SOUTH West rowing is gearing up for another record-breaking season.
The launch of the South West Coastal Yawl Rowing Association 2018 season was held at the Celtic Ross Hotel. An action-packed calendar of events was announced, starting with the first round of the South West championship this weekend in Glandore and concluding with the Irish Coastal Rowing Championships at the National Rowing Centre in August.
South West Rowing chairman Danny Hayes outlined the schedule for the year ahead. He said that coastal rowing in West Cork is currently on the crest of a wave. A record 120 teams competed
at each of the South West regattas in 2017, and interest shows no sign of abating in 2018.
Increasing numbers taking up coastal rowing is exciting for clubs, but he pointed out that it also poses a challenge in terms of resources. It will place extra demands on coaches and coxes, and extra demands on boats.
However, it is clear from the results at the 2017 All-Ireland regatta that the West Cork clubs are turning the record numbers of competitors into medals, with over half the races at the national championships being won by West Cork clubs.
That domination has now gone international to the World Coastal Rowing Championships, where the majority of the Irish team competing at last year’s event in France were West Cork rowers.
At the launch of the South West season, Neil Grant of the Celtic Ross Hotel announced that the hotel will continue its support and sponsorship of the association for 2018.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of South West Coast Yawl Rowing Association and as part of events to mark that milestone the association hosted a Munster Invitational Regatta in April, attended by clubs from East and West Cork as well as Kerry. For the second year in succession the association also held a successful primary schools’ coastal rowing regatta last month.
South West rowing’s primary competition revolves around their five championship regattas. These are held in the most scenic coastal venues of West Cork – Glandore, Union Hall, Castletownshend and Schull.
Baltimore makes a welcome return to the championship regatta calendar following on from a very successful hosting of the Cork county final in 2017.
The leading boats from the South West championship will then take on their rivals from east Cork in Cork county finals which will be held in Passage West in July.
Continuing their heritage in timber boats, South West clubs will also take part in a series of timber yawl regattas. These are held in Ring, Kilmacsimon, Kilkern Lake, Rosscarbery and in perhaps the most picturesque of all venues, Sherkin Island.