What a fantastic Celtic we had this year. Both crews performed amazingly and improved on their times by a massive amount over previous years.
The delayed start enabled all SARC crew to do what we do best, enjoy where we are no matter what the circumstances. SARC were well represented around the pubs in Arklow on the Thursday and Friday evenings with locals enjoying the entertainment of Chicken joining in with the Welsh crews in a singalong which was astoundingly good.
Having not booked accommodation for the Saturday evening, Ian Davies came up with us being able to use the Sea Scouts building for those of us who had not found alternative rooms around Arklow. Well done Ian with your intiative as it proved to be a very cheap place to stay whilst being very comfortable if rather noisy during the night (snoring etc…). For those not at the Scout hut, people disbursed to various other accommodation around the Arklow area.
Sunday morning got the crews together ready for the start of the race itself on a sea so calm it was almost like rowing on the river back home. All crews got off to a good start until SARC 1 suffered a major boat failure which took around 40 minutes to get fixed. Thanks to Mel Hopkins who generousaly provided us with a new part to replace the bar on the rowing gate fixture which made it practically unusable until replaced.
Conditions can only be described as perfect rowing conditions. It meant that it was a race of relentless pace and effort. Whilst SARC 1 fell behind due to the boat problem, once underway again SARC 2 maintained the lead from that point forward so hats off to both crews for the magnificent rowing that was taking place.
It should be shown that whilst the winning crew had a very similar time to the one they posted in 2014 (again, perfect conditions), both of the SARC crews improved their times by over 45 minutes. This is a tremendous improvement and one we can take forward to 2021
What I really enjoyed about the Celtic in 2019 was that the teams worked so well together both as SARC 1 and 2 but also as a complete SARC club. I think that the event this year allowed us to bury the ghosts of the last Celtic and has helped reinvigorate the club with new members and new enthusiasm.
Let us take this momentum forward into some of the WSRA events this season and put ourselves back on the map for the whole rowing scene and not just the Great River Race. Some of the Welsh clubs (and in particualar Porthmadog) gave us lots of help and it would be great to return the support.
Well done to everyone involved