Strangford Coastal Rowing Event A Great Success

A Coastal Rowing Weekend In Strangford Draws Significant Visitors

Strangford Coastal Rowing Club organised a very successful rowing event over the weekend (Saturday and Sunday 13-th April 2024) which drew over 200 rowers to the village writes Jim Masson.

The event was part of the Spring Series which started off with long distance rows. Over the winter, the rowers tend to work on their long distance rowing skills more in their training sessions.

Later in the rowing season the distances shorten from over 109 Kilometres to sprint-type events over an average of two kilometres.

Over the weekend coastal rowing clubs from Ardglass, Kilclief, Killyleagh, Skettrick, Strangford, Dundrum, Whitehead, and Larne competed for the prizes.

Strangford Coastal Rowing Club rowers who took part in the weekend rowing Spring series. (Photos by Jim Masson / Down News ©).

The racing was a mixture of the traditional St Ayles skiffs and also races with sliding seat boats. There were over 20 boats involved in the various races.

Strangford club member James Elliot added, “Coastal rowing puts a big emphasis on community. It is often referred to as ‘community rowing’.

“Each season the clubs host their own events and regattas and invite the other clubs to come along and complete. It is all very sociable… and competitive too!

Rowers arrive back in Strangford after the races.

“The Strangford event has this year drawn a large crowd of around 200 rowers to Strangford. Many have filled up the available accommodation and have kept the local restaurants, pubs and shops busy which is also a good outcome.

“And we are all looking forward again to the big Skiffie event normally held in Delamont Park. It is always a very popular event.”


Rory Reilly, Strangford Coastal Rowing Club event orgaiser added: “The conditions on Saturday were testing with 20 mile per hour head-winds cutting up the water and battering the Over 50 mixed crews as they raced south to Mill Quarter Bay. 

“Twenty crews braved these conditions with Kilclief, Whitehead and Cairndhu winning their different categories.

“While the water was rough on the way back conditions were fast with a strong tide and a stronger tailwind. 

“The winning Under 50s Mixed crews were almost nine minutes faster over the same track. This time Dundrum, Whitehead and Olderfleet picked up the medals.”

“Sunday started with wall to wall sunshine.”Rory said: “Spirits were high and suncream copiously applied. 

The Skart is hauled back up the slip in Strangford after a weekend’s rowing.

“It soon became obvious that the same headwind was building for the first race and while the sea conditions were better and wind speeds slightly lower, it was still testing for the Open Women’s race. 

“Host club Strangford were delighted to win this race again in their skiff with Cairndhu and Whitehead winning their categories. 

“On the return leg the hugely impressive Cairndhu quad broke the course record to win the FISA category with the ever impressive Dundrum men winning the Saint Ayles skiff category and Whitehead the One Design section again.”


“The overall St Ayles Skiff trophy across all four races went to Kilclief CRC.

“Coastal rowing is different to what we see in The Olympics or in the Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race. 

“It is open to all categories with competitors this weekend ranging from age 13 to over 70.  If you would like to be part of this growing sport you can contact:

“or any of the other coastal clubs.”

Big Shout Out For Kilclief CRC:

Well done! A sound performance by the new Kilclief Coastal Rowing Club who got a first place in the St Ayle’s skiff rowing.

Proud rowers from the Kilclief Rowing Club earned some bragging rights today and said: “Kilclief Coastal Rowing Club won the overall trophy with 35pts.

Stephano Crispi said: “We had first in the Over 50 mixed and third Under 50 mixed categories both yesterday. Today we were second in open Women and third in open men.

“We are the newest coastal rowing club and probably still the smallest one in terms of numbers of rowers, but we know how to compete.”

Results for the Weekend:

Over 50 Mixed

St Ayles Skiff:  1st. Kilclief,  2nd. Sketrick,  3rd. Strangford

FISA Quad:  1st. Cairndhu,  2nd. Olderfleet,  3rd. Cove

One Design: 1st.  Whitehead

Under 50 Mixed

St Ayles Skiff:  1st. Dundrum,  2nd. Ardglass,  3rd. Kilclief

FISA Quad. 1st. Olderfleet,  2nd. Strangford,  3rd. Cove

One Design:  1st. Whitehead

Open Women

St Ayles Skiff:  1st. Strangford,  2nd. Kilclief,  3rd. Sketrick

FISA Quad:  1st.  Cairndhu,  2nd. Olderfleet,  3rd. Cove

One Design:  Whitehead

Open Men

St Ayles Skiff:  1st. Dundrum,  2nd. Sketrick,  3rd. Kilclief

FISA Quad:  1st. Cairndhu,  2nd. Olderfleet,  3rd. Cove.