The latest from Pier Road.
Westward to Richmond - GRR 2018
A practical and organised squad at this years GRR meant that affairs off the water were plain sailing. On the water the racing was intense as vessels vied for the best line, especially through the first few bridges.
The early morning start was not too much of a shock, even after the previous nights renditions by the oompah band and their enthusiastic drummer. This year rather than launching from the pontoons we were ankle deep in Thames mud as we pushed the boats off from the river edge, clipping the rudder on under the water line. Long wooden craft crossed the river diagonally as we approached the ‘sea-like’ conditions under Tower Bridge; we experienced a few ‘light’ collisions as we squeezed through the initial arches and were witness to a few more fiery exchanges as boats stopped each other and oars clashed. Only once were we reprimanded by the marshal for trying to invent our own route through an out of bounds arch, oh well worth a try! The dragon boats were impressive in their rhythm and speed as they passed us but we remained focused on choosing the correct channel under each bridge and performed our changeovers quite fluently, as practised in our own bay back home. The entire course proved to be tough rowing especially the last five miles as the river narrowed and we fought to keep a challenging Celtic Longboat off our heels, we could feel the blisters forming. It was a strange feeling at the post-race party to stare at the still and deserted river that only a few hours ago had been full of life and noise. Out of the two Celtics entered by Mumbles, the ‘Dragon Slayers’ finished 59th out of 320 boats, 3rd in the Celtic Mixed category & 9th out of 30 Celtic Longboats entered in a time of 2:46:04 . The self-professed fun boat the ‘Sea Urchins’ finished 251 overall in 3:22:29 . The race took its usual 21.6 mile course from Docklands to Richmond and hosted crews from all over the globe.
Cork An Rás Mór 2018
Well what a stunning summer we enjoyed. I’m sure you’ll agree with me we are so lucky to live here in Swansea Bay. Who needs Spain when the sunshine is here and we have the magnificent Gower on our doorstep eh? And there is no better way to enjoy this hot weather than being out on the sea, which is exactly what Mumbles Rowing Club have been doing. Our race season begins early spring and finishes end of September, however we love the sea that much and some of us are a bit mad so we row throughout the winter too, brrr! Watching the fireworks whilst rowing in the middle of Swansea Bay last November was spectacular. Anyway, back to this summer, besides rowing around the coast of Wales we do like our rowing trips away. Last year we were in Brittany, however this year at the beginning of June we went to Cork in Ireland to compete in the Ocean to City race. An Rás Mór( ”The Big Race”) is Ireland’s very own long-distance rowing race. Mumbles Rowing Club were joined by teams from fellow Welsh Sea Rowers - Wisemans Bridge Rowing Club, Porthmadog Rowing Club and, Aberaeron Rowing Club to take part in Ireland’s premier rowing race which attracts over 600 participants in more than 200 craft annually. An Rás Mór started in 2005, and has grown from its origin as a race for traditional fixed-seat boats into an all-inclusive rowing and paddling event, embracing everything from traditional wooden working boats, currachs, skiffs, gigs and longboats (our boats) to Contemporary Ocean racing shells, kayaks, canoes and even stand-up paddle boards. Ocean to City is the flagship event of the Cork Harbour Festival. The race includes races over four course distances: the 28km Ocean Course, 22km City Course, 13km Monkstown Course and the 4km Youth Course – all finishing to a warm welcome in Cork’s city centre. Guess which course we did? Yes the longest (28km Ocean Course)! Like I said we’re a mad lot and Rás Mór is much more than just a race… it is a test of endurance, a personal challenge and a shared effort. All our Welsh teams were certainly challenged as it was a hard row down the river against the wind and tide, then extremely choppy once out of the estuary and into open sea. But then after the buoy turn the wind and tide was behind and the row back was a bit easier. After the race, Caroline Dance of Mumbles Rowing Club said,
“It had been a long hard fast row, but as we passed the crowds of cheering people on the banks of the river on our approach to Corks City Centre our spirits rose and speed increased as a long last we slid over the finish line triumphant”.
All Welsh teams came home with medals for participation and should feel extremely proud of their achievement.
Mermaid Race 2018
Mumbles Ladies won the first prize trophy in their category this summer in an 17 km race (starting at Cardigan Old Bridge, around Cardigan Island and back). It was river and sea rowing at its best and was an extremely challenging race, especially around Cardigan Island in choppy sea conditions! Our Mumbles Mixed Crew came a healthy second place. Clwb Rhwyfo Aberteifi - Cardigan Rowing Club hosted the 'Ras y Môr-forwyn - The Mermaid’s Race' 2018 and it was part of 'The Annual Cardigan Quays Festival' that celebrates Cardigan's rich cultural and maritime heritage.
After the trophy presentations the festival was celebrated with a spectacular firework display. Followed by lots of yummy food, beer and dancing.
Mumbles Rowing Club ‘spring’ into action.
It’s spring at last and Mumbles Rowing Club began their rowing season last weekend with ‘The 3 Ships Challenge’ which was organised and hosted by Aberporth Rowing Club. Instead of racing it was an 8 mile social row to ease us back into it gently after a long winter’s indoor training, as well as meeting up with old friends and making new ones. Taking part we had one team from Mumbles as well as teams from Lower Thames Rowing Club, Barry, Towy, Pembrokeshire, St Dogmaels, Aberporth, Llangrannog and Aberaeron. The 3 Ships were not of the marine variety though, but were pubs! The plan was to set off from Aberpoth beach and row to Llangrannog, run up the beach and solve a riddle in The Ship Inn. Then row to Tresaith and play a game in The Ship Inn. But alas, the sea was too rough at both locations to beach-land our boats so instead we missed out on having a pint or two and had to solve our riddles at sea. Then finally we rowed back to Aberporth and visited The Ship Inn for the last task which was to write a poem about our experiences at sea, followed by celebratory beer and BBQ, whilst watching the Oxford/Cambridge Thames Boat Race. We all had a fantastic weekend thanks go to Aberporth Rowing Club for a brilliant social row on Saturday from Aberporth to Llangrannog and back …and a superb cheeky row in the sunshine on Sunday morning to cure the hangover.
No Dummies Here!
The above shows some of the fun we had playing with the dummies at the recent first aid day run by CRT Medical. Instructor Russ showed a lot of patience and was able to answer all our concerns about possible scenarios at sea including hypothermia, hypoglycaemia and all other hypos we could think of. No dummies were broken in the process.
Novice Ladies come up trumps at Wisemans Bridge
A chilly but great day out at Wisemans bridge saw the Novice Ladies pick up their first win and trophy, for most of the crew this was their first race and with the help of experienced coxing from Stephen Chambers and despite rough water the team came through in a field of six to win their category. Strong performances also from the Long Distance Ladies, the Supervet Ladies and the Mens Open crews meant a lot of tired but content rowers come home time. Maybe the hardest race was left till the end of the day where the mixed crew had a flying start and kept perfect timing from beginning to end. A great event was put on once again by the folk at Wisemans and so a big thank you from us to them.
Milford Haven Marathon No Go
The weather Gods have spoken and this years marathon row has been postponed. With safety obviously of paramount importance, certainly the right decision was made, we look forward to the new date being announced, below an image from the marathon row in 2014.
Geranium won on Bratwurst night
(Nepal fund raiser)
The BBQ was scrubbed, the gazeebo erected and the evening boasted four types of sausage. Four! Everyone ate slightly more than they should have so our compliments to the chef, the simplest of suppers washed down with a pint was just the thing. And with more prizes than attendees literally everyone was a winner at the raffle! I think Tom was particularly pleased with his geranium, and Ellie was thrilled with her t shirt. Annick wanted the t-shirt but settled for a wash bag. C'est la vie. Donations for the tasty snacks and raffle ticket monies were collected in a stylish Kilner jar (a company originally based in Yorkshire don't y'know) and more than £60 was raised. Not bad for some stuff in buns.
Let's have another soon! NH
Visitors from Japan enjoy a jar at MARC bar.
The club continues its international relations with a summer visit from Richard Davies and his wife all the way from Japan. A pint of beer in Japan can cost around nine pounds and the levels of humidity are extremely high, so a welcome relief was felt from both these issues at the pier road club last week, we wish Rik and family a safe journey home.
Rough times at the Cleddau
The wind was up but there was no turning back at this years Return of The Cleddau, despite a blow out on one of the trailers which Nigel was left to deal with roadside. Reports of the wind conditions at Neyland started to filter back to Picton Fields and most were ready for a battle in the last couple of miles of the course. Mumbles entered five boats in categories ranging from single yole to Mixed supervet Celtic and put in strong performances across the board. All were relieved however to cross the line and reach dry land.
Celtics come up trumps on day trip to Caswell
The longboats can often be the focus of some criticism; being heavy, uncomfortable to row, slow etc. When they are put to the test however, in rough waters or when a burst of speed is needed, it becomes apparent that they are actually quite elegant, well designed boats, fast and strong in the water. Our recent escapade at Caswell in the surf made us grateful that the Celtic Longboat is a vessel that protects its crew and also gives us straight line speed when needed, on Monday allowing us to power over the cherry stones to the safer waters of Swansea Bay. They are boats that allow us to experience adventure and when surprises happen give us a certain amount of protection from our ever changing environment.