This page gives new rafters a flavour of what to expect on the day. Although it may be obvious, you should take plenty of sunscreen, hydration fluids and snack bars on your raft and don’t forget a change of clothing at the finish. Please note that this event is not particularly disability or wheelchair friendly at the start which comprises a field used by livestock and is on a slope down to the river bank. However the finish area is good for all types of access.
Although you will have been given a start time in reality it is first ready, first away. You should aim to be at the start by 8am to give time to book in your team and make any adjustments to your craft. A basic but welcome breakfast may be purchased together with tea/coffee and soft drinks. Additionally, there are a couple of portable toilets available.
The race starts around 9am once all the safety crews are in position. The Formula 1 rafts launch first and all other rafts are queued in line once they have been checked for complying with the raft regulations. Some pictures of the organised chaos at the start are below.
Now it is time to get down to business. We have several Lions who will assist you down the launch bank and two more in the river to hold your raft whilst you alight….oh and you turn left!
Hampton Lucy weir…..
At the weirs the Sub Aqua teams are king so please follow all their instructions. They will hold your raft, using the piece of rope attached to the rear of the raft, and when they are happy it will go over the weir with minimal incident they will let go and you’re off again. We have canoes at the bottom of the weir to assist as required. Some fantastic drone footage of the weir in the 2016 race was taken by Simon Blinkhorne.
This part of the event is very peaceful and often sees faster rafts catching up with the slower ones. There could well be a lot of wildlife such as swans and herons in the park so please treat them all with the respect they deserve.
Again, we have a full diving team offering assistance as required. Just before the weir it is possible to stop and take on further supplies, but if you do this then please remember you are on private land so make certain you do not leave anything behind.
We have no pictures of the weir…….. so it shall remain a mystery…or not! Some video of the 2016 race was just received courtesy of Stratford Sub Aqua Club
Approaching Stratford you will join a lot of other river traffic comprising commercial cruisers and rowing boats who may or may not know how to row so please give them adequate space. DO NOT splash or interfere with them at all because we need the goodwill of the boat hirers. Just past the Royal Shakespeare Theatre you will hear a klaxon at the actual finish line but you have to continue a further 100 metres or so to disembark.
The finish field
You will be directed to a disembarkation point where you will remove yourselves and any kit to dry land. You will then be responsible for getting your raft out of the river and moved to a holding area but we MAY be able to offer assistance with this but do not assume we can. You will be very tired but must follow instructions to clear the river bank as quickly as possible. You will then need to move your raft to where your raft transport vehicle is parked and it is your responsibility to ensure everything is taken away on the day. You should be able to obtain a hot drink at the finish and you are very welcome to get a BBQ going and having something to eat and drink is essential, but please clear everything up when you have finished. A change of dry and warm clothing would be really good.
So there it is. LET YOUR CURIOSITY GET THE BETTER OF YOU AND DO SOMETHING FANTASTIC ON SUNDAY 23 JULY 2017.