Dundrum St Ayles Skiff Launch
Dundrum boat hits the water with only hours to spare Donagahdee have named their new community coastal rowing boat ” Ramharry” which is the Viking term for “rough and strong”, which is a good name for this fast but strurdy boat, which has been built in a record time in premises supplied by Sheilds’,just off the High Street in the town. Ramharry took to the water on Saturday, and teams of rowers began training for the first “Narrows Challenges” rowing competitions that will be held on 5 October.
The race will commence at 10.30am from Portaferry, across the tidal waters of the Strangford Lough Narrows, and in to Castle Ward Bay - a distance of about 1.5 miles. Ramharry will be hoping to take the trophy for the main race. Please check website www.downcoastalrowing.org.
Facebook: downcoastalrowingclub for any updates and for the final race programme. Ramharry is one of the nine St Ayles’ skiffs being built as part of Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership’s “Narrows Challenges” community coastal rowing project. Donagahadee was one of the last teams to commence the boat build of the 22 foot, wooden, traditionally built skiff, but they soon caught up. George Walker who led the boat build team worked hard to get the boat in the water ahead of The Narrows Challenges, and although he has spent his life around boats, building one was a dream come true. The build and was very challenging, the marine ply kits are designed to give non specialists a chance to get involved but at the same time produce a high quality boat that makes even experienced boat builders proud to be involved.
So far boats have been completed in Ardglass, Killyleagh, Kircubbin, and Strangford and now Donaghadee, Portaferry and Dundrum look set to launch just in time for the big event on 5 October! Ballywalter and Portavogie had a later start which means there is still time for people in those communities to get involved in the build and to see the boats taking shape over the coming month or two. Support between communities involved in the project has so far been inspiring, with advice and build materials being willingly shared.
From now on however the rowing teams will be stirring up the competitive spirit and the banter and craic will be mighty at the event. While the most experienced rowers will compete in the main race there will be short fun sprints for all abilities during the afternoon.
However, only pre-booked teams may enter so now is the time to register your interest and even if you don’t want to row you can find out more about the project and the Down Coastal Rowing Club from Susan McClay at the SLLP office in Portaferry, Tel: 028 427 28886 or mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
No experience needed. The only requirement is that you join the Down Coastal Rowing Club (an umbrella club for the boat building and rowing teams) for a nominal fee of £5. Membership is free for those under the age of 18 and is open to 11 year olds and older. The Club’s website is www.downcoastalrowing.org. Facebook: downcoastalrowing.
This is a great opportunity to take up a new activity, get fit and meet people in your community. This community and tourism initiative has been developed by the Strangford Lough and Lecale Partnership (SLLP) with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). It has been approved by the Down Rural Area Partnership (DRAP) as part of the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development: Europe investing in rural areas and it is supported by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, and Down District and Ards Borough Councils.