Some deep digging through the files at DPDash Headquarters recently unearthed this ancient, hand-drawn map of the race course. We share it with you here to give a few pointers and course knowledge if you're unsure what awaits you out there. You might want to consult a REAL chart of the area for more information.
Here are the highlights of what's revealed by the map. Click on it for a larger view.
Bowman Bay - Deception Island, 1 mile;
Deception to the far end of Pass Island, 1.5 miles;
Pass to Strawberry Island, .5 miles.
Total approximately 6 miles round trip.
There’s a lot of kelp around all three islands, especially on the SW side of Deception. Tempting as it is to cut close to the islands and shorten the course, if you have a rudder you’ll be happy to stay wide of it.
When you get to Pass Island (2.5 miles) the current will be starting to build against you. There’s a narrow eddy next to the island which will allow you to get to the upstream end (marked “CRUX MOVE” on the map). Please do not stop and rest in this eddy as you’ll block the path for other racers. Rest if you must, in the large eddy at the far downstream (West) end of Pass Island.
Some racers have successfully avoided the congestion in the eddy, and the dynamic water at the "CRUX", and powered all the way past the island in the main channel, against the current. You need to be ready for a long, powerful sprint to make this strategy work. It's up to you to decide if it's worth it.
“CRUX MOVE”: For most racers, this brief, turbulent moment determines your ability to complete the course. Use the eddy as far as you can, then break out into the opposing current and go hard toward Strawberry Island. The whole idea behind this race is: The longer it takes you to paddle the 2.5 miles to this point, the stronger the current against you when you get there.
Between Pass and Strawberry islands, the water is typically calm as it's protected from wind on all sides. You'll find some mild boils and slicks that try to push you off course, so pay attention and keep going! You're nearly halfway there, and the return trip is the fun part!
Big ol’ standing waves stack up at the West end of Canoe Pass on the return loop. Paddle hard and straight, and you'll go right through it. In some conditions, ocean swell comes down the Strait until it meets the building ebb at this pinch point, and can get pretty big. On a flat day with no wind and no swell, you'll barely notice it. As some paddlers have witnessed, on the other hand, in "perfect" conditions you may get slapped in the face by a wave, or even paddle right under it to get through... wahooo!
Returning around Deception Island and racing the final mile into Bowman Bay, be aware that the building ebb current will be pushing you from South to North. There are gnarly, submerged rocks throughout the north half of the bay, so you really want to enter on the South side. Watch where you're going, angle your bow to the right, and make sure your course is taking you straight to the pier.
The finish line is right next to the end of the pier, where the timers can look down and see your boat number. We'll only be able to get your time marked accurately if you finish where we can see you.