Molokai 2008 - pre-race
Saturday, 17 May 2008
The National Weather Service forecast for the Kaiwi Channel still says that there will be a 10kt breeze coming from the east - with some tiny waves... But it looks as though it's going to be a hot, long paddle (for the back markers at any rate).
I've asked a couple of the top paddlers for their top 5 list and the names mentioned include:
- - Dawid Mocke (SA)
- - Hank McGregor (SA)
- - Tim Jacobs (Aus)
- - Dave Kissane (SA)
- - Herman Chalupsky (SA)
- - Kurt Jarret (Aus)
Who do you think will be in the top 5? Post your predictions in the comments...
I have to admit - I'm feeling very tense about the race. I'm not sure how I'm going to react to the heat and humidity; is there going to be big surf on the beach at the start (apparently the NE swell was breaking 500m out yesterday ); will we be able to find all the paddlers to give them their GPS units; will they work? Lots to think about.
Joe Glickman reassured me yesterday. "There isn't a single paddler who isn't twitching at this point," he said.
We'll hopefully be fairly well covered for commentary - the unknown factor is the GPS units and how well they'll pick up the mobile network from Molokai.
I suspect that they may have a problem at the start - so if they don't appear on the display to begin with, please bear with us. They're a relatively unknown technology at this stage and this race is very much a "proof of concept". If they do work well, they'll change the way races are followed (obviously) and may help hugely with safety in the future.
SportsTrack (http://www.sportstrack.net/) sponsored the units for the race - thanks Robert & Robyn! They're looking for distributors and agents worldwide, so I guess they're also going to be watching the performance of the kit with a lot of interest!
When I looked out of my hotel room this morning, it was not a pretty sight. The sea was absolutely flat and overhung with haze... Thank goodness for GPSs...
No-one can believe that the weather gods have blatted us two years running.
We fly across to Molokai this afternoon - and there's a pasta dinner for all the competitors tonight. Hopefully we'll find our skis at the start (ours left on an escort boat early this morning; some of them went via container earlier in the week).
Race briefing is at 08h00 on Sunday morning - when I'll be giving Alain an update on the conditions.
We set off at 09h00 on the dot. The winner should finish in about 3:30 to 3:45, i.e. 12h30 Hawaii-time.
One thing in our favour is that this year we'll be arriving on an incoming tide which means that we shouldn't be bothered by a head-on current as in previous years.
So there we go - perhaps not quite the downwind conditions that I trained for... but we'll give it go.