Celtic Challenge: Sue Kent, disabled by thalidomide, coxes Mumbles longboat
Published: 5th May 2012 16:51:14
A Swansea woman disabled by the drug thalidomide is coxing a longboat rowing team across the Irish Sea.
Sue Kent, 49, who was born with 8in (20cm) arms and seven fingers, is steering a Mumbles amateur rowing crew from Arklow in Ireland to Aberystwyth.
The 100-mile Celtic Challenge longboat race is staged every other year, and can take up to 24 hours.
Mrs Kent, a barefoot masseuse, said: "I've got a great set of lungs and I love bossing people, so it's superb."
Organisers said 23 teams, including 15 from Wales, had had to wait for better weather to start the 2012 west-to-east race on Saturday.
Each boat is about 24ft (8m) long and has room for four rowers on fixed seats and one cox.
I can't climb myself - they are just going to have to haul me”
Each team is comprised of 12 people who take it in turns to row. They spend the time between rowing shifts on a support boat.
Team members are usually transferred between the longboat and the support boat via a small inflatable boat, with the transfers becoming a part of the team's tactics.
Mrs Kent coxes Mumbles Amateur Rowing Club teams using her feet and her hands. Clip-on adaptations to the boat water-pumping systems to allow her to carry out her role effectively.
She said she had been practising for the race for about a year, although most inshore races take less than an hour.
Preparations for the Celtic Challenge include transferring in and out of the longboat.
She said: "I can't climb myself. They are just going to have to haul me. Mumbles lifeboat men and various people from Mumbles yacht club are going to lift me, so we've had to practise a lot of that."
Her role will be to "steer the boat in the right direction" and keep the crew motivated, she said.
She added: "You are battling against the elements, you've got the tide, you've got wind, you've got the waves.
"It's a fairly safe way to be out on the ocean. It's a very stable boat. You are not as slick through the water as you are on river rowing, but it's very exciting and very challenging.
"We're quite a good crew. We've trained a lot. I'm hoping we'll do it in good time."
The longboat race is not the only sporting challenge Mrs Kent faces this year.
She has been taken on by the Paralympics to give massages with her feet to athletes.
Mrs Kent said she found her calling after massaging her son when he developed a bad back from sailing.
She turned to massage, qualifying as a masseuse three-and-a-half years ago, after she gave up her job in marketing and advertising to look after her parents when they were ill.
At 13:57:23 in SportDavid Gilbert admitted he had been outclassed after his World Championship campaign came to an abrupt end with a 10-4 defeat by last year's Crucible runner-up Barry Hawkins.
At 13:56:11 in EnglandA baby squirrel was found "nesting" in the thick woollen fleece of a sheep in Suffolk, its owner said.
At 13:52:21 in SportThe British Horseracing Authority will assess Chelmsford City Racecourse's application to host fixtures in 2015.
At 13:46:17 in EnglandA 25-year-old man found dead at a house in Lincoln has been named.
At 13:42:47 in ScotlandPlans to reduce the number of payday lenders on the high street are being discussed at Scotland's first payday lending summit in Glasgow.
At 13:41:40 in SportJersey's Team Jets could have an easier path to promotion to English Netball's Premiership Three after the withdrawal of one of their play-off opponents.
At 13:39:52 in WorldAuthorities in Australia are examining material washed ashore to determine if it is related to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
At 13:36:05 in SportLast year's runner-up Barry Hawkins beat David Gilbert 10-4 to reach the second round of the World Championships at the Crucible.
At 13:35:44 in EnglandVisitors to part of the East Yorkshire coast have been warned to look out for live ammunition after the army bomb squad had to carry out a controlled explosion on a beach.
At 13:35:02 in BusinessBoeing's total revenues rose 8% to $20.5bn (£12.2bn) in the first quarter, driven by an increase in commercial aircraft deliveries.
Harvard CitationBBC News, 2012. Celtic Challenge: Sue Kent, disabled by thalidomide, coxes Mumbles longboat [Online] (Updated 5th May 2012)
Available at: http://www.ukwirednews.com/news/1426773/Celtic-Challenge-Sue-Kent-disabled-by-thalidomide-coxes-Mumbles-longboat [Accessed 23rd Apr 2014]
News In Other Categories
The Hull Truck theatre has received £400,000 in emergency grants to help it out of financial crisis.
Authorities in Australia are examining material washed ashore to determine if it is related to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A plan by the New York Police Department to use Twitter to boost its image seems to have backfired.
A baby squirrel was found "nesting" in the thick woollen fleece of a sheep in Suffolk, its owner said.
Three people have appeared in court charged in connection with an incident at a loyalist protest camp in north Belfast.
Eight major renewable energy projects, expected to support 8,500 jobs, have been given government approval.