Watertribe NCC100 Ultra Marathon

This Expedition Style Race runs 90-100 miles (depending on course choices) counter clockwise around Cedar Island North Carolina near Cape Lookout.  An expedition race means that the racer carries all supplies (w/drinking water figure 50lbs.) to last him/her throughout the journey with no land crew or chase boats.  Now, keep in mind that if a racer happens upon a waterside establishment with dockside service of burgers and ice cream sundaes, well that’s darn fine self supporting.

SeaDawg’s Satellite GPS transponder can be viewed at (link will open a new window)

SeaDawg SPOT

Another view is filterable for all the classes of racers, or individuals.

  1. EVENT – Select NCC2014
  2. CLASS – Select Class 1 (if you wish)
  3. CHALLENGER – Select SeaDawg (or all)
  4. DISPLAY – Select Only show Current Waypoints
  5. Click REGENERATE

Watertribe Tracker

WaterTribe_NCC100

SeaDawg’s NCC100 Adventures

This past May I had tried my hand at ultra long distance paddling in the way of the Okoumefest Ultra-Marathon and done better than ok. Some valuable lessons were learned mostly in the way of how SeaDawg (Marshall) operates. Taking this and making it a two day event and 60% longer would prove to be quite the challenge indeed.

Not much change in the Kit as it had basically performed admirably by in large for the pervious stint.

I had planned on more frequent feedings (fueling) so as not to have as much fatigue on day two. That didn’t go quite according to plan.

The weather conditions were as predicted, unfortunately. Solid 15mph winds out of the N-NE making for constant 2′-4′ waves. This was certainly less than earlier than that was experienced by the participants in the 300 mile Blackbeard Challenge, so I’m not complaining about the pint sized conditions by comparison.

 

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Loading up my kayak on the beach with the regulation kit makes a lightweight carbon fiber kayak weigh as much as if were constructed from boiler plate. Ok, maybe an exaggeration as I know I’m a bit of a gear junkie and do like to be prepared but looking around at some of the paddlers that were in UltraMarathon mode made me wonder if I packed too much, I wasn’t taking advantage of water refills at Check Points or if others were cutting the in-case-of-surprises gear too thin. I’ll need to lay all my kit out and carefully consider what’s wise to bring and what’s over prepping. In one of the pictures you’ll also see some equine spectators checking out the scene. The wild horses are just way cool to see.

 Aerial Drone Footage of the Start

As you’ll see from the pics and the Drone Cam, starts on a multi day affair are not a hurried thing. In fact you’ll see a few Kayaker’s returning to the start as they reconsidered their choice in competing in these conditions.

 The Start

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Once turning left past the Ferry landing jetty the full effects of the constant wind over the Pamlico Sound could be felt in the way of constant 2′-4′ swells with occasional breaking caps. The Cetus MV felt comfortable enough in this with the exception of getting washed by a break across the chest. Go paddle jacket!

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Paddling away from the launch the windsurfers were already out of sight and a SawHorse and a few sail craft were picking up speed passing by and heading for the horizon. “I wonder where they’re going? Ran through my head not taking into consideration the width of West Bay.

 

In the easily viewable half mile around me I noticed FeralCat and DeadCat ahead and inshore from me followed a bit back by LensCap. Astern and to starboard we’re another pair of Kayaker’s but out a bit further. Once past the entrance to West Bay I noticed a log rolling in the surf near the sand bar and realized that was no log but a capsized kayak. FeralCat apparently needed to cool off and by the time I surfed over to him he was pumping out his cockpit from the water. I stabilized his kayak but after a second In and my picking up the floatsam of his second rinse he said that his course would be the cut through West Bay, while he was standing 2’ in the water over the sand bar emptying out.

 

Something I still need to get used to is the curvature of the earth. Huh? Paddling on the Hudson River there’s 135 miles of tidal waterway but you never loose things below the horizon. Now I put it together where Sawhorse and the sailors were tearing off to. West Bay is wider than you think and one side isn’t visible from the other from the 2’ tall vantage point of a kayak.

 

The P&H 1m Sail works well on a just aft beam wind. Using it halfway through West Bay I caught up with LensCap and quickly moved on realizing the wind had pushed me further into the bay so rounding the North end of Cedar Island was a paddle directly into the wind.   Seemed to take forever to get around that grassy point.

 

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A short break at Garbacon (it’s got bacon in it – its got to be good, right?) creek allowed me the first break to have a bit to eat since scarfing down Jimmy Dean sandwiches in the morning. Some palmettos made for a nice wind break. Once back on I quickly came upon DeadCat at a beach bailing out her kayak after an extended rinse. I relayed FeralCats plan as best as I could shout over the wind, and was off.

 

I would like to rename the Nuese the Nuese-ance. Now mind you I’m good at surfing and I like sailing but the two together takes a surprising amount of energy although it makes for darned good speed. With just using my paddle as a rudder 12 minute miles is what the sail was giving me. Paddling made it easy 9.5-10 minute miles and occasional long surfs made for 7.5 minute miles. Pees-in-Bilge later told me he hit 11mph (5.5 min. mile) although that’s screamingly high for a kayak. Might’ve been gps artifact but hey, he was ahead, but for awhile, not by much. If it wasn’t for the entry to the intercoastal waterway at Adams Creek I could have stayed with him but the 100’ uber yacht bearing down on me from the Nuese made me think of Chief’s advice on power boats and I turned to pass him astern parallel to his course. Once through the mega yacht’s 5’ wake Pees’ sail was now a much smaller blue dot. Good to follow to the Clubfoot Creek though.

 

After the raucous first 30 miles Clubfoot Creek & Harlow Canal were delightfully relaxing. Still a little breeze to use the sail on the placid waters and once in the Canal the tidal push was going my way. Near the bridges and outlet I had some company in the way of Sharpie and HillKiller in their sail boat now in row mode and then on the marshes on the Beaufort side Grumpy Cat & Tweety Bird on their Hobie Cat.

 

Once out of the creek I made a beeline under sail and paddle for Beafort but Grumpy Cat/Tweety Bird went tearing along the northern shore and then a fast downwind on the East side of the Newport. Not sure why they chose that course as I was still able to be there well ahead of them.

 

Coming in and along Beaufort, Carrot Island Park is on starboard with it’s wild horses. Just way cool novel to see horses amongst the wildlife.

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After a short break to eat, break out the nighttime running lights and chit-chat with The River Connection Cheering Squad, Pees, Chief and the Drone Crew at CP1 it was time to move on into the darkening evening over to Harker’s Island which would be the last stop of Day 1. Rather than break out the camp kit and truly rough it I decided to make the best use of the environment’s surroundings in true sense of expeditionary style. AKA – nothing in the rules about not booking a room at Harker’s Island Fishing Center. After a full day of minimal fuel that hot shower felt delicious!

 

Day 2

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4am alarm clock and 5:21am shove off into the dark. Orion and Sirius Constellations blazing overhead and the wash of the Point Lookout Light sweeping across the waters made for a lovely start to the day. A couple mile quiet paddle to Shell Point would be the last quiet of the day as turning north into wind and what I later realized an outer banks condition, a wind blown current would be a 12 mile slog to Davis Ferry. I did have some company with me for about 10 minutes as a flock of pelicans decided to glide along 10’ over my head and just above water to either side of me. I guess they were just puzzling over what I was and if I had any sardines for them. They moved off forward to point out their roost which was the end of a pound net. Thank you Pelicans! Once done checking this obstacle out I continued north throughout the day break and rest of the morning. My Bia-Sport was showing that my pace was dropping from a 15 minute mile to a 21-24 minute mile as I ground along. My Goccia activity tracker indicated I was taking 40% more strokes for the same distance covered as compared to the previous day. No wonder why I was needing increasing rest breaks. This was super evident south of Davis when I pulled into a small cut and parked the bow of the kayak in some grass to have a bite and doze. (I’m a talented napper) Refreshed but worried that my breaks were going to get more frequent and with longer crossings still to come I decided that the diminishing returns of my effort was going to cut into my safety margin more than I was comfortable with for the continuing conditions. At Davis Ferry, after lunch and some consideration I made the call to Chief and PaddleDancer that I was out at about the 70 mile mark. The Core Sound forced that same decision on more paddlers over the course of the day.

 

Observations:

Great Pace for day 1. 4.58mph vs. Okoumefest Pace of 3.76.

Need to put snacks in a flip top/easy access container for rough conditions.

I’ve developed a good awareness for what my energy/body will allow for and enough foresight of the risks that the environment may present.

Gear I like:

I very much like my new Kokatat Lightweight Hand Jacket fingerless gloves

I continue to be very pleased with the P&H Cetus MV & 1m Sail, Lendal Storm Paddle, Bia-Sport GPS speedometer, Kapow Stone Battery Packs, Astral Designs Rassler Watershoes & Sea Wolf PFD.

Gear I want:

A deck mount for my Garmin GPS. Help trim my course to be more efficient.

Smaller scale charts as mine were rather bulky.

The new Kokatat Tactic Pack to minimize some of my front mount pfd gear.

Who knows, perhaps a Valley Rapier 20 with sail rig to put me in the fast sea kayak class.

Changes to make:

Arrive a day early just to relax and not run around frantic like.

Bring and prep my own food.  Still shedding the deep fried salt of the eating out in the South.  At least, my own food, until after the race.

Get more savvy with the SPOT database and how to transfer tracking to Google Maps.

 

 

 

5 thoughts on “Watertribe NCC100 Ultra Marathon

  1. For some odd reason the WaterTribeTM Challenge Tracking Map does not show your track or id, SeaDawg. Thankfully your personal SPOT is broadcasting your progress in the race. Just keep it up big guy!

  2. Hmmm, upon further review, I wonder if the WaterTribeTM Challenge Tracking Map is incorrectly plotting you under the id, “waterdog”?

  3. WT tracking working:
    SeaDawgWP31, Tracking Point – 6.12 kn

    Position: 34.999020 -76.600070
    Date/Time: 9/26/2014 11:50 AM

    Nm From Last Tracking Point: 0.98
    Hours From Last Tracking Point: 0.16
    Knots From Last Tracking Point: 6.12

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