Barry Lewin’s Mauritius Diary - Thursday
Can you believe it but I actually slept straight through my alarm this morning, which meant a bit of a mad rush through breakfast. Couldn’t resist a second round of pancakes (even if I’d missed the race for the pancakes it would have been worth it. The food here is phenomenal). Mixed a quick tripper bag of juice and got through check in. All on time, just.
Barry Lewin on the mean green machine
Pulling – but not too hard
Dawid pulled of the start, luckily not too hard. By the time we were in the pass Jezza (Jeremy Cotter) and Bruce Taylor had come up and took over the pull. The bunch must have lasted only 200m before each guy picked his own line. Jezza down the inside, Dawid down the middle and myself on the outside.
The iconic shape of Le Morne looming up behind the paddlers
The wind was nonexistent which made for ‘HOT’ conditions. There was still a run or two if you were willing to work for them.
Jezza was willing to pull the hardest and walked away with the win. Dawid looked super chilled and controlled in second and myself in third. I didn’t go full tilt, rather paddling within comfortable limits in the heat making sure to keep hydrated leaving enough for the weekend.
Jeremy Cotter - from the viewpoint of the rest of the field
Some of the paddlers decided to use the paddle as a training session rather than a race with Tom surfing waves at Le Morne and guiding back markers through the pass. Surprise of the day was Shaun Rice (the one from Aus) paddling his own ski finishing fifth.
The calm conditions meant that novice paddlers could take part in today’s event too. Keith Fenn took his son Josh in the back of a double – and was overheard, “Tone it down and save yourself for the finish…!” Clearly a competitive streak coming through.
What does it all mean?
Not much! The results really don’t show much of what is expected on the finishing list come Saturday.
Another day in the sea in different conditions with more competition will bring a world of hurt to those who want to get to the top of the podium at the Island Shamaal.
Even with the less than ideal conditions there was a great vibe at lunch under the trees at the finish of the race. The mixing of top paddlers and weekend warriors sharing stories of the amazing setting and how much better this was than sitting in an office (hey Rob?!).
The afternoon was spent exploring. Many of the Saffa’s and Aussie’s trekked up the coast to find some waves and all thought of racing was swapped for reef breaks and surfboards.
Brendan Rice was the ring leader (skipped today’s race altogether!) paddled into some great sets on an unnamed spot and Dean got very friendly with the reef.
The race organisers are trying their best to try find some wind for the race on Saturday. There were many courses discussed with Dean and Dawid and the outcome seems to be a 22km paddle on the west coast of the island. We know there won’t be all time downwind conditions as the forecasts are light but they are trying to get us into the best conditions they can find on the day. Quite refreshing to see a team effort and everyone on the same page.
Ruth Highman - favorite for the women's race on Saturday
Level playing field
What really cool is that is a new section that no one has paddled before really leveling things out. It’s going to be tough in the heat if it was anything like today. From my perspective the favorites for the race in light conditions are Matt Bouman(arriving Fri), Dawid and Jezza. There will be a big group fighting for top 5 in Lighty, Myself, Tom, Bruce, Ando and Dean.
There are a couple of wild cards I really don’t know very well that could surprise some people. Dean Beaument is deadly in the bumps with Will Bird, Justin Farrly are looking fit. Watch the junior from Fish Hoek, South Africa Dominic Notten for a top 10?
Wind looks really light for tomorrow so most will enjoy the relaxing environment of Tamassa Hotel or go check out the Island.
Race briefing for the race will take place at 6pm where the race course for Saturday will be announced!
Full Results - Sporty's Downwind Challenge
|12||01:18:03||Rossbotham, Leon||Hong Kong|
|19||01:22:13||Jean Sauzier and Warren Terry||Mauritius||Double|
|29||01:25:30||Fenn, Keith and son||SA||Double|
|29||01:25:30||Henry, Dominic and Estelle||Mauritius||Double|
|35||01:30:47||Le Clezio, Arnaud||Mauritius|
|37||01:33:28||Manzewski, Boris||Hong Kong|
|39||01:34:52||de Carmejane Vesc, Camille||Hong Kong||Lady|
|46||01:38:10||De Spiele, Jean Baptiste||Mauritius|
|49||01:42:23||Da Silva, Mark||Mauritius|
|50||01:42:53||Vallet, Jean Franscois||Mauritius|
|53||01:46:13||le Clezio, Matilde||Mauritius||Lady|
Alternate Route (inside the reef)
|7||01:46:31||de Froberville, Martine||Mauritus||Lady|