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The 5th North American Open Water Championship:  A 13 NM (15 mi) rowing and paddling race in Port Townsend, Washington, June 20, 2010

The 5th NAOWRC race will be held June 20th, 2010 at the Northwest Maritime Center, Port Townsend, WA. Port Townsend is a fun destination (www.enjoyPT.com). The Maritime Center is a fantastic facility (www.nwmaritime.org) and carries Port Townsend’s reputation as the West Coast’s wooden boat capital (www.woodenboat.org) to new heights. The weekend of June 19-20 will be filled with activity, so start making plans to join the fun.

Course map and GPS points are now available on our map page. This will be a Class 3 race, using the Sound Rowers scale, and there will be significant seamanship and navigation challenges worthy of a championship event. Competitors will row or paddle in ocean conditions that can change very quickly (weather cam is http://www.cityofpt.us/webcam/OutsideCam.asp). Occasionally the water can be very rough, with strong winds and surf. While we have some powerboats on the course to monitor checkpoints, we do not provide boat escorts. You should expect to be out of their sight and fully independent most of the time. Unless you have solid experience in difficult conditions with the boat you plan to use, you should not enter this event. Always plan an escape path to safety, and if you encounter any problems along the way, pull out and call race officials to let us know you have withdrawn from the race. The orderly, safe and sportsmanlike conduct of this event is your personal responsibility.

All human-powered boats are welcome in the race, so there will be outrigger canoes, surf skis and kayaks as well as rowing shells, wherries and a few peddle boats. It will be a spectacular mass start! The Race Director reserves the right to disallow any boat that is judged unsafe for the conditions on race day, so boats with self-bailing and self-rescue capacity are preferred.

The local host club for NAOWRC 5 is the Rat Island Rowing and Sculling Club (www.ratislandrowing.citymax.com). The race is also being sponsored by Sound Rowers and Paddlers .  Both clubs are also hosting a shorter, less-exposed race on Saturday the 19th, the Rat Island race, that will be an 8-mile long warmup for Sunday’s championship (for details go to www.soundrowers.org and click on the link to Rat Island on the race calendar).

Online registration has been setup  on RegattaCentral. In addition, the Rat Island club will be coordinating boat loans and housing with host families, if you need that support. To initiate matching you with a boat or host family, use the pre-registration provided here (http://www.openwaterracing.com).  Port Townsend has many B&Bs and motels, plus there is camping and a hostel at the very convenient Fort Worden State Park (www.parks.wa.gov/fortworden).

The Maas Boat Company is the Presenting Sponsor of the championship race. So far, Evergreen Rowing LLC and the North American Rowing Association/Mariner Insurance have signed on as Platinum Sponsors. Sound Rowers is subsidizing the post-race meal and awards ceremony. The Northwest Maritime Center is a Silver Sponsor.

NAOWRC Classes: Men’s single, Women’s single, Men’s double, Women’s double, Mixed double. The classes for single and double shells also have an age break at 50 and length break at 21 feet. While ribbons will be awarded for the latter classes, Championship trophies will only be awarded to the winning shells in the open classes.

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