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Displaying items by tag: Coastal Rowing

When it came to painting the new St Ayles skiff Ealu built by Seol Sionnas (the owners of the much-admired traditional cutter Sally O’Keeffe) under the direction of Steve Morris in Kilrush Boatyard, it was “No Contest” as regards décor choice. For County Clare the Banner County shares the same distinctive blue and bright yellow colours with beleaguered Ukraine.

And as it happens, there are three Ukrainian girls staying in Kilrush who were keen to help with the painting job. The result is one very smart-looking craft whose attractive handling characteristics and performance potential eloquently explain why the numbers of this special Iain Oughtred design have reached more than 400 boats worldwide.

The new St Ayles skiff Ealu makes the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of the Holy Island of Scattery in the Shannon Estuary, rowing at “a comfortable four knots”. Photo: Trea HeapsThe new St Ayles skiff Ealu makes the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of the Holy Island of Scattery in the Shannon Estuary, rowing at “a comfortable four knots”. Photo: Trea Heaps

Ealu recently had the traditional Kilrush maiden voyage of a sunwise circuit of Scattery Island, and demonstrated that she can comfortably maintain a cruising rowing speed of four knots, so now “some fairly serious expeditions” are being planned with the able Sally O’Keeffe as support vessel.

The ultimate multi-tasker – Kilrush master shipwright James Madigan worked on the restoration of the Ilen and sailed on her, he is currently involved in the restoration of the Dublin Bay 21 Class, and he took time out to work in building Ealu, and is seen here rowing on the bow oar. Photo: Trea HeapsThe ultimate multi-tasker – Kilrush master shipwright James Madigan worked on the restoration of the Ilen and sailed on her, he is currently involved in the restoration of the Dublin Bay 21 Class, and he took time out to work in building Ealu, and is seen here rowing on the bow oar. Photo: Trea Heaps

Published in Coastal Rowing

Dun Laoghaire Harbour's St. Michael’s Rowing Club Regatta took place on Sunday, the 17th of July and brought together a large community of heritage skiff rowers from all along the east coast writes St. Michael’s Simone Sav

Coastal rowing at St Michael’s Rowing Club combines all the positive aspects of team sport, seamanship, fitness, competition and the great outdoors. The club caters for men, women and children with all levels of aspiration, from the recreational to the serious athlete.

Traditionally held every year at Seapoint, the event drew hundreds of spectators on SundayTraditionally held every year at Seapoint on Dublin Bay, the event drew hundreds of spectators on Sunday

With more than 100 crews, 17 races on the cards and participation of all age categories (from youth rowers as young as 10 to ‘vets’ in their 50s and 60s), the event was the largest coastal rowing regatta in Dun Laoghaire Rathdown in 2022. Traditionally held every year at Seapoint, the event drew hundreds of spectators on Sunday. This helps keep alive the tradition of the hobblers of old. With fixed seats, wooden oars, and clinker-built boats, the sport of heritage skiff rowing differs significantly from our freshwater ‘Olympic-style’ cousins.

"Heritage rowing is a sport for all ages - from youth rowers as young as 10 to ‘vets’ in their 50s and 60s"

St. Michaels welcomed Mary Hanafin, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, who presented the medals to the youth rowers. In a thoughtful departure from the usual format, the club opted for eco-friendly wood medals. After all, heritage skiff rowing is truly a sport that leaves no trace, which draws on the savvy of wood craftsmanship, the power of the human body and the maritime knowledge to cross any waters.

St. Michael’s rowing medals were in hot dema at SeapointSt. Michael’s rowing medals were in hot dema at Seapoint

Club members were also delighted to see several elected councillors and TDs stop by or promote the event via their social media: TD Barry Ward; TD Cormac Devlin; Councilor Justin Moylan and Councillor Peter O’Brien.

St. Michaels welcomed Mary Hanafin, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, who presented the medals to the youth rowersSt. Michaels welcomed Mary Hanafin, Cathaoirleach of Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, who presented the medals to the youth rowersd

The event was supported by local businesses: Access Hearing Centre, Dun Laoghaire; Acorn Landscaping; Ardcolts Supervalu Dun Laoghaire SC; Cafe du Journal & Bearhug Clothing, Monkstown; Cinnamon, Monkstown; Elephant & Castle, Monkstown; Georges Fish Shop, Monkstown; McKenna’s Bar; Specialist Orthodontic Practice, Glenageary; The Graduate Pub, Killiney.

The St. Michael’s Rowing Club committee, and in particular Captains Nicola Fitzgerald and Gareth Whittington, would like to thank all sponsors, supporters, club members and friends for their contribution to making the event a great success.

St. Michael’s Rowing Club was founded in Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the early 1920s. Today the club consists of over 100 members, from all walks of life, with all abilities catered for, from complete beginners to experienced rowers.

Crews train Monday to Friday from March to September, from 6 pm to sundown, in traditional wooden skiffs, as well as Celtic Longboat, with an offshore boat to be added to the fleet during the 2022 season.

St. Michael’s Home Regatta results - 17th July 2022

Intermediate Ladies
1st - Fingal
2nd - Stella Maris
3rd - Dalkey

Junior Ladies
1st - Dalkey
2nd - St Patrick’s
3rd - Stella Maris

Junior Men
1st - St Patrick’s
2nd - St Michaels
3rd - Stella Maris

Mixed crew
1st - Dalkey
2nd - St Michaels
3rd - Stella Maris

Senior Men
1st - St Patrick’s 
2nd - Wicklow 
3rd - St Michaels 

U12 boys
1st - Wicklow 
2nd - St Patrick’s 
3rd - Wicklow 

U12 girls
1st - St Patrick’s 
2nd - St Patrick’s 
3rd - St Michaels 

U14 boys
1st - St Patrick’s 
2nd - Wicklow 
3rd - Stella Maris 

U14 girls
1st - Stella Maris A
2nd - Stella Maris B 
3rd - Greystones 

Novice Men
1st - Fingal 
2nd - Bray 
3rd - Dalkey 

U21s Mens race
1st - St Michaels 

Senior Ladies
1st - St Michaels 
2nd - Wicklow 
3rd - Fingal 

Intermediate Men
1st - Wicklow 
2nd - Stella Maris 
3rd - Greystones 

U16 girls
1st - Stella Maris A
2nd - Stella Maris B
3rd - Wicklow 

U16 boys
1st - Bray
2nd - St Patrick’s 
3rd - Skerries 

U18 girls
1st - Skerries
2nd - Greystones
3rd - Bray?

U18 boys
1st - Wicklow 
2nd - St Michaels A
3rd - Skerries 

Vets
1st - Dalkey & Bray 
2nd - Dalkey 
3rd - Fingal 

Published in Coastal Rowing

Stella Maris Rowing Clubs' first post-pandemic regatta on the River Liffey at Poolbeg Marina on Sunday will go down as one of the best in many years, not necessarily for the on-water success enjoyed by the host club throughout the day but more for all the other elements that simply made for a great day out on the capital's waters in Dublin Port.

This was the first coastal rowing regatta to actually take place on the East Coast circuit this year.

Stella Maris Regatta Coastal Rowing 2022Stella Maris Regatta competitors underneath the North Wall Quay lighthouse on the River Liffey Photo: Afloat

Three others (Dalkey, Skerries and Balbriggan/Fingal) were cancelled in Late May and early June due to high winds and adverse conditions unsuited to offshore rowing.

There was lots of praise from among the east coast rowing community for Stella Maris Regatta organiser Pat Kane and his committee for the smooth running of the eventThere was lots of praise from among the east coast rowing community for Stella Maris Regatta organiser Pat Kane and his committee for the smooth running of the event Photo: Afloat

As Afloat reported previously, ten clubs from along the East Coast from Balbriggan to Arklow took part bringing over 120 crews onto the water throughout the day.

Conditions were perfect for the Stella Maris Regatta 2022 with a course on the river Liffey between Poolbeg Marina and The Eastlink BridgeConditions were perfect for the Stella Maris Regatta 2022 with a course on the river Liffey between Poolbeg Marina and The Eastlink Bridge Photo: Afloat

Brilliant weather, good spirits, healthy rivalries, and races running efficiently and on time all made for a wonderful East Coast Regatta enjoyed by a wide range of coastal rowing clubs. 

Competition commenced at 10 am at Poolbeg Marina on the River Liffey on Sunday. This was the Stella Maris club's first "Full" regatta since 2019 Photo: AfloatCompetition commenced at 10 am at Poolbeg Marina on the River Liffey on Sunday. This was the Stella Maris Club's first "Full" regatta since 2019 Photo: Afloat

While Stella Maris may have been the big winners over the day there were great performances from all the East Coast Clubs with every club in attendance represented on the overall Medal table. See results below.

Stella Maris Regatta Coastal Rowing 2022A coastal rowing crew pictured just after finishing a Stella Maris Regatta race on the River Liffey Photo: Afloat

Stella Maris Coastal Rowing Regatta 2022 Results

U12 Boys
1st Wicklow
2nd Wicklow
3rd St Patricks

U12 Girls
1st St Patricks
2nd Stella Maris
3rd St Patricks

U14 Girls
1st Stella Maris
2nd Stella Maris
3rd Stella Maris

A Stella Maris Coastal Rowing Regatta crew alongside MV Celine, the world’s largest short sea Ro-Ro shipA Stella Maris Coastal Rowing Regatta crew alongside MV Celine, the world’s largest short sea Ro-Ro ship Photo: Afloat

U14 Boys
1st St Patricks
2nd Stella Maris
3rd Stella Maris

U16 Girls
1st Stella Maris
2nd Stella Maris
3rd Bray

U16 Boys
1st St Patricks
2nd Skerries

U18 Girls
1st Stella Maris
2nd Greystones

U18 Boys
1st Wicklow
2nd Dunlaoghaire
3rd Skerries

Inter Ladies
1st Fingal
2nd Stella Maris
3rd Skerries

Inter Men
1st Stella Maris
2nd St Patricks
3rd Greystones

Dalkey ladies coastal rowing team at the Stella Maris RegattaDalkey ladies coastal rowing team at the Stella Maris Regatta

Junior Ladies
1st Dalkey
2nd Stella Maris
3rd St Patricks

Junior Men
1st Stella Maris
2nd Dunlaoghaire
3rd Bray

Mixed
1st Dalkey
2nd Stella Maris
3rd Fingal

Novice Women
1st Bray
2nd Dalkey
3rd Fingal

Novice Men
1st Fingal
2nd Dalkey
3rd Greystones

Senior Ladies
1st Stella Maris
2nd Dun Laoghaire
3rd Wicklow

Senior Men
1st Wicklow
2nd St Patricks
3rd Stella Maris

Published in River Liffey

There was disappointment for Irish coastal rowing fans at the weekend when Dalkey Rowing Club cancelled its 90th-anniversary Regatta on Dublin Bay due to an adverse weather forecast. 

Unfortunately, the forecast for Sunday worsened and organisers deemed it unsafe to stage the event despite a strong entry, a full card and having laid the course in Scotsman's Bay in the south of the Bay for the two-day event.

"In a statement on social media, the club said: "The tides in Scotsman’s Bay don’t allow a full days card (when they’re low they’re low) which is why it [the regatta] was over two days. And we can’t then run only half a card, it had to be all races or none. It’s the winds that are the issue and we had to be safe for everyone’s sake".

Published in Coastal Rowing

The Airport Police & Fire Service Rowing Club has thanked River Liffey-based St. Patrick’s Rowing Club in Dublin city for the loan of its quad boat to train for this year’s ‘challenging’ club charity event.

‘Endeavoar 2022’ is a 250-kilometre coastal row along the West Coast of Ireland in aid of the three Dublin Airport Authority staff charities which are, St. Francis Hospice, Feed our Homeless and The Mater Foundation.

Part of the challenge will be to climb Sceilg Mhíchíl and then continue north passing The Blasket Islands, The Cliffs of Moher, The Burren and finally into Galway Bay.

The club says this “three-day event will be one of the most challenging and spectacular we have ever attempted”.

Unfortunately, strong winds thwarted plans for the scheduled May 19th start but it is hoped to make the attempt again in September.

“Thanks to St. Patrick's Rowing Club for allowing us to train using their boat and to Portmagee Rowing Club for giving us their offshore quad during the event. Without their kindness we could not attempt this challenge”, the club ytold followers on social media.

Thanks to St. Patrick's Rowing Club for allowing us to train using their boat

The donate page is here

Published in Coastal Rowing

From 6.30 am on a damp and drizzly Sunday morning May 1st, 29 boats of all shapes and sizes started to arrive on Clogherhead Strand to prepare for the sixth Annual Boyne Boat Race, taking place later that morning writes Sarah McCann of Inver Colpa Rowing Club

The race was a huge success with the Inver Colpa Men’s crew not only winning their category, but also taking home the inaugural Cassidy Cup.

Speaking after the event the club Chairperson James McKevitt, who was also a member of the winning men’s crew stated:

The day was a huge success for the club and all involved. The Boyne Boat Race hadn’t been held since 2019 due to Covid, so it was very exciting to bring the event back. All the members put in a great effort in organising the race, with special mention going to Grace and her race committee. The club are very grateful to the many who made the day possible: Drogheda Port, Boyne Fishermen’s Rescue & Recovery, the RNLI, and the Red Cross. We are also indebted to our sponsors: Flogas, The Mariner, and Grennan’s Bar.

Even though the route up the river from the mouth of the Boyne is so scenic, passing maiden tower, Baltray, Queensborough, Beaulieu House, and in under the viaductEven though the route up the river from the mouth of the Boyne is so scenic, passing maiden tower, Baltray, Queensborough, Beaulieu House, and in under the viaduct Photo: Robert Hatch

The two Inver Colpa race crews, both mens and ladies, put in a mammoth effort on the day and in the months leading up to it in training. The race itself is a real challenge - 15.5km long, starting on the open sea at Clogherhead and then entering the Boyne at Mornington, requiring the cox of each crew to navigate the Boyne into Drogheda, and finish under the De Lacy bridge at Scotch Hall.

James continued: It was fitting to see so many friends, family and Drogheda folk line the river and quays cheering on the rowers. A true spectacle seeing nearly 30 boats crossing the town waters. Even though the route up the river from the mouth of the Boyne is so scenic, passing maiden tower, Baltray, Queensborough, Beaulieu House, and in under the viaduct, all the participants were rowing too hard to notice! It is a very special route considering the history of that short stretch of river, following in the wash of St. Patrick, the Vikings, and even the Salmon of Knowledge. Our own Gerry Hodgins is said to be still trying to catch that Salmon!

This year saw a record number of entrants into the race with crews travelling from as far as Strangford Lough, Ballygally and Whitehead in Northern Ireland, along with crews from Dublin and Wicklow, amongst others. The boats that travelled across the country to compete were a mixture of East Coast skiffs, St. Ayles skiffs, currachs, All-Ireland one-design boats, Fiesas and Celtic Longboats.

The weather didn't dampen anyone's spiritsThe weather didn't dampen anyone's spirits Photo: Robert Hatch

Glenda Carter, Club Secretary and a member of the women’s crew commented: The weather didn't dampen anyone's spirits on Sunday. It was great to see so many boats on Clogherhead Strand that day after two years of not being able to host the race due to the pandemic. We're really proud of the effort put into the race organisation by all our club members and look forward to it being even bigger & better next year!

Boyne Boat Race 2022 results

Skiffs St Ayles - Men - Strangford Lough - 1:45:46

Skiffs St Ayles - Women - Strangford Lough - 1:55:24

Currach - Mixed - Carlingford Lough - 1:55:37

East Coast Skiffs - Men - St. Patrick's - 1:28:37

East Coast Skiffs - Mixed - St Michael's - 1:42:46

All Ireland One Design - Men - Inver Colpa - 1:30:55

All Ireland One Design - Women - Castle - 1:37:53

All Ireland One Design - Mixed - Whitehead - 1:25:35

Celtic Long Boats - Women - Vartry - 1:47:35

Celtic Long Boats - Mixed - Vartry - 1:44:30

Fiesa’s - Male Double - Greystones - 1:19:32

Fiesa’s - Mixed Double - Vartry - 1:35:49

Fiesa’s - Male Quad - Vartry - 1:12:37

Sixth Boyne Boat Race Photo Gallery by Richie Hatch and Tony Campbell

Published in Coastal Rowing

The “All in a Row” team which smashed a 1,000 km target in eight hours on the Liffey late last year has presented €20,000 to two leading marine rescue charities.

The RNLI’s Howth station and the Irish Underwater Search and Recovery Unit were nominated to benefit from the event, held last December on the River Liffey.

Some 40 skiffs, kayaks, canoes and currachs participated in the event, which started from St. Patrick’s Rowing Club at the Tom Clarke Bridge (formerly the East Link Bridge).

Rowers turned at the Ha’penny Bridge, before heading back downriver to the Tom Clarke Bridge.

Rose Michael, (right) Howth RNLI Lifeboats and Pauline McGann, RNLI Community Manager receiving the funds raised

The event, now an annual challenge, is undertaken to raise monies for marine rescue and also to highlight the Liffey as one of Dublin’s best amenities, according to the organisers.

Speaking at the presentation, Mayor of Irishtown/Ringsend Derek Buckley said “the local community effort involved in raising these funds is remarkable and we look forward to hosting this event in our community again next December”.

The All in a Row Crew are Dave Kelly (Chair) - Draiocht Na Life, Philip Murphy -St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Eoin Gaffney - Phoenix Masters Swimming Club, Mick Curry -Stella Maris Rowing Club, Peter Carey – Phoenix Rowing Club, Tony Kelly – East Wall Water Sports Group, Dave Cox – St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Chris Kennedy – St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Gerry Coonan – Wild Water Kayak Club, Eimear McCormack – St. Patrick’s Rowing Club, Seamus Hallahan – Dublin Vikings Dragon Boats, Eugene Kierans & Richard Kaye – Irish Underwater Search and Recovery and Rose Michael, Royal National Lifeboat Association Howth Station.

On the water support was provided by RNLI Dun Laoghaire, Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club, East Wall Water Sports Centre, Irish Underwater Search and Recovery and the No. 11 Liffey Ferry.

The Sea Scouts from 1st Port Dublin and 5th Wicklow (Bray) provided “very welcome hot drinks ashore”, the organisers said.

Published in RNLI Lifeboats

Kilrush may be best known internationally these days as the place where the Dublin Bay 21 fleet - originally from 1902 - is being re-born through the developing skills of the Steve Morris-led boat-building team in the south Clare harbour town.

But the local maritime group Seol Sionna have long been noted for their breadth of interests, and though their flagship continues to be the charismatic 25ft Shannon Hooker re-creation Sally O’Keeffe – one of the best-looking character boats in Ireland – the group’s members and associates take in a wide selection of craft, one of the more recent being a new-build gleoiteog – the Naomh Fanchea – which chimes very well with the spirit of the times as her auxiliary is an electric motor.

The St Ayles skiff concept is now well provenThe St Ayles skiff concept is now well proven

In recent months as pandemic regulations ease, Seol Sionna have added yet another dimension by building themselves a St Ayles skiff in one of Steve Morris’s sheds under the tutelage of Steve himself. Although the 22ft St Ayles design by Iain Oughtred has very specific origins at Fair Isle in the far north beyond Scotland, midway between the Orkneys and Shetland, the result – thanks to edge-glued marine ply clinker construction with just six planks per side – is a four-oared easily-handled craft of notable lightness, a more manageable proposition for a small group than the traditional 32ft Irish coastal rowing skiff.

The new Kilrush skiff starts to take shapeThe new Kilrush skiff starts to take shape

The new skiff ready for turning in Kilrush – any Viking would feel at home with this hull shapeThe new skiff ready for turning in Kilrush – any Viking would feel at home with this hull shape

For an organisation like Seaol Sionna, this offers the option of easy trailering to rowing and trad-sailing events at some distance from Kilrush. For although Kilrush undoubtedly feels like the hub of the universe when you’re actually there, other “less important” traditional boat centres tend to seem a long way away, and maintaining healthy interaction with them will be facilitated by a proper road trailer being part of the grant package which made the project possible.

The traditional classic Sally O’Keeffe slipping effortlessly along on a sunny Shannon Estuary evening   The traditional classic Sally O’Keeffe slipping effortlessly along on a sunny Shannon Estuary evening  

That said, most of the new boat’s activity will be in the Shannon Estuary, and as she is just about as different as possible in concept from the hefty but surprisingly swift Sally O’Keeffe, a certain level of competition can be expected in the local sailing waters round Scattery Island. The St Ayles boat may be primarily a rowing craft, but they can give a good account of themselves under sail, and the challenge is right there, ready and waiting.

Encouraging junior sailing talent at the helm – Sally O’Keeffe plays a central role in the maritime life of Kilrush.Encouraging junior sailing talent at the helm – Sally O’Keeffe plays a central role in the maritime life of Kilrush.

Published in Coastal Rowing
Tagged under

Dr Karen Weekes will be spending Christmas Day, New Year’s day and more at sea on her 3,000-mile row from the Canaries to the Caribbean in her bid to become the first Irish woman to row solo across the Atlantic.

Weekes, the Kinvara-based sports psychologist and lecturer at Munster Technological University, set off in her vessel Millie, named after mother, from Gran Canaria on December 6th.

Her campaign manager Suzanne Kennedy spoke to Wavelengths about the challenges she faces, and how they have both sailed the same route – heading south till the butter melted, as Kennedy put it – and so they both have some idea of what’s ahead.

Weekes 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.

Dr Karen Weekes (left) and Dr Suzanne Kennedy - many adventures togetherDr Karen Weekes (left) and Dr Suzanne Kennedy - many adventures together

She has shared many adventures with Kennedy, a lecturer in physical education and sport at Letterkenny Institute of Technology and highly experienced sea kayaker, sailor and mountain biker.

As Kennedy explains, part of her focus is on researching the impact of the experience on her own psychology. The Shecando campaign also aims to provide a platform for encouraging women, and girls, to believe in their abilities to succeed”, and to highlight two of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically “gender equality” and “life below water”.

Karen Weekes’s progress on her 70-day row to Barbados can be followed on her tracker on the link below, and all funds raised on the Gofundme page for Shecando2021 from the day she started rowing in December will go to two charities, Laura Lynn and the RNLI.

Listen to Lorna Siggins speaking with Weekes here and check out the tracker here 

Published in Wavelength Podcast

The Wicklow Rowing Club has will be supported by the Mercedes-Benz organisation in Ireland towards its participation at the World Coastal Rowing Championships which take place in Oeiras, Portugal next month.

Recognising the important role that the Club will have in being a standard-bearer for Ireland at the event, its Chief Executive, Paddy Finnegan extended the best wishes of the Mercedes-Benz organisation to the club.

Over the years, Mercedes-Benz has given its support to a number of water sport activities, most notably in its sponsorship of Ireland’s Olympic medal-winning sailor, Annalise Murphy in her preparations for the Rio and Tokyo Olympic Games and also Howth Laser ace Aoife Hopkins and prior to that Round the World sailor Enda O'Coineen in his Irish debut in the Vendee Globe Race.

Published in Coastal Rowing
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Afloat's Wavelengths Podcast with Lorna Siggins

Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...

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