Family success in annual Holy Isle kayak race

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Andy McNamara took first place in the Holy Isle kayak race held in glorious sunshine last week while his daughter, Daisy, secured first place in the female category and came fifth overall.

Daisy also set a new ladies record of 1 hour 37 minutes but most satisfying of all, she beat her mum, Elanor, who finished in sixth place.

The annual event attracted a record turnout of 14 paddlers, though not all were there to race – some were happy to go at a more sedate pace, led by Martin Wood, who even found time to stop for Christmas cake during the race.


Conditions on race day, Tuesday December 28, were almost perfect, with sunshine and fairly light winds, though the promised westerly winds turned into a north easterly making the journey up the east side of Holy Island a bit more of a challenge.

Andy won in a time of 1 hour and 21 minutes, using a new boat, a K1 racer, which is quite a bit faster than sea kayaks. The downside is that it is narrow which increases the chances of a capsize and which make it a bit more lively on the open sea. Andrew Rigby secured second place in a time of 1 hour 26 minutes and 16-year-old Andrew Bunting came in third in 1 hour 34 minutes, closely followed by Gavin Cameron in 1 hour and 35 minutes. The course record, set by Luke Furze in 2019, is 1 hour 15 minutes.