frank (Gabriel) Samuelsen who were the first pair to attempt it.

Browne, who spent 16 years on the rugby pitches of the Celtic League, English Premiership and French Top 14 Championship and was part of the winning 2012/13 Heineken Cup team with Leinster Rugby, has climbed in the high altitude Pamir mountains in Afghanistan.

He has summited Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mont Blanc in France and Gran Paradiso in Italy.

After retiring from rugby, he completed the six-day, 257 km Marathon des Sables in the Sahara desert, also known as the “toughest footrace on Earth”. He then spent 18 months preparing for his solo row across the Atlantic.

At sea, he endured nine-metre swells, a badly cut head, capsizes, encounters with whales, sea and pressure sores, lost an oar and experienced complete steering failure with still over 2000 nautical miles to go to Antigua.

Fergus Farrell is a lifelong friend of Browne’s. Both played underage rugby together for Connacht and Farrell was a self-employed businessman who experienced a traumatic spinal injury.

On October 26th 2018, Farrell ruptured his T9, T10 and T11 spinal discs in the middle of his back. One of the ruptured discs leaked into his spinal cord. After an operation in the National Spinal Unit at the Mater Hospital, Farrell says he noticed his motionless feet and asked his surgeon if this is how he would be for the rest of his life?

He says the surgeon put his hand on Fergus’s shoulder and “calmly told him he had been extremely unlucky”.

Farrell, who was then paralysed from the waist down, moved to the NRH and set about his recovery.

On October 26th 2019, a year after his surgery, he miraculously completed a 206km walk from the site of the injury at his yard in Athenry, Galway to the NRH in Dún Laoghaire.

Farrell attributes his recovery to his “stubbornness, thickness and determination”, and he also raised €70,000 for the NRH.

Farrell has said he is determined to give his second chance of life everything he can give. He has said he wants to show people that “the mind is a positive and powerful part of everybody’s lives” and that “when challenged correctly there are no limits to what you can achieve”.

Browne’s continued progress can be tracked on their website here Listen into Lorna Siggins 2020 podcast with the pair here

Published in Coastal Rowing

Former professional rugby player and Galway adventurer Damian Browne and his lifelong friend and fellow rugby player Fergus Farrell are attempting to set a new Guinness world record in an unsupported row across the Atlantic in two years’ time.

It won’t be a currach, but it will be in a craft which they have to steer themselves. Browne has done this before, having rowed solo across the Atlantic and has also climbed five of the world’s seven highest summits. Farrell has had his own tough taste of endurance, having learned to walk again - and then walking across the country - after a serious workplace accident two years ago.

As regular Afloat readers will recall, the two men rowed a currach from the Aran island of Inis Oírr to Galway city in September to highlight their bid to cross the Atlantic in 2022.

Lorna Siggins spoke to them both for Wavelengths, the podcast of news and views from the Irish coast for Afloat below.

 

Published in Wavelength Podcast

#Rowing: Ocean rower Damian Browne and junior rowers Alex Byrne and Caoimhe O’Sullivan were amongst the record breakers at the Provinces Indoor Rowing Championships in the University of Limerick on Saturday.

 Shandon rower Byrne hit six minutes and five seconds for the 2,000 metres category, while O’Sullivan of Muckross covered 1,000 metres in three minutes 44.6 seconds.

 Browne, a former professional rugby player who completed his row across the Atlantic earlier this year, took and beat the old record for 500 metres. He set a new time of one minute 16 seconds.   

Records set at the Provinces Indoor Rowing Championships, University of Limerick, Saturday:

 Men – Open 500m: Damian Browne 1 min 16 sec. Lightweight, Open 500m: Aidan Greene, Kincasslagh RC 1:28.7. Jun 18, 2,000m: Alex Byrne, Shandon RC 1:28.7.

 Women – Lightweight Open 500m: Niamh Doogan, Kincasslagh RC 1:45.1. Jun 16 1,000m: Caoimhe O’Sullivan, Muckross.

Published in Rowing
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RORC Fastnet Race

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge.

For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.

The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish for 2021 is in Cherbourg via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Cherbourg.

Fastnet Race - FAQs

The 49th edition of the biennial Rolex Fastnet Race will start from the Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes, UK on Sunday 8th August 2021.

The next two editions of the race in 2021 and 2023 will finish in Cherbourg-en-Cotentin at the head of the Normandy peninsula, France

Over 300. A record fleet is once again anticipated for the world's largest offshore yacht race.

The international fleet attracts both enthusiastic amateur, the seasoned offshore racer, as well as out-and-out professionals from all corners of the world.

Boats of all shapes, sizes and age take part in this historic race, from 9m-34m (30-110ft) – and everything in between.

The Fastnet Race multihull course record is: 1 day 4 hours 2 minutes and 26 seconds (2019, Ultim Maxi Edmond de Rothschild, Franck Cammas / Charles Caudrelier)

The Fastnet Race monohull course record is: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing).

David and Peter Askew's American VO70 Wizard won the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race, claiming the Fastnet Challenge Cup for 1st in IRC Overall.

Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001.

The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result.

The winner of the first Fastnet Race was the former pilot cutter Jolie Brise, a boat that is still sailing today.

Cork sailor Henry P F Donegan (1870-1940), who gave his total support for the Fastnet Race from its inception in 1925 and competed in the inaugural race in his 43ft cutter Gull from Cork.

Ireland has won the Fastnet Race twice. In 1987 the Dubois 40 Irish Independent won the Fastnet Race overall for the first time and then in 2007 – all of twenty years after Irish Independent’s win – Ireland secured the overall win again this time thanks to Ger O’Rourke’s Cookson 50 Chieftain from the Royal Western Yacht Club of Ireland in Kilrush.

©Afloat 2020

Fastnet Race 2023 Date

The 2023 50th Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Saturday, 22nd July 2023

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At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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