Coastal rowing boats and racing shells were among the boats that took part in the mid-May event in Kenmare on Ireland’s scenic south-west coast. With a long list of eligible craft – from dragon boats to pilot gigs to Celtic yawls – pretty much anything that floats can take part, as long as it is human powered by oar or paddle.

For the 2018 event, competitors had the choice of five courses: 10km and 15km for kayak only and 10km, 20km, and 30km for multi-craft. All racing started and finished at the same location with the longer two courses taking racers past the picturesque Dromore Castle. The application of a handicap in timing for larger or faster boats ensured comparable results.

2018 Wild Atlantic Challenge, Ireland © FISA

“We received a very positive post-race response regarding the organisation of the entire event,” says organiser Ben van Deventer who, along with the other organisers, was pleased with how the Challenge went. 

“As the event is growing, our goal next year is to ensure we will accommodate larger numbers of vessels,” says van Deventer pointing to even bigger plans beyond that. “We are also planning to run the event in different locations along the Wild Atlantic Way which brings people to enjoy different parts of Ireland.”

2018 Wild Atlantic Challenge, Ireland © FISA

This is the second year of the Wild Atlantic Challenge which is only one of a growing number of multi-craft regattas around the world. Among these, the Volgalonga Regatta in Venice, Italy, that sees around 1500 boats – from traditional and modern – race along the historic Grand Canal, is possibly the most famous and one. The 44th edition of that event, took place this month.

The largest Irish multi-craft event, Ocean to City happens on 2 June in Cork, Ireland. The Misery Challenge, 21 July in Manchester, Massachusetts is an American example of this trend and one that also includes space for racers in the water (swimming) as well as on the water.

Results and more information about the Wild Atlantic Challenge here