Originally Posted by Peter_C
So were they on kayaks or canoes? Cause the picture they show in Poly's link is of a canoe and you wouldn't catch me out on the open ocean in one. On the other hand I have taken kayaks out in the ocean many times (Own two) and played in the surf for fun with them. With 140 people they should have been able to self rescue pretty much anyone too.
Its a long multi-day event. The info on the website is slightly vague but it sounds like there was a canoe leg(s) and kayak leg(s) on different days along with other land disciplines. [So potentially the Canoe pic is from a previous day]. There are people who take Canoes (rather than Kayaks) out to sea, and whilst the location (and weather) were far from ideal - its certainly not "the open ocean".
The event organiser is quite clear about the minimum level of demonstrable skills that the participants needed to have. At nearly £3k to enter, and 600 miles there probably weren't too many total beginners in the mix either!