Named as one of the hardest rowing races in the world, the Celtic challenge was never going to be an easy race. Crews waited anxiously on Saturday to be given the go ahead as weather conditions delayed the start. The mixed & ladies crews were initially to leave Arklow at 2pm with the men’s teams following at 4pm. The decision was made for all crews to leave at 4pm giving an estimated arrival time in Aberystwyth of 7am for the first boat the following day. Conditions were tough, with crews battling through force 4-5 north-westerly winds. Seasickness was a major factor for all the competing clubs with many returning to Arklow a third of the way into the race. Crews battled through arduous conditions all through the night, with some making the hard decision of pulling out.

Constantly scanning the horizon for any boats, families and friends stood nervously on the pier in Aberystwyth waiting for their loved ones' safe return. News of the crews was scarce through the night, the only thing that was certain - the sea conditions were tough. The first boat to arrive in Aberystwyth was Aberdyfi men, who set out to break their record of last time’s win of 14 hours. They arrived battered and sore around 10.00am – 3 hours later than expected, followed by Aberystwyth men two hours later. The families of New Quay crew then heard the devastating news that the team was being towed in – 25 odd miles from the finish line the skipper had made a decision to abandon the race leaving the rowers and their support team utterly heartbroken. The Celtic crew had rowed for 18 hours solid and the worst of the race was behind them. Due to the rapidly decreasing tide the skipper had no choice but to drop the crew off with their rib and belongings just outside the harbour. Watched by the waiting crowds, tears flowed for the battered crew - a rapturous applause and cheers attempted to lift their broken spirits. One thing is for certain - New Quay Community Rowing Club will never let this happen again! Plans are already being made for the next Celtic Challenge in two years’ time & next time we will arrive in Aberystwyth the way we always wanted to – rowing like the troopers that we are…………

We would like to extend a very big thank you to all our supporters and especially our support crew during the celtic challenge - Jamie, Rob, Twm, Mark & Blackie and of course Nigel - rock solid as ever, he stayed with the rowers all through the day & night providing help, advice and support

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