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A Fighting Chance Memorial

Fighting Chance Memorial
A Fighting Chance Memorial

Public Art: A Fighting Chance Memorial

Also Known As: A Fighting Chance Historical Marker

Sculptor: Not applicable

Date Unveiled: A Fighting Chance memorial was unveiled in 2006 by Urraithe ag an gComharohumann.

Description: The A Fighting Chance Memorial was erected in honour of John Ridgway and Chay Blyth, who, in 1966 rowed across the North Atlantic in a 20ft shallow-draft boat.

Inscription: Please note that there is a spelling mistake on the memorial, it should read John Ridgway.

John Ridgeway & Chay Bylth
rowed the Atlantic in English Rose III
from Orleans to Kilronan, Aran,
Ireland 4th June 1966 – 3rd Sept. 1966
Na laga dia iad

Location: A Fighting Chance memorial is found along the waterfront near harbour pier, in Kilronan, Inishmore, Aran Islands, Connacht, in County Galway.

Background: In 1966 two fellow paratroopers, Captain John Ridgway and Chay Blyth, came with up with a crazy idea to row a boat from North America to Ireland. Even crazier considering Chay had very little ocean experience.

They picked a 20ft open dory (shallow-draft boat) named the”English Rose III” as their craft. Several alterations had to be made on the advice of seasoned US fishermen who knew what the two would be up against.

When the pair left Orleans on the 4th of June, 1966 they had no idea just how treacherous their journey would be. In their 92 days crossing the North Atlantic, they encountered two hurricanes, massive waves, and swells, pods of whales and of course fatigue. Even their arrival at the Aran Islands was met with gale force winds and great bewilderment from the locals. 

Click for more about the story of the Atlantic Crossing.

References: 

Daily Record – Exclusive: Sailing legend Chay makes peace with Atlantic rowing pal after 43-year fall-out, Fiona Young, 22nd November 2009.

The Ocean Rowers by Kenneth Crutchlow and Steve Boga

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