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Last Updated: Monday, 21 July, 2003, 09:51 GMT 10:51 UK
Weather thwarts Irish Sea challenge
Rowing boat
Members of the team practise their strokes
An heroic attempt at rowing from Holyhead to Ireland and back for the first time in history has been delayed because of bad weather.

Six men from Holyhead had planned to row the 110 miles to Dun Laoghaire and back, without stopping, to raise awareness about the lack of facilities for young people in the town.

But they had to postpone the challenge, believed to be the first time the route has been attempted, after coastguards warned of a gale force six or seven storm.

They are now waiting for the weather to improve towards the end of the week so that they can take their positions behind the oars of their 14ft boat.

"We wanted to show that the local lads were prepared to do something about it," says John Owen, who is coordinating the journey.

Map
The route from Anglesey to Dublin

"What they will be doing is quite a feat. It's quite easy to get to Ireland, but we have to come back too.

"They are going to try to do both in one go.

"The biggest danger is the weather - we are completely at its mercy," he said.

The men will take turns to row, doing two hours on then four hours off.

A second boat will be sailing nearby providing meals, hot water and beds.

On reaching Dun Laoghaire, they will greet local dignitaries on the shore before turning the stern straight back towards Anglesey.

As far as anyone knows, the 55 miles between the breakwater in Holyhead harbour and Dun Laoghaire has never been attempted in a rowing boat before.

The big issue is to raise awareness about the young of Holyhead and the fact that there is very little facilities catering for their needs and their energy
Dennis Hadley
"Personally I don't think it will be that difficult," said rower Dennis Hadley, who is a taxi driver in the town.

"But I have been warned that it has never been done before.

"Ireland to Holyhead has been done twice I believe but it has never been tackled the other way around because of the notorious currents.

"The tidal current takes a very different route and makes it much more difficult to cross.

"But we'll see how things unfolds!"

Mr Hadley admits what they are doing could be seen as "mad", but he is determined their actions will help the youth of Holyhead.

"As a taxi driver I see young people lingering more and more on street corners.

"The gangs are getting bigger and bigger and people are getting concerned.

Dennis Hadley
Dennis Hadley: Concerned about Holyhead's youth
"The money we raise is important but it's not the major issue.

"The big issue is to raise awareness about the young of Holyhead and the fact that there is very little facilities catering for their needs and their energy."

Mr Hadley's mother, Lydia says she is proud of him and her other son and grandson who are also taking part.

"They are doing something to help the town and the children of the town.

"I'm a bit worried about them but they're strong lads who know what they are doing - they'll do a good job.

"But I have given each a St Christopher's cross in case!" she added.


SEE ALSO:
Devon rower sets record
15 Jun 03  |  Devon
Race rowers complete marathon
04 May 03  |  Lancashire
Longboats race the straits
22 Apr 03  |  North West Wales



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