The Celtic Longboat is a 4 person coxed rowing boat used for racing, training and recreation and this type of boat has a long and interesting history on the West Wales coast. Since the 1970’s local coastal villages have entered teams to compete for often relatively large, cash prizes in the traditional ‘pulling races’.
Longboat racing originally began in 1978 when local lad Tom Sutton, working on Ramsey Island, St Davids found the remnants of an Irish Curragh (a wooden framed, tarred-skinned rowing boat) washed up on the shore. He decided to re-skin the boat and enter it in the local Solva Traditional Boat Rowing Race. The experience of the race led him to calculate that a fibreglass version of the longboat would provide a faster craft, and the Celtic Longboat was born.
Soon interest in the new boat grew and a few more were made for locals who held races around Ramsey Island – a race considered too dangerous to be undertaken these days! From this developed the Pembrokeshire Longboat League which involves boats racing around the potentially treacherous coastline of West Wales and even across the Irish Sea. In fact, Celtic Longboats are still some of the fastest entrants at the ‘Great River Race’ held annually in London.
Happily, in 1999, Dale Sailing was selected as the recognised Celtic Longboat builder and we have built over 35 boats to date, including 4 which have been delivered to Dubai, with many more on order. The new boats have caused a resurgence of interest in racing as now everyone can now compete on level terms in the new, one design, Celtic Longboat.
If you would like more information on these amazing racing boats, just get in touch and we will tell you all we know!