Records tumble in oar-some challenge

dinaschallengeTHE DINAS HEAD Challenge took place last Saturday, when a record number of 32 boats entered for the annual eight-mile rowing race from Goodwick to Parrog Newport. The event, hosted by Newport Boat Club, has become a favourite with rowers from all over Wales, with many types of boats entering, including Celtic Longboats, an Australian surf boat, yoles and two of the oldest boats in the race, the Margaret Whitehall from Fishguard and Danny Boy from Newport. With almost perfect sea conditions and an off-shore wind the scene was set for some very fast times. Beating the existing record time set by the Aberdfi men in 2006, was a distinct possibility. As the boats set off it was the Australian surf boat crewed by the Newport men that pulled away from their nearest rivals showing exceptional pace as they rounded the Dinas Head. Further back it was Newport juniors, competing in their first ever Dinas Head, who were passing boats at ease and performing well above their expectations. Also in hot pursuit was the top men?s team from Solva who had passed much of the field and were pushing to catch the front runners. Not far behind and having started in 13th place it was the highly rated mixed team from Cardigan along with the veteran men?s team from Mumbles and the two top ladies teams from Aberporth and Wisemans Bridge that were moving up the field. A large crowd of supporters had gathered at Newport boat club to welcome the boats home, and it was the Newport men in the Australian surf boat that crossed the finish line first, recording the fastest ever time in the open category of 59mins 49secs, followed by the Solva men in a time of 55:03 smashing the existing overall fastest time by over a minute. The records continued to tumble, with the Cardigan mixed team finishing in 58:07, Mumbles veteran men in 59:03, and the Wisemen?s ladies in a time of 1:01:46. One of the biggest cheers of the day was for the Newport Juniors, who were also raising money for the Air Ambulance, and they finished in a new record time of 1:02:03. Thanks goes to all the competitors and to the many members and staff of Newport Boat Club for their assistance on the day.

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Dayne Stone

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