Carnlough Rowing Club proudly hosted the 2013 All-Ireland Coastal Rowing Championships at the weekend.
The event, the pinnacle of the Coastal Rowing calendar, attracted clubs from around the coast of Ireland to battle it out for medals in this fast-growing sport. Thirty-six clubs attended the Championships with 370 crews competing in 54 races over three days of action. Over 1,500 rowers took part in the races in 25 categories ranging from under-12 to over-55.
Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded to rowers in every category and Carnlough Rowing Club were delighted to achieve bronze in the Intermediate Men’s, Open Classic Men’s, and Open Classic Ladies’ races. The Carnlough crew in the Open Classic race were rowing the Laurel - an Antrim Coast gig unique to the local area.
Cairndhu Rowing Club won the Mixed Veterans’ Class and the Ladies Senior event. Their Under-14 and Under-16 boys’ crews picked up silver medals in their respective categories. Another local club, Glenarm, competed strongly and were well represented at the competition.
The event has been hailed as a huge success and set a new standard for the championships. Sponsorship was provided by Larne Borough Council, AES Ballylumford, the Rural Development Programme, the Big Lottery Fund and MalinWaters.
Volunteers from the whole community of Carnlough and from the local Vintage Society and Lion’s clubs made invaluable contributions to the event. The event was also supported by volunteers from around Northern Ireland including Larne, Randalstown and Ballymena. Larne Borough Council staff worked around the clock to ensure the smooth running of the event.
The Community Rescue Service and St John Ambulance played a crucial role in ensuring all rowers and spectators were safe both on and off the water.
Carnlough Rowing Club not only provided outstanding facilities for the championships, including large screen and online coverage of the event, but also ran entertainment throughout the weekend.
Friday’s opening ceremony included music, street entertainers and a symbolic release of 110 balloons to represent the age of the club’s oldest boat - The Twilight. Family entertainment throughout the weekend really made it a great occasion and the stage enabled live music every evening giving a great festival atmosphere to the village.
The grand finale included a street festival with music, barbecue, dragon dancers and fireworks. A single piper, surrounded by Candles of Hope, signified the end of arguably the most successful championships in the event’s history.