Hamilton Island…the story Part 1

Lori Velesik FCRCC

Day One, Friday June 13th

The morning started off with OC1 500 M Sprints.
Sheila, Zoe, and Patti raced in Open and all placed well in their
heats which were highly competitive…”And here comes Lawson from
Canada….really pouring it on now !!!! (the anouncer was having
fun with us Canucks!!!!)

In the Masters, all 5 ladies from our team did very well with 4
making the final. Kathleen Kranenburg finished 10th.
So on the line, 4 out of 8 lanes were occupied by Scatterchicks in
the final…not bad for not training sprints!!!
In the end it was our “Seattle Housewife”, Tracy Landboe, who does
not paddle OC1 and has never sprinted anything in her life who took
the bronze medal!!!! Unbelievable.
Cheryl 5th, Lori V. 6th and Lori Jorgenson 7th.

All in all the sprints were a blast and we all did if for
fun…everyone was glad they did it.

Very shortly after our Maters final, Cheryl and Lori V. were on the
start line for the 8km OC1 race.
140 boats were registered for this event….staggering. Luckily,
they started the men first because the first corner of the race was
pretty rocky with huge current and rough water…. could have
resulted in a huge pile up of wrecked boats.

The race itself was pretty flat but very technical with big tides
and tons of current…like you are on a river. All your marathon
canoe skills start coming into play big time as you are in shallows,
back eddies, shooting out of ‘boiling water”, plotting your courses
to consider the currents and drift…trying at the same time to surf
anything that moved your way.

It was a tight race the whole way…I got a taste of “Aussie Rules”
paddling as I was deliberately driven into a big turning buoy at the
half way mark…no inside line right of way/overlap rules
here!!!!…take ’em out is the name of the game it seems.
Both Cheryl and I got the priviledge of paying her back by beating
her so it was okay!!!!
The last stretch proved critical fighting incoming flood tide and
wind. Both Cheryl and I hugged the rocks…like 2-3 feet
hugging…and ended up scooting past all the women we had fought the
whole way including some chicks from Kai O’pua and Mooloolaba by
working the back eddies and surfing the bumps that came off the
rocks..very exciting and technical.

In the end,me and Cheryl placed 2nd and 3rd in Masters and 3rd and
4th for women over all. We were both thrilled!
(times 51:22 and 51:56 respectively). We were both pretty stoked.

Zoe was the lone Scatterchick in the 16km OC1 race and she had a
blast with rougher conditions by doing the OC6 course in the reverse
direction. Zoe placed 2nd in Open!!! with a time of

Day 2, Saturday June 14th :

Okay…picture 85 womens boats on a start line…WOW. Because there
were so many boats, they started the Open women first and then the
Masters started about 3 minutes later.
We had decided to do this race as Open and Masters
Sheila, Zoe, Linda, Patti, Gena and Sue were the Open Team.
Lori V, Tracy , Lori J., Kathleen, Justine and Cheryl were the
Masters Team.

This recollection is from the “Masters Crew
perspective”because…that is where I was…., it was a fantastic
race with every condition out there to challenge you. It was not as
big as we had expected which was a bit disappointing but it was
still way bigger than home.

Starting 3 minutes behind the Opens was fantastic because we were
reeling in boats one after another the whole way…you knew you were
doing well when the teams became tougher and tought to pass. We has
a few costly boat collisions that locked us up for a while and ran
over a healthy sized rock with our hull unfortunately.
At the last turn, 10 minutes out we could hardly believe we were
passing Kai O’Pua’s Open Crew!!! We surfed passed them!!!
We had one more battle with a crew which we won and crossed the
finish line with about 5 boats ahead of us.
We had no idea who was who or what category they were out there.
We did not learn until the medal presentation that night that we had
not only won Masters but because of the 3 minute time gap inbetween
Open and Masters, we were actually the 2nd fastest crew out of 85
boats, behind Moloolooba Open Crew (who are so on fire and are going
to win Molokia this year easily!!!)
To top it all off with icing….we broke the course record for
Masters !!!!!!

Our Open Crew has a strong finish placing 11th in the Open category
out of 53 canoe!!!!. They had many good battles out there in a
really competitive field paddling our friend “Woody”….an older
training boat on loan to us from Outrigger Australia…the
It was a tough, hard, demanding race for both crews and everyone was
feeling it…it was awesome!

That is it for day #1 and day #2….
Day 3 and 4 to follow shortly I hope.

Lori Velisek

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