Gravesend’s rowers triumph in Ireland’s top event

PUBLISHED: 16:45 15 June 2016 | UPDATED: 16:45 15 June 2016

Gravesends rowers John Dillon-Leetch, Lee Walker, Dave Bird and Steve Strickland

Gravesends rowers John Dillon-Leetch, Lee Walker, Dave Bird and Steve Strickland

© Andy Wallace 2016

The team returned from Cork Harbour Festival with two trophies

Gravesend’s rowers have emerged victorious from Ireland’s foremost rowing event, winning two trophies at the Cork Harbour Festival.

The Port of London Authority’s six-man team was named First International Team as well as winners of The Perpetual Mermaid Cup after winning the 28km Ocean to City race.

Rower Lee Walker said: “It was a fantastic occasion with beautiful weather in a beautiful harbour. We couldn’t have been made more welcome by the organisers and it was definitely an event not to be missed.

“Our men’s and ladies’ teams headed there with our traditional Thames cutters in tow, Penelope and Centurion, and it was a big logistics challenge to say the least, especially as two other English teams travelled with us. But to come back with two trophies means it was more than worth it.”

Hundreds of teams from around the world took part in the Ocean to City race, competing in more than 30 different kinds of craft, including paddle boats, traditional watermen cutters, kayaks and more.

Cork County councillor Marcia Dalton presented winning crews with their prizes. Classes ranged from youth crews from across Cork City to veteran rowers, paddlers and kayakers from all over Ireland, England, Wales, The Netherlands, Portugal and the US.

Festival director Donagh MacArtain said: “We had a great day’s racing with very close competition, particularly in the kayak and currach-racing classes. The atmosphere and buzz throughout the harbour was superb, right through to the finish line.”

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