This June Bank Holiday weekend, St Michael’s Rowing Club Dun Laoghaire hosted their home regatta, which brought together rowers from the East Coast rowing clubs: Arklow, Greystones, Bray, Dalkey, Wicklow, Fingal, and Stella Maris and St Patrick’s in Dublin.
The first of the 18 races kicked off at 9am with a gold medal win for St Michael’s senior ladies rowing in the Gráinne Mhaol, a boat built by Louis Hunkin of WC Hunkin and Sons, who was a special guest.
The event, which saw 90 crews compete in traditional Irish wooden skiffs, was held at Surfers’ Wharf at Seapoint Beach.
“We selected this area and designed this particular race course in order to ensure that all races can be held within the fairly restrictive window of opportunity imposed by the tidal change, which is approximately five hours,” said Colm Crilly, St Michael’s committee member in charge of race course logistics.
“We are grateful that all clubs have proven very efficient with crew changeovers, as this allowed us to keep a tight schedule.”
Sonja Storm, safety logistics officer on the club committee, added: “An event like this, which brings together hundreds of participants, entails careful planning from the point of view of safety.
“This year, we were glad to welcome Robert Dunne, the designated safety officer of the East Coast Rowing Council, who oversaw this important aspect on the day.”
Jane Collins, organising co-supervisor said: “We would like to thank Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council for their continued support and for allowing us to organise our home regatta every year in this location.”
There were 10 adult races (Novice, Intermediate, Junior and Senior Ladies/Men; Mixed; and Vets) catering for a variety of abilities and experience.
Gary Byrne, St Michael’s club captain, said: “It is so encouraging to see a large number of people interested in coastal skiff rowing and racing, from people who just joined to well-seasoned rowers.”
Sarah Lovejoy, club youth officer, who oversaw youth rowing during the regatta said: “Rowing is an all-age sport with many physical and developmental benefits. You work as a team, and you have to tune in and pay attention to what your other team members are doing, because you have to be in sync.”
Rowers as young as 10 competed across a total of eight youth races, divided into four age groups.
The regatta was supported by a number of local businesses and sponsors. “This year, each race had an official sponsor, and we are so grateful for everyone who believes in us and supports us,” said Hilary Lovejoy, organising co-supervisor.
The next event St Michael’s Rowing Club will organise is their very own Hobbler’s Challenge, a 28km long race now open for registration.
“Our club is committed to continuing the tradition of skiff rowing that was passed on by local hobblers. Hosting our annual regatta and organising the Hobbler’s Challenge is a good way of ensuring that we promote this wonderful sport,” said James Tedd, club chairperson.