Paddlers from The Armidale School twice broke a long standing record in the gruelling 111km overnight Hawkesbury Canoe Classic held on October 25-26. Paddling in an Elliott Vulcan kayak in the Junior Long Rec division, Year 11 boys David Williams and Harry Wright completed the race in 11 hours 13 minutes – knocking more than two and a half hours off the previous record of 13:53:24 set in 2005 (by TAS boys Simon Pain and Lachlan Shaw).
“It was still a little slower than we had hoped but we were happy we had a good race,” said David, who said completing three Myall Classic events was good preparation for the Hawkesbury.
“It was a bit tough after Wisemans Ferry when there was still 60km to go, but we got out and had a stretch just as the tide turned to be with us for the rest of the race, and we could paddle twelve – to fourteen kilometres an hour for the rest of the race.
“At a couple of places it was hard to find our way – but while it is easier to navigate in daylight, the paddling conditions are more comfortable at night, which is another incentive,” he said.
Not to be outdone, the youngest paddlers in the TAS contingent, Year 9 students Liam Donaldson and Sebastian Scott navigated their Nomad to also cross the line ahead of the old record, in 13 hours and three minutes, almost an hour faster than their expected race time.
“Perhaps the worst bit was the last few checkpoints and the callers kept saying we had about twenty kilometres to go,” said Sebastian said.
Of the TAS team, 22 of 24 boys and 17 of 18 boats entered, finished the event.
Technology helped landcrew track the progress of this year’s TAS paddlers, with GPS trackers fitted to seven boats included those expected to be first and last in.
The TAS team also included parents, Old Boys and girls from NEGS and PLC Armidale, together raising around $14,000 for the Arrow Bone Marrow Foundation – almost 10 per cent of the $145,000 pledged to the 416 paddlers who took part in the 38th annual event. TAS boys have paddled in every Classic except the first two.
Click on the image below to visit Tim Scott’s album of photos from this year’s Hawkesbury Canoe Classic.