Events update September 2021

Our 2021 regatta season has drawn to a close, with the Irish Offshore Championships finishing what has been an extended but successful and enjoyable season despite the challenge of Covid-19. The head of the river 2021 events will begin shortly, with Tullamore Time Trial on the 2nd of October and St Michael’s traditional head of the river on the 9th of October.

Many thanks are extended to all who played their part this summer in ensuring events could return successfully from coaches to rowers alike, with a particular thank you to volunteers, organisers and sponsors. The Covid-19 working group also played a massive role in ensuring guidance and support was provided to clubs and organisers of events to stop the spread of Covid-19 and keep our sport safe.

A special thank you to our sponsors Kinetica, Sanity Systems, Powerhouse and Avison Young. 

For the Irish Rowing Championships, we also had sponsor support from Cork County Council Environment Department, who supplied the Eco-friendly water station for all rowers. This water station was a valuable asset as it meant rowers, coaches and volunteers had high-quality water close to the trailer and beach areas, many thanks in particular to Katherine Corkery in Cork County Council for this support.

A 2021 events survey will be emailed shortly to club secretaries, please share the link with your coaches and event organisers. This survey is for event development purposes as our club voice is vitally important in creating events for everyone to enjoy.

Our coastal and offshore Championships took place successfully and a full round up can be read below.

2021 Irish Coastal Rowing Championships 

The culmination of the fixed seat coastal rowing season goes ahead after a pandemic enforced break in 2020:

“To finally be able to go ahead with the Championships after repeated lockdowns is an incredible feeling”

Those were the words of David Hussey of Portmagee Rowing Club, host club for the 2021 Irish Coastal Rowing Championships. It was a sentiment every coastal rower that attended the Championships would share. Irish rowing clubs were shut twice for extended periods due to government restrictions during the height of the pandemic. While some local fixed seat coastal regattas had taken place when restrictions eased in the second half of 2020, this was the largest coastal regatta to take place in Ireland for two years. For many rowers, it was their first taste of competitive action since the 2019 Irish Coastal Championships. 

Huge efforts were made by the host club and Rowing Ireland to deliver a Covid safe regatta. The event is the pinnacle of the fixed seat coastal rowing calendar in Ireland where the best of crews from all over the island take to the water to battle it out for the title of Irish Coastal Rowing Champions.

The regatta was held on the coastal course at the National Rowing Centre in Cork over the 14th and 15th of August. The coastal course is adjacent to the flatwater course, where Ireland’s medal-winning Olympians train, but on a section of water more open to the elements and a challenging easterly wind provided suitably coastal conditions for the competitors.

The event was held over two days and in all, there were 227 crews who took part across 37 categories featuring a mix of Coastal Four and Traditional Boat races.  In a change from the usual format of heats on Saturday and finals on Sunday, and in an effort to minimize the amount of time competitors had to spend on-site, each category was completed on the same day, with heats each morning and finals in the afternoon. For the first time, under 19 men’s and women’s races were held, in an effort to compensate those rowers who had been unfortunate to miss out on their final year as underage rowers in 2020.

The Traditional Boat categories showcase the beautifully constructed timber boats from where fixed seat rowing in Ireland has its origins and which is still practised as strongly as ever in many parts of the island. East Coast Skiffs, Slaney Cots, Kerry 4-oars and Yawls were amongst the boats battling it out for the honours. Edermine Ferry of Wexford won both the Men’s and Women’s Senior Traditional races but it was Portmagee who grabbed the headlines taking home four of the eleven Traditional races. Wicklow picked up two Traditional wins, with Callinafercy, Galley Flash and Whitegate each taking home one.

Despite the long break since the last Championships, the racing was incredibly close, so close in fact that in two of the finals held on Saturday, the top two crews could not be separated. The Under 16 Women’s Coastal Four race was a seesaw battle between Rosscarbery and Whitegate, and after 800m the photo finish adjudged they touched the line together. Whitegate was involved in a second dead heat later in the day, with their U21 Women’s crew and that of Callinafercy hitting the finish line together after battling for 1500m. 

In one of the most competitive races of the event, the Masters Mixed Coastal Four, it was Edermine Ferry who prevailed, with Kilmacsimon of Cork in second place and Callinafercy from Kerry in third. In what must surely be a first, the race-winning crew from Edermine featured the Kinsella’s, a husband and wife combination with the crew being coxed by the couple’s daughter. This race saw another monumental achievement when Callinafercy’ s legendary John Joe O’Sullivan became the oldest person to secure a medal at an Irish Coastal Championships when at the age of 75 he took home a bronze medal.  John Joe also had five grandchildren taking part in the event over the weekend showcasing the truly family orientated nature of coastal rowing. 

The final two events of the Championships were the Senior Men’s and Women’s Coastal Four. A Wicklow/Portmagee composite won the Senior Men’s title with a dominant display over the 2300m multi-turn course, beating Passage West into second, with perennial medallists Kilmacsimon finishing third. Castletownbere are Senior Women’s Champions, finishing ahead of 2018 champions Galley Flash, with Passage West collecting the bronze.

The overall Club of the Championships is awarded to the club with the most wins in the Coastal Four categories. As always it was hotly contested with a number of clubs vying for the title. When the final racing was complete it was Whitegate Rowing Club with an incredible 9 wins who were crowned champions, retaining the crown they won in 2019, ahead of Passage West in second and Kilmacsimon in third.

Speaking at the National Rowing Centre, Championships Regatta Director Shane Russell said the event was a wonderful success and thanked everyone who made the event possible.  ‘Given that many of these crews have not had a race in well over a year it was great to see so many clubs and crews attending the event.  I would also like to thank the volunteers, stewards, race officials and medical teams who did a superb job over the weekend.   A huge thanks must go to our host club, Portmagee Rowing Club, who arranged a wonderful event.’  It is great to see coastal rowing back in action in Ireland and thoughts now turn towards the 2022 event.

Full results and times can be found here and photographs of the event can be found on the Rowing Ireland Coastal Rowing Facebook group and on Instagram

2021 Irish Offshore Rowing Championships

The Swift Irish Offshore Rowing Championships took place over the weekend of 5th of September in the scenic setting of Bantry Bay hosted by Bantry Rowing Club. 

To say all races were hotly contested is an understatement. Crews took to the water in calm conditions & competitively raced the 4K course.  The chicane towards the end of the course was a great addition forcing crews to show their turning skills.

Kealan Mannix, Rosscarbery took Gold in the CM1X with Bantrys own Andrew Hurley taking Silver and Galley Flash man John Harrington in third. Monika Dukarska, Killorglin took Gold in the CW1X, with competitive 2nd and 3rd by the two Arklow women, Sionna Healy and Xena Jordan. 

The Shandon/Portmagee crew crossed the line in style to take Gold in the CM4X+ With a crew of Rosscarbery/Kenmare/Killorglin taking the silver & bronze going to Myross. 

The Killorglin women’s crew took the honours of the CW4X+ with the Castletownshend women placing 2nd and the bronze going to Cairndhu women. 

The CW2X saw Killorglin A and Killorglin B taking the first two places with the Castletownshend double placing third. 

The men’s CM2X crew from Shandon took full honours of the gold. In 2nd place was the Rosscarbery pair with third going to a mixed crew from Kilmacsimon/Killurin. 

The new edition of the junior category CjM4x+ saw Arklow take the Gold, Kilmacsimon take the silver and Ring take the Bronze. The Cairndhu ladies  CjW4X+ took home the Gold, the Arklow/ Ring crew crossed the line to take the silver and the bronze went to Loughros point RC.

Finally Olympians Ronan Byrne from Shandon and Monika Dukarska teamed up to win the CMix2X. Silver went to the St Michael’s/Shannon duo with the bronze going to Rosscarbery’s brother and sister Kealan and Alyssa Mannix. 

Congratulations to all crews and many thanks to Bantry Rowing Club members, Rowing Ireland Offshore Championship Committee, sponsors Swift Racing and each and every one of the volunteers over both days of racing. 

Until next year …..