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The Rowing Ireland team for the 2021 European Rowing Championships has been confirmed by Rowing Ireland's High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni.

Eight Senior Irish crews will be looking to continue the successes of the Senior, U23 and Junior crews who brought home ten medals from their European Championships in September and October last year.

The Rowing Ireland crews will be competing at the European Rowing Championships in Varese from the 9th -11th April.

Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne will be competing in the Men’s Double in Varese. Philip and Ronan qualified the Men’s Double by winning Silver at the 2019 World Rowing Championships in Linz. Philip missed the 2020 European Championships as he took time out during 2020 to return to medicine full time in Daisy Hill hospital to resume his role as a Doctor during the pandemic. Philip and Ronan also won Silver in the Men’s Double at the World Rowing Cup III in 2019. Ronan also won Gold in the Men’s Single at the 2019 U23 European Championships. Last year Ronan won Gold alongside Daire Lynch in the Men’s Double in the U23 Europeans and Bronze at the Senior European Championships with Daire.

Daire Lynch will be competing in the Men’s Single in Varese. Daire had a very successful 2020, winning Gold (U23 ERC) and Bronze (ERC) alongside Ronan Byrne. Daire is a member of Clonmel Rowing Club and is currently studying and rowing for Yale. Daire won five Irish championships (four singles, one pair) and previously placed 8th at the Junior World Championship. The Men’s Single can still qualify for the Tokyo Olympics at the Final Qualification Regatta in Lucerne.

The crew of Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh and Emily Hegarty will be competing in the Women’s Four. Last year Fiona, Eimear and Aifric won Bronze in the Women’s Four alongside Aileen Crowley at the 2020 European Championships. Fiona recently won Bronze at the 2020 European Rowing Championships in Poznan and has won the Head of Charles two years in a row. Eimear has been competing internationally since 2015 and won Silver at the 2019 U23 World Rowing Championships. Aifric has been a member of the high-performance team for several years, has won at the Irish Championships and set new World Records on the erg this year. Emily has been competing internationally for several years after she started rowing in 2009. Emily previously won the Silver Medal at the 2019 World U23 Championships in Sarasota and a bronze medal in the Women’s Pair at the U23 2020 European Rowing Championships alongside fellow UCC athlete Tara Hanlon.

Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska will be competing in the Women’s Pair. Aileen and Monika qualified the Women’s Pair for the Olympics at the 2019 World Rowing Championships. Aileen went on to win Bronze at the 2020 European Rowing Championships in Poznan. Monika is a two-time World Coastal Champion in the Women’s Solo, winning in 2016 and 2009. Monika missed last year’s European Rowing Championships due to injury. Tara Hanlon and Claire Feerick will be travelling with the team as reserves for the Women’s Four and Women’s Pair boats.

Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy will be competing in the Lightweight Men’s Double. Paul and Fintan won Gold at the 2019 World Rowing Championships and qualified the boat for the Olympics. Paul and Fintan also won Silver at the World Rowing Cup III in Rotterdam that year. Fintan went on in 2020 to win Bronze in the Lightweight Men’s Single at the European Rowing Championships. Paul is a four-time consecutive World Rowing Champion, having won Gold in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Paul won an Olympic Silver Medal alongside his brother Gary at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He also won Gold (2016) and two Silver Medals (2017 & 2018) at previous European Rowing Championships.

Gary O’Donovan will be competing in the Lightweight Men’s Single. Along with Paul, Gary won Silver at the 2016 Rio Olympics and won a World Championship in 2018. Gary previously won Gold at the 2016 European Rowing Championships in Brandenburg and won Silver in 2017 and 2018. Gary won Bronze in the Lightweight Men’s Single in the 2019 World Rowing Cup III in Rotterdam.

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey will be racing in the Lightweight Women’s Double in Varese after winning the Silver Medal in the same category at the European U23 Rowing Championships last year. Margaret and Aoife have competed together for several years and won Silver in this event at the Junior European Championships in 2017. They finished second it the LW2x B Final at the 2020 European Rowing Championships in Poznan. The Women’s Lightweight Double Boat can still be qualified at the Final Qualification Regatta in Lucerne in May.

Lydia Heaphy will be competing in the Lightweight Women’s Single. Lydia had a successful 2020 after winning Gold alongside Cliodhna Nolan in the Women’s Lightweight Pair at the European U23 Rowing Championships. Lydia went on to finish first in the B Final at the Senior European Championships in October.

Sanita Puspure will not be racing at the European Rowing Championships and will be travelling with the team for training camp to compete at later competitions.

A total of seventeen athletes will be representing Ireland at the 2021 European Rowing Championships in April. The team have been training together over several months in the National Rowing Centre in Cork. Alongside the Senior Athletes, there have been additional athletes training with an eye for the U23 and Junior World Championships this year and looking forward to the Paris Olympics in 2024.

Alex Byrne, Ross Corrigan, Jack Dorney, John Kearney, Alison Bergin, and Holly Davis have all been training with the senior team and supported the European Championships' preparations. These athletes have worked hard throughout as the team prepare for Tokyo and for Paris 2024. Para-athletes Katie O'Brien and Steven McGowan have been training with the High-Performance Team in the National Rowing Centre. They will continue to train alongside the Senior Team over the coming weeks.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni, said.

“We are very happy with the team selected for the European Rowing Championships next month. A lot of hard work and preparation has gone into the camps, and I want to thank the athletes, coaches, clubs and their families for their continued support.

We are now looking ahead to another successful year and to build off the success of the last number of years. The athletes have all shown their dedication and commitment to our programme, and we look forward to competing and representing Ireland.

European Rowing Championships Irish Crews

M2x

Ronan Byrne (UCC)
Philip Doyle (Belfast Boat Club)
Daire Lynch (Clonmel)- Reserve

M1x

Daire Lynch (Clonmel)

W4-

Fiona Murtagh (NUIG)
Eimear Lambe (OCBC)
Aifric Keogh (UCC)
Emily Hegarty (UCC)

W2-

Monika Dukarska (Killorglin)
Aileen Crowley (OCBC)
W4-/W2- Reserve

Tara Hanlon (UCC RC)
Claire Feerick (Neptune RC)

LM1x

Gary O’Donovan (Skibbereen)

LM2x

Paul O’Donovan (UCC)
Fintan McCarthy (Skibbereen)

LW2x

Margaret Cremen (UCC)
Aoife Casey (UCC)

LW1x

Lydia Heaphy (UCC)
Staff Team
Antonio Maurogiovanni – HPD

Fran Keane – Rowing Ireland Coach (not attending)

Dominic Casey – Rowing Ireland Coach

Giuseppe De Vita – Rowing Ireland Coach

Feargal O’Callaghan – Team Manager

Published in Rowing
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Sailor, kayaker and climber Dr Karen Weekes is training to become the first Irish female to row solo across the Atlantic.

As Times.ie reports, Weekes aims to set out in December of this year to row 3,000 miles from La Gomera in the Canaries to Antigua in the Caribbean.

If she completes it, Weekes will be only the 20th woman to row any ocean on the globe solo.

Weekes, who is from Kilkenny and lives in Kinvara, Co Galway, holds a doctorate in sports psychology, and lectures at Munster Technological University.

She 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.

She has also solo cycled from Nordkapp in northern Norway to Helsinki in Finland.

Along with Orla Knight, a physical education teacher at Castletroy College in Co Limerick, she cycled across North America from San Francisco to Washington DC.

Weekes has trekked in Nepal and Pakistan and climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.

“Big seas, potential capsize, severe weather or marlin attacks” might explain why only 19 women world-wide have ever completed solo ocean rows, she says of her latest adventure.

Weekes focuses on women’s empowerment as part of her “#shecando2021” campaign, which is seeking sponsors for the effort.

She says the campaign is “dually focused”, in following her preparation for, and experience during the voyage, and “providing a platform for encouraging women, and girls, to believe in their abilities to succeed”.

Read more on Times.ie here

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Irish rower Alex Byrne has won the Under 23 Men’s 2,000-metre race at the World Indoor Rowing Championships. Alex won the Gold Medal with a time of 5.55.3

Last week, Alex was on training camp with the Senior High-Performance Team in Varese, Italy and returned home on Sunday evening to prepare for the World Indoor Rowing Championships which took place on Tuesday.

Alex had a successful 2020 with breaking six minutes in the Irish Indoor Championships in UL in January finishing just behind his brother Ronan with a time of 5:58.9. Alex went on to compete at the Under 23 European Rowing Championships in Duisburg in the first International Rowing Competition of 2020. Alex was part of a Coxed Men’s Four alongside Ross Corrigan, Jack Dorney, John Kearney and Leah O’Regan (Cox).

The Irish crew finished third and took home the Bronze medal with only .64 of a second between them and second place.

World Indoor U23 Men’s Champion, Alex Byrne said, I’ve been planning on competing at the World Indoor Championship since Christmas and to win is a tremendous relief. I was wondering to myself how am I going to do it and prepare for it. I’ve been on training camp for the last three weeks, and the first two weeks were very intense, and I collected a lot of blisters on the hand, but at the end of the two weeks, you get used to it.

The training on the ergometer during the lockdown helped me feel way more prepared for the racing, so going into 2021, I thought that it was an excellent base, and I knew that it was going to work so that I would rinse and repeat”.

Alex competed in the competition in his living room surrounded by medals and Irish Championships winning “pots” Alex has competed for Shandon Rowing Club in Cork from a young age and has won from J14 to Senior at Domestic Events. Alec won at the Irish Rowing Championships in 2018 in the J18A categories, 8+ and 4x-. Alex competed in the Men’s Senior 8+ at the 2019 Irish Rowing Championships, finishing second.

On Wednesday’s racing at the 2021 World Indoor Rowing Championships, three-time Olympian and World Champion Niall O’Toole took home the Bronze Medal in the LM 50 category.

Rowing Ireland has congratulated all rowers that represented Ireland throughout the 2021 World Rowing Championships, Alex Byrne, Niall O’Toole, Niamh Hayes, Philip Healy, Aifric O’Sullivan, Wendy O’Leary, Amy Barry, Sally Cudmore, Kenneth Cunningham and Richard Morgan.

Published in Rowing
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Rowing Ireland has announced a new partnership with the National University of Ireland Galway.

NUI Galway is now an official ‘Rowing Ireland Partner Pathway University’ which will help develop the high-performance programme at the University. This partnership builds on the already strong working relationship between the University and Rowing Ireland over the past number of years.

NUI Galway will become a Pathway University, whose vision and direction will be in line with the Rowing Ireland High-Performance Program and methodology, to develop talented pathway athletes for international selection at U23 and eventually Olympic level.

Rowing Ireland and NUI Galway will work hand in hand to develop a sustainable and robust pathway of young athletes from Junior to U23 World Championship level before progressing to the senior Olympic team.

NUI Galway head coach, Ciro Prisco will continue to build on his experience as part of Rowing Ireland High-Performance coaching team (U23 World Championships 2019, Junior European Championships 2020) by taking up the new position of temporary High-Performance assistant coach working with the team at the National Rowing Centre while combining his duties as NUI Galway head coach, overseeing the development of the club program in Galway.

Commenting on today’s announcement, High-Performance Director Antonio Maurogiovanni said ‘We are delighted to have NUI Galway as a partner in supporting the High-Performance Programme Pathway. Along with our partnership with Queens, NUI Galway will have an essential role in our High-Performance programme’s success in the years to come.

We welcome Ciro Prisco onto our High-Performance team in an important role as Assistant Coach for our High-Performance Senior Athletes. Ciro will be a valuable member of the team, and we look forward to working with him and supporting him alongside his role in NUI Galway.

Michelle Carpenter, Rowing Ireland Chief Executive Officer, said, “We are delighted to welcome NUI Galway as a new partner and as a Pathway University. NUI Galway has a history of producing World Class athletes, and this partnership will benefit both NUI Galway and Rowing Ireland for the future.

This partnership is a testament to the vision and hard work that our High-Performance Team has put in. I want to thank Antonio Maurogiovanni and Fran Keane for their hard work in getting this over the line.

Mike Heskin Director of Sport & Physical Activity at NUI Galway, said “We are very excited about this New Partnership with Rowing Ireland’s High Performance Programme . The University has been developing partnerships with a number of the High Performance Sport programmes in Ireland involving both Domestic and Olympic Sports. We are certain these partnerships will prove hugely beneficial to our University athletes by providing a clean pathway for them to archive their athletic goals. We are especially delighted to be in partnership with Rowing Ireland to build on the existing relationship which has provided Olympians in our recent past.

I would like to thank the support that Feargal O’Callaghan our High-Performance Lead and I have received from the University leadership especially Michelle Miller Dean Of Student in developing a High-Performance Hub at NUI Galway for the Western Region, we hope to see a number of other sport follow Rowing’s Lead and operate a high performance programme out of the NUI Galway’s campus.”

Published in Rowing
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Double World and European rowing champion Sanita Pušpure has won the latest Cork Person of the Year award.

Sanita, 39, who was born in Latvia but now lives in Ballincollig, is considered a favourite to take a gold medal in this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.

She is also a past winner of the Irish Times/Sport Ireland’s Sportswoman of the Year award. 

Sanita came to Ireland from Latvia in 2006 and became an Irish citizen in 2011.

She has been a member of Irish rowing teams for many years and trains at the National Rowing Centre at Farran Woods in Cork.

Published in Rowing
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A Greystones County Wicklow-based challenge to row from Ireland to Iceland next Spring made a preliminary call into Dun Laoghaire Harbour last week.

Led by James Murray, the expedition aims to "safely get from Ireland to Iceland under human power alone. No motors, no sails".

The schedule is to set off from Dublin, Ireland in Spring 2021 and for different crew members to join for legs on the way to Iceland. 

As Murray explains on his website, row to iceland.com, "each team member has their own reasons for joining, but we all share an appreciation for the beauty of the places in-between and that seemingly extraordinary thing are possible". 

Departing Dublin in April, the 3000km route will follow up Ireland's east coast before crossing to Scotland.

Following the Scottish coast, the plan is for the rowing boat to stop into fjords and towns along the way. 

The plan then is to cross to the Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands before preparing for the big push to the Faroe Islands and then Iceland.

The trip is expected to take three to six months

Murray also asks on the campaign website that if you have experience with part of this route "we'd love to hear from you to help inform our plans".

Published in Greystones Harbour

Irish Olympic rowing is enjoying an all-time high with four crews already set to compete in Tokyo next year. The boats that have secured berths so far are the Women’s Single (W1X), Women’s Pair (W2-), Men’s Double Scull (M2X) and Men’s Lightweight Double Scull (LM2X). Note that the athletes will not be selected for these crews until closer to the Games, and competition is tight for all spots.

In rowing, there are just two opportunities to qualify for the Olympics – at the World Championships the year prior to the Games (2019), where the majority of spots are available. And also at the European Qualifier which take place two months before the Games.

Ironically, at the European qualifier crews from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and USA can also compete at this regatta (AUS, CAN and USA already have qualified), and for the Women’s Four there are just two spots available. Should they qualify, the crew that competes at the European Qualifier in Lucerne next May must remain the same for the Olympic Games.

There is also an outside chance that Ireland can qualify a Lightweight Women’s Double Scull (LW2X) at the same regatta. Note that this will be the last year that there will be lightweight events in rowing at the Olympic Games, a boat type that Ireland is historically successful at.

Meanwhile, the Olympic Federation spoke with Aifric Keogh from the Women’s Four (W4-), the Galway rower who is based in Cork at the National Rowing Centre. She spoke about what the World Championships Bronze medal has meant to her, and life in lockdown at the National Rowing Centre.

Published in Rowing
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In an update from the Olympic Federation of Ireland, Rowing has qualified a record number of boats for the 2021 Olympics, with four boats heading to Tokyo, and still a good chance to get one or two more in the final qualification regatta before the Games.

The boats are:

Women’s Single Scull – Sanita Puspure finished first in the World Championships 2019

Men’s Lightweight Double Scull – Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy finished first in the World
Championships 2019

Men’s Double Scull – Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne finished second in the World Championships 2019

Women’s Pair – Aileen Crowley and Monika Dukarska finished eleventh in the World Championships 2019

Rowing Ireland are still targeting two boats in the European qualifying regatta next year:

Women’s Four (W4-) there are two spots available.

Women’s Lightweight Double (LW2X) there are two spots available

Published in Rowing
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Sanita Puspure won the Gold medal in the Women’s Single Sculls and retained her European Rowing Championship title in Poznan today.

Seven Irish crews were competing in the final day at the 2020 European Rowing Championships. Five crews were competing in the A Finals and two boats competed in the B Finals.

The other Irish medal winners, Fintan McCarthy (LM1x), Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch (MX2), Fiona Murtagh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Aifric Keogh (W4-) all won Bronze Medals in their A Finals.

A Final Results

Fintan McCarthy won Bronze in the Lightweight Men’s Single A Final. Fintan competed with crews from Norway, Italy, Greece, Hungary and Belgium. Kristoffer Brun from Norway took the Gold and Niels Torre from Italy finished second. Fintan finished third with a time of 07:02.150.

The W2- crew of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty finished fifth in the A Final. The Irish pair were competing with crews from Romania, Spain, Greece, Denmark and Italy. The crew finished with a time of 07:28.280.

Ronan Byrne and Daire Lynch won Bronze in the A Final in the Men’s Double Sculls. The Irish crew competed against crews from Lithuania, Romania, Netherlands, Switzerland and Poland. Daire and Ronan finished third with a time of 06:41.210.

Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh won Bronze in the Women’s Four A Final. The Women’s Four competed in their heat alongside boats from Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Romania and Russia. The Irish Women’s Four finished third just behind the Italian crew with a time of 06:41.210 and just narrowly missed out on the Silver to the Swiss crew.

Sanita Puspure retained her European Championship by winning Gold in the Women’s Single Scull. Sanita won the race ahead of Magdalena Lobnig and Anneta Kyridou. Sanita was competing against crews from the Austria, Denmark, Germany, Greece and Switzerland. Sanita finished with a time of 07:36.040. Sanita is now a Double World and European Champion in the Women’s Single Scull.

B Final Results

Lydia Heaphy won the B Final in the Lightweight Women’s Single. Lydia beat crews from Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovenia on Sunday morning. Lydia finished the race with a time of 08:03.280.

The Lightweight Women’s Double of Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey finished 2nd in the B Final. They competed against crews from the Switzerland, Greece, Denmark, Latvia and Spain and finished with a time of 07:18.780.

Rowing Ireland’s High-Performance Director, Antonio Maurogiovanni said ”I wish to congratulate all crews, coaches and support staff on the excellent performances and results at the European Rowing Championships. Winning four medals, One Gold and three bronze is a brilliant accomplishment for Irish Rowing this weekend. Out of our seven crews entered, five reached the A Final in their category, and two achieved excellent results in the B Finals.

These results have continued our success this year at U23 and Junior European Championships. We now have nine medals from three competitions at three different levels.

We are not considered the underdog anymore, and we all need to do better and push the bar higher to keep our current level of international competitiveness.

One of Rowing Ireland's High-Performance's ambition was to have a system able to offer to all our athletes the chance to be competitive in making finals and ultimately winning medals across all the categories including Senior, U23, Junior, Male, Female, Lightweight and Heavyweight. We are in the right direction, but a lot needs to be done.

I want to thank all of the athletes, coaches, support staff and clubs for all their continued hard work and dedication. A big thank you to all of the national coaches Dominic Casey, Giuseppe De Vita, Fran Kean, John Armstrong, Ciro Prisco. These results would not be possible if it wasn't for everyone working together as a team with passion and enthusiasm.

We are grateful to be able to compete in tournaments given the current health situation, and we thank World Rowing for organising this event. We now look forward to 2021 and the opportunity to qualify more boats for the Olympics next summer. "

Irish Final Results at European Rowing Championships

Lightweight Women’s Single Scull (LW1x) – 1st Place – B Final

Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) – 2nd Place – B Final

Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Pair (W2-) – 5th Place – A Final

Men’s Double Scull (M2x) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Four (W4-) – 3rd Place – A Final

Women’s Single Scull (W1x) – 1st Place – A Final

RTE Highlight Show

RTE will also be showing a highlight show on RTE2 tonight at 6:30 pm.

Published in Rowing
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The second day of the 2020 European Rowing Championships featured seven Irish crews racing in repechages and semi-finals, setting themselves up for a day full of finals tomorrow.

The first crew of the day were the W2- pair of Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty. The pair raced in their repechage with big competition from Belarus, the Netherlands and Denmark. Tara and Emily finished first with a time of 7:16.67 and will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Daire Lynch and Ronan Byrne started their day in the M2x Semi-Final. They faced competition from the Netherlands, Belgium and Serbia. Daire and Ronan finished third in their Semi-Final with a time of 6:21.66, securing their place in the A Final tomorrow.

Lydia Heaphy raced in the Lightweight Women’s Single Sculls (LW1x) repechage. She faced competition from the Russian and Polish crews and finished fourth with a time of 7:58.49. Lydia will race in the B Final tomorrow.

Fintan McCarthy raced in the Lightweight Men’s Single Sculls (LM1x) A/B Semi-Final. Fintan rowed in a tough race with crews from Italy, Belgium and the Czech Republic. Fintan finished second with a time of 6:57.10 and will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey raced in the Lightweight Women’s Double Sculls (LW2x) Semi-Final. The pair faced competition from Italy, Belarus and Switzerland. Margaret and Aoife finished fifth with a time of 7:08.98. The pair will race in the B Final tomorrow.

The W4- crew of Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh raced in the Women’s Four Repechage. The crew comfortably finished first with a time of 6:26.96. They will race in the A Final tomorrow.

Sanita Puspure raced in the Women's Single Sculls (W1x) Semi-Final to finish off the day. Sanita raced with the Austrian and Danish crews either side of her, with the three crews securing their places in the A Final tomorrow. Sanita finished second with a time of 7:37.84.

Sunday Races (IST)

Lightweight Women's Single Sculls (LW1x) Lydia Heaphy - B Final - 08:05

Lightweight Women's Double Sculls (LW2x) Margaret Cremen and Aoife Casey - B Final - 08:15

Lightweight Men's Single Sculls (LW1x) Fintan McCarthy - A Final - 09:31

Women's Pair (W2-) Tara Hanlon and Emily Hegarty - A Final - 10:46

Men's Double Sculls (M2x) Daire Lynch and Ronan Byrne - A Final - 11:31

Women's Four (W4-) Aifric Keogh, Eimear Lambe, Aileen Crowley and Fiona Murtagh - A Final - 11:46

Women's Single Sculls (W1x) Sanita Puspure - A Final - 13:31

Follow the rowing:

RTE TV Coverage

RTE will be covering the racing on the RTE Player tomorrow!

RTE will also be showing a highlight show on RTE2 on Sunday at 6:30 pm.

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 2021 Date

The 2021 Rolex Fastnet Race will start on Sunday 8th August 2021.

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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