THE Swift Irish Offshore Championships are bound for Bantry Bay in early September.
Bantry Rowing Club will host the annual event, the pinnacle of the offshore racing calendar, over two days on Saturday, September 4th and Sunday, September 5th.
The club won the bid to host these national championships in 2019 and are working diligently to create a safe and Covid-19 compliant event.
The championships invite clubs from across the country to compete in nine events over a challenging four-kilometre course carved out of Bantry’s inner harbour.
The regatta is being held at the scenic ‘Bantry Airstrip’. The venue was successfully tested in September 2020 when Bantry RC hosted the only offshore regatta outside of the Irish championships that took place last year in Portmagee.
At the official launch of the 2021 event last Sunday in Bantry House, Regatta Director Diarmuid Murphy, who is also chair of the local business association, extended a ‘warm welcome to all the athletes and coaches travelling to West Cork this September’.
Murphy said he ‘can assure all those attending that it will be an event to remember’ with massive work going on behind the scenes.
Offshore rowing is unique in its approach to racing. At the upcoming Olympics fans will watch rowers, including the strong Skibbereen Rowing Club contingent, compete over a two-kilometre straight side-by-side course.
Offshore regatta rowers, however, battle over a course that must be navigated with multiple turns, contend with waves and avoid other competitors to cross the finish line.
This year's course will see crews race past a number of Bantry’s landmarks including the stunning Bantry House and the ever-welcoming Bank House on Whiddy Island.
One of the most exciting aspects of this year's championships is the introduction of two new events to the regatta. Men’s and women’s U18 coxed quad sculls will debut at the venue and see offshore rowing continue to be one of the fastest growing disciplines under the Rowing Ireland umbrella.