PaulW

Australian Mega Marathon Event?

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The Everglades Challenge starts in March - a 300 nautical mile (555Km) unsupported, non-stop race down the West coast of Florida for small boats, kayaks etc.

 

The record is held by a Tornado and it was won last year in one day and 11 hours by multihull guru, Randy Smyth, in his self-designed tri, Sizzor.

 

There have been a number of poeple who have sailed from Carins to Townsville in small cats and tris, but if there was to be an annual small boat mega-marathon event in Australia, where and when would it held?

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Perhaps I should also add - what boat would you do it in?

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Tin Can Bay to Hervey Bay, same as the annual Trailable yacht event, or, stretch the finish further north to ?

Open to all "Off the beach" boats. 

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Like the idea but where is a big question.  The bay to bay is a marathon but can be completed easily in a day.  Mackay to Townsville would be good.  Problem is support.  Lot of open areas with no way to get support to.  townsville to port douglas?Could try around Port philip bay with a mark off each sailing club.  I'm guessing but it should be close to 170 km.  Have to include nacra 5.8's (only cause i got one)

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The idea is for an endurance and adventure event - not going repeatedly around the cans - that's a different kind of challenge (like the Heaven Can Wait 24hr event - although that's for bigger boats).

 

The Everglades Challenge is an unsupported, expedition style adventure race for kayaks, canoes, and small boats. The distance is roughly 300 nautical miles depending on your course selection. There is a time limit of 8 days or less. Your safety and well being are completely up to you.

 

The Everglades Challenge (EC) course is over 555km and also has large areas (of swampland) which would be difficult to get support to. And similar hazards: sharks, snakes, alligators, mosquitoes (although no stingers). 

 

The stated criteria for the EC are that it should only be undertaken by expert and experienced sailors and kayakers - however they've had a few easy years and so this year, when the fleet was crossing a major shipping channel a few hours after the start with the 15-20 knot wind against the tide, 10-12 boats capsized or were swamped and had to be rescued - and the coastguard cancelled the event (possibly without authority to do so but...)

 

The EC has been run as a "stealth event" without getting official permits but as it's got bigger it's probably going to have to become more official. The question is, could you run such an event with the public liability insurance issues we have in Australia? If not here, could you run it in New Zealand instead which essentially you're liable for your own actions.

 

My boat insurance also states that I am only covered for races up to 100 miles - so you couldn't call it a race - so call it a "rally" instead.

 

I think you'd want to go North to South with the prevailing winds and currents just to make it less arduous.

Port Douglas - Townsville - 368 km (200 nautical miles)

Townsville - Mackay is 359 km (193 nautical miles)

Cairns - Mackay is around 656 km (354 nautical miles)

 

You could do it in two parts (like the Everglades challenge which incorporates the 90 mile Ultimate Marathon that finishes at the first checkpoint for the EC - aimed at those who haven't got time/experience/energy to do the EC).

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if you want a tighter race you could do Gold coast to Bundaberg inside course.  Gives you narrow from gold coast to morten Bay.  Then a bit of ocean sailing from Caloundra to inskip point.  Then Narrow again behind Fraser island finishing with semi open waters to Bundaberg.  Biggest problem would be the bar at Inskip point.

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Actually that Gold Coast to Bundabergroute looks more interesting, challenging and safer than a blast up the coast - as it would also give a navigational challenge going up the inside route. And it would also even it out between the kayaks and sailboats.

 

In the EC they put the checkpoints at the inside locations but near an opening to the ocean so you have a choice whether to go inside or outside.

 

It's around 426 km or 230nm and you could divide it into sections for those that can't do the whole thing. Make each section a separate race of max 100nm and then call it a championship!

 

For example:

Gold Coast - Bongaree

Bongaree - Mooloolaba

Mooloolaba - Noosa

Noosa - Coolooloi

Coolooloi - Hervey Bay

Hervey Bay - Bundaberg

 

Inskip point bar doesn't look *too* bad (see chart) - as long as there's not a Southerly blowing - there's an interesting report showing monthly swell and wind averages here - December and March look to be the worst months.

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Being a participant of the Bay to Bay over the last 20 years, I would suggest this has the best potential for me. It is the safest route as it is inside and not so much outside sailing, however the straights are exretemely shallow in places and the tides and current can be well challenging at best. Good concept. Might suggest course for Marley Point Overnight Race or for a try out, the Jervis Bay Challenge in November, at least there would be 40+ rescue boats out there if the weather went pear shaped.

 

 

Paul

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Pauls' suggested, Gold Coast to Bundaberg, is probably the best course for OTB (Off The Beach) boats in Australia, only stop i'm not familiar with is Coolooloi (Assume it's inside Fraser Island ?)

Not sure if 6 days is enough for safety. There was (Not sure if still is) a channel entrance at Inskip Point approaching from the south and staying within 50m of the beach.

The locals would know if it is still viable. I would not like to try Wide Bay bar in OTB boats.

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Coolooloi is inside Fraser island (a camping ground just after passing Inskip point).

 

I thought there might be an inside route at Inskip after looking at the Google Earth pics and local Boating chart.

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Pauls' suggested, Gold Coast to Bundaberg, is probably the best course for OTB (Off The Beach) boats in Australia, only stop i'm not familiar with is Coolooloi (Assume it's inside Fraser Island ?)

Not sure if 6 days is enough for safety. There was (Not sure if still is) a channel entrance at Inskip Point approaching from the south and staying within 50m of the beach.

The locals would know if it is still viable. I would not like to try Wide Bay bar in OTB boats.

I've come in from the south a couple of times on a Seawind 24 through what is known as "Fishermans gutter". It's a bit wider from the beach than 50 metres though and you have to pick your tide and weather. Better than half tide and not in a belting nor'easter. Probably best to get advice from Tin Can Bay Coastguard. Agree Wide Bay bar is no place for OTB boats in most weather.

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Ah. I love an adventure. I was looking at a NSW event for OTB cats...

 

Wollongong to Newcastle. Sailing the most populated coast of Australia.

 

1. Wollongong to Kurnell, 2. Kurnell via the Harbour to Manly. 3. Manly to Pittwater, 4. Pittwater to Central Coast, 5.Central Coast to Newcastle. These legs would utilise club facilities at each finishing point.  

 

I would limit the course seaward to a boundary at 2nm. This would be policed by support craft running the boundary. The 2nm boundary would keep the boats within land visibility and minimise safety requirements for each boat to carry flares, V sheets, radios etc and not void most OTB insurances. Each boat would carry a GPS capable mobile phone as per the Fiji race. 

 

When? The SE is a more temperate sea breeze maxing out around the 15-18kn mark and fairly constant during Feb-March-April. This would allow Spinnaker runs up the coast. 

 

Now, the important stuff. 

 

Friday out of Wollongong to Kurnell CC bar, Saturday beers at Manly either the Manly Hotel or the Beer house on the Wharf, Sunday arvo session at the Antler/Newport Arms (Pittwater), Monday The Entrance Hotel (Central Coast), Tuesday The Honeysuckle Hotel Finishing Line(Newcastle)!

 

Takers? 

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Interesting ideas Slammer - though I'm not sure how NSW Maritime would cope with a race going across their shipping lanes into Port Boatny, Sydney Harbour and Newcastle in small boats.

Mobile phones are OK for many things - but battery life is pretty limited if you start using it for GPS racing apps (iRegatta) tracking (RaceQs) navigation/charts apps (like Navionics) and weather apps too.

I think a waterproof handheld VHS radio should be a requirement - and you can rent them for the event - e.g http://www.epirbhire.com.au/

Oh, and please can you include OTB Tris as well :-)

p.s. There's a similar discussion on the Sailing Anarchy forums

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Wollongong to Eden Marathon would be similar distance.

NE Summer breeze all the way down.

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Nice idea and some great sailing areas - plus sheltered refuges if you needed to get out of the wind.

 

However, there's no sheltered inside route for Kayaks which evens up the race in the EC - if it was OTB sailboats only then it would be great.

 

Wollongong to Eden Marathon would be similar distance.

NE Summer breeze all the way down.

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As the new owner of a shiny (near) new Nacra F20C, I put my hand up for Sydney Harbour to Pittwater or Sydney Harbour to Botany Bay race.

 

Home for the new girl will be Sydney Harbour. Looking forward to giving the 18 footers some stick come summer.

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And who needs one design racing when you have one of these under your bum?

 

Nacra F20

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