A crew of Plurabelles travelled to Divonne-les-Bain in France in July 2017 for the European Club Crew Championships. Competing in the in the Standard Boat Senior A Women’s Division and our first 2000m as a crew here's how we how we won the following medals 2000m – Silver, 200m – Bronze, 500m – Bronze.
Here's what our member Mairead wrote about the trip:
‘Hey, get out of our way – now!’
Ann-Marie’s voice had to be heard above the sound of other
helms, drummers, supporters, the wind: ‘You are in our lane – leave
The Ukrainian team coming up behind us beat a hasty
retreat. We were jostling with other boats, some in our Women’s
Senior A (over 40) category and others trying to line up for the next
race. This European Club Crew Championship, held in Divonne-les-Bains near Geneva, was being run with clinical efficiency. The
day before, they had held a 200-metre race every five minutes.
Today we were in the 500-metre race. And we were not in a breast
It was Senior Hurling today.
Even before the race started it was important to listen to the
helm and act on every instruction immediately. The wind had got up
and any wrong move could take us on to the lake shore. We had to
be ‘down and ready’ to start as soon as all the boats were lined up.
And we were off – looking like we stole the boat.
After three glorious days of racing we came home with
three medals – two silvers and a bronze. Margaret helmed us in the
200-metre race and in our first ever two-kilometre competition. The
thrill of passing another boat before we had to make the corner was
indescribable. The rules were rigid – you could not overtake a boat
on a corner unless you had the advantage.
This was the first time we had entered an EDBF Club Crew
competition category not confined to breast cancer teams. Of course
we are proud to have members on the Irish Senior Women’s Dragon
Boat Team, who always compete in open categories, but this was a
first for a full Plurabelle team. Our team manager, Laura Hennessy,
did a magnificent job organising transport and accommodation.
It really was like a GAA club championship or maybe a
massive Fleadh Cheoil. There were clubs there from all over Europe.
As the Junior World competitions were also being held in Divonne,
we were mixing with teams from Canada, Thailand, Hong Kong,
Russia, Israel – oh yes, and Ukraine. We shared tent space between
races with Hungary and Carlow.
And there on the Amathus team from the UK was Jamie
Maher, who had his first paddle with us only two years ago at
Grand Canal Dock. He got used to meeting his doting Plurabelle
‘aunties’, who cheered him on at every turn. We also met the
Australian parents’ group, who were there with their junior team.
As it included a hurler from Kilkenny, it meant we had lots of
Australian support too.
The Carlow team won a gold in their category. Their coach,
Julie Doyle, is also coach and mentor to us and we all delighted in
each other’s achievements.
What an exhilarating six days!