The Peter Creese Challenge 2012 was held on a sunny Sunday in a pumping South-easter. The race is an epic out-and-back adventure which takes paddlers from Fish Beach out around the Roman Rock Lighthouse and back. It has been hotly contested by macho surf-types since 1965!
It was a long, 61 minute grind into the teeth of the South-easter from Fish Hoek Beach out to the Roman Rock Lighthouse. There was plenty of confused water and it was just plain hard work paddling out, with a notable increase in wind strength out at Roman Rock. The tail end of the fleet was pretty spread out by this stage, and upon arriving at the lighthouse, I realised I didn’t really know how to go about rounding it! From photographic evidence of the lines the leaders took, it is clear I took a fairly conservative line, although as I came round upwind I realised there was a reef on the seaward side, and I quickly headed a bit wider, as is evident from the kink in my Garmin track.
The ride back home was hair-raising! Plenty big sets rolling through and lots of wind swell and chop meant I spent my time avoiding the big runs, and then chasing the smaller ones. The NSRI launch passed going back to the lighthouse to check on the tail-enders about 10 minutes into the return leg, and signalling me to see if I was OK. I gave them a thumbs up and they slowly cruised off. Not a minute later I came out the boat, and failed on my first 3 or so attempt to remount. I am pretty sure at this stage had the NSRI Crew spotted me battling and come around to assist, I would gladly have taken a ride back in! Check my heart-rate spiking in the Garmin track! Lying on the ski and kind-of paddling / levering myself around, I managed to get the ski facing upwind before finally managed to get back into the boat before turning back downwind.
I finished in a time of 01:31:11. It took me 61 minutes to get out to the lighthouse. I was 77 out of 80 boats,and 63 out of 66 single skis. Jasper Mocke won in a time of 00:51:00 (read his race report on jaspermocke.com).
I was well-pleased to be back on dry land to enjoy a few Hansas!
Check this epic video of the race: