2023 FISH RIVER CANOE MARATHON
Race Information

Race Information

The Fish is a two day marathon, with an AR rating from Canoeing South Africa. In order to enter this race, you need to fulfil the CSA requirements for competency and proficiency. Please refer to the Rules page for more information in this regard.

1.Race details and water levels 
The total distance of the marathon is 81,8km
GUARANTEED WATER LEVEL: 26 CUMECS!!!

The race starts at Grassridge Dam on Friday the 27 September 2024 at 07:00. The First Day ends 45,8km downstream – 1km below Knutsford Bridge. This is also the start of Day 2 on Saturday the 28 September 2024 at 07:00, with the race ending 36 km downstream at the Sports Grounds in Cradock.

2. Registration
Registration is between 14:00 & 19:00 on Thursday 26 September 2024 at the FISH RIVER CANOE CLUB CLUBHOUSE (Day 2 Finish).

3. Competitors information
The race starts on both days at 07:00. All competitors must report to the Batch Camps at Grassridge Dam and Knutsford 30 minutes before their allocated Batch starting time and before taking to the water.

Batch Camp Lists for Day 1 will be up at Registration and for Day 2 at the Fish River Canoe Club. If your correct cell number is on the CSA database, you will receive an SMS with batch details and final results. Confirm your allocated check in time as latecomers go to a lower batch.

NB: WRISTBANDS in the registration packs are to be WORN THROUGHOUT THE EVENT. You will not be allowed to paddle if you do not have your wristband ON YOUR WRIST!!!! The wristbands guarantee your participation in the race, lunch on Friday at Knutsford and entry to the Cricket Clubhouse and After Parties. An EMERGENCY and a WITHDRAWALS number is also printed on it.

EMERGENCY & WITHDRAWALS – 083 450 9340

DO NOT use this numbers for batch enquiries!

There will be a Le Mans start at Grassridge Dam on Day 1and a Reverse start on Day 2. The seeded paddlers will be in a separate smaller batch. The K2’s starts first, then K1’s. K3’s must at all times, be considerate to smaller craft.

All late entries will be un-seeded and placed in the last batches.

The organizers reserve the right to enforce the withdrawal of any number of participants, whenever the safety or health of participants is endangered. The organizers reserve the right to disqualify, penalise with a time penalty, or apply appropriate disciplinary action against any competitor in breach of the marathon rules or who tries to improve their position in a dishonest way.

The organizers have the right to amend or add to the rules at any stage. No changes or amendments to the rules will be allowed unless approved by the chief official.

The organizers reserve the right of entry. Unless sound reasons can be given, a canoeist who disobeys any rules – whether they be specified in the brochure, on the entry form, in the pre-race notes or given at the pre-race meeting – will be disqualified.

Any appeal must be lodged with a member of the Jury, in writing within one hour of the competitor completing that specific leg of the race. R50 must accompany the protest. CSA rules will apply.

The area behind any line of buoys is NO MAN’S LAND! By entering you will be disqualified.

No competitor under the age of 14 years is allowed to compete in a K1.

Double Trouble (the chute at Collett Weir) has been constructed in the middle of the weir and will be marked with buoys. Portage option is on the RIGHT ONLY, no one is allowed to portage on the left.

Cradock Weir: Only the first 50 boats may go over the weir on either side of the corner but, if a boat lands on another boat below the weir, the boat responsible for the collision will be disqualified. The rest of the field may only pass under the safety marshal’s orders. Safety will be left to the lifesavers’ discretion with NO further discussion allowed.

LIFESAVERS WILL BE AT CRADOCK WEIR THURSDAY 14:00 – 17:00 FOR PRACTICE.

CSA approved life jackets are compulsory on both days. These will be checked and if incorrect, paddlers will be prohibited from taking part. 10 litres of buoyancy (in the front AND at the back) is compulsory and will be checked. Beach balls and bottles are ONLY permissible if secured to the boat. Helmets are highly recommended for novice paddlers, especially on Day 1 at TOASTRACK. PLEASE REMEMBER TO DUCK! Organizers reserve the right to make Toastrack Bridge a compulsory portage if deemed unsafe. You will be notified before race day.

Private sponsorship: No clothing or equipment bearing logos nor products in direct conflict with the race sponsor’s market will be permitted. During TV and Media interviews, paddlers must ensure they are wearing race sponsor’s apparel.

DECALS – Valid CSA registration numbers must be placed on both side of the front deck of the boat. Any other decals must be placed on the rear deck or on the sides behind the front point of the cockpit. Batch stickers must be placed on the front left-hand deck and be clearly visible.

During the race, paddles may be exchanged but NO boats are allowed to be replaced.
No outside assistance of any kind is permitted, except in an emergency.

If you reach Prospect after 13:30 or Katkop after 15:00 you WILL BE WITHDRAWN from the race.  Anyone who withdraws from the race MUST inform an official or phone WITHDRAWALS @ 083 450 9340 and provide your name and boat number.

The winner is the competitor completing the race in the shortest total time. The Senior and Junior U/18 Classes are the only open classes. All competitors who complete the race will receive a Fish Medal at the finish.

Golds and silver medals as well as 10-, 20-, 30- and 40-Year Awards will be kept and available for collection after the race at the Fish registration table.

Winners of Cash Prizes must complete the revere side of the Cash Voucher and hand it in at the Prize-giving table after Prizegiving.  Cash prizes of paddlers not present will be donated to a local charity. No substitutes may collect on behalf of another paddler.

Prizegiving will take place on Saturday, 28 September 2024 at 14:00 at the Fish River Canoe Club Clubhouse.

4.Safety information and regulations
CSA approved life jackets are compulsory on both days. These will be checked and if incorrect, paddlers will be prohibited from taking part. 10 litres of buoyancy (in the front AND at the back) is compulsory and will be checked. Beach balls and bottles are ONLY permissible if secured to the boat.

HELMETS are not compulsory, but highly recommended for paddlers, especially on Day 1 at Toastrack.

Lifesavers will be at Cradock Weir on the Thursday before the race between 13:00 & 17:00.

5. Accommodation
Huis Joubert : Preparatory School (048) 881 3163 (huisjoubert@telkomsa.net)
Huis Vertue : Primary School (048) 881 2670

Please keep vehicles locked at all times and don’t leave valuables in tents or vehicles as this creates unnecessary temptation for theft.

6.  Awards – Coelacanth and Fish Medals
The Coelacanth Award is an embossed certificate with a decal and 10-year medal. The yellowwood Coelacanth Trophy can be bought at an additional cost. Contact Brenda van Vuuren (078 926 9309) or make arrangements at registration, if wanting to buy one. No awards will be posted! The Coelacanth Batch will start behind the seeded paddlers on Day 1 and is only for canoeists who have already completed 10 Fish Marathons.  BOTH paddlers in a K2 must be Coelacanths to qualify for this batch. There will be a 2nd batch if numbers warrant it.

All competitors who complete the race will receive a Fish Medal at the finish. Positions 11 – 50 in the racing class must please exchange bronze for silver medals at the prizegiving table at the Race Village.

7. Confirmed entries
Check the website here for the confirmed entry and acceptance list. Entries will only be processed and appear on the confirmed entry list once payment reflects on our bank statement. Please allow 2 to 3 working days for processing of your entry. Remember to use your boat number as reference. For any queries contact Olivia Moolman, 083 4509 340 weekdays from 10:00 – 17:00.

8.  Merchandise
T-SHIRTS of exceptional quality are INCLUDED in the entry fee. No t-shirts guaranteed after closing date. The T-shirts are for PADDLERS ONLY. Late entries are not guaranteed a T-shirt.

Please INDICATE YOUR T-SHIRT SIZE on the entry form. No size indicated = no T-shirt!

Fish Merchandise will be sold at Registration.

9. Access to the river
Soutpansdrift
PLEASE NOTE that there will unfortunately, be NO ACCESS to the river above Soutpans BEFORE THURSDAY, but you will be able to trip from Soutpans to Cradock.

Tripping
THURSDAY tripping will be from 10:00 to 16:30 as normal, and entry will be through the usual gate below the dam and NOT through Norman Collett’s gate.

Double Trouble
ACCESS TO DOUBLE TROUBLE will be allowed via a secondary road along the road to Toastrack. This will be clearly marked. PLEASE DO NOT go beyond the hazard tape and REMEMBER TO RESPECT the property of the landowner. There is a vantage point for spectators on the river bank at the bottom of the second chute. Spectators must be vigilant and not get in the way of the contestants.

Keith’s Flyover and Toastrack
ACCESS ONLY ON THURSDAY between 10:00 & 16:30 and  FRIDAY DURING THE EVENT. THIS ACCESS IS ALLOWED UNDER STRICT CONDITIONS!  IT IS THEREFORE IMPERATIVE THAT YOU CHECK THESE RULES BEFORE GOING TO KEITH’S .  REFER TO WEBSITE AND ROAD MAP IN THE REGISTRATION PACK FOR DETAILS.

10.  Race officials for the Fish

PositionNameCell number
Chief Race Official:Herman Marais083 442 9123
Clerk of the Course:Charles Garth072 474 7181
Starter:John Oliver082 550 2859
Timekeeper:John Oliver082 550 2859
Safety Officers:Hugo Barendse082 924 6855
Minnaar Lyell082 578 9419
Technical Officer:Michael Rice082 262 1401
Medical Officer:Stefan Schoeman083 263 1916
Race Committee:Herman Marais083 442 9123
(objections)Ryan Copeman083 273 8343
Michael Rice082 262 1401
WB Brink081 046 1751
Jury:John Oliver082 550 2859
(Appeals)Jaco Kruger083 521 5734
Chris Opperman076 723 6565
Hugo Barendse082 924 6855

11. Entry fees, substitution fees and meals
Entry fee INCLUDES a T-shirt (No -shirts guaranteed after closing date), lunch on Friday, lunch for Saturday and free entry to Friday & Saturday night “Festival” for paddlers. NO Race Packs will be posted.

ENTRY CLOSING DATE: 11.59pm, 23 September 2024

2023 SUBSTITUTION FEE: R 200
This fee applies to a paddler replacing a registered entrant, on the proviso that the replacement paddler meets all the proficiency requirements and is fully registered for the current season.

12. Late entries
Early Bird Entries close at midnight on 16 September 2024. All entries after this date until 23 September 2024 will pay an additional LATE PENALTY FEE per paddler of R200. Late entries are not guaranteed a T-shirt.

Please note that late entries will only be processed and appear on the confirmed entry list once payment for entry fee AND late penalty fee reflects on our bank statement. Please allow 2 to 3 working days for processing of your entry.

13. Contacts
ENTRY INFORMATION AND ENQUIRIES :
Race Secretary : Olivia Moolman
Cell: 083 4509 340
Telephone: 082 827 3354 NB! Only for entry information, & during weekdays from 10:00-17:00

secretary@fishmarathon.org.za

CHAIRMAN :
Herman Marais
Mobile: 083 273 8343
chairman@fishmarathon.org.za

 14.  The route
The Marathon would not be possible without the co-operation and kindness of the irrigation farmers along the river. It is your duty as participants, seconds, spectators and canoeing enthusiasts to ensure that through your actions and behaviour, this goodwill is maintained. It is imperative that the paddlers and PARTICULARLY their seconds adhere to the rules stipulated by the landowners as this will ensure a trouble-free arrangement and long standing access to Keith’s. Please respect the farmers and the marathon committee by co-operating with these requests. The inconsiderate behaviour of canoeists/seconds in previous years has resulted in many unpleasant confrontations.

FIRST DAY BY ROAD:
FOLLOW THE YELLOW AND BLACK ROAD SIGNS ALONG THE ROUTE.

The race starts on the east bank of Grassridge Dam (1) at 07:00. Allow 1 ½ hours for travelling, preparation and checking in. To get to Toastrack Bridge (4) in time, seconds should leave straight after the start. Please note that the road is on private property and is a ONE WAY road to Toastrack (4) and Keith’s Flyover (5) crossing over Keith’s Bridge and following the left bank of the river, exiting at Soutpans Bridge. This road has speed bumps and is accessible to BAKKIES and 4×4’s ONLY – NO TRAILERS.   PLEASE USE DESIGNATED PARKING AND DO NOT PARK ON OR NEXT TO THE BRIDGE. This road will only be open on THURSDAY between 10:00 & 16:30 and on FRIDAY  DURING THE EVENT. Access to Double Trouble will be clearly marked on the road to Toastrack.

Permission was granted on the proviso that people using the road would adhere to the following conditions:

  1. ONLY ONE WAY TRAFFIC IS ALLOWED – ONCE YOU GO TO TOASTRACK, YOU MUST CARRY ON TO SOUTPANS BRIDGE.
  2. Spectators at Double Trouble are NOT TO GO beyond the hazard tape and are to respect the property of the farmer.
  3. NO VEHICLES MAY STOP ON BRIDGES.
  4. NO SPECTATORS TO STAND ON KEITH’S BRIDGE AND NO VEHICLES TO STOP ON THE BRIDGE. Canoeists portaging Keith’s will be crossing the flow of traffic at the bridge.
  5. DO NOT LITTER & DO NOT DRIVE OVER THE LANDS, ANYONE RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY DAMAGE WILL BE HELD LIABLE.
  6. USE OF ROAD IS AT YOUR OWN RISK, THE FARMERS & MARATHON COMMITTEE & SPONSORS HAVE TOTAL INDEMNITY FROM ANY CLAIMS.
  7. SHOULD THERE BE HEAVY RAIN, THE ROAD WILL BE CLOSED.

The continued use of this road is dependent on adherence to the above.

At Soutpans Bridge (10) there is an exciting series of rapids. The leading boats should be there about 1hour & 45 minutes after the start. A Parking area has been made here, so NO PARKING ON THE MAIN ROAD WITHIN 50m of Soutpans Bridge. PLEASE DO NOT crowd Soutpans Bridge – this is a safety hazard. If requested by officials to move, please do so.  Continue by following the signs to Katkop Weir (11), but please don’t park where the paddlers portage. Glen Alpha (12) is next and then the Finish (13), 1 km below Knutsford Bridge where refreshments and food can be bought. The road running parallel to the railway track at the end of Day 1 is a one way road going south!
NB: Please follow the arrows to the designated parking area at the KNUTSFORD FINISH. You will be directed to parking at the main entrance gate.

SECOND DAY BY ROAD:
FOLLOW THE YELLOW AND BLACK ROAD SIGNS ALONG THE ROUTE
.
The race starts at 07:00. Allow 1¼ hours for travelling, preparation and checking in.

After the start at Knutsford, seconds must take the ONE WAY road parallel to the railway line to Baroda Chute (14), Reveille Bridge (15) or Baroda Bridge (16).   Baroda Chute and Reveille Bridge are close to the start, so, if going there, leave well before the race starts.  Baroda Chute is an addition to the race and promises excellent viewing for spectators.

To get to Longacre Bridge (17), cross over Baroda Bridge and follow the signs. Longacre Bridge offers a great vantage point with an elevated view both up and downstream.  Continue the New Route by crossing over Longacres Bridge and following the signs to Gauging Weir (18) and Marlow Causeway (19) which can be accessed on a side road to the left by 4×4 Vehicles Only. If you do not have a 4×4 vehicle, continue on the road passed this side road to Marlow Causeway (19), Marlow Chute (20) and Cradock Weir (21). The bridge at Cradock Weir will be closed to traffic, but is a good vantage point for spectators. Continue with the tar road into Cradock to the Finish at the Sports Grounds.

15. Entry fee for non paddlers at the Fish Village:
  Gate Fees during the day:
  Friday Afternoon from 16:00: R20
  Saturday Afternoon from 16:00: R20

PLEASE DO NOT pay the entry fee for vagrants, this creates a security problem.

KEEP VEHICLES LOCKED AT ALL TIMES. DON’T LEAVE VALUABLES IN TENTS AND VEHICLES AS THIS CREATES UNNECESSARY TEMPTATION FOR THEFT.