Sunday, 15 August 2010

Eddystone Challenge - August 14th 2010

Back again to try and complete this in better style than last time! I paddled through out with Glen Parry my "buddy" from last year.

Weather forecast wasn't ideal (N F4-5) but conditions were fairly calm and the organisers went for it. (The bad weather alternative is a 10 mile race up the Tamar and around the harbour).

A gig makes ready

Glen ready to make his way to the start

John Willacy

We started at noon and with a light wind on our backs and a small swell generally in our favour we made good progress out to the lighthouse, reaching the light in 2:20 - compared to last year's time of 3:10. A much easier paddle than last time, with the GPS reading 10-11 kph.

Approaching the light

Glen (far right) rounding the light

Conditions were still pretty good as we approached the light but we encountered choppy waves immediately as we headed back due to tidal action around the rocks (small overfall/tide race). Another paddler took a wider route around the light and made up time on us.

Looking back towards the distant mainland the weather looked varied - sunshine in places but heavy rain was also visible. Conditions deteriorated with the wind getting up (maybe NW F4-5?) with choppy swell and small waves coming on to us from the left. Adding to that the occasional squall of heavy rain made the return paddle a real slog. GPS was reading around 5kph most of time, at times just over 6kph in the more friendly swell and down to about 2kph in the heavy squalls.

Once about 5k out from the harbour breakwater the land started to shield us from the worst of the weather and we managed to pick up speed slightly and maintain a decent rhythm and by the time we reached the inner harbour Glen and I were paddling at 9-10kph to try and ensure we made it back in under 6 hours. We finally crossed the line in a time of 5:55. Not too bad, but considering John Willacy went around in 4:39 (TBC) it's obvious we're not in the same league. GPS trip reckoned the route was 45km.


It was slightly easier to eat and drink this time, so I felt a bit better. Still should have eaten more beforehand - toast and special K for breakfast should have been complemented with something more substantial before the race - bacon butty from the race BBQ and/or banana perhaps. On the water I ate 2 chewy bars, several jelly babies and a chopped up double decker. As well as 1 litre in a bladder, I had 500ml of water with electrolyte added.

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