9 June 2017
By Elaine Murphy
Cork Harbour Festival grows each year, and its flagship event Ocean to City – An Rás Mor has received a record breaking entry for the fourth year in a row. Over 200 boats and 600 participants from Ireland, U.S, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, are set to descend on Cork City this weekend for Ireland’s premier rowing race on Saturday 10 June.
For the first time in Ocean to City’s history, there has been a significant change of race route, due to the high winds forecast for Cork Harbour on the day. As a sensational alternative to the Ocean to City route, participants will enter the water at Port of Cork to race a river route along the north shore to Blackrock Castle, and passing back on the southern shore along the Marina. Donagh MacArtain, Cork Harbour Festival Director said, “We are delighted to offer participants a beautiful river course, where in times past thousands supported the regattas of the day. It is because of the generosity of the rowing clubs at Blackrock, Lee and Shandon, and the support of the Port of Cork and Doyle Shipping, that we are able to offer this sheltered course to our local, national and international crews.” There will be viewing points at Lapp’s Quay, along the Marina and Blackrock Village for spectators to cheer the rowers and paddlers along the river route.
One enthusiastic crew of rowers, from Porthmadog Rowing Club, Wales, has spent the week rowing their Celtic Longboat along the coastline from Dublin and plan to row into Cork Harbour on Friday 9 June to participate in the race the next day. Richard Aherne, crew member of the ‘Mad Dogs’ said, “We have participated in Ocean to City for three years now, and we keep on coming back as we love the race and we love the people. It is a really friendly race, everyone is ready to help each other out. This year we decided to row down the coastline to Crosshaven from Dun Laoghaire as a warm-up.”
Seán Underwood and his crew will be rowing an unusual boat in Ocean to City, a 24ft ocean rowing boat, Liberty, built especially to be a record breaker. Sean said, “We’re a 4 man crew from Cork who are very excited to participate in this year’s race – it’ll be our first race in our boat called Liberty. We are going to be setting out to break the transatlantic world record this December, rowing 5000km East to West, from La Gomera to Antigua.” Sean added, “I’m a doctor working in the ICU of the Mercy Hospital, my work demonstrates how fleeting life can be, and the phrase ‘everyone dies but not everyone lives’ has certainly stuck with me.”
The furthest travelled crew will be from Warwick, upstate New York, U.S. They will be borrowing an Irish boat for the race and Irish cox, Benny Deady, from East Ferry will support them.
This is the 13th year of Ocean to City – An Rás Mor, organised by Meitheal Mara, which since 2005 has brought thousands of rowers and paddlers to Cork to compete, challenge themselves and leave with a memorable experience. Many participants are regular race goers, while others take part for the fun and challenge of completing the course.
Soak up the buzz, mingle with crews and celebrate the 13th Ocean to City Race, Saturday June 10th!
Ocean to City – An Rás Mor is part of Cork Harbour Festival, organised by Meitheal Mara, the community boatyard, training centre and charity located in the heart of Cork City. The Festival is sponsored by Cork City Council, Cork County Council, Port of Cork, Failte Ireland and MaREI, and made possible with the help of dozens of Event Partners and hundreds of volunteers.
The full Cork Harbour Festival programme of over 60 events is available online at www.corkharbourfestival.com