13.2 mile race starts at 10:00 am at the Blockade Runner on the Atlantic Ocean Side. There is a beach start and finish. Paddlers round a buoy after the start, left shoulder, and head north toward Mason’s Inlet. Participants round a second buoy left shoulder outside Mason’s inlet and head into the inlet which leads to the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). At the ICW, paddlers head south (left) down a long stretch of ICW to Palm Tree Island or what locals call the Diminishing Republic where they turn East/left into Lee’s Cut. They paddle approximately a mile to Bank’s Channel past the Blockade Runner and the Coast Guard Station to Masonboro Inlet where they turn east/left, out the inlet and the two jetties and into the Atlantic. After exiting the inlet, paddlers turn north and complete the race by rounding the same start buoy on the left shoulder and surfing into the finish.
- 9:45 Graveyard 13 Mile Racers Meeting
- 10:00 Graveyard 13 Mile long boat Race Start
- 10:03 Graveyard 13 mile 12’6 and 14’ men start
- 10:06 Graveyard 13 mile 12’6 and 14’ women start
The Tide: Low Tide is at 10:49am
The tide will be going from high to low at race start, meaning it will be dropping or going out from the waterways, streams, rivers and marshes out the inlets to the ocean. At 10:49, it will be low tide. It will be a slack tide at that time meaning there will be no incoming or outgoing current. I will suggest without any scientific backing that paddlers will see outgoing current even after 10:49 in the inlets. I think the tide charts are wrong. I’m the only one.
The current will be weak by the time we reach the inlets, but will increase as the incoming tide starts to gain strength. The longer you take, the more likely you will be affected by the incoming tide.
Be prepared to go in either direction
The direction Graveyard race is called the morning of the race prior to the Harbor Island race. If there are whitecaps goign north, we go north or counter-clockwise. If there are whitecaps headed south, we go south or clockwise. In the absence of a downwind ocean leg, we will choose the fastest course. Three out of four race directors are paddling tomorrow. They won’t want to pick the more difficult one. I promise you.
The general rule of thumb is to take the most direct line in the absence of current. Second, when there is current with you, stay in the middle. Lastly, when there is current against you, stay to the sides. For the Graveyard, that would mean hugging the docks, but not going under them (disqualification) and remaining in the eddies when you are against the tide and getting out into the current when you are with the tide or current.
Study the map and see the major areas of current change. These are at Palm Tree Island or what the locals call the Diminishing Republic. It is a low tide island where Lee’s Cut on the north side of the island meets the ICWW, where the ICWW meets Masonboro Inlet and where you turn onto Banks Channel and back to the Hotel and finish line. Think corners and intersections.
Watch your GPS devices. Be conscious of where you are paddling, the people around you and your current speed. If you are at zero miles per hour, do something differently. It’s not working. Go toward or away from the docks. Be creative.
Watch for these sand bars and oyster beds
There are quite a few areas where sand or oyster bars will be an issue.
If you need help, get help or get out
Water and air temperatures are above 70 degrees so there’s little chance of hypothermia. If you are in distress, wave your paddle above your head and let someone paddling near you know. There are safety boats. And you can get out and go to shore at any time. It’s a short walk back to the hotel and we can go pick up your board.
Do not touch the pilings on the docks or the bridge supports
We have a lot of oysters and barnacles in Wrightsville beach. Be careful. grabbing on to a piling might result in some good cuts and scratches as well as damage your board.
GET THERE EARLY. PARK EARLY.
Do not wait to get there and unload AND find parking for 8a. Be there by at least 7 at the latest to give you time to unload.
PARKING ON WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH
There are other, more fun things to talk about, but you need to know about parking. Unless you are staying at the Blockade Runner, you cannot park in their lot. You will have to park on the street. Here is a link to our parking page:
We strongly encourage you to set up park by phone before arriving and use that service. It is an app and it works great.
REMINDER: DOGS, SMOKING, and ALCOHOL
Please note that there are no dogs allowed on the Wrightsville Beach ocean-side beach strand. There are also no open containers of alcohol allowed on the beach.
BE COURTEOUS TO THE LOCALS
Wrightsville Beach is a small town. They are kind enough to let us have this event here each year and the vast majority are excited to have us here. But for some of the residents it can disruptive or inconvenient, so give them a break and cross at designated crosswalks, be conscious of traffic and smile. Try not to give anyone the bird or jaywalk with giant boards and expect cars to stop and get out of the way.
WATCH OUT FOR BOATS
We may be in a race, but boats still have the right of way. We will have Ocean Rescue, Coast Guard and Coast Guard Auxiliary there, and large portions of the race go through no wake zones, so there shouldn’t be an issue. Please don’t play chicken with a big boat. The bug always loses to the windshield.