Click here for a high resolution version of the route map.
Meandering between south Devon’s rolling hills, the river Dart offers breathtaking views, including several notable points of interest that are listed on the course map. While the elite racers may have their eyes focused firmly on the water or competitors ahead, the route provides recreational paddlers with some fabulous opportunities to take in the scenery.
The Start (TOTNES) will be adjacent to the Dart-Totnes rowing club. This area offers ample opportunities for spectators to witness the fantastic sight of 100s of SUP racers as they set off on the spectacular route to Dartmouth.
The challenge follows a lead boat and winds it’s way down the River Dart passing some very scenic areas.
After a long straight section of around 1.5km, the river meanders with a series of sharp turns left and right. There is no specific course and paddlers can choose their own line down the river. Note that a shorter distance isn’t necessarily faster, particularly if the fin sticks in the shallow mud! If in doubt keep away from the sides; the tidal flow is usually faster away from the edges anyway. After the last of this series of bends (Duncannon) the river opens out and it appears there is an option to go left or right. Go LEFT – as turning right is a dead-end (Bow Creek). A boat will be stationed at this point directing paddlers left but it may be called to help a distressed paddler so it’s useful to know the route in case it’s not there.
The long straight section of approx. 2km is called Longstream. It is exposed to most winds here and will be the most challenging part in the event of a breezy day (unless NW where it will be a joy!). At the end of this section the river bends around to the right at Dittisham. Whilst the natural line towards Dartmouth is to be on the right of the corner, take care not to cut too tight as it’s very shallow in this area. Leave at least 30 yards to your right from the river bank.
Ignore the wide lake-like area near Galpton to the left and aim straight between the many moored boats off Dittisham towards Greenway Quay. Where the river narrows again cut across to the right hand side and stay right all the way to Dartmouth. Be careful not to bear right down Old Mill Creek, which comes just after Noss Marina, (which is on the left). Aiming for the next marina in the distance on the right side of the river will keep you on course and the Higher Ferry is an indication of being very close to the finish.
Competitors must keep to the right of the river to avoid other river traffic and look out for the Starboard flags on the pontoon after the higher ferry. Finish line is between the pontoon and the fuel barge in the centre of the river. Pass to the RIGHT of the fuel barge or results will not be scored. Paddlers should continue through until hearing the finishing horn (one hoot per competitor).
On completing the course, paddlers must vacate the finish line area immediately to clear the way for more competitors coming through. There is a slipway back upstream by the Higher Dartmouth ferry. It is also important to be aware the ferry will be operating non-stop through the day – and a SUP rider and board will not fare too well in a collision. Don’t take any chances!
Course distance is approximately eight miles. Please do not rely on GPS tracker data for precise distance because this can vary +/- as much as 0.5 miles depending on how tight the rider chooses to take the corners.