ROWERS FROM Aberdovey in Wales took the chequered flag yesterday as they crossed the finish line first in the Celtic Challenge.
Ranked as the longest rowing race in the world, it involves teams rowing 90 miles across the Irish Sea from Arklow to Aberystwyth in Wales. Aberdovey took 17 hours and 50 minutes to row the distance, three hours behind the record of over 14 hours established some years ago.
A northeast headwind made this year’s biennial race the toughest since the event was initiated back in 1989.
Seven boats pulled up early in the race and it is thought that some more may not make it to the finish given the very tough conditions, which pushed the rowers’ endurance to the limits.
Initially 22 vessels came under starter’s orders at Arklow’s south beach on Saturday at 4pm, with seven from Ireland and the remainder from England and Wales.
Aberystwyth men slotted into second place after completing the row in 19 hours, 26 minutes, and Foyle from Moville, Co Donegal* came third in 20 hours, 34 minutes, making them the first mixed team and first Irish team over the finish line.
Other results were: fourth, Neyland mixed team from Wales (21 hours, 38 minutes); fifth, Aberystwyth mixed team (22 hour, 53 minutes); sixth, Llanion warriors from Wales (23 hours, three minutes); seventh, Aberporth from Wales (23 hours, 24 minutes); and eighth, Courtown from Wexford (23 hours, 45 minutes).
Aberystwyth women’s rowers were one of the casualties this time, leaving the Arklow women, seeking to win the ladies’ title for a third consecutive time, poised to achieve their goal.
This article was edited on Wednesday, May 9th, 2012 to correct a factual error