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Thousands savour summer nights at Sulkava rowing festival

The light-hearted Sulkava Rowing Race, Finland’s largest event of its kind, celebrated its 45th anniversary this weekend in eastern Finland’s lake district.

Vanha soutuvene päivänkakkaroiden keskellä
Image: Yle / Pentti Kallinen

Participation was slightly lower than last year with less than 6,000 rowers, down from the peak years with more than 10,000 taking part about a decade ago. The event’s director, Erkki Kauppinen, noted that fewer company teams took part this summer due to the economic downturn.

Participants came from 15 countries including the United Arab Emirates, the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and Germany.

All the time in the world

Some 9,000 people gathered for the festival weekend in Sulkava, near Savonlinna in South Savo. Besides a variety of rowing and paddling races for singles, pairs and groups, there were concerts by bands such as Dingo and other events.

For Kauppinen, the highlight was Friday’s night-time rowing event for the traditional wooden longboats, known as church boats. Taking part were 180 mixed teams with 15 rowers.

The fastest completed the 60km voyage around Partalansaari island in just over four hours, while the most leisurely teams spent more than twice as long enjoying the nightless night and lake scenery.

Results and starting list

Sources: Yle

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