Today I steered our chicks crew in an OC6 short course race in Cronulla. I have only steered 2 races before and it was over a year ago so a bit out of practice. Although, I have been steering a bit at training and had a great ocean session a couple of weeks ago which gave me a bit of confidence.
Today it was an outgoing tide; a 8kt SSE wind; and a S swell. Our course was 8kms long and had a variety of angles both with and against all conditions... a great day for a race!
We rigged canoes, went to the race briefing, did a warm up, showed the crew where we were going on the race course and got in the canoe. It all happened quite quickly, although that all took 2 hours.
We got into a good spot at the start line and had a great start, avoided a collision and were on our way. We had a mixed crew on one side of us and another womens crew on the other. During that time I found it challenging getting the line that I wanted, the wind was pulling the canoe over to the right quite strongly so I found myself for a good 15-odd minutes only on the left poking and paddling, my shoulder started to feel it.
Then just before we went around the buoy that was off kind of near Jibbon Point, I took my top hand off the top of my paddle and then smashed the top of my nose with the paddle - Owww! It Hurt! I knew it would bleed so I kept washing it with salt water until it stopped (trying not to attract any sharks with my blood in the water!) pretty much for the rest of the race at different times!
And then after the next turn, one of the crews that had been on us the whole time (the steerer kept cutting me off a bit and getting on my line, which had been starting to annoy me), slightly in front, started to push us down a bit too close to the rocks around the headland, I shouted at the steerer to move left a couple of times and then the support boat also told us all to move left, but she didn't, she kept pushing us right - I wanted to jump out of the boat and slap her - anyway a big wave came and pushed her away but we were in a tricky situation so we had to back paddle quickly and then move away from her (which the girls were great at). Then at the next turn she cut us off again... well... it was then the last stretch home and I was on a mission... and the girls in the boat with me were too... let's beat this crew! We all dug deep and pushed all the way to the finish line, I think I screamed a lot and we were all stuffed at the end but... very satisfyingly, we beat them, by about half a boat length! Yay!
Well done to the awesome chicks crew: Drena; Kelly; Lisa; Kirsi; and Alison.