Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Oban Sea Kayak Race - 27th August 2016

Oban harbour
The English August bank holiday weekend saw me heading north to compete in the Oban Sea Kayak Race. I did this race the first two times it was run (2010, 2011) and I have always enjoyed it.

The course circumnavigates the island of Kerrera in a clockwise direction. The initial stretch is south down the Sound of Kerrera and then the course has its most exposed section as it rounds the southern end of the island. It then makes its way up the west side of the island en route back to Oban harbour.

The weather this year was overcast but with no wind, in contrast to most years when there is normally wind from the south west making the bottom part of the course quite challenging (or fun depending on ability).

The keenest paddlers are now competing in surf skis, and out of a field of 47, 16 skis were competing, with 8 "performance" sea kayaks (Epic 18/Taran etc) and the rest were touring kayaks. I was paddling my Epic 18x, which has a similar hull to the more stable skis. Numbers in the race were a bot down this year which is a shame.

The start - photo credit Gilbert Speirs
The race was won by Mark Ressel who had come up from Devon in a time of 1:36:16, way ahead of the rest of the field. Mark is an ex UK ski and K1 champion, so it was not a surprising result. My own time was a more modest 2:06:15, but I did squeeze into the prize giving as 3rd old git in a racing kayak. I've not been training so much this year, so I found the last third of the race hard work.

It was great to see a lot of friends again and to meet some new ones. The event has a good social side, and a number of us paddled together the following day.

Post race social - photo credit Roswitha Wagenknecht
Thanks to Gus and the team for organising the event.

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