HCC 2023

Hawkesbury Canoe Classic 28-29 October 2023

Above: Team LCRK

LCRK Results

Justin Paine - Spotters at work

Justin Paine would like to thank Tim McNamara and other Lane Covers who, in addition to their activities as landcrew, mudlarks etc, acted as spotters for him in calling out boat numbers and times for incoming and outgoing LCRK competitors ar Sackville and Wisemans during the HCC. This made possible the detailed results table for Lane Cove competitors which appears below. The official HCC timing board at Sackville was well behind with results on the night, although the lady running it kindly emailed a copy of the results to Justin later. This showed identical “in” and “out” times, so apparently with the changed location of the checkpoint there was no “in” post.

Above: LCRK results including splits and relaxation time at Sackville, Wisemans. Thank you Justin Paine!

LCRKer Race Reports

Adrian Clayton

My HCC2023 turned out better than I had planned. According to the Club spreadsheet, if I averaged 8.5kph over the full distance, including 12-minute breaks at Sackville and Wisemans Ferry, I would finish a little earlier than my previous best of just under 12 hours back in 2017, my last (and fourth) tilt at the event.

I’d written my ETAs for each checkpoint onto the maps downloaded from the HCC website and also corrected the distances indicated on those maps. Using the RMS boating maps covering the course, I noted the location of the port and starboard lights along the way. I used my spray deck as a desktop for the maps (secured with Velcro) which I could read in the dark hours with the aid of a head torch, mostly emitting a soft red light when I was in the vicinity of other boats. These were my only navigational aids other than my Garmin Forerunner wrist unit which I used for timing, average speed and distance covered data.

Tom Simmat was in the same start as me and it was my plan to use his legendary river smarts in the leg between Sackville and Wisemans Ferry during which, for the most part, we would be paddling against the tide. I made sure I arrived at Sackville before him with the intention of joining him once he left Sackville. This plan went out the window when I saw him paddling past without stopping for a break.

The full moon and clear skies helped me paddle a reasonably efficient course between Sackville and Wisemans Ferry and at each checkpoint I noted I was well in front of my ETAs – I arrived at Wisemans nearly 30 minutes earlier than planned.

I lost a little of the time I had gained by staying at Wisemans longer than planned and more time was lost – 6 minutes at the Webbs Creek ferry and 2 minutes around the corner at the Wisemans ferry. I was on my own from then until I got fouled in the anchor line of the boat at Checkpoint P (which cost me another 2 minutes). One of the crew on the boat used a boat hook to release me almost causing a capsize in doing so. It was at this point that I was overtaken by ex-LCRK members and HCC luminaries Marg and Rob Cook paddling a Double. After that, it was an uneventful paddle to the finish where I arrived, around 20 minutes earlier than originally planned (thus averaging 8.7kph). The result was achieved without the benefit of any meaningful washrides for the majority of the event.

The Club’s support of its members in the HCC is one of the reasons I participate in the event in one way or another. Despite a comparably small field this year the level of support did not lessen in any way at all. Special thanks to Lindsay Somerville (an ex-workmate) backing up for the third time as land crew, Nam Nguyen and Lee Wright who were on hand to assist Lindsay at Sackville, Wisemans and the finish. Although the old body was protesting at the finish I think it may still have enough in it for one more tilt at the event.

Naomi Johnson

I have thought a lot in the last week and a half about resilience, about how doing hard things across the whole spectrum of our lives strengthen the muscles that flex when we’re faced with difficult situations. The last few months have had a lot on with studying and moving house, yet I sat on the start line of my first 100km race since 2019 with a good choice of ski (thanks Wade!) that I had for a change actually trained in and a solid race plan. Andrew and I had rigged up a front-mounted ‘snack pack’ (repurposing a cycling feedbag) the day before in the hope that I would consume more carbs if they were easily accessible. We had done a 200km bike ride the previous weekend (someone’s idea of a great date day) and eating solidly the whole day had made a noticeable difference to my energy.

4:15pm and I didn’t quite hang on to the Mick Carroll – Tony H – Richard A – Dylan Littlehales train which went storming of the start line (heart rate approaching 180 says I tried). I settled down a bit and was rewarded with a fun and windy leg to Sackville with Don and Pete A. Going through the checkpoint I felt great and really in control of my race plan, so much so that I accidentally dropped Don, storming off into the darkness and incoming tide on my own. The realisation that I hadn’t made a race track visible on my GPS was only a minor inconvenience thanks to the full moon. Over the next 10kms I caught Mick, then Tony and Richard before Greg and Stephen in an SLR2 came ploughing down the river towing Tim and Brent, and Dylan. Still feeling great, I jumped on as we wound our way into the Big W, then opportunistically jumped onto Richard and David’s double wash as they came through. This was one step harder, asking that I push just a bit beyond what felt comfortable to hold the wash. I so wanted to hang on until Wiseman’s but didn’t quite manage it, paddling the final 2kms into the checkpoint alone to the sound of doof-doof.

I was still feeling great at Wiseman’s, fuelled by the excitement of leading the Lane Cove singles and having come close to eating my planned calories over the previous six hours. Wade facilitated a lightening-fast stop, and between him, Andrew and the mudlarks I was back on the water with full hydration bladders, new batteries in my GPS and a dry thermal top on in less than five minutes. Still munching on a potato, I found Greg and Stephen’s wash again and we made it past the first ferry only to be stopped at the second. I tried to settle into a nice easy washride, doing as little as possible to hold my position. Another 5kms and things began to get hard; I began to feel both sleepy and as if the washriding effort was taking just a bit too much energy. Retrospectively, I think this was where I had fallen behind on my grams of carbs per hour, lulled into a false sense of fullness by the potatoes. A caffeine gel solved the sleepiness but my seat on the ski was feeling increasingly uncomfortable, and soon I was on my own again paddling past L and watching not just Greg and Stephen but also Richard and David’s cyalumes dance off into the distance.

Mick came by not long after, offering some great late-night conversation that took my mind off my seat. The tide had finally turned, gradually decreasing the time it took each kilometre to tick over. I probably should have worked harder to stick with Mick to the finish, but the dislocated timing of our erratic stops (stretching, food, all the little niggles that one has to stop for after midnight) meant that we separated sooner than I would have liked, with his cyalume leading me on to the finish. Down to Bar Point the moonlight seemed to splash a pathway of silver on the river ahead. I always have a bit of a cry when I see Brooklyn Bridge; there’s something about the weight of what has been done relative to the remaining 2kms until the bittersweet moment of it being over.

In 2019, I lined up for the Classic unsure of whether I could hack 100kms my own. While I was fit and paddled that night with a ferocity that surprised me, I had left some things to chance and did the time thanks to everything falling, almost miraculously, into place on the night. This time round I was much better prepared in terms of race planning, knowing how much I should be eating (should), time spent in my race boat and some more maturity about headspace and drive when paddling on my own. This time, I was ready to have fun, and did in spades as I jumped in with washrides, chatted with friends, and in the times alone marvelled at the luminous moon and the river by night. But some things did go a bit wrong; beyond the seat discomfort and my slacking off on nutrition in the final leg, I shouldn’t have let me heart rate get so high at the start, and I took a few detours off the racing line to ‘check in’ at random flashing lights. While I’m not sure I would have made up the full ten minutes difference this time round, I’m convinced that the challenge of the Hawkesbury Classic is one that will sustain me for many years to come as I slowly weave together the threads of resilience and drive that feed these endeavours.

John Duffy

I had put a lot of preparation into the 2023 HCC and while the result was not a PB (I missed by less than 3 minutes), I felt good throughout and finished well. It was my best time since 2014 so I was very happy about that. I was by myself for the first 95km of the race and that made finding my way through the middle section in the dark somewhat more difficult as there were often just no green cyalumes to follow and I had to go all the way to the end of the straights to work out whether to turn right or left.

LCRK and HCC volunteers were remarkable and the source of amazement for many. I regard the introduction of the GPS trackers as a wonderful initiative; 2,000 individual unique IP addresses logged on to follow the race including many from overseas. 141 paddlers ended up starting and that unfortunately was probably the lowest field ever and not financially sustainable. It raises the question of what the future is for this great event, but this 44th HCC was certainly one that offered some of the best conditions for a very long time. Go! Go! Go!

Tony Hystek

In hindsight, working two extra-long days prior to the HCC may not have been the best preparation. What was I thinking?

While the defences were down, I managed to pick up a dose of the flu to top it off. Not that I was aware, as I carefully hatched plans with Naomi, Don, Richard A and Pete A to ‘take it steady’ at the start and share wash-rides for as long as that was sustainable.

That plan went out the window within 200m of the start, as an eager Richard A formed a pack with Mick Carrol and Dylan Littlehales (yes, of paralympic glory). Thinking that a slower pace wouldn’t get me close enough to the target time, I jumped on for the ride.

It was fortunate that Richard A was in the group, as he managed to extract some interesting paddling perspectives from Dylan, more than I possibly could, and the pair kept us entertained for many K’s. Being a sprinter, Dylan was easily able to jump around on wash-rides and accelerate into position that left the rest of us gobsmacked. He is strong!

That ride, though enjoyable, only lasted to ‘C’; the pace was unsustainable.

Alone through Sackville and not stopping, I soon came across Mick stretching on the bank. He was OK, so I buddied up with Rich A, who had slowed to check on Mick. We paddled most of the second leg together till a rampaging pack of doubles with Naomi whipping them on, stole his attention. I was on my own again.

I was starting to pay the price for early exuberance and dropped off the race pace but was soon joined by Dylan, who’d stopped at Sackville and now shared the water to Wisemans. Checkpoint I was all I had in my sights as I was beginning to feel very second-hand.

An extended Wisemans stop of half an hour saw me slightly recuperated, thanks to an amazing Merry massage and my first Coke in around 10 years. The land crew were fabulous, a real team builder for the club. We have a lot to be proud of.

I saw Rich A was in all sorts of back trouble and unlikely to continue, so options for company to the finish were disappearing. Then Rich and Kegs got back in so I seized the opportunity. They were kind enough to wait for me, then introduced me to the first ferry stop. We got the next one too but it was all in good spirit. Unexpectedly Dylan was there too! He’d taken the same 30-minute stop at the Wisemans ramp.

A couple of times I’d dropped back off the wash, and the double slowed to let me back on, but after 30km I’d used everything I’d banked in Wisemans and bid the Cheezels goodbye.

Alone again, and the only rough bit of water was crossing to the Spencer mudbank corner however no strandings this year…yay! A pelican standing high and dry in the middle of it was laughing at me. Unfortunately no bioluminescence this year, but you can’t have it all.

Things in the drinks dept were becoming an issue, my stomach feeling like rock and unable to get much down. I had very much the whole river to myself and enjoyed the expanse of moonlit water ahead. The changed placement of some of the checkpoints kept me on my toes toward the end, with just enough in the tank to see it to the finish even if in a very second-hand condition. Hands were great though, seat became better over the distance, and I wore the same shortsleeve wool T the whole race….too lazy to change!

Once again, a mammoth effort by all the volunteers needed to run this event. Thanks to all.

Race Tracking

For the 2023 HCC, each boat will be carrying a tracker for the 2023 HCC – meaning you can follow your favourite paddlers live from the comfort of your Jason recliner (or car seat if you’re land crew!). the link is here (https://live.trackmelive.com.au/hawkesbury23/). There is a search capability to enter the boat #, name, etc.

The list of LCRK paddlers (and boat numbers) is shown below. Bib Name - Wave - Category
109 Chris Thompson - 4:00pm - BorB 1 (Singles)
116 Eric Filmalter - 4:00pm - BorB 1 (Singles)
101 John Duffy - 4:00pm - BorB 1 (Singles)
129 Phil Newman - 4:00pm - BorB 1 (Singles)
131 Robert Tiong - 4:00pm - BorB 1 (Singles)
134 Andrew Murray/Mark Hancock - 4:00pm - BorB 2 (Doubles)
111 Chris Stanley/Richard Barnes - 4:00pm - BorB 2 (Doubles)
203 Richard Andrews - 4:15pm - UN1 Men 40+
205 John Harrison - 4:15pm - LREC1 Men 50+
207 Tom Simmat - 4:15pm - LREC1 Men 70+
208 Esther Wheeler - 4:15pm - LREC1 Women 40+
216 Don Johnstone - 4:15pm - ORS1 Men 50+
219 Peter Avery - 4:15pm - ORS1 Men 50+
220 Lee Wright - 4:15pm - ORS1 Men 60+
226 Naomi Johnson - 4:15pm - ORS1 Women Open
227 Tony Hystek - 4:15pm - UN1 Men 60+
228 Adrian Clayton - 4:15pm - UN1 Men 70+
303 Brent Gordon/Tim Binns - 4:30pm - LREC2 Men 50+
304 Chris Johnson/Duncan Johnstone - 4:30pm - LREC2 Men 50+
312 Brendan Trewartha/Peter Manley - 4:30pm - ORS2 Men 50+
314 Richard Yates/Tony D'andreti - 4:30pm - UN2 Men 40+
If you want to check out the competition, the HCC Provisional start list is here

LCRK Club Support

2023 HCC 'Calculator'

LCRK is please to provide this Microsoft Excel based 'calculator' which is preloaded with HCC 2023 Tides all the way up to Windsor and incorporating associated tidal and riverine flows (all other things being equal which they never are!!). To use, download the tool, open up Excel, adjust ONLY the yellow shaded cells ie:-

  1. Update your Windsor start time
  2. Update your expected base speed (either constant for whole 100km, or you can slow yourself down as your energy flags)
  3. Adjust your expected stop time (eg if it's 1/2hr then enter as =0.5/24 to keep excel happy!)
  4. The calculator will then derive your ETA at respective checkpoints, including adjustments for current.
  5. The course map (separate worksheet) will be automatically updated and can be printed out/laminated on a single A4 page for you &/or your landcrew.
  6. Print out different versions eg at 9km/h, 10km/h, 11km/h base speed - you'll know by your first stop which one you should be using!
  7. How do you work out your base speed? See Tom Holloway's excellent article for more detail but he recommends assuming you paddle at 90% of your time trial speed. Stops are additional as are delays waiting for one or more car ferries. Your average speed overall will probably be around 85% of your time trial speed, all else being equal. See this PDF.
  8. Note that whilst there's a bit of science behind this tool - there are many other important variables in play including wind, river knowledge, washriding etc - which can make the tool a bit of sideshow. Use the tool in conjunction with ALL your planning.

Download the 2023 calculator

Above: Calculator produces prepopulated map showing ETA's

For those wanting more detail. The new calculator identifies tides at Fort Denison (HH, LL, H, L), then adjusts that tide all the way up to Windsor some 5-7 hours later. Current patterns have been modelled for 4 sections of the river (between stops) using data from MHL, DPW etc. Your ETA at a particular checkpoint is adjusted based on your base paddle speed and the anticipated current at the time you are travelling. Short or long stops will affect the tide you catch (or are caught by). Further fine tuning CAN be done - but no point over-engineering it, you might be affected by winds, broken down ferries, unplanned swims etc. Good luck!

At Windsor - From 10am to 5pm

Above: Wisemans Ferry Support. Photo Jana Osvald 2015
  • LCRK Marquee for shade and meeting point
  • Club shirts and caps for sale
  • Issue paddler, start list and contact list
  • Experts to offer advice, smiles and positive vibes
  • Group photo 2:30PM (Be at the LCRK marquee at 2:25pm)
  • Mandatory race briefing is at tba pm
  • Marquee will be moved to Wisemans at 5:30pm

At Sackville - from 6:30pm until last LCRK paddler through

  • Sackville stop point is no longer at the beach around the corner, due to residents concerns about hundreds of feet damaging the flood remediation work. Stop point will be 50 metres downstream from the ferry, before the right hand bend into the beach
  • Illuminated LCRK sign to identify our shared meeting point
  • Shared land crew support in landing and re-launching each paddler
  • Informal tracking of LCRK craft passing through\\Reminder to paddlers to check out at 2nd Sackville checkpoint

Above: Location of Sackville HQ (boatramp just downstream from Ferry)

At Wisemans - from 8:30pm until last paddler through

  • LCRK meeting point 40 metres downriver from main launching ramp (see photos below - look for the red electronic timing board used for our Time Trials)
  • LCRK marquee
  • Informal tracking of LCRK craft passing through
  • Club support for land crews in landing and re-launching their paddlers
  • Reminder to paddlers to check out at 2nd Wiseman's checkpoint.

Low Tide Pit-Stop

If you need a last stop on your down-river run and succumb to the "sirens", you will, as usual, be offered smiles, "mud angel" landing and re-launching services, sometimes "paddle through" service; fire for warmth; smiles; hot food and drink; and more smiles - this is not a club facility but a wonderful service volunteered annually to all participants. Remember the location this year is about half a kilometre upstream from its old spot –it is at a boat ramp (= less mud!)

Preparation Reading

General Advice



Stretching/Injury Prevention

Landcrew Advice

Maps & Planning

Garmin GPX Track

  • HCC.zip Unzip, copy into your Garmin, and set to visible using garmin menu.

For planning and safety purposes please note: The HCC is not 111km, it is actually 100km. Also, it does not finish at Brooklyn, it finishes at Mooney Mooney (Deerubbin Reserve)

HCC - Current Class Record Holders

LCRK members past and present currently hold over 40 class records.

K1Ladies 40+Ruby Ardren201811:08:15
K1Vet60+Tom Simmat200911:09:12
K1Ladies Vet60+Ann Lloyd Green201613:57:29
K2Vet50+Bruce Goodall, Jeremy Spear20149:33:57
K4Ladies 40+Anjie Lees, Jana Osvald, Wendy Andrews, Kerrie Murphy201812:27:40
K4LadiesMargaret Cook, Merridy Huxley, Buzz Powell, Sandra Burwood20069:29:40
K4Mixed Vet40+Margaret Cook, Merridy Huxley, Warren Huxley, Bernard Craggs200810:07:36
K4Mixed Vet50+Margaret Cook, Merridy Huxley, Warren Huxley, Rob Cook201010:18:23
K4Ladies Vet50+Our Rae Duffy with Merridy Huxley, Dee Ratliffe and Clare McArthur201310:53:59
TK1LadiesMargaret Cook198510:44:49
TK2Ladies Vet40+Margaret Cook, Merridy Huxley200310:46:04
Short RecVet50+Tom Simmat20079:58:35
Short RecVet60+Tom Simmat201210:35:24
Short RecVet70+Tom Simmat201811:24:30
Med RecOpenToby Hogbin20109:18:22
Med RecLadies Vet50+Rae Duffy201210:55:09
Med RecVet60+Tom Simmat20109:54:05
Long RecOpenBruce Goodall20009:37:50
Long RecLadies Vet50+Liz Winn200810:59.33
Long RecLadies Vet60+Ann Lloyd-Green201314:02:57
Long RecVet50+Bob Turner201410:02:49
Long RecVet60+Tom Simmat20119:59:07
Long Rec 2MixedKristy Benjamin & Bob Turner20128:58:02
Rec 2Vet40+Kenji Ogawa, Genkai So200010:36:34
Long Rec 2Mixed Vet 50+Urs Mader, Arni Mader200710:06:20
Ocean Racing SkiLadies Vet50+Roz Green201512:47:59
Ocean Racing SkiLadies Vet40+Anjie Lees201411:08:12
Ocean Racing SkiVet40+Brendan Trewartha20178:38:47
Ocean Racing SkiVet60+Tony Hystek20169:06:32
SSK2Mixed Vet40+Joy and Rich Robinson20159:28:31
UnrestrictedOpenToby Hogbin20128:18:19
UnrestrictedLadiesJulie Stanton200610:13:30
UnrestrictedLadies Vet40+Anjie Lees201511:41:14
UnrestrictedVet60+Tony Hystek201810:12:14
UnrestrictedVet70+Adrian Clayton201711:54:12
Unrestricted 2Mixed Vet40+Bruce Goodall, Christine Lalor20078:57:57
Unrestricted 2Mixed Vet50+Alanna Ewin, Tony Hystek20178:50:42
Unrestricted 2Vet50+Tony Hystek, Timothy Hookins20078:57:00
SSK2Mixed Vet40+Joy and Rich Robinson20169:05:38

HCC - The Whiddon Trophy (Fastest Time)

  • 2009 Matt Blundell
  • 2010 Matt Blundell

HCC - Participation (incl 2019)

35 or moreRichard Barnes
20 or moreKenji Ogawa
15 or moreMargaret Cook, Don Rowston, Merridy Huxley, Peter Fitzgerald, Tom Simmat, John Duffy
10 or moreMartin Dearnley, Bruce Goodall, Rob Vallis, Warren Huxley, Urs Mader, Derek Simmonds

(go to LCRK's 2019 Hawkesbury Classic Pages)