SEVENTY48 2021 – Our Paddle Plan

My main condition for participating in SEVENTY48 the first time was that I wouldn’t have to paddle at night. We almost met that condition, but did end up still paddling towards a landing spot nearly 90 minutes after the end of civil twilight the second night. Nighttime paddling can be serene and beautiful. We’ve seen bioluminescence, shooting stars, beautiful full moons, and some of the calmest seas while paddling in the dark. But it’s also easy to imagine all sorts of things under the water when it’s dark. Sea monsters seem much more real a few hours after sunset, and random splashes in the night aren’t as easy to ignore as they are in the sunshine.

SEVENTY48 2021 – Day One

Regardless, our plan for SEVENTY48 2021 is to paddle through the night. In years past, we have traditionally camped at the Cascadia Marine Trails site at Lisabuela. We’ve had the benefit of a quiet night and a strong morning current in Colvos passage. And that plan would make sense again this year, but by the time we land at Lisabuela, we’re really just a few hours into the race. We still have a lot of adrenaline from the start, and we’re as fresh as we’re going to be. And we’ve done a lot more nighttime paddling than we had in 2018.

Map Image: Museum of Glass to Lisabuela - Race Route for SEVENTY48 2021

Day Two: Midnight-to-Midnight

So this year, we’re going to harness that “I’ve paddled fewer than 20 miles today” energy and hop back in our kayaks after taking a break at Lisabuela.

Map Image: Lisabuela to Blake Island - Race Route for SEVENTY48 2021

We anticipate that we’ll reach Blake Island State Park a few hours before sunrise. With so little night in front of us, we plan on bringing a hot beverage to keep our energy up. Then we’ll continue on towards Bainbridge Island after a short break. We’re hoping to be able to make it to Wing Point before the first Bainbridge-to-Seattle ferry run of the day. We intend to paddle straight through from Blake Island to Fay Bainbridge.

Map Image: Blake Island to Fay Bainbridge - Race Route for SEVENTY48 2021

Once we land at Fay Bainbridge, it will be time to rest. Even though we’re paddling through the night, we do plan on camping for a few hours, to rest up while we wait for favorable currents. After paddling half of the race distance, we assume we’ll be able to sleep through some daylight and noise from other campers. We plan to launch from Fay Bainbridge in the early afternoon, to catch the ebb current up the Kitsap peninsula. We’ll take a break at Eglon:

Map Image: Fay Bainbridge to Eglon - Race Route for SEVENTY48 2021

In our ideal plan, we can make it to Hansville in time to grab some take out from Hansgrill.

Map Image: Eglon to Hansville - Race Route for SEVENTY48 2021

After dinner, we’ll embark on our second night paddle, this time crossing from the Kitsap Peninsula to the Olympic Peninsula. We’ll catch the ebb current through the Port Townsend Canal.

Map Image: Hansville through Port Townsend Canal - Race Route for SEVENTY48 2021

Day Three: Heading for the Finish

After a break on Indian Island, we’ll head across Port Townsend Bay to land close t0/within an hour or so of sunrise.

Map Image: Port Townsend Canal to NW Maritime Center - Race Route for SEVENTY48 2021

After a quick celebration, we’ll check into the Palace Hotel. With 2/3 of our teams launching WA360 at 6am the next morning, maximizing rest and recovery will be more important than ever.

Will our plan work out in reality? No one can say at this point. The weather may be against us. This race is nothing if not a challenge. We won’t know what we’ll encounter in SEVENTY48 2021 until we’re in the thick of it. But we’ll do our best and try to stick as close to the plan as we can. And we’ll update you along the way, if you want to follow along.


RachelMay 18, 2021

Let it be so

markMay 18, 2021

We'll be following you (why is this in all caps?) - literally, on the water we'll be following you. couple of questions. I see your turning point from point defiance -- any worry about that back eddy or do you think it'll be subsiding by then. Also, noted you are going up the west side of blake -- the east side is nearly in a straight line from mid point of colvos to restoration point. is there favorable current that is worth the extra mileage?

Melissa Lovejoy GoldmanMay 18, 2021

So.. the back-eddy is a good question. It will be strongest an hour before the race starts, and diminishing after that. By about 9:15 the day of the race, it will be going in our favor. But whether we cut close to the island there or try to head more mid-channel to catch a stronger ebb is still a question of timing that we'll finalize after we get to the Owens Beach checkpoint. Basically, it depends on conditions day-of. But mostly, I was a little lazy pulling the map image that I used for the post.

For Blake, it's only about 1/4 or 1/2 nmi difference in going the East or West side if you're coming from Lisabuela. From the time you get to Southworth, it's just a matter of whether you curve left or right around the island. We've stopped there a lot on training paddles in the past, and in those times, we've cut close to the Southworth ferry dock to avoid the 3-stop ferry traffic. If you do that, it's quicker to just head to the NW corner of the island. There's a relatively shallow, relatively sandy beach on the West side that's pretty forgiving. And a vault toilet if the plumbing isn't running on that side of the island (the bathroom on that side has only been in working condition once or twice when we've stopped). It's a really familiar beach for us to land, which is useful in the middle of the night. From my few trips to the East side, I recall the beach as rockier and steeper, which doesn't sound as fun for a night landing.

The currents are clockwise around Blake for part of the tide cycle and counter-clockwise for the rest of the cycle. But nothing really strong right in that area.

All that said, we're just taking a break there. If you're camping near the marina, I'd take the straight shot from there to Restoration Point.

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