Monday, February 28, 2011

Hot Racing on the Swan River

Men's OC6 Team L-R Mark Hardie, Michael Gionotti, Mac Nichols, Dario Mestrovic, Colin Bartley, Todd Adamson

The weather was hot and so were the paddlers of the Mandurah Outrigger Canoe Club (MOCCAS) at the Swan River Run Regatta on the weekend hosted by the Cottesloe club. The MOCCAS scorched in every event on a sweltering, humid and very flat Swan River.

The Mandurah girls got things warmed up in the women’s OC1 (one person outrigger canoe) race with Linda and Mel taking out 1st and 2nd respectfully. In the Men’s OC1 race new MOCCA member Todd sizzled in his first OC1 race and almost caused an upset by jumping on a cheeky boat wash and surfing out to a good lead before Mac pulled him back after the half way mark. Apparently Todd was getting too hot so he went for a swim. The MOCCAS filled out 4 of the first 5 places with Mac and Todd finishing 1st and 2nd while Dario and Colin took 4th and 5th.

In the OC6 (six person outrigger canoe) 10km marathon the women were fired up first and after leading for most of the race our Mandurah girls made a slight tactical error that opened the door and let the Wavemasters team from Bunbury snatch the lead and the race buy only 10 seconds. It was a hot race to watch and the girls did us proud and we know they’ll be fired up for sure to take the trophy at the next race.

Next up was the men’s OC6 10km marathon where the MOCCA men’s crew were as hot as the day was. They sizzled off the line and got out to a good lead early, then settled into their groove, the boys were on fire and slowly turned up the heat and increased their lead over the rest of the course. The guys found their groove and were simmering along, it was such a hot day there was danger the boys would melt so there was plenty of splashing to cool the crew down on the airless home leg. One last obstacle confronted the crew as they approached the finish line, a wall of spinnakers! They had to thread their way through the start fleet of a yacht race to get to the finish line, the same thing happened to our 2nd crew in there race but everyone made it through unscathed. The smoking men’s crew finished a scorching 4 mins in front of 2nd place! 

The thing I love most about this club is it’s strong club and team spirit, and a special congratulations goes to our 2nd men’s crew and the girls who jumped in to make up the numbers so everyone got to race, that’s the MOCCA spirit!

It was now time for some fun! The Cott club had scheduled an OC12 race where 2 OC6 canoes are strapped together like a big catamaran. It’s a lot of fun having all those paddlers paddling together in close proximity. Everyone cruised out to the start line for a 1.5km dash back to the finish line getting used to the rig and pumping each other up. The MOCCAS were in good spirits as they sat on the start line simmering and ready to be unleased, the flag went up and they literally jumped off the line, got out to a good lead and blazed away to another win.  

The red-hot MOCCAS took out the points for the regatta and are now leading the overall points score for club championship.

Cottesloe Regatta Points

1. Mandurah 36
2. Wavemasters 28
3. Cottesloe 26
4. Fremantle  20
5. Geographe 12

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Wave Masters Race Report

Back Row: Dario, Dee, Mel, Ev, Col, Mark and Helen.
Front Row: Linds, Gio and Jane.
Awesome stuff MOCCAS!!!!

What a race, what a come back, what a bunch of dead set legends!

Here is a brief race run through.

The wind gods were still doing crazy things so the course was changed to 4 laps around Koombana Bay on a 6km course with all the changes happening on the beach in front of The Dome. We got a good start and after the first lap had a lead of about 50m over West Coast. We had started with our strongest and most experienced crew and for our second lap we blooded our newbies who did an awesome job because West Coast on the other hand threw in one of their strongest crew combinations and soon ran us down and passed us. WC got out to a lead of about 500m at one stage, though after a few beers at the presentations I'm sure I heard they had a 3km lead!

The second change saw some very fired up paddlers get back into the canoe and the chase was on. We slowly closed the gap over WC and the closer we got the more the crew got fired up. I'm sure Mark was foaming at the mouth at one stage, chanting, "we're going to eat them" and "Aaaaarrh... let's hurt them". We caught them half way through the lap and powered away.

Coming into the last change I decided that we needed to go with a strong combo for our last lap knowing that WC would be throwing their strongest crew at us for the last lap. I asked the question of the crew if they could go for another lap, stupid question, they were pumped, a deafening, growling YEEES! We came into the beach for a one person change swapping out EV who had just done 2 full laps, an awesome job! We picked up Dario and dropped him into our awesome heavy weight engine room combo of him and Gio (90kg between them), and off we went again!

WC came no where near us and in fact we extended our lead even further to win by a good 500m.

It was an awesome race and I've never been in a canoe race and come from so far behind to win by so much! A new highlight of my paddling career!

Some of my stand out moments from the race were:
The awesome job of out newbies.
Fantastic changes
Ev counting in tongues
Mark enjoying his change so much he did his twice!
The never say die attitude of all the MOOCAS

In the crew were: Mel, Linda, Helen, Dee, Jane, Ev, Dario, Mark, Gio and Colin.