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Larne Regatta Gets Unexpected GB Row Challenge Visitors

12th July 2022
Team Sea Legs with Newcastle RNLI. The team called at the station to express their thanks for the rescue
Team Sea Legs with Newcastle RNLI. The team called at the station to express their thanks for the rescue

Larne Lough Weekend Regatta, held on the first weekend in July, drew visitors from Carrickfergus SC and Ballyholme YC on Belfast Lough, and a surprise visit too when Sea Legs, one of the rowing boats taking part in the GB Row Challenge around Great Britain, was towed by the Larne lifeboat into the Harbour with a damaged rudder.

The challenge started from London on 12th June, but all three boats were rescued over the weekend of 25th June - one off the Welsh coast taken to Milford Haven, another off the Co. Antrim coast, and one by the Newcastle Co.Down lifeboat taken to nearby Ardglass – this was Sea Legs. This same boat restarted the challenge but was unfortunate to suffer rudder damage at Muck Island, off Islandmagee on the Antrim Coast and was towed by Larne lifeboat to Wymer’s Pier at East Antrim Boat Club in nearby Larne Harbour. The rudder was repaired by some club members.

SEA LEGS in Larne HarbourSEA LEGS in Larne Harbour Photo: Michael Kane

And so the Regatta continued with the visiting Carrickfergus Corby 29 Elixir, (Brian and Ryan Wilson) taking first place in NHC, one point ahead of Peter Doig’s J92 Jack.

Alan Knox's Cheeky Monkey (5799) and Artemis (Gordon and Heather Kane) at Larne Lough regattaAlan Knox's Cheeky Monkey (5799) and Artemis (Gordon and Heather Kane) at Larne Lough regatta Photo: Sue Kitson

But a successful challenge was not to be for Sea Legs as the same boat had further difficulties on 4th July when the Red Bay lifeboat from Cushendall on the Antrim coast was called just after midnight to go to its aid off Machrihanish, near the tip of the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. The crew had managed to anchor the boat and all five were airlifted to safety by a Coastguard Rescue Helicopter. RNLI Lifeboat crew from Campbeltown was also in attendance. Then followed an unusual mission for Mull of Kintyre Sea Adventures who were called to take the crew to retrieve the anchored boat and tow it the 30 miles back to Campbeltown on the east of Kintyre.

East Antrim BC Commodore Lucy Whitford and her team had given the rowers lunch and a number of members fixed the rudder before heading back on the water for the afternoon racing. Lucy said “We were pleased to be able to extend our regatta hospitality to the crew and also help them fix the damaged rudder. We had wished them well on their onward passage but understand they have chosen to retire from the challenge”.

Betty Armstrong

About The Author

Betty Armstrong

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Betty Armstrong is Afloat and Yachting Life's Northern Ireland Correspondent. Betty grew up racing dinghies but now sails a more sedate Dehler 36 around County Down

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