Sunday 24 March 2013

Bay Running

Rob & I competed in yesterday's excellent Bay Runner event, a 16km race out to sea from Port Hacking, finishing back on the sand at Gunamatta Bay.
For the second year running we were the only sea kayakers in the race, despite organiser Steve Newsome making it clear that, unlike the other ocean races on the calendar, they are welcome to enter. We were secretly hoping a few salts would have a crack, and maybe revive a chapter of sea kayaking that has died, where in places like the UK it is actually thriving, but there you go. Regardless we enjoy being a part of this aspect of paddling, and threw in some sponsorship prizes to show our support.
Marley says 'Dad Rob's boat looks like a rocketship!'
I took the Tiderace Pace 18, and with conditions so flat Rob dusted off his Rapier 20. The Rapier 20 has some pedigree, having broken the record for crossing the English Channel months after it was released, and Rob figured it was the tool for the job considering how flat it was 'outside'.
I knew my boat had a hull speed of about 10kmh, so was aiming to race it somewhere around that terminal point for the entire distance.
I also had Kiri & Marley along as crew, with my Mum Suzanne keeping an eye on them while I was out racing. After missing last weekend with them at Rock & Roll, it was good to be able to share a paddling experience with the kids, even if sister Deni still missed out due to Ballet rehearsals!
The start of the race was fantastic, this year I positioned myself right at the front and figured there was help to be had from the rush of skis sprinting off the line. I buffeted around in the whitewater, nearly surfing the wash for the first kilometre or so, great fun. I then settled into a rhythm, deciding it was more interesting lining up the guy in front and trying to grind them down, rather than trying to ride a non-existent sea.
Rob had skipped past me at the 2km mark and I did my best to keep him in sight as he whizzed along in the Rapier.
The final can marked the start of the 'downwind' leg, but in reality in just meant the start of the 'no wind' leg. On rounding it, my sunnies fogged instantly and any cooling breeze disappeared. Both of us slogged it back trying to grab the tiny quartering runners in sweltering heat.
On entering the bay again I started to dread the idea of another 4km on dead flat water, but then mercifully felt a push from behind and cracked a 150m ride on the outer wave of the Bundeena Bar. Steve had run the course straight through our favourite surf break! The guy's a genius! If you watch the short video above you'll see what Rob managed to squeeze out of the bar.
Finally, mercifully, I crossed the line after 1:37, Rob had beaten me home in 1:33. The consensus among the racers on the beach was that it had been a hard day at the office, not the sort of conditions you'd choose to paddle in at race pace for that distance, if it wasn't a race....
I love the idea of racing, just another one of those things I like to do in my sea kayak. Today was tough, hot, and 16km at that sort of output level is no doddle, but I enjoyed it immensely and would definitely take on more ocean races in my kayak if the opportunity was available.
Thanks to Steve Newsome and the Southern District Ocean Paddlers for putting on such a well run day, all for the good of the excellent charity, Jacaranda Cottage.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like fun! Who says sailing died, never did here.


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