Subtle tweaks and alterations to the 2014 Dusi Canoe Marathon route have organisers upbeat that the overall experience for both paddlers and spectators alike will be even further heightened and add to the already hugely popular recipe of the iconic three-day event from camps drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban.
A small shift in the positioning of the finish line on Inanda Dam at the end of Friday 14 February’s second stage has organisers confident that paddlers will now have a better exit from the water of Inanda Dam whilst giving spectators an improved line of sight should a sprint finish arise.
ÔÇ£We have moved the finish line of day two ever so slightly to enable the paddlers to get out on a permanent slipway just a little further along the water’s edge than where the finish has been for the few years,ÔÇØ explained Natal Canoe Club’s General Manager, Brett Austen Smith.
ÔÇ£The change will also give those watching the finish, especially of the leaders, a better view, particularly if there a close sprint finish like there have been a couple of times recently.ÔÇØ
The second of the two changes sees the finish of the third and final stage at Blue Lagoon moved marginally upstream from its current venue.
These subtle tweaks follow on from the confirmation of the permanent implementation of the change in the starting order introduced in 2013 which received resounding support from both frontrunners and ‘fish and chips’ paddlers alike.
ÔÇ£The change in the start procedure we tried earlier this year proved massively popular and we are very excited to see this progress even further next year,ÔÇØ said Austen Smith.
ÔÇ£The new start procedure is guaranteed for 2014 and we are certain this will see even more than the three to five thousand spectators that lined the banks in 2013, do so next year.ÔÇØ
The confirmed new start procedure sees B batch start the third day from Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon at 05h45, followed by the regular departure of the rest of the lower batches before a two and a half hour break of no action takes place.
ÔÇ£The break between the start of the last batch and the leaders gives the slower paddlers the chance to get far enough down the river without the worry of the leaders catching them.
ÔÇ£The first paddler will then depart Inanda Dam at 10h45 and will be followed by the rest of the elapsed time paddlers and then all A batch paddlers.ÔÇØ
Through the assistance of Umgeni Water, the 2013 introduction of the new procedure went off smoothly with only small adjustments required in future.
ÔÇ£The only issue we had in 2013 was trying to maintain a consistent water level from the start of the day to the end. This is something we will revise for 2014,ÔÇØ said Austen Smith. ÔÇ£Next year we will not look to keep the water level the same throughout the day but instead just keep it steady during the time the front runners will be on the water.
ÔÇ£We will also ensure that all major age category contenders will be included in A batch, if they aren’t already in elapsed time, to ensure everyone has a fair shot at their category’s awards by competing on as similar water level as possible,ÔÇØ he added.