So... I have finally gotten around to writing a post about the Celtic Challenge... sorry for the delay Rob!
The Celtic Challenge is a rowing race which takes place every 2 years. It starts in Arklow, Ireland and finishes in Aberystwyth, Wales. This year 2019, there were 19 teams in total, hailing from Ireland, Wales and England. Rob and I rowed as part of a mixed crew with our home club, St. Michael's Dun Laoghaire. There were 12 crew members in our team, We rotated in teams of four, rowing one hour on, two hours off. In our off time, we focused on eating, drinking water and helping incoming and outgoing crews from the support yacht.
It took us 20 hrs and 34 mins before we crossed the finish line in Wales. We had the support of a Yacht and support rib which assisted with the transfers and down time.
Our team were one of two clubs to row in a 'traditional wooden east coast skiff'. The other 17 teams rowed in fiberglass 'Celtic long boats'. The east coast skiff is a far heavier boat although arguably safer in bad weather. Thankfully the weather was pleasant throughout the duration of the row.
I really enjoyed the whole experience of the Celtic Challenge. I like everyone was exhausted by the time we got to Wales. Our club chairman greeted us at the finish line with bacon butties and bottles of cold beer. A very welcomed surprise which gave us enough of a lift to pack away our boat and equipment!
We trained for 7 months throughout the winter for this race. We trained in a boxing gym and on the water between 3-4 days per week. The consistency of the training with the race crew helped with my technique and consistency. I now know I am better suited to longer distance endurance rowing. This experience has given me a great template for training and fitness base in preparation for rowing across the Atlantic.
I'll add some pictures over the coming days to this blog. Thank you again to St Michael's rowing club for the experience!