2022 PaddleNSW Marathon Series, Race 3 Lane Cove River 27 March 2022

The Lane Cove Marathon Series #3 round was successfully run on Sunday 27 March – during short breaks in what seemed to be 40 days and 40 nights of rain – and associated flooding, particularly in northern NSW. Lane Cove River Kayakers extend their thanks to all participating paddlers and Clubs and trust they enjoyed themselves so much, they will tell everyone else about it for next year!

This event was a ‘doubles round’ which meant 50 bonus ‘club’ points for each finishing double. There were a pleasing 132 paddlers entered (a bit short of the recent 2022 BGCC States round and the 2021 Windsor States round) but a good signal we’re ready to race. The start list showed 44 paddlers in singles, and 88 paddlers in 44 doubles (paddlers) – although a combo of weather, $2+/litre petrol, covid and covid-related iso meant there were a number of boat numbers unclaimed at the rego desk.

The weather forecast showed a 95% chance of showers, with virtually no wind and temperatures in the low 20’s. The river (like most of Sydney Harbour) was showing the effects of weeks of rain and was the colour of soy latte (LCRK call it ‘crudslime’). The positive aspect of this was that the owners of powerboats moored at the bottom end of the course were not inclined to venture out. Only a single powerboat was spotted during the entire race.

The start of the race happened to coincide with one of the forecast ‘showers’ – which was actually more of a ‘downpour’ but came and went quite quickly. After that, the race was conducted in dry conditions with glimpses of blue sky and a bit of sun poking through clouds at times.

Lane Cove put on their usual Canteen for pre and post-race victuals – and plenty of volunteers were on hand to sort out parking, boat valet, pontoon assist and a friendly chat. Richard Barnes (back from his 1st Trans-Tasman attempt), was on parking duty – and clearly up for a chat!

In Division 1, Casey Haynes (CSKC)/James Pralija (LCRK) took out the win with a 1:27:02 some minutes ahead of Jason Ware/Brett Greenwood (LCRK) and James Harrington/Bruno Colos (LCRK). The portage location is a mid-river portage at the bottom of the course only accessible at lower tide – and a low tide had indeed been scheduled for 11:50am.  There were reports of a search for a dropped GPS at the portage which might account for some of the time splits.

In Division 2 – Naomi Johnson/Laura Lee (LCRK/WCC) 1:40:38 were just seconds ahead of Gareth Stokes/John Denyer (SSCC) after battling it out for the entire 20km. It was hard to get a photo not showing both boats. Ian Hofstetter (LCRK) was in a single and had a great race.

In Division 3, James Haigh (1:45:46, Wollongong Paddlers) was just 0.6 seconds ahead of Craig Macfarlane (LCRK) and Chris Johnson/Harry Janecek (LCRK) in what looks to have been a close race with 11 boats competing.

Division 4 had another 12 boats. Clear winners were Ian Cooper/Elizabeth Pratt (1:51:01 WCC) minutes ahead of Matthew Lowe (PVC) and David Lowe (PVC)

The doubles were up for Div 5 which was taken out by Tim Mcnamara/Derek Simmonds (1:56:52 LCRK), then David Hammond/Kim Navera (LCRK) and Danielle Winslow/Robert Collins (BGCC). Tim and Derek confessed to using rat cunning (years of accumulated wisdom) in taking advantage of the outgoing tide and the incoming washrides.

Another 3 boats took on Div 6 with David Dibdin (SSCC) quickest on 2:08:53 then Graham Matts/Phil Bellamy (MWKC) and Richard Barnes/Linden Barnes (2:15:16).

Div 7 saw John Harrison/Lyndal Harrison (2:14:25 LCRK) ahead of Roz Green (SIP)

The 15km Div 8 distance was popular with 13 boats. First place went to Warwick Nichols/Shane Tagliabue (1:21:12 HVPS) just 3 seconds ahead of Jeff Collins/Rob Collins (LCRK), then Albert Cobb/Geoffrey Dawes (BWPS). Mike Hayes (1:38:05) was the sole entrant in the 15km SUP

It was an easy win for Paul van Koesveld/Andrew Pearce (59:12 LCRK) – as the sole boat in Div 9 10km. Div 10 also only had the two boats with Jill Parker/Judy Greenidge (1:02:16 WCC pictured above) ahead of Jim Bowman (1:05:45 PVC)

Div 11 was more popular with 11 boats. Bob Turner/James Stuart (58:40 SSCC – below) stole the win from Mick Beldzinski (HVPS) and Marnie Fitzpatrick/Vicki Baker (Newy). Special mention must go to Warren Mason/Dianne Mason (Jervis Bay OOC) who ‘threw a blade’ on a brand new paddle. After experimenting with a safety boat tow they elected to paddle back and were spotted paddling in perfect time with a double blade and single blade.

5 boats took on Div 12 with Ann Lloyd-Green (1:06:07 MWKC) out in front of Sue Huehn (PVC) and Janet Small/Elisabeth Woodhart-O’Farrell (SSCC). Allan Newhouse (BGCC) was the sole single blader and rounded out the field.

Jeff Tonazzi (30:44 LCRK) was the only Div 13 (5km) entrant and was apparently tempted to do a victory lap to get his moneys worth. He instead returned to the pontoon to take up valet service duties.

Above (anticlockwise from right): Race Director John Duffy (Photo: Ian w); Laura & Liz – part of the canteen crew (Photo: Orlando Luminere); LCRK valet service spot another arrival [photo – Orlando Luminere]

Completion of the race provided the opportunity for paddlers to catch up, recount their race, explain their tactics – and make the most of the broad range of savoury and sweet food from the LCRK canteen.

Above (anticlockwise from top left).   Ian, Lachie, Tom, Peter at the pre-dawn start to lay the course (Photo: Oscar Cahill); Graeme J and James F in the Safety Yak expecting an easy tow back; Merry Sugiarto and Trevor Nichols in the Safety Boat caught in the downpour after the race [photo – Oscar Cahill]; Oscar & Peter unpacking [photo – Ian W]

Big thanks are of course due to the volunteers who help make the event run smoothly – and of course, many hands make the lights work. The participation from LCRK Members is strong at this event both off and on the water. Just a small sample is shown above (more in the Flickr album).

Thanks to Ian for this report and for all the images, appreciated.

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