70 Wild Miles - LOCH ETIVE 4TH JUNE 2011
Regular "readers" will recall a request for safety boats
for this event last year. Myself and 9d280 ended up there and the request has gone out again for this year! 9d280 is making bold claims about his engine rebuild being completed in time and intends to be there - and I hope to be (subject to other commitments that weekend letting me go) - however the organisers have asked for any extra boats we can drum up.
About the event:
Participants cycle from Glencoe to Taynuilt, then Canoe east along the length of Loch Etive before running a half marathon over the hill back to Glencoe.
Why? Partly because the participants are a little crazy but mostly because they are raising money for Clic Sargent
- the charity that supports Children with Cancer.
With around 80 canoes in the water of varying abilities and speeds there is obviously a requirement for several safety boats. All the canoes start at the same time so all the safety boats travel the length of the Loch (spreading out along with the fleet) so you won't just be bobbing up and down in one place for the afternoon! Last year there were around 14 "rescue" boats of all sorts - if it floats and has an engine it seems to be considered acceptable!
Is my boat suitable / what experience do I need ?
If you can get your RIB or SIB on the water at the Taynuilt jetty then it probably meets the expectations! You should have a VHF radio (handheld is fine). If you are planning to launch at Taynuilt then (1) the road access is narrow, (2) the "slipway" is only suitable for smaller boats. It is possible to Launch and recover at the other east end of the loch but this does involve towing down a single track road. Larger boats with local knowledge may prefer to come by sea (taking account of the warnings Ian made last year about the Falls of Lora).
There are no formal requirements for crew competence, but obviously your main role is to pluck out any unlucky canoeist who ends up in the water - so some experience of recovering people from the water would be wise and you will probably find yourself in amongst a load of canoes at some point so you need to be comfortable maneuvering in this environment. Medical type expertise is not expected as the organiser will have one or more designated "medics" on a RIB which will float between vessels to where they are required.
What is expected of me?
You'll be expected to attend a short "briefing" on the day (I think it was 12ish last year but times will be confirmed). Your boat needs to be afloat by this time. You'll be assigned a call sign at this point. The organisers have been running this for something like 20 years and actually seem to have some quite complicated logistics well thought out - last year their communication prior to the event was a bit ropey but the stuff on the day seemed to be the result of several years of having done this.
The competitors will leave about half an hour later - and depending on weather and fitness etc could take 2.5-3hrs to reach the other end of the Loch. Obviously if you are not recovering there you'll still need to make it back to where you started. Its summer so daylight won't be a problem, and if the weather is really bad the canoeing will either be shortend to a local loop at Taynuilt or cancelled completely then most RIBs should have not problem - unless they are crossing the Falls of Lora.
Will the organiser pay my fuel?
NO, they are trying to raise money for charity; but last year they did provide a packed Lunch for helms/crew. And I believe there was a wee "do" afterwards (in Ballahulish?) for participants and supporters - but I'd headed home by then.
How to volunteer:
If you can help then please email Kirsty Mason: ytsrik_1 (AT) hotmail (DOT) com including details of your boat, your contact details (email address and mobile phone number) etc.