2020 Winter Series – Results
Round 1 – Sunday May 2nd “Tay Creggan”, Hawthorn
Today was an unexpectedly good day for paddling competitively on the Yarra, however the conditions on the water were troublesome as a result of recent heavy rainfall delivering awkward eddies on the turning marker-buoys plus flotsam coming down from upstream. Both challenges were to play a part in the day’s event!
Round 1 saw Fairfield Canoe Club take on the responsibility of hosting the event that commenced their defence of the 2019 Winter Series Championship. ‘Virtually’ all club members were in attendance. Unfortunately, for some unexplained reason, our Clubhouse was not only locked, but someone had also changed the locks. Thus, for the first time in years we had a large number of volunteer officials to oversee all elements of this competition day. On the downside, there was a resultant & significant reduction in the number of paddlers (& craft) available to compete on Sunday. In fact, only those who had a boat at home were available for the races. Andrew M and Brigit D made a valiant attempt to save the day by clambering over the locked side-gate to retrieve their polo-boats from the open boat racks below. Several heavy Canadians were also added to the boat trailer, although one hull was somewhat damaged when someone slipped at a critical moment when held aloft the fence.
The first event was the 5km TK1. The start was somewhat delayed as our Strathie novice paddlers were deemed ineligible by the scrutineer of the day as their craft were too short and did not comply as there were no rudders in sight. However a timely intervention (and the surreptitious transfer of a small package) by our club’s Board Director, Rowan, saw the five girls get to the starting line in their polo-boats. For some reason all competitors were instructed to keep “a safe distance”. This proved to be a challenge as the rudderless craft wreaked havoc with the field during the first one hundred metres, by which time all five girls were a goodly ‘safe distance’ behind the leaders. Thankfully, by the half-way mark they were beginning to control their craft and catching the leaders. Then all five performed a beautiful “Bradbury” at the turning marker-buoy when the combination of eddies, standing-wave and a large floating eucalypt upended the race leaders. The well behaved Strathie girls followed instructions, kept a ‘safe distance’ and did not offer assistance to the flailing, capsized novices. Somewhat bemused, they scored maximum points for this first event. Go Fairfield!
A couple of the old stager partners decided to come out of ‘competitive retirement’ and have a tilt at the home ground competition in the Veterans TK2 event. While they were 13 years on from their last campaign, held by the Mitta Mitta club on old man Murray, and had lost a bit of conditioning, they believed that they still retained their paddling prowess and, most of important of all, their tactical skills. They managed to track down the craft belonging to Liz and Rea that had served them so well in that inaugural race.
Getting back in the boat was like putting on an old shoe. The three of them were inseparable. Come the big day they discussed strategies and tactics and reflected on the invaluable experience they had gained all those years ago. Two things were decided; let’s remain inseparable and stay out of the drink, and let’s make sure we spot the turning buoy so that we are competing in the right race. After all you would not want to paddle a 10 km race when you had signed up for half the distance! They were sure they had a distinct advantage on the field following these principles. What could possibly go wrong? In the wash-up, so to speak, the dynamic duo somehow failed on both counts. Their story was that the Strathie girls tipped them out of their boat as they were coming up to the all-important buoy; this disoriented them and sent them further down the river. They were also sure that someone showed them the wrong map at the start, perhaps someone from another club, and they were looking for the wrong landmarks. Being a tad deaf probably didn’t help either, given that the yelling by the turning buoy stewards on the bank didn’t attract their now focussed attention. Whatever the reason, it was quite inexplicable and definitely was not their fault.
Having completed the wrong race, in which they came last, they did stop at the finish line, although Tony Payne states that they were last seen paddling in the shipping lane heading out of the Yarra still looking for that turning buoy! (Ed: “Where does the truth lie?”)
The 10km race for K1’s was initially won, gloriously, by Mick Kane but later he was disqualified, having been spotted by an official downstream getting assistance from another paddler – you guessed it, Sam the Tiger Snake.
The canoe team event was won by a young FCC team who managed to drag an old FCC team backwards (at a safe distance) all the way to the finish line. FCC, first and second. You can put that down to the experience gained at last year’s Christmas Party events!
Of course we won the day, as all other clubs were not advised the race was on. Our officials did a marvellous job as well, although Mick is still grumbling about the team-mate who reported his unsporting assistance.
Keep up the excellent work by committing to support the next event on the calendar; Race 2. Sunday, May 31, Nagambie Singles.