Category: Event Information

2019 GCBS Info

2019 was the first year the race was fundamentally changed due to the weather (which was a direct result of lessons learned in 2016). There was a Small Craft Advisory active on race day, so the 4.4 mile swim was canceled. In its place was a 2.2 mile swim which was essentially a larger triangle in the same location as the 1 mile swim, with swimmers starting and ending at the Hemingway’s beach.

This was absolutely the right call, as there would have been no way the safety fleet (specifically kayaks) could have provided any meaningful support to swimmers crossing the bay in those conditions (not to mention having to concentrate solely on not becoming a swimmer ourselves, while maybe making some progress into the winds).

32 kayakers helped out this year, braving the weather. The one mile swim wasn’t too bad as the winds were reasonably calm, but the modified 2.2 mile course wasn’t quite so lucky. The winds were frequently blowing at approximately 20mph, gusting to near 30mph it seemed. At the farthest edge of the triangle from the shore, it was pretty rough. We even had some light (but pelting) rain showers here and there.

A total of 796 swimmers from both races were all accounted for at the end of the day, and every one of them that commented about the race were glad it happened and were very appreciative of the volunteer fleet’s presence.

Here is a group photo of all the kayakers present (at least, at the time the photo was taken).

Here is a link to the Capital Gazette story about the swim: Capital Gazette

The official results from LinkMark Sports, plus links to their photo album and YouTube videos, is here: LinkMark Sports official results

Here’s a link to the few photos I was able to take: Mike Matthews’ GCBS 2019 public photo library

And here are some images taken by Jim Ransom from the shore:

Here are some pics Michele Mintling took:

What do I need to know in general?

Key points, beyond the other Logistics posts, are:

  • The safety briefing for kayakers is held generally 45 minutes before the start of the race, maybe earlier (as the 4.4 mile swim has a start time of +/- 30 minutes decided the morning of the race, we go for the earliest possible start time).
  • You will be given your own numbered wrist band, with the number assigned to you by the Kayak Safety Fleet Coordinator. This must be visible, else the various law enforcement boats will question your right to be on the water. As far as they are concerned, if you don’t have the wrist band, you don’t belong on the water.
  • Turn this in when you exit the water at the DNF pier by Hemingway’s. This is so we know you were on the water and safety exited the water. If your wrist band is not turned in, we will have to go looking for you.
  • All volunteers are welcome to partake of the volunteer food and drink after they get out of their boats, by the swim event tents near Hemingway’s.
  • All volunteers are welcome to a volunteer t-shirt as well. So far, even after specifying what sizes kayakers would like, the selections follow Henry Ford’s philosophy. You can have any size that you like, as long as it’s probably XL.