The Celtic Challenge committee had an emergency meeting tonight to assess the conditions for the weekend. We met early to be able to give all the teams… as much warning as possible. Like you all we have been watching the weather unfold over the last week or so. Our interpretation of this complex and ever changing scenario is as follows.
The situation is very fluid and unstable but even the best scenario does not provide us with the 36 hour safety window we require. Small windows do exist but are sandwiched between very active low pressure systems and we feel that we cannot take the risk with so many craft and so many lives.
So it is with great regret that the 2016 Celtic Challenge will be cancelled.
I know how disappointing this is to you all and we very much regret the decision but feel that we had no real choice. Some of us are still intending to travel over to Arklow on Thursday returning on Saturday.
The race party will take place on Sunday as planned at 19.00 hours and you are all warmly invited to Rummers Bar in Aberystwyth. There will be food and music.
There will be some sort of rowing event on the river using Aber’s boats on Sunday afternoon starting at 14.00 again you are warmly invited.
For the future we are intending to organise another Celtic Challenge in 2017 and will offer the 2016 teams a discounted entry fee should they wish to take part
Once again I am very sorry but we only have your safety at heart
Mick Fothergill (Chairperson Celtic Challenge Committee)
The Celtic Challenge is the World’s Longest true rowing race where teams race from Arklow in County Wicklow, Ireland to Aberystwyth on the Welsh coast, a distance of about 90 nautical miles. Celtic and Pembrokeshire longboats take part (and occasionally other similar boats also join in) – each boat is about 24 feet (8m) long and has 4 fixed seats and one cox.
Each team doing the Celtic Challenge consists of 12 people who take it in turns to row, spending the time in between on a support boat. A small inflatable is generally used to transfer people between the support boat and the rowing boat. How often teams swap rowers and how people are utilised is all part of the tactics of the race.
The race is an extreme test of endurance and generally takes between 15 and 24 hours, depending on the weather. The race usually starts in the afternoon with all teams rowing throughout the night and sometimes arriving in Aberystwyth very early in the morning! The race happens every 2 years and last took place on the weekend of May 5th-6th 2012.