The ten day Shannon Boat Rally successfully culminated at the weekend with the Warren family from the Erne winning the premier award.
Commencing this year in Portrunny due to low water levels, the 58th version of the rally attracted families as they started their water-based staycation with a warm welcome from the local development association.
The Commodore’s cheese and wine reception started proceedings with Niamh Herraghty, the title bearer enjoying a noteworthy occasion - becoming Commodore, and together with her parents, starting her 40th rally. In her opening speech Niamh welcomed all 67 boats to the rally and introduced the Vice Commodore from the IWAI Carrick, Paul Henry from Dinestar and the Vice Commodore from IWAI Athlone Peter Lee from Kaber.
The rally has a strong focus on safety and many of the activities and competitions that were organised throughout the week had an element of safety in built. Boating is a unique sporting pursuit and with over 400 people on the rally it is extremely important that everyone is safe, not only on the rally, but in their watersports and cruising activities.
The RNLI visit the rally every year and spend a couple of hours checking life jackets, illustrating how to replace dud gas cylinders correctly.
The Lough Ree RNLI visited the rally and explained how they operated. The boaters gave generously and over €1,900 was raised throughout the week for the RNLI.
There are a wide range of entertainment events to suit all family members on the Shannon Rally and with this year’s theme as 'Club Tropicana' it was a very summery and colourful affair.
There is a considerable amount of silverware to be attained on the Shannon Boat Rally and with forty four cups to be won, competition is to the fore. A variety of swimming and canoe races catering for a range of age groups were held in the hot springs just below Shannon Harbour.
Sailing races on the Pico class took place in Lough Ree Yacht Club. The Rib Challenge sponsored by Craft Insure was an extremely popular event. It was co-ordinated by Cormac Smith from Coreibh but all the instructors and helpers were teenagers who were more than happy to impart their knowledge to all the kids taking part.
Communities and connections
An integral part of the boating year, the Shannon Boat Rally is guided by the IWAI Athlone and Carrick on Shannon branches.
Along the route, communities provide waste disposal and recycling facilities, maintain open green ways, beautify their neighbourhoods, erect colourful bunting and join in the boat rally activities. This year the Portrunny Community responded very quickly at such short notice to the rally assisting in every way possible to have a smooth opening of the rally.
The local authorities - Westmeath, Roscommon and Offaly County Councils - offer their facilities and provide financial grant support for the event, while local businesses continue to assist greatly with sponsorship and offer amenities for the large number of boat rally participants.
A successful ten days of boating with the 59th instalment set to be another occasion of note.