Crews ready for gruelling Celtic Challenge

One of the most gruelling rowing challenges of the year will take place tomorrow (Saturday 3rd May) – the 2014 Celtic Challenge.

Labelled by organisers as ‘the World’s longest true rowing race’, the Celtic Challenge is a 90-nautical-mile slog across the Irish Sea – from Arklow, Ireland, to Aberystwyth, Wales.

The biennial race is predominantly for Celtic and Pembrokeshire longboats, each containing four fixed-seat oarsmen and a cox. Teams are 12-strong, with members swapping in and out of the longboats from a support boat.

An extreme test of rowing skill and endurance, the Challenge takes between 15 and 24 hours with crews setting off at 3pm and rowing through the night in tough coastal conditions.

“How often teams swap rowers and how people are utilised are all part of the tactics of the race,” said David Jenkins, who helps organise the race. “Knowing your team members and their limits is the maker or breaker of the race, while stamina and determination are key.”

For more information about the event and to keep track of the crews as they brave the Irish Sea, visit

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