Our Aberdyfi men win the ‘greatest, toughest Celtic Challenge we
have ever had!'
Our Aberdyfi men's crew rowed superbly well to win the 2012 Celtic
Challenge race from Arklow in Ireland to Aberystwyth in a time of 17 hours, 50
minutes and 4 seconds and were first Overall, first Men’s crew and first Welsh
crew to finish!
This year’s race was described by race co-ordinator Dai
Jenkins as ‘ the greatest, toughest race we have ever had.’
Twenty-two boats -
the largest field ever entered for the race - finally left Arklow on
Saturday, May 5th at 4p.m. after a delayed start due to the
conditions. Only twelve boats managed
to complete the arduous race to finish in Aberystwyth on Sunday. The last boat to come into Aberystwyth
harbour took 27 hours, 18 minutes and 21 seconds, arriving at 7.18pm on Sunday
evening. Tough going indeed.
“ All teams who finished the race were winners”, said race co-ordinator Dai
Jenkins “ Sadly several boats were
forced to pull out for various reasons - including engine problems with support
boats, a punctured rib boat and several cases of severe sea sickness amongst
“ Unfortunately two crews were prevented from finishing the
race as their support boats pulled out.
We are very sorry that this happened and the crews are devastated as
both crews were approximately 20 miles from the finish.”
“ It certainly was a
tough one this year, but that’s what it is all about- it is after all a
our Aberdyfi men’s captain said. “ I am so proud of the whole team”
“ Very rarely do you
find a bunch of guys so committed and with such combined strength of spirit and
“ They have all put so much into the months of training -
sacrificing many hours and some travelling great distances to get to training,
-and it has all paid off. They have all
been absolutely fantastic”.
“ Huge thanks must go to all our support team – Mark Fox and
Will Brooks on the rib, Phil Webb, Pete Jennings, Julian Brown and Harold
Northfield on our support boat Maracuja- all helping to keep our spirits up throughout. Huge thanks too to Mike Rogers and Richard Grant who have been fantastic
helping with our transport and making sure boats and bags were in the right place at the right time! On behalf of the whole club I would also like to commend Richard for his great efforts to ensure the ladies and their boat got home safely. We wouldn't have achieved anything without all you guys."
“ I’d also like to make a special mention to Mike Chesworth
who heroically stepped into the crew at the last moment when one of our crew,
Alan Mordue, was unfortunately forced to pull out because of illness. Happily Alan was able to be at Aberystwyth
to cheer us in at the finish.”
" Not forgtting Beth Parry for all her help coxing during our months of training... as Ed said after the race " she was with us all the way!"
Our Aberdyfi ladies team was sadly one of the many crews forced to retire from the race.
Our ladies captain
Jude Evans said, “ We were rowing so well in spite of the conditions,
maintaining about five and a half knots.. Initially I wasn’t aware that so many
of the girls were ill as I had spent the first two hours either coxing or
rowing, so it came as a shock when the doctor said that as captain I must decide
whether to continue."
" It was the right
decision even though we were all absolutely devastated that we had to retire.
The one thing you cannot prepare for is seasickness."
" A big thankyou must go to our support crew on board Bridesmaid and to the
guys on the rib who looked after us and kept us smiling!"
Special thanks of course to Alun Stedman our team
manager for all his efforts, and huge thanks to my team for all their support,
both on and off the water – it was a pleasure to be their captain. I loved every minute of it – fantastic
effort ladies- I’m so proud of all of you."
Aberdyfi ladies will be back for the Challenge in 2014!"
Aberdyfi Club Captain Alun Stedman said. " I am very proud of our ladies team. They mastered the
rowing conditions very well.
Unfortunately nearly four hours into the race we had to take medical
advice to retire when several of our crew were suffering from severe sea
“ At the time we
stopped we were ahead of our main rival, Arklow ladies, who went on to be
the only ladies crew to finish in a time of 25 hours, 7 minutes and 2 seconds.”
“ Enormous thanks must go to Richard Grant for his invaluable help
with towing boats . When our team was forced to retire from the race, although Richard was by then
back on the ferry on the way back to Wales, he immediately and uncomplainingly caught the first ferry back to Ireland so that he could tow the boat home and help transport the crew to reach the ferry to return back to Wales.”
The 2012 Celtic Challenge has certainly lived up to its name and has
proved how tough this race can be – a true challenge. And at least, you should have the designer replica handbags
Thanks must go to
all the organisers and the brilliant safety boats and crew – Charlie Bartlett
on Mikatcha, Mike Harris on Ma Chipe and Jack Ormorod on Keto. Special thanks to Charlie for picking up Doris O'Keefe so that she could take pics from Mikatcha of the guys coming into Aberystwyth. Big thanks to Mike Rogers for being Doris' assistant!
winning crew were, Captain Paul
Chesworth, Dylan Evans, Lindsay Parry, Ian Andrews, Mike Chesworth, Tom Jones,
Ian Brown, Dave Rice, Paul Cruickshank, David Chapman, John Ward, Ed Moss, Alan
Aberdyfi Ladies team were, Captain Jude Evans, Beth Edwards,
Rhian Jones, Kathy Iffla, Helen Mole, Sandy Andrews, Deb Wood, Nicky Burgess,
Beth Graham, Libby Oxtoby Claire Lever, Catherine Raine.
Well done to all!