The club row mostly in three different types of boat, and occasionally in a few others. Here's a little bit about each
Pembrokeshire longboats, or Pembroke's, have an interesting history, this extract from watersportswales.co.uk explains....
The longboats started in 1978 when Tom Sutton, working on Ramsey Island, St Davids found the remnants of an Irish Curragh (wooden frame, tarred-skinned rowing boat) washed up. With friends Des Harries and Robin Pratt, he decided to re-skin the boat and enter it in the local Solva Traditional Boat Rowing Race, for prize money of about £200 - and came second. They thought that if they made the same shape in fibreglass it would be even faster. Des, the carpenter, carved a plug out of a solid piece of timber, to similar dimensions, and cast a mould from which they made the first Pembrokeshire Longboat. 1979 - they entered the Solva race again and won easily but were told not to come back as fibreglass boats were not wanted in that race. Soon interest in the new boat was growing - they made a couple more for locals and held races around Ramsey Island (a race considered too dangerous now!). From this developed the Pembrokeshire Longboat League.
Pembroke's were raced in the Welsh Longboat Rowing Association League races at a very high level, with extremely competitive crews, with crews winning the Great River Race in London on numerous occasions.
Each boat was home made from a moulded hull, and this allowed the boat builders a degree of creativity and ingenuity when building their crew's boat. This lead to some crews having faster boats than others. In 1996 it was decided to move to a single hull league, and to commission the construction of a fibre glass mould from which all future racing boats would be made.......
That evolution from the Pembroke was to be known as a Celtic Longboat, and these boats are what we race, train and row recreationally in at present.
Celtics, as they are known, are a four oared sweep rowing boat, which has a cox and can also hold a passenger - which is a requirement of the annual Great River Race. they are a standard design, which means all Celtics are pretty much the same so no competitive advantage can be put down to the boat, just ability and fitness!
Celtics are wider in the middle, and so the middle two oars are longer than those at either end (in stroke and bow positions). The bow rower tends to be slightly higher than the rest of the crew due to the hull shape, and when tackling waves can often end up being able to see over the top of everyone else. Celtics are very good at going over waves rather than cutting through them, which means they can be surfed quite easily after a bit of practice - useful for those rougher races!
We have two Celtics at the club, and they are used most days of the week during the summer.
More on the Euro soon