New Quay RNLI help rowers prepare for Celtic Challenge
New Quay RNLI recently assisted Clwb Rhwyfo Llangrannog Rowing Club with their training for this year's Celtic Challenge.
The biennial challenge sees teams of 12 people rowing through the night from Arklow in Ireland to Aberystwyth in Wales, a journey of approximately 97 miles. The race is an extreme test of endurance and usually takes between 15 and 24 hours, depending on the weather.
Two New Quay RNLI crew members, Laura Mears and Heather Rees-Gaunt, are members of the Llangrannog Rowing Club and Heather will be taking part in the gruelling challenge which is set to take place between 3rd and 6th May 2019.
As part of their preparations, the rowing team took part in a structured exercise with lifeboat crew members simulating a person overboard incident so that the rowers gained experience in manoeuvring the boat and recovering a person from the water. New Quay RNLI Community Safety Adviser, Roy Fenner, also gave advice on safety equipment and means of calling for help.
Heather, who has previously rowed the Indian Ocean from Australia to the Seychelles, breaking two world records, said, “These training exercises with the RNLI are crucial for our preparations as we will be rowing in the Irish Sea at night, which can be a dangerous place to be if you're not fully prepared. The person over board training helps each team member know what to do if the situation arises.
“After the training session, the feedback from all the rowers was hugely positive. Doing the practical training has installed a huge element of confidence in dealing with the ever-changing scenarios that can take place at sea. I know from experience that anything can happen and usually when you least expect it. Small situations escalate very quickly in such an unpredictable environment but knowing your team has that little bit more experience and training can only ever be a positive.”
BBC cameras are following their journey, including preparations and training as well as the race itself, with each team member raising money for a charity of their choice.
The club is still searching for sponsors for various items of clothing for the challenge. If you are able to help please email Rhwyfo Crannog Rowing on
firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07415 351 431.
Notes to editors
RNLI media contacts
For more information please contact Kate Williams, email@example.com or 07786 550054 or Danielle Rush, Divisional Media Relations Manager (Wales and West) on 07786 668829 or 01745 585162. Alternatively contact RNLI Public Relations on 01202 336789.
Key facts about the RNLI
The RNLI charity saves lives at sea. Its volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service around the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland coasts. The RNLI operates over 238 lifeboat stations in the UK and Ireland and, in a normal year, more than 240 lifeguard units on beaches around the UK and Channel Islands. The RNLI is independent of Coastguard and government and depends on voluntary donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824, its lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved over 142,700 lives.