Over 200 crews are set to descend on Cork City this bank holiday weekend for Ireland’s premier rowing race, the flagship event of Cork Harbour Festival 2016. Almost 600 participants will take to the water for the gruelling 28km race from Crosshaven to Cork City. This is the 12th year of the race organised by Meitheal Mara, which since 2005 has brought thousands of rowers and paddlers to Cork to compete across a broad range of classes. Many participants are regular race goers, while many more take part for the fun and challenge of completing the course.
This year’s race brings crews from around Ireland, England, Holland, France, Portugal and the United States. Albany Irish Rowing Club, from New York, who will row a three handed currach, is one crew that can’t wait for the starting line. “We’re looking forward to rowing in the best race in the world, meeting the locals and enjoying the festival!” The Rockabillies, an all-female crew from Skerries, North Co. Dublin are returning to take on the Ocean to City challenge for a second time. “We’re training together with a mix of walking, gym, running and cycling. Last year was great fun and we just had to head back again – the Rebels know how to party!” This year will see an Australian surfboat compete for the first time. The Perranporth Maniacs are surfboat rowers from Cornwall, who compete in surfboat competitions throughout the UK and Europe. “We’ve heard many good reports from other rowers that have taken part in the Ocean to City, and look forward to a new rowing experience.”
The race starts at 11.30am at Crosshaven, with best vantage points from Camden Fort Meagher, whose café terrace has the perfect vista over Roches Point. Along the race route, Cobh Tourism will host the annual ‘Cobh Cheers!’, featuring live race commentary and family fun with the Cobh Animation Team. Passage West Maritime Festival hosts the Ocean to City Picnic at 12.45, which is the destination for the ‘Harbour Pedal’, Cork Cycling Campaign’s scenic morning cycle, which departs Lapp’s Quay at 11.30am.
The festivities at the city finish line at Lapp’s Quay warm up from 1pm, with live commentary, DJ Ian Fiasco, live music, the festival market and circus street performances. The prize giving ceremony wraps up events with the after-party celebrations kicking off from 7pm along Albert Quay!