Raft Race Thank You

Rafts Launching for Raft race in aid of Skerries RNLI Lifeboat


What a day! What an event! It was all good things coming together to create a marvellous event that was Skerries RNLI Raft Race 2012. The morning started off grey; rain threatened, but never came to much and indeed. And the organisers weren’t going to be put off. They’d worked very hard in recent months to make sure that the Raft Race 2012 went off smoothly, with no hitches. The one thing they couldn’t control was the weather, but it came good.

As the rafts were being unloaded, carried and dragged into position on the South Beach at Skerries, the clouds separated, the sun shone gloriously and the temperatures climbed into the early 20°’s. Crews from various rafts strolled, apparently nonchalantly, up and down, reviewing the competition wondering if they should have done x, y or z, maybe tweaked this or that. But with poker faces and nerves of steel, no-one gave anything away. Each one believed their raft was the winner.

Crowds gathered and ooh’d and ahh’d over the rafts. Some of the crews came in fancy dress with rafts to match. With some it was possible to see the hundreds of hours spend putting their craft together; with others, well, probably best to say time must have been of the essence! Thankfully, each crew member had to wear a lifejacket and that took a lot of worry away when reviewing some of the less craft like crafts!

There was a real holiday atmosphere on the beach. Children were running up and down, in and out of the water, dogs were being thrown sticks and they went splashing into the oncoming tide. Picnic rugs were being put down and families were settling in for the day, getting ready to enjoy the spectacle of the raft race and the wonderful weather. People sat on the prom eating ice-cream, enjoying the festival atmosphere.

The race start time had to be brought forward a little from 1pm to 12.30 because of the incoming high tide, but nobody minded. As the crews for each raft lined up along the waters edge ready to dash to their raft, drag it into the water and hop on board, they must all have been thinking “this is our Olympic moment”! Tensions were high, there was a tingle in the air, thankfully no false starters! The gun was shot and race was on. Over 100 competitors running, dragging and eventually (in most cases) controlling and rowing their rafts to the finish line. There were some who seemed to have struggle to get on board, others who seemed to be making a bee line for Rockabill, whilst others just appeared to be out for a meander. But there was never a worry, because the event organisers had arranged for a large number of rescue boats, ribs, kayaks and yachts to be on standby, ready to go to the assistance of anyone who might need it.

As the rafts made way to the final marker further down the South Beach, the crowds who had gathered to watch the start, started making their way towards the finish line. Up and down the sand dunes and along the prom people were busy keeping an eye on the progress. Rush Sailing Club Raft came in as worthy winners of the Raft Race. They were like honed athletes as they cut through the water on their trusty craft. We have it on good authority that they’d been practicing for a few weeks and had sea trails earlier this month. So that old adage rings through “Practice makes Perfect”. Well done to that team.

To everyone who spectated on the day, making it all the more special; to all the participants, young and old, who made the day; to the rescue crew and all the helpers – a huge thank you. To those who donated their time and good, to those who sponsored, we couldn’t have done it without you. And last, but not least, to the organisers, for all your energy, organisation, hard work and worry – it all paid off and you gave us a magnificent, rejuvenated fun filled Raft Race, raising in excess of €2500 in the process. Roll on 2013.

The RNLI Volunteer Crew as RNLI Skerries very much appreciate all the fundraising done on their behalf. The charity depends on fundraising and legacies to keep the service around our coasts going, its volunteer crew well trained and its lifeboats fully maintained and ready to put to sea at minutes notice. Indeed, shortly after the raft race had ended, the volunteer crew had two call outs on Saturday evening. Both call outs resulted in positive outcomes with everyone safe.



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