Sailing cot built by members could help launch new era of rowing at Boat Club
A new sailing cot, crafted by members from scratch, could be the beginning of a new era in rowing at Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club.
Over the past two years Ollie Mahon and a number of others, affectionately known as 'The Monday Night Club', have gathered and built the racing cot. The boat has been constructed along the traditional lines using elm knees and white deal planking.
Elm for the knees was cut from Eddie Dempsey's ditch in Edermine, planked, and then dried in the club boiler house, before being shaped into the frame to accept the planking. Expert advice was readily available from numerous sources and such advice aided the completion of such a high-quality boat.
An estimated 500 man hours of work by members ranging in age from eight to 80 ensued with a lot of this time spent discussing the issues of the world and drinking tea. The spirit in which the boat has been crafted reflects the passion of the club members to continually encourage the skills of boat building and maintenance and pass them on to a new generation.
The building of the cot marks a return to its roots for Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club which was founded initially as a rowing club in 1873.
The club successes and local newspaper accounts from 1873 up until the mid-1900s show that rowing flourished in Co. Wexford throughout that period.
The club held several regattas, and had a major influence on rowing in Wexford. The last record of a W.H.B.T.C. rowing team was in 1931 and a number of existing members have set about to change this, by re-igniting rowing as part of the water sport offering at the club.
The launch of the sailing cot was held recently at Wexford Harbour Boat and Tennis Club where club commodore Michael Conway welcomed more than 50 people to witness the maiden voyage.
The club is now hoping to form a rowing team to compete at upcoming events. There will be a drive to encourage younger members to pursue rowing as a new interest throughout the summer period.
Ollie Mahon, the chief constructor of the boat, announced the racing cot would be named after a long-serving member of the club, Sylvester O'Brien. The name Syd O'B was unveiled just before the crew set the boat into the Slaney for her maiden voyage. Michael Conway welcomed everyone to what he said amounted to a homecoming. 'A homecoming' to what was the foundation of the club and what proved to be the start of a long and successful history. He thanked everyone in the Monday Night Club for all their hard work which demonstrated huge skill. He also thanked those from outside the club who provided generous help and support. The club is proud and delighted it can now offer its members the opportunity to take part in a wonderful sport.
Judging from the interest that has been created by this boat, he was sure that the Syd O'B racing cot would be the first of a new generation of rowing cots to set off on the Slaney from the club.
Rowing adds to the range of sports available to club members including sailing, canoeing and tennis. Boat building and maintenance will continue to be a feature of the Boat Club, with next winter's project already well advanced in planning.