Scotland Island Showdown
May 25th, 2019, Tim Hookins reports As the dawn broke on Saturday 25th May 2019 a dedicated squad of volunteers and sponsors could be seen erecting a little village of marquees for registration, paddling accessories and sparkling new skis for sale, ready for the steady flow of competitors arriving in keen anticipation of a great event which was about to unfold. Tony Hystek and Maya Gibson could be seen setting up the rego while Pat Langley was setting up the Vaikobi stand and Jill and Brett Greenwood were putting up the Carbonology and Vajda displays. A picture of energy!
Helen Morrow of Paddlecraft, the event director, welcomed the paddlers and Tony Hystek gave his usual stern warnings about fair play and not breaking the start.
The start was in the channel opposite Haystack Point. The course was clockwise across to the South of Scotland Island keeping outside all the moored boats. Skis took a course close to the boats all the way round the island and the conditions and chop changed slightly as you went around. Long course did a lap completely around Scotland Island first and then headed North to Woody Point and then on to Longnose Point. At each of those was the pink PaddleNSW cones. Then there was the long run back to Rowland Reserve with the breeze behind and some boat washes to contend with. The finish was between the two Carbonology banners on the beach at Rowland reserve. The short course was the same except the was no first lap around Scotland Island. A picturesque, different course and it was good to see a wide range of paddlers from the grizzly old regulars like Paddlepop Gillet and Gazza Gilchrist to plenty of keen newcomers. Apparently there were still opportunities to get lost and take the wrong course!
Long course doubles were first off and soon got into a cluster of 4 doubles, James Pralija and Matt Windon, Mario and Nikki Veseley, Cam Middleton and Tracy Wilson, Fiona Rae and Grant Kretzman and they eventually came in in that order. James and Matt came in second overall in a time of 1 hour 3 minutes and 53 seconds, 31 seconds behind the Overall winner, Luke Eltham.
The next start was the long course singles. The paddlers soon settled into clusters.
At the elite singles level Dave Coward noted that there were about 6 in the leading cluster and in the melee paddlers were getting spat out of the group every so often and left behind. That group was Luke Eltham, Brett Greenwood, Jamie McCrudden, Dave Coward, Paul Stone and Matt Rees. Luke managed to get away from the fleet by less than a minute and there was only a little over 2 minutes between the first 4 home.
There was a great competition in the women’s 19 – 39 ski class with Georgia Sinclair coming in 7 seconds ahead of Carla Papac with Montannah Murray only another 10 seconds behind that. All three came in in a very creditable 1 hour and 12 minutes.
We have to take note of the performances of the very young and the very old! There were 7 paddlers in the over 60s skis, led by Gary Hancock back at his best in 1 hr 12 minutes and 22 seconds, ahead of Peter Grimes and the irrepressible Paddlepop Gillett on the virtual podium. At the other end of the spectrum in the under 18 skis was Fletcher Armstrong in an amazing time of 1hr 9 minutes and 20 seconds over Ben Rees, Ashby Allen and Ziko Veseley.
There was a single start for all short course paddlers. Jana Osvald, who went on to do a time of 1 hour 16 minutes in the women’s surfski 50+ says the start was orderly and smooth. She said it was a lovely day for a race and she was intrigued at the number of jelly fish she kept on hitting with her paddle. She was pleased to be definitely not last. She was quicker than 3 others! Well done Jana.
First across the line in the short course was James Haigh in the surfski 19-39 in a very creditable time of 51 minutes 54 seconds, almost two minutes ahead of Isaac and Peter Moran in second place in a surfski double with Freya Alston, in the Open surfski 19-39 coming in third.
Mike Lieberman who came in 4th out of 9 in the short course surfski men’s 50+ noted that quite a few short course paddlers, including himself, went for a swim because they were disturbed by the unexpected Westerly gusts and boatwashes.
Scott Powell, who came in 10th overall in the surfski men’s 50+ was just rounding the pink buoy at Woody Point when a combination of wind and boat wash unexpectedly tipped him in! He got himself safely back into the ski and shortly after, a girl also doing the short course paddled past him and asked him “Can you tell me where Scotland Island is?” I’m sure she has benefitted from navigating this race! We can all reflect that you can’t take anything for granted as you gain experience in the Harbourseries.
Mike is managing the forthcoming “Stroke the Lion” event and suggests that paddlers use the time between now and then to hone their open water skills because the long course will be around Lion Island. “Stroke the Lion” will test our skills
Thanks to the Race hosts Paddlecraft, to the Open Water Committee of PaddleNSW and to the sponsors:
Carbonology Sports Vaikobi Ocean Performance Gear Azure Ocean Wear Nordic Kayaks Prokayaks Allwave GTG Livingwater Banksia Arborcare
See you all at the Hacking Classic on the 15th June.