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Cork Harbour's Ocean to City Coastal Rowing Race Returns with Novel Online Format

2nd March 2021
Collaborating with national rowing associations in Scotland and Wales, this year’s Ocean to City will be part of a unique, international time trial series
Collaborating with national rowing associations in Scotland and Wales, this year’s Ocean to City will be part of a unique, international time trial series

Cork Harbour Festival’s flagship Ocean to City race will be going ahead this June with an altered format.

Collaborating with national rowing associations in Scotland and Wales, this year’s Ocean to City will be part of a unique, international time trial series called the Five Miles From Home Series 2021.

The Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home is the second leg in the Series, and will take place 4-6 June 2021. The challenge can be joined from anywhere in the world; rather than asking participants to travel, Ocean to City invites people to participate in this international challenge from their home waters.

Taking part is simple! Just form a crew, plot a 5 mile (8047meters / 4.345nm) course, cover the distance as fast or as stylishly as possible during the designated time windows, submit your times and join the online celebration afterwards.

Coastal Rowing crews at the Ocean to City Race in Cork HarbourCoastal Rowing crews at a previous Ocean to City Race in Cork Harbour

The Five Miles From Home Series has a ‘Main’ and an ‘Alternative’ Challenge. The Main Challenge is open to fixed-seat rowing boats such as currachs, skiffs, gigs and yawls. The Alternative Challenge is open to kayaks, SUPs, canoes, dragon boats, offshore sliding-seat boats and outriggers. Incorporating a dedicated Under-19s youth category, the organisers are also keen to involve and celebrate young people on the water.

The full Five Miles From Home Series includes the Scottish Castle to Crane leg on 7-9 May and the Welsh Sea Rowing leg on 9-11 July. Participants can take part in the whole series, allowing them to compare and improve on their results as they progress, or just in one single leg. Each leg in the series has a 48-hour window during which the challenge has to be completed.

With covid-19 constraints making large events off-limits, it is hoped that by the summer restrictions will be relaxed sufficiently to allow clubs from across Cork Harbour, Cork County and beyond to organise their own Ocean to City - Five Miles From Home micro-events.

Adrienne Rodgers, Director of Services at Cork City Council said: ‘We have been very proud to be involved in the Ocean to City Race, as part of the Cork Harbour Festival, over the years. Although like a lot of other events, it is not as we know it this year, we’re concentrating on the positive and congratulate the organisers on the wonderful alternative concept of Five Miles from Home. It won’t replace the elation of an actual race, but it will give us all a focus, to work safely towards a great event.’

Not only will the altered format encourage rowers and paddlers to get back training and competing on the water, but participants will also be part of a big international challenge connecting boating communities from across the world. Welcoming a variety of human-powered, sea-going craft, Ocean to City aims for the event to be as inclusive, adaptable and enjoyable as possible!

Mayor of the County of Cork, Cllr. Mary Linehan Foley said: ‘Cork County Council is especially proud to be a major sponsor of the Cork Harbour Festival, which has a strong legacy of celebrating seafaring culture, synonymous with Cork’s position as Ireland's ‘Maritime Haven'. We are delighted that our sponsorship of the ‘The Five Miles from Home’ initiative will help to sustain the festival despite COVID-19 challenges. Festivals and events strengthen the fabric of our communities and celebrate the very best of what our county has to offer, such as our spectacular coastline and rich maritime history. The Council’s continued support of festivals plays a key role in strengthening our tourism industry and ensuring Cork County is best placed to welcome visitors when safe to do so.’

Entries for Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home open on the 1st of March 2021 and participation costs €10 per boat per leg, or €20 for all three legs. For kayaks and SUPs it is €5 for one leg, or €10 for all three.

The organisers encourage rowers and paddlers to enter the Five Miles From Home Series with optimism and confidence. If, for whatever reason, participants are unable to complete the course on water, they can transfer their entry to the ‘Land Challenge’ and walk, wheel or run the 5 miles.

Paddlers at the Ocean to City Race in Cork HarbourPaddlers at the Ocean to City Race in Cork Harbour

Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Cork said: ‘During these challenging times, it’s really refreshing to hear that the Cork Harbour Festival’s flagship event, Ocean to City will go ahead, albeit in a different and exciting new format. The Ocean to City – Five Miles From Home is completely achievable and we would urge people to take part. Congratulations to all the team at Cork Harbour Festival, we are delighted to support this great event once again.’

Afloat.ie Team

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