Saturday, 11 September 2010

Fleetwood Seaquest - 11th September 2010

With the highest tide of the year and the forecast being a bit windy, the organisers were forced to shorten the event from its normal 22km down to 15km and keep the race within the confines of the Wyre estuary. This missed out the mass beach start and the entertaining crossing of the harbour mouth which was a bit of a shame. Hopefully this isn't a permanent change, although the new base at the River Wyre Country Park was an excellent venue.

Event base at River Wyre Country Park
The revised course involved visiting eight orienteering type controls and punching the supplied map/scorecard. The controls had to be visited in a set order which limits any real route choice.

The new event base precluded a "Le Mans" type start, so the boats were massed in a side channel and set off with a horn blast. Heading N up the W bank against the incoming tide, John Willacy quickly established a small lead that, as we expected, he extended throughout the race. Glen Parry settled into 2nd place on his racing surf ski (the more tippy one of the two he owns). I was paddling with Ned Price and Kate Duffus for a while but by the first check point had managed to pull slightly ahead of these two.

Preparing to Launch
The second checkpoint involved crossing the estuary which meant a large ferry glide across the incoming current. Not sure if I took the best line as John W and Glen seemed to get further away - they crossed over to the other side more directly before working up the E bank to the checkpoint. I took a more direct line, but this may have involved staying in the incoming current for longer.

The 3rd checkpoint was quite a way down the E bank now, and this proved a bit of a slog. We didn't swing far out into the estuary and stayed down the E side. This meant we most likely didn't benefit much from the incoming tide, but it would have involved quite a wide track to pick up what was left of the incoming flood.

Continuing on through the next checkpoints Ned was never far behind me which gave me the incentive to keep working hard. By the S end of the race and the turning point at the bridge, Ned was about 50m behind me. I managed to maintain the difference through the remaining checkpoints and finished in a time of 1:42, 12 minutes behind John W. and a few minutes behind Glen. Reasonably pleased with the result, but it's still more down to the boat rather than me.

Lady winner - Pascale Eichenmuller

2nd Lady - Kate Duffus running to hand in control card
After the race had a quick paddle in a P&H Cetus MV which seemed quite fast, though the seat/thigh grip location didn't seem that comfortable.

Jim Wallis
Post race refreshments consisted of Lancashire Hot Pot with mushy peas followed by chocolate cake! Very tasty. My 3rd place won a £10 Brookbank gift voucher. Not quite as lucrative as last week, but nice to be in the prizes. All in all another excellent event.

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