Teamwork pays off as 10th Rás Mór is the best yet

The sun blazed down on 550 rowers and paddlers who were cheered through Cork harbour and into Cork city as they took on the gruelling task of completing the 10th Rás Mór, Ireland’s number one rowing race.

Teamwork pays off as 10th Rás Mór is the best yet

Now an all-inclusive rowing event, with wooden working boats, currachs, skiffs, gigs and longboats, contemporary ocean racing shells, kayaks and canoes, it included crews from England, Scotland, The Netherlands, Spain and Canada.

Races were held over four distances with the 28 kilometre ocean course running from Crosshaven to Roche’s Point to Cobh, Monkstown and through Lough Mahon to Lapp’s Quay.

The city course was 22km and went from Crosshaven to Cobh before hitting Lapp’s Quay. The Monkstown course went directly from Monkstown to Lapp’s Quay a 13km event, while the 4.5km youth course went from Blackrock Harbour to Lapp’s Quay.

While there were winners in dozens of individual sections the first ocean crew were An Spidéil/Coonagh, the first city crew were Den Bealch, a Dutch rowing team while the first city kayak winner was Lawrence Buckley, the first youth course Ogra Cup winner was the Greenmount Youth Project from Ballyphehane. A special Meitheal Mara challenge award was also made to Churchfield Community Trust’s ‘Mighty Reds’.

Hosted by Cork’s currach club, Noamhóga Chorcai and modelled on London’s Great River Race, start times were staggered with the slowest boat types leaving first.

Ocean to City Event Manager, Joya Kuin, said: “Our 10th anniversary race has really been a milestone for us. We had a record number of participants, a record number of overseas participants and over 200 volunteers coming together to make the 10th Ocean to City race happen. An Rás Mór is much more than just a race... it is a test of endurance, a personal challenge and a shared effort. It is Ireland’s very own harbour marathon, and a coming together of people who love these waters and love their boats.’’

Saturday was a glorious day to celebrate Cork’s maritime culture and heritage and Cork city and harbour were awash with activities. Spectators could follow the fleet of boats by bicycle or by boat from Crosshaven or via live broadcasts at the finish line at Lapp’s Quay.

Hundreds of people cheered on the boats as they came into the city and hundreds more took up position at vantage points from Crosshaven to Cork city. Passage West had a special picnic to celebrate the occasion while further celebrations took place at Blackrock Castle from where the youth race started.

Lunch time for Dominika Lutowska, Elena Byrne and Aoife Ribero, Midleton

There was also a street market on the city quays, boat trips, harbour tours, surf and sail tasters, kayak and powerboat excursions, films, markets, music, craic and free family entertainment. City councillor Kieran McCarthy also organised a make a model boat project on the Lough yesterday and up to 60 homemade boats could be seen bobbing on the inland urban landmark.

Ocean to City is organised by Meitheal Mara, a community boatyard and nationally accredited training centre in the heart of Cork city. The group is dedicated to promoting and fostering maritime culture and traditional skills through currach and wooden boat building.

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