***Announcement 6th August 2020 – Hobblers Challenge 2020 Cancelled***

Following a meeting on 4th August 2020, the Committee of St. Michael’s Rowing Club regret to inform club members and members of the wider rowing community that the decision has been taken to cancel the planned Hobblers Challenge race for 2020.

This decision has been taken in light of the ongoing covid pandemic both in terms of the difficulties this poses for organising and running any sporting event, and also the pressure that event postponements from the traditional summer months has placed on the normally quiet month of September, with the resulting congestion in the event calendar.

The Committee shares in the disappointment of all prospective competitors for 2020. We hope to be facing a different set of circumstances in late Summer 2021, and that we can all meet up on the waters of Dublin Bay to renew this great event and compete for the Hobblers Challenge Cup.

The remainder of this post is as per the original post from Feburary 2020 by way of background.

St. Michael’s Rowing Club are delighted to announce that we will be hosting the ‘Hobblers Challenge’ on Saturday 12th September 2020. Entries are invited from any coastal rowing club in Ireland or Wales, with the last date for entries on Monday 31st August 2020. As well as traditional East Coast Skiffs, this race will be opened up to Celtic Longboats (Welsh design), and Celtic Yawls (‘All Ireland’ one design), although the Hobblers Challenge Trophy will be awarded to the first Skiff over the line.


This race builds on the tradition of the ‘Hobblers Challenge’ race, hosted by St. Michael’s Rowing Club at various times since the 1990s, which used a number of courses, predominantly from Dún Laoghaire Harbour to the Kish Lighthouse and back.

The 2020 course follows an inshore course of the same length, but still begins and ends in Dún Laoghaire Harbour. This exciting new course was run for the first time in 2018, and again in 2019.


The Course

In summary, the course starts at Dún Laoghaire Harbour, at the east breakwater beneath the Hobblers Memorial, out the harbour mouth, around the landward side of a ‘gate boat’ off Merrion Strand, around Poolbeg Lighthouse, up the Liffey as far as the ESB towers, before doubling back, across the mouth of Dún Laoghaire Harbour, across Scotsman’s Bay, past Sandycove and Bullock Harbours, turning at Coliemore Harbour, before returning to Dún Laoghaire Harbour, finishing at the end of the East Breakwater. See the Maps (jpeg and embedded) below.

The course is 27km long (purple line below), with an option of a ‘short course’ of 18km (red line below), which runs parallel to the long course, but without the section east of Dún Laoghaire Harbour – i.e DL > Poolbeg > ESB > Poolbeg > DL. It is recommended that only strong and experienced crews enter the long course. Winning times on the previous Kish course were in the order of 3hrs, with times of 4.5hrs+ being recorded for the back of the field. Both races will start on Saturday 12th September at 1.30pm sharp. Boats may launch from the Coal Harbour Slip in Dún Laoghaire.



Entries and Safety

Only East Coast skiffs, Celtic Longboats (Welsh design), and Celtic Yawls (‘All Ireland’ one design) may enter, crewed by members of clubs affiliated to Irish Coastal Rowing Federation, Rowing Ireland Coastal Rowing, or the Welsh Sea Rowing Association – Cymdeithas Rhwyfo Môr Cymru. Crews may be male, female, or any mix of male and female. Trophies will only be awarded for crews completing the Long Course in the categories below, but participant medals will be awarded to all.

– 1st boat to finish

– 1st skiff to finish

– 1st ladies skiff crew to finish

– 1st mixed skiff crew to finish (may be 2 men/3 women, or 3 men/2 women)

There must be 5 people in the boat at all times, and the same 5 must finish the race as start it! Crews may substitute cox for rowers at any stage and as often as they wish, depending on strategy or circumstance. All competitors must be over 18.

For any club wishing to enter crews, please get in touch via  via https://www.dunlaoghairerowing.com/contact-us/. Following this enquiry you will be issued with the password for this Cox’s Instructions and Crew Entries Page which also contains the cox’s instruction pack and safety requirements. Bear in mind, the last date for entries is Monday 26th August 2019.

It is the responsibility of the competing club to ensure that each of their competing crews has sufficient strength, stamina, and seamanship to complete the race safely.

Viewing and Afters

The best viewing for the beginning, middle, and end of the race will be from the East Pier Battery in Dun Laoghaire. All crews and supporters are welcome to refreshments and prize giving after the race and into the night at the Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, starting around 4.30pm.