Well, another year and all done. First off, a huge thanks to my Sponsors who combined helped me raise a total of $900, which exceeded my $750 Target.
Now onto the race report.
Like last year, Saturday in Windsor was quite warm, it was about 27deg and sunny, The wind came up about 2pm!
We spent several hours before the start sorting out check-in and scruitineering and catching up with the other South Austrailan Paddlers who made the trek over.
I made the decision, to put on the full thermals even though it was quite warm at the start, and I am glad that I did. As soon as the sun dipped, the temperature dropped from the high 20’s to about 10, and when I reached Sackville, I added yet another top layer to keep me warm.
Loosly speaking the race is broken down into 4 Sections – Start to Sackville 32km (Checkpoint Delta), Sackville to Wisemans 65km (Checkpoint India), Wisemans to the Low Tide Pit-Stop 88km (Between Checkpoint Lima and Mike), Finish 111km. You can meet your land crew at Sackville and Wisemans, the Pit-Stop is on the other side of the River and run by one of the Unversities where they provide you with a warm drink, scone and the last chance to strectch your legs and take a leak before finishing.
Of course, if you choose to, you can meet your land crew at Catti (12km – Checkpoint Alpha) but very few people stop here, some first-timers might. Additionally, you can elect to pull into Spencer which is 13 km from the finish (Opposite the creek just before Checkpoint Oscar), but it adds about 1/2km and is well off the paddling line.
On the water ready for the the 4:45pm start, I told my land crew to expect me in Sackville in about 4h 10m – just before 9pm. The first section was with the outgoing tide for about 2 hours and I really got a great start and arrived in Sackville at about 8:20pm, nearly 30 minutes ahead of schedule. I had planned to take about a 45-50 minute break as the tide was coming in, but got away in around 40 minutes leaving around 9pm. The next section, the longest, was going to be against the tide for most of it, and with the tide for the last 30 minutes or so. This year, the tidal flow in the upper reaches of the river was not really a great influence on my speed. Yes, it did slow me a little but nowhere near as much as I expected it to. I told my land crew to expect me at Wisemans at around 1:15am. I arrived at 01:04 = 11 minures ahead of schedule. My race plan was to have a quick stop and make the most of the outgoing tide and hopefully make the low-tide Pit-Stop with the outgoing tide. I left Wisemans at 01:35 and told my land crew to expect me at the finish around 8am.
Sure enough, I knocked off the 25km down to the Pit-Stop and arrived at 03:46am, with the tide still flowing out. I jumped out into the mud and enjoyed a hot drink and a scone, and got back under way at 04:05am, just before the tide turned.
From there made good progress for the next hour and didn’t really notice the tidal flow untl just after sunrise when I hit checkpoint November where I started slowing down. With only 16km to go, it was a really hard slog! With the tide moving in at about 2-3km/h It knocked my speed back to just under 6km/h.
This year, unlike previous years, I noticed that rather than just seeing other boats as they went past me, I was passing boats nearly all the way down the river. I went past the first boat from one of the early starts in just 35 minutes, and was passing 3-5 boats every hour right down to Wisemans. The faster boats who started after me did go past me as well. When I left Wisemans, until the finish, there were only 5 or 6 boats that passed me and I went past around 30 or 40 others before I got to the Pit-Stop.
At 07:42:24 I crossed the line in 14H 57M 24S ahead of my planned finish time of 8am.
I was really pleased with the event this year, and surprisingly, I pulled up much better than last year, a few hours sleep, a good feed and 1/2h in the spa worked out the kinks.
When I get home, I will drag out the GPS Plot and post the details.