Re: Around Bowen Race

16 years 3 days ago #497 by bckcrainbow
As one of the group who has been working over the winter with the Round Bowen Challenge race organizer to help take this event to the next level I can certainly appreciate the need to balance the racers' safety with the optimizing the challenge of the course. Over the years the decision as to which direction to send the racers was made on the day of the event, and was select based on the direction that will provide the least risk to the it from wind, waves and/or current. Over the years we have seen the diversity of watercraft used in the Round Bowen Challenge undergo quite a change...when the race first began 9 years ago there was likely no surfskis entered...competitors tackled the circumnavigation of Bowen Island in our trusty sea kayaks, hammering away to the best of our abilities to move these boats most suited for kayak touring, less so for pure speed. This year there are likely to be 30-50 surfskis in the race along with the always popular sea kayaks. Clearly there is now a broader range of competitor taking on the Round Bowen Challenge. So how does a race balance the desire for a course that is safe to the masses but also provides challenges that may be sought by the perhaps more experienced racers, whether in surfski or sea kayak? We elected to do this in 2 ways: 1) an 8 km short course race has been introduced to provide an option to those who may not be up for the full round Bowen distance or for those who may not be comfortable in their ability to handle the weather conditions that may present themselves on the day and 2) the race direction will be decided based on which direction will provide the greatest opportunity for downwind type conditions given the days weather and current conditions.
A 3rd race has also been introduced, a relay race for outrigger canoes (singles and doubles) where teams switch paddlers about half way round the island at Tunstall Bay.
We hope this new format will provide course options to better balance managing competitors risk with provide challenging and fun racing.

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