Marlin Coast Challenge Oct 2021
Amidst the moans and groans from paddlers that the wind and waves were negligible on the morning of Sat 19th Oct, those in OC2s and possibly in OC6s were not too unhappy since the conditions, whilst pretty ‘ordinary’ for OC1s and skis, favoured the larger canoes.
A total of 67 craft started the race at Yorkey’s Knob on time at 10:15 and set off to Ellis Beach some 12km North where they came ashore to change crews (if they were doing the race as a relay or a rest and refuel if they were doing the whole race iron). The Golden Masters mixed team of Phil, Barb, Wendy and Des had all done the race previously, but not as a relay, so this was a new experience for us all.
Phil and Barb raced legs 1 and 3 whilst Des and Wendy did legs 2 and 4.
At times the ocean cooperated a little and offered up some small bumps for assistance (can’t really say we were surfing) and at other times, in particular the last leg (Oak Beach to Port Douglas) was decidedly unhelpful by throwing large clumps of weed around our rudder. What a difference that makes. When picking up weed it is initially difficult to work out the problem. You wonder; is it you the paddler or something else? Perhaps the best gauge is to note the crews and paddlers beside you and if you have been keeping up with them and then find even with extra effort you can’t stay with them it’s time to get off the boat and check.
Joining us in this adventure were Flea who partnered up with Robyn Saultry from Brisbane on an OC1 and Cec, Cara, Manu and Cath also doing the OC2 relay.
When we finished, we found that over a 4.5hr moving time we ended up just 4 mins behind our competitors to gain 2nd place. If it hadn’t been for that weed……..who knows?
Our efforts were rewarded by the organising club, Port Douglas, with a medallion shaped into a stylised Maori or Polynesian fish hook and a great dinner to feed weary bodies.
This race seems to be attracting more and more OC6 canoes and whilst I don’t relish doing all 42km in an OC6, I would recommend the club consider doing the race as a relay race for it is not only a good race, but it is scenic and great for team building. Next year anyone?
We also took the opportunity now we were in FNQ to visit the reef (Low Isles in particular) and Mossman Gorge as a treat for a mini holiday and a good time was had by us all.
Without doubt, wind or no wind this race remains as one of my favourites and I will be back. Iron or relay ?,,hmmm.