Image galleries showing the array of sea rowing that takes place in Swansea Bay since the inception of Celtic Longboat rowing in 2011.
The year of the cat and the 5th year of rowing Celtics in the bay sees us reflect on last years achievements and look forward to planning for new rowers and new races for the upcoming season. In the first few months we have seen an increase of interest in yole rowing and sculling in general; with the slow production of Celtic Longboats will this be the new direction for 2015?
I t has been a mild but long winter and we are all looking forward to the weather breaking, to turning up for rowing in a t-shirt and flip-flops rather than wetsuit boots and woolly hats. Hopefully we will also see the resurgence of the Rotherslade swimming club! In the meantime here are some images of the rowing year unfolding.
The beginning of 2014 saw us emerging from winter already in full-time training for the Eddystone Challenge. Mumbles came in first on the shortened course with a fierce zig-zagging battle between the next two Mumbles Celtics seeing JB's boat cross the line in second place.
The Milford Marathon proved to be fruitless despite a strong start by Mumbles men but a great day out was had by all. The mermaid race was also a great day with Mumbles coming second with a strong row by all crews and a great celebration and festival surrounding the race.
The year also involved trips to local yacht club Monkstone on the Neath river many summer beach rows including the Icecream Voyage and our first Gower race in the Pwll Du Challenge. The Christmas do again held at the Mermaid Hotel was the culmination of a busy year and as usual the story telling went on into the early hours.
By the 20th April we were already venturing round to beaches like Langland in blazing sunshine, dogs sheltering in the shade of the boat from the heat. It was a busy racing season for Mumbles and apart from some beautiful days at league races such as Newquay and PYC, which saw a win for our novice crew, the longer distance races proved fruitful with wins for the men on the Cleddau and Milford Marathon in June and also fastest boat and a win in its class for the yole at the fabulous Dinas Head on 5th July, with a sunset to close the day. August 13th saw the first real attempt at a distance race on our home patch, a long exhausting course really tested the crews and the wasps tested the patience of the volunteers at the food table. The race was set in the bay and was well attended, the boat shed has never looked so clean before or since.
A trip to Pwll Du was still a major event in 2012 as we increased our rowing range in the Celtics, April saw us land this beach for the first time. After a great social row to the pub and back at Tawe we picked the usual suspects off in terms of league races, visiting places such as Newquay and Newport for the second time since sea rowing began at Mumbles. Solva stood out as the big wave race of the year and our own tentative attempt at a race on our home patch was a small affair gratefully supported by clubs such as Tawe. After the season ended our energies were taken up in preparation for the Great River Race in London our first row outside of Wales. Possibly our first Christmas bash was held at the club bar in celebration of a season full of firsts and rowing progression in the Celtics.
It could be expected that the clubs first season of sea rowing would be a gentle affair, but this first season was full on and started with a race on the Tawe, Swansea and the first club win. Next up was the Cardiff head in February and then the first sea race at Newport and an introduction to a totally new scene for Mumbles. Other league races this season included Newquay and Fishguard, Llangrannog and our first social row at Towe, Camarthen. A good second place result at Ramsay in July proved to give us a real taste for adventure and the long haul races. Sea rowing at Mumbles was up and running and the rowing membership was growing rapidly; this was celebrated in style in September with a barbecue on the club veranda and a fair few pints of the clubs favoured beer, Bass.
The Club was established in 1888 as a river rowing club based on the sea, a concept that many found hard to accept, the club worked hard over the years to prove themselves as competitors despite the difficulty of training with river boats on the sea. Regular and well attended regattas were held and supported by other river rowing clubs.
It was not until 2011 that Chris Terry, Mike Hughes and others introduced the possibility of Sea Rowing at Mumbles and the club had a difficult choice to make which pitted tradition against progression. The first Celtic Longboat crew launched from the long slip at Mumbles in 2011 and regular training out to the buoys and distant beaches became a possibility. These archive photos, stored at the club, give us a view of the past and rowing at Mumbles before the big changes of 2011.
With the possibility of the club lease in danger of being lost in around 4 years, publicity is more than ever important. The club has grown to involve around 50 rowers and 50 social members and draws in people from the local community and beyond, introducing some to team sport for the first time. The Rowing Club at Mumbles has an important part to play in sport in Swansea and the use of the bay for non motor powered water sports; here are some press clippings that celebrate our achievements and highlight the importance of safeguarding the clubhouse on the Pier Road Mumbles.