Portrush Raft Race Weekend 2019

37 years of raft racing in aid of the RNLI, the charity that saves lives at sea.

Congratulations to all our 2018 winners!

Raft Race

Category Raft No Team  
1st 84 Ballyronan Bandits 2016 + 2017 Winners
2nd 56 Blue Pandas 2017 – 2nd Place
3rd 81 Turkanic Entrants for many years
First all-female crew to finish 57 Black and Blue
Best fancy-dress/theme 77 Tequila Trump
Outstanding raft design 59 Fleming Agri Spec (Sion Mills)
Most originally-named raft 54 Tooth Fairy (Boyd & Logue Dental Practice, Coleraine)
Furthest travelled team 79 Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport Part of the Crew from Australia
Most money raised/presented on day 58 A Rat Race (Rentokil local team Bushmills)
Most heroic failure 52 Dolly Rodger (Portrush Music Society)

Junior Raft Race

1st Maeve Brolly & Conor Brolly
2nd Faye Dempsey & Jack Dempsey
3rd Maddie McNally & Caoimhe McFadden

Rookie Lifeguard Challenge

1st Charlie Eatwell

Portrush Yacht Club Swim

1st female skins Caroline Boyle (17:45.4)
1st female wetsuit Glenda Moore-Wilson (20:46.6)
1st male skins Gary Knox (16:33)
1st male wetsuit Steve Janes (18:47.3)

All results are online at: webscorer.com

Welly Wang

 

Females 16yrs +

1st Claire Vaux

2nd none

3rd none

 

Males 16yrs +

1st Stewart Vaux

2nd Matt Tosh

3rd Robin Graham

 

Girls up to 10yrs

1st Nikita

2nd Connie Johnston

3rd Isobel Allen

Boys up to 10yrs

1st Leo Graham

2nd James McMillan

3rd none

 

Girls 11 – 15yrs

1st Iona Burnside

2nd Sophie Gordon

3rd Anna McIlroy

Boys 11 – 15yrs

1st Ross McKee

2nd Isaac Allen

3rd none

Congratulations to all our 2017 winners!

Raft Race

Category Raft No Team  
1st 20 Ballyronan Bandits 2016 Winners
2nd 9 Blue Pandas
3rd 30 Home to Portrush Ramore Restaurants
First all-female crew to finish 17 Mad Cows
Best fancy-dress/theme 40 Cool Raftings
Outstanding raft design 48 Paradise Island
Most originally-named raft 37 Trump’s Torpedo
Furthest travelled team 34 Brig Argent Travelled from Michigan, USA
Most money raised/presented on day 23/24 Houston Homes (£637.50) Old Duffers / A Team combined
Most heroic failure 36 In Deep Ship

Junior Raft Race

1st Catherine Minford & Olivia Dunbar
2nd Maeve & Conor Brolly
3rd Rebekah Dunbar & Rebecca Lynn

Rookie Lifeguard Challenge

1st Ben Lyness

West Bay Swim

1st female Julie Murphy
2nd female Caroline Boyle
1st male Colm Watters
2nd male Rowan McClean

To be updated soon

Portrush Raft Race takes place annually as part of a jam-packed bank holiday weekend of harbour-side family mayhem and fun.  Sponsored once again in 2019 by our neighbours, Ramore Restaurants, both are well love fixtures of the popular County Antrim town.

As well as being enormous fun on the beautiful north coast, it’s an important annual event for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the community of Portrush.   All the funds raised by Portrush Raft Race go directly to the local RNLI branch.

Portrush Lifeboat, the William Gordon Burr, keeps coastal communities and visitors safe across a huge area, stretching from Ballycastle and the Scottish island of Islay westward to Lough Foyle.  With a single Lifeboat launch costing in the region of £6,000 this enjoyable weekend of silliness and fun has a very serious and real beneficial impact for everyone.

Raft Race History.

The first Portrush Raft Race took place in 1982.  It was the result of a friendship that existed between two Johns.  John Scott worked for Portrush Lifeboat while his friend John McNally co-owned the Harbour Bar.

In 1981 RNLI Lifeboat magazine featured a raft race successfully run by Oban’s station to raise funds.  The two Johns read the article and agreed with one another that Portrush’s West Bay would make the ideal setting for a similar event locally.  Regulars of the bar volunteered to offer their support, and so the first Raft Race committee was born.

Everyone agreed that fun was central to the event, and so prize categories were devised to incorporate raft design and costumes.

The first raft race, which took place the following May, attracted 39 entries.  Rafts ranged from basic through to the Quinquireme of Nineveh which came complete with galley slaves, skeltons, and albatross and shark. The day was a roaring success – raising over £3,000 (£10,000 in today’s money) for the local lifeboat station.

The efforts of John Scott and John McNally are commemorated with the Two Johns Trophy, which is presented to the team which raise the most money at each Raft Race.

Raft Race

Portrush Raft Race has eleven prizes up for grabs, recognising not just the competition, but also the craic and fundraising efforts.

  • Overall winner
  • 2nd place
  • 3rd place
  • First all-female crew over the finish line
  • Best fancy dress/theme
  • Outstanding raft design
  • Most originally-named raft
  • Most heroic failure
  • Furthest travelled raft team
  • Most money raised and presented on the day
  • Best raft-building video shared on social media

Colouring-in competition (local schools)

  • 1st
  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • Highly commended
  • 1st prize-winner’s school

Junior Raft Race

  • 1st
  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • Goodie bags for all participants

Rookie Lifeguard Challenge

  • 1st
  • 2nd
  • 3rd
  • Goodie bags

Plus more events to be announced…

FAQs

When is the raft race?

There is a full programme of events running all weekend (May 25 & 26).  The raft race itself takes place on Saturday afternoon at 3.30pm.

How much is it?

It’s free to come and join in the festivities all weekend.  If you want to enter a raft we ask that your team raises a minimum of £120.

How can I enter a raft?

Use the form below to request an Information Pack or email hello@portrushraftrace.com

We ask that each raft raises a minimum of £120 each to be eligible.

What’s the deadline for entry?

You can enter right up until 2pm on the day of the race.  Demand is expected to be high, so we do advise you get in quick rather than leave it to the last minute!

I can’t build a raft.  Can you help?

Yes, we have some of previous years’ rafts available to hire for a suggested donation of £50.00 (per raft) to RNLI.  Contact Pat on pat@portrushraftrace.com or 07546 941 721

What age do I have to be?

Rafters must be 18 and over.

Oh.  I’m under 18 and wanted to enter…

No problem.  We have a brilliant junior raft race that runs in the morning for those aged 6-15.  Turn up at the pontoon and register on the day from 10.00am.

How does the junior raft race work?  Will it be suitable for my child?

Turn up and register at the pontoon on the day from 10.00am.  Entry fee is £2 per child, two children per raft, with the race taking place in heats.

The course

  • Each team must paddle their raft from the pontoon around a buoy in the harbour.
  • There will be a handicap scoring system in place to ensure a fair competition for all ages.
  • Each child will receive a goody bag.
  • The Robert Lynn shield will be presented to the winning team at the prize-giving immediately after the race.

Safety Information

  • All rafts, paddles and life jackets will be supplied.
  • The RNLI inshore lifeboat and Causeway Coast Kayak Association will be on hand to ensure safety.
  • It is advisable to wear a wet-suit but it is not essential.  Please wear suitable footwear e.g. old trainers, booties etc.
  • It is advisable that all participants can swim and are comfortable being in the sea.

Bring a friend, come and join the fun!

How do I rent a pitch for a stand during Raft Race weekend?

Give Pat a call on 07546 941 721.

LIFEBOAT LAUNCHES 2018

PEOPLE ASSISTED BY LIFEGUARDS

POUNDS COST PER LIFEBOAT LAUNCH

Fun for all the Family

2018 was a hugely successful fund-raising event for the RNLI  with families travelling from all over Ireland and beyond to join in the many activities planned.  This year will be no different and we guarantee there will be something for everyone to enjoy.

LIFEBOAT TOURS

Tours of current and historic Lifeboats

Tours of Portrush Lifeboat, William Gordon Burr are subject to emergency response requirements. Historic Joseph Soar Lifeboat was withdrawn from service in 1990, throughout her life she was launched 135 times and saved 135 lives.

    PORTRUSH YACHT CLUB SWIM

    I Km Open Water Swim

    This swim should be formidable due to the seasonal low sea temperature and the challenge of deep water swimming. The swim is open to both wet-suits and 'skins' swimmers.

      JUNIOR RAFT RACE

      for 6-15 year olds

      One for our Raft Race stars of the future. Fun mini-races in the safety of the harbour. Turn up and register at the pontoon on the day.  Entry fee is £2 per child, two kids per raft, with the race taking place in heats. 

        STORMY STAN

        Selfies with Stormy Stan

        Stormy Stan is the busy Storm Force mascot, RNLI's club which helps little ones discover the exciting world of lifeboats and lifeguards. The best selfie tweeted using #stormystan and #portrushraft will win a prize.

          Programme of Events

          Programme subject to change while it is being finalised.

          Can’t make it to the raft race weekend, but still want to support this brilliant cause?  No problem!

          To donate £5 text RNLIPORTRUSH to 70300. Your text will cost £5 plus your usual message cost.  100% of your £5 goes direct to Portrush Raft Race.

          10:00AM - 2:00PM
          Raft Registration (Kerr Street Green)

          All raft teams to report to registration on arrival.

          Free advice on safety in and around our coastline, along with free lifejacket checks. Last year we discovered 289 lifejackets that would not have worked had they been used and 70 manufacturers' recalls.

          One for our Raft Race stars of the future. Turn up and register at the pontoon from 10:00am. Entry fee is £2 per child and two children per raft. Each team must paddle their raft from the pontoon around a buoy in the harbour. The race will consist of heats and a handicap scoring system to ensure a fair competition for all ages. Each child will receive a goody bag with the winning team being presented with the Robert Lynn Shield immediately after the race. Rafts, paddles and buoyancy aids will be provided. It is advisable to wear a wet-suit, but it is not essential in order to take part. Please wear protective footwear e.g. old trainers, booties, etc. It is advisable that all participants can swim and are comfortable being in the sea. Bring a friend, come and join the fun.

          Bouncy castles, slides and a whole lot more fun with Cromore Castles.

          Tours of Portrush Lifeboat, 'William Gordon Burr', are subject to emergency response requirements. Historic 'Joseph Soar' Lifeboat was withdrawn from service in 1990, throughout her life she was launched 135 times and saved 135 lives.

          RNLI beach lifeguards invite kids aged 10-15 to have a go at some basic lifeguarding skills. From a beach start, competitors will complete a short sea swim, followed by a knee paddle on a surf rescue board. The timed challenge will finish with a run along the beach. Do you have what it takes to be a lifeguarding star of the future?

          Portrush Lifeboats and Lifeguard teams showcase their amazing rescue skills. Live onshore commentary by Mark Mitchell, Deputy 2nd Coxwain.

          Stormy Stan is the busy Storm Force mascot, RNLI's club which helps little ones discover the exciting world of lifeboats and lifeguards. The best selfie tweeted using #stormystan and #portrushraft will win a prize.

          Tug of war challenge for rafting teams.

          The main event of the day. With 11 prizes up for grabs competition is sure to be fierce. Safety announcement at 3:25pm

          Presentation of prizes hosted by RAMORE Restaurants

          10:00AM - 11:00PM
          Beach Yoga (West Strand)

          Everyone is welcome to join in our yoga taster session.

          Come and watch expert teams battle it out on two beach courts.

          Bouncy castles, slides and a whole lot more fun with Cromore Castles.

          An exciting event to kick off Sunday's programme of events. All are welcome to come and test their welly chucking skills. Prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each category: under 10's, 11-15's, 16+ male, 16+ female.

          Harbour-side coffee shop Babushka will supply those brave enough to swim, dip or bathe in the Atlantic Ocean with warm drinks and tasty treats. In return for a donation to RNLI this exciting event is open to everyone – wet-suits are of course, optional.

          Trogg’s Surf School will be on hand at the ‘wee beach’ to offer SUP paddle board taster sessions in return for a small donation to the RNLI.

          Come and watch the mayhem unfold with a series of short races and fun SUP challenges taking place around the lifeboat. Showcasing the growing sport of paddleboarding, this promises good fun and enjoyment for spectators and participants alike.

          Free advice on safety in and around our coastline, along with free lifejacket checks. Last year we discovered 289 lifejackets that would not have worked had they been used and 70 manufacturers' recalls.

          Tours of Portrush Lifeboat, 'William Gordon Burr', are subject to emergency response requirements. Historic 'Joseph Soar' Lifeboat was withdrawn from service in 1990, throughout her life she was launched 135 times and saved 135 lives.

          This swim should be formidable due to the seasonal low sea temperature and the challenge of deep water swimming. The swim is open to both wet-suits and 'skins' swimmers. Safety briefing for all swimmers at 1.00pm in the Yacht Club with the race starting at 1.30pm.

          Coleraine & District Historic Vehicle Club present their classic cars and bikes.

          Portrush Raft Race Weekend Sponsors

          PORTRUSH RAFT RACE 2019 IS SPONSORED BY

          Special thanks to generous raft race supporters:

          Enter a Raft

          Entries for 2019 are now open. Register your interest below and we will send you an Information Pack asap



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          Send us your raft-building videos!

          Email us a link or tweet your video with the hashtags #portrushraft #raftbuilding. Prizes for the best one!

          Find us

          • Kerr Street, Portrush, Co. Antrim BT56 8DQ
          • hello@portrushraftrace.com
          • 07546 941 721