Non stop Dusi cutoff point sorts out the stragglers

2013-03-07 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG — Organisers of tomorrow’s The Unlimited Non-stop Dusi Canoe Marathon have added a second cut-off designed to eliminate paddlers who are clearly not going to make the infamous final cutoff at the Inanda Dam wall.

The estimated 150 boats will have to make a new cutoff point at the 31 km mark at Finger Neck by 9.30 am, four hours after the start at Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg.

Race committee chairperson Kevin Goddard said the cutoff was fair and designed to identify boats that stood no realistic chance of making the day’s second cutoff at the dam wall at 2.30 pm.

“This is a tough race, and it doesn’t pretend to be anything else,” said Goddard. “The cutoffs are there to ensure the safety and wellbeing of every paddler in the field, and they are strictly enforced.”

Goddard said the race is targeted at the calibre of paddler capable of finishing in the top 150 of The Unlimited Dusi, but there was no rule that prevented a qualified, competent paddler from trying to finish the non-stop version of the race.

“The new Finger Neck cutoff is a new sorting tool aimed at the strugglers,” said Goddard.

“It is actually a pretty comfortable cutoff to get there within four hours, so it will sort out the crews that perhaps should not have started. We really don’t want to leave them out there to battle if they have no chance of making the dam wall cutoff time.”

Goddard stressed that over the years the race committee had developed a good sense of where and when to apply cutoffs to take crews off the water for their own safety. He added that the cutoffs contributed to the tough status of the event.

“This really is a race that not everyone finishes. If paddlers have done their homework then it is doable. But it remains a tough task, and anyone who finishes it will feel a real sense of accomplishment.”

He added that around 90% of the field had made the 2.30 pm cutoff at the Inanda Dam wall last year, which reiterated their view that the cutoff time had been fair, and allowed the marshals to enforce the cutoffs strictly in the knowledge that it was in the paddlers best interests.

The 110 km route from Camps Drift to Durban offers crews a great deal of flexibility and latitude in taking short-cuts and portages.

However, they do have to pass through compulsory checkpoints at Finger Neck, Mfula Store and the Inanda Dam wall.

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