The Celtic Longboat is a 4-oared, coxed rowing boat 24 feet long used for racing,
keeping fit and touring. There is room for passenger in the bow.
Dale Sailing was selected as the builder of Celtic Longboats in 1999. The Celtic
Longboat is a strict one-design. So everyone races on level terms. Beaumaris Rowing
Club owns two Celtic Longboats: Mabli is number 100 and was built in 2014. Menai
is number 105 and was built in 2015.
A Celtic Longboat weighs about 160kgs and a double trailer about 340kgs. This gives
a total weight for trailer and two boats of 660kgs; below the legal maximum for unbraked
trailers of 750kgs.
The hull is GRP, the oars are carbon fibre and the rudder aluminium.
The Pembrokeshire Longboat first built in 1979 was the forerunner of the Celtic Longboat.
Pembrokes are slightly smaller than the Celtic but are just as fast. Clubs purchased
bare hulls and then fitted them out themselves. So Pembrokes are not a strict one-design.
Beaumaris Rowing Club owns a Pembroke Longboat number 24 and named Jemima Fawr. She
was purchased as a derelict hull and completely rebuilt by Club members during the
winter of 2014/15. We are very pround of her! She raced successfully in the Castle-to-Castle
Race in 2015.
* Jemima Fawr was a Welsh heroine during the 1797 Battle of Fishguard (commonly known
as the last invasion of Britain). Armed with only a pitchfork, she single-handedly
rounded up 12 French soldiers when they were drunk; they surrendered shortly afterwards
at the Royal Oak.
* Mabli is the patron saint of rowing and perseverance.
According to local legend, Mabli was the daughter of Maldwyn, a poor herring fisherman
from Moelfre. He contracted to supply a weekly basket of herring to the hermit monk
living on Puffin Island.
Mabli rowed over to the Island in her tiny skiff every Sunday to make the deliveries.
The monk was young and handsome and soon Mabli fell deeply in love. But despite her
charms and the tastiness of the herring, the monk stayed true to his vows.
Years went by. The herring deliveries prospered but Mabli’s love was unrequited although
she did become quite good at rowing.
Then one Sunday a storm was brewing and the longshoremen pleaded with Mabli not to
set out for the Island. Mabli was deaf to their pleas and she was lost in a terrible
maelstrom which blew in from the North East.
In the evening when the light is fading and the sea mist is rising at Puffin Sound,
some say that if you listen very carefully, you can still hear Mabli: the creak of
her oars and now and then a plaintive sigh.