ÒThe MarinaÓ Hindmarsh Island Marathon
Sunday April 17th, 8:00am
Ring ring. ring ring.
ÒGÕday John. ItÕs Marc BrehinÓ
ÒJohn. Could you bring the inverterÓ?
ÒYep, IÕve just put it back in the bag. WhatÕs the weather like over thereÓ
ÒNot a breath of windÓ
Five laps for long course. Two laps for short course and one for the recreational course. That was the dayÕs scheduled racing. Whilst paddlers registered and prepared their boats, a gentle Nor-westerly breeze promised some cooling for competing marathoners. The forecast however was for strong winds of 20/25 knots around the middle of the day. It was agreed based on the forecast, to set paddlers off as soon as possible in an attempt to beat the weather. The first wave included all long course boats. By the end of their first lap Martin Finn (race starter) had the short course paddlers ready and on the starting line which by now was quite choppy and creating a challenge to boats sitting idle awaiting ÒGoÓ.
By this stage, the wind had reached 36knots and a further weather alert of up to 40knot winds had been issued. After three capsizes and faced with worsening conditions and the prospect of injury and boat damage, race organisers opted to end the race at the end of the current lap. This was a bitter blow to those who savoured the conditions. All long course entries were limited to the short course two lap event & short course entries were limited to a single lap recreational course. Times would remain official for the distances paddled (not entered), two laps paddled would count as short course and one lap would count towards recreational times. Some if little consolation.
The number of starters were this year reduced as the event clashed with school holidays. The Mars challenge in Victoria also kept SASI entries from this yearÕs event. Despite this, 31 paddlers took to the start line. Local paddlers again faired well. Taking to the water for the first time were two crews from the South Coast. In the Open K2, Micheal and Ben Gallard were just getting used to the conditions in their international kayak when the race was cut short. Micheal a member of the Seacliffe Surf Club and son Ben did extremely well in the conditions for first time K2 paddlers. Mark Gaskin & Justin Turner had little difficulty in the conditions in their SK2 sea kayak. Mark & Justin are presently training for their first Murray 100km event this year in June and would have been glad of a longer paddle. Both new crews established records in their classes. Regular paddlers Phil (fast Phil) Dingsdale and Brad Butler savoured the conditions, Brad establishing a record in the Seakayak single. Phil was unable to break his own previous record set in much better conditions but managed line honours for his boat class.
Other new faces at ÒThe MarinaÓ were Jane Boroky & Lyndon Zimmerman from the Adelaide Canoe Club. Another new face was Mark OÕBrienÕs (although IÕm sure IÕve seen him somewhere before). Mark disgraced himself by paddling the dustiest boat of all time. Testimony to the length of his absence from canoeing. Mark, it was just as well Jim Breeze wasnÕt there to comment on the state of your boat. It was also good to see Rachel Newson & Darren Richardson paddling marathon. Perhaps in preparation for this yearÕs Murray?
LessonÕs of this yearÕs event. Although such conditions are unusual at this time of year. The Marina course is currently very exposed to wind due to the temporary number of vacant allotments. As such our event is very vulnerable. It was agreed by all, that next yearÕs event would kick off at 9:00 rather than 10:00. We will also action a rough weather contingency in the event of similar or worse conditions. This would require the race course to be limited to two lagoons only, prior to, or during the event. If such a course had been adopted this year, the race could have proceeded. Alas, we were not organised for that this year but will the wiser and better prepared next year.
Many thanks to Bill Griffin, Brad Butler Phil Williams and Micheal Cooper for assisting with setting up. Thanks to Carolyn Cooper and Meryl Brehin for assisting with time keeping. Thanks again to Martin Finn for starting and taking care of operations during the event. And thanks to all the participants for making the day a social event anyway and helping with cleaning up.