Blackburn Challange : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

Nordvind crew, two man double, is planning to enter the Blackburn Challange race. Any help on course , tactics and logistics would be appreciated. We row a 18 ft. jersey skiff . Seaworthyness is not a concern, but coping with a 4-5 hour row is. How much liquid is necessary, and what nutritional supplements are needed? We've done shorter races up to 9 n/m but nothing longer. What is the average time for our type of boat?

-- Jeffrey Roderick (Norndivd @ Yahoo.Com), January 20, 2001


Jeffrey, I have a Jersey surfboat as well and have recently completed some long distance rowing events. Diet is a key factor. I spoke with several nutritionists and they all recommended that I cut gator aid with 50% water. Tastes like hell, but seems to work. I lined the bottles up in PVC tubing (Home Depot) running the length of the boat ,low on the deck with easy access to my bow seat. I tied them together with fishing line as to pull them forward as used. This system keeps the weight low and centerd as well as evenly distributed. As far as food, you won't (and shouldn't) eat during your race. Carb heavily for the 24 hours prior to rowing. If you really need to eat while in the boat, fruit salad is the way to go. Natural sugar and hydration with minimal fill. Don't forget the potasium (bananas) to fight off cramping. Good music is a good idea as well for rythum and motivation. Good luc

-- Cork (, January 21, 2001.

Having pulled a 350 pound sled of a Whitehall as double a few times and always finishing at the end of the pack my small bit of advice is even with callouses bring a pair of weighlifting gloves. They can feel mighty nice when you first site Eastern Point. Take five minute breaks every thirty minutes with the other oarsman still pulling. The time to stretch, adjust clothing, and hydrate seems to work well. This was told to me by one of the best oar on gunwhale rowers and someone who had won the Blackburn in a dory. Plan on a quart of something like Gatorade cut with water each hour or as needed. When training build up to the event and have fun. The course is unrivaled in beauty, enjoy it.

-- Barry Donahue (, February 08, 2001.

Jeffery, This is a challenging race but do-able and very satisfying. I have gone around some 12 times and I still look forward to it. Tactics: pace yourselves and don't get caught up in a sprint with someone passing you. Stay out of the current in the river as it can be considerable. Cut all the points as close as you dare; this is a circular race so the tighter you keep things the less distance travelled. Pay strict attention to tracking, straight lines and proper headings. When dealing with the long distances it is very easy to wander too far in or out, especially when geting tired. The pull through the harbor, from the breakwater to the beach, is a killer. Lots of wake slop and seemingly always an adverse wind. Pay attention here, I was almost run down by a whale watching boat. Training: You gotta do some long rows in training. Fuel: I agree with previous advice, Gatorade cut about 50% with water. Also, a few bananas are my choice, I find that I get hungry toward the end if it is not real hot. Good luck, see you on the water.


-- Jon Aborn (, March 29, 2001.

Thanks to all for the help and advise. We definatly wil be out thereto give it our best shot. Also wanted to correct the E mail address so that fellow Vikings and others can contact me. Nordvind is undergoing modifications, We're Here is ready for the Blackburn.

-- Jeffrey Roderick (, April 08, 2001.

Update on Blackburn Challenge: Great conditions on race day. We rowed non-stop one person taking on liquid while the other rowed. We finished in 3:48:29 Thanks to all who offered help and advice. Jeff

-- Jeffrey Roderick (, July 27, 2001.

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