George Bass Marathon on home stretch

The Narooma veteran’s crew is dominating its division in the epic George Bass Surfboat Marathon finishing first in each of three legs so far.

The Tuross to Narooma stage on Tuesday saw Narooma win its first ever home leg with a big crowd on Narooma main beach to bring them home.

The 2013/2014 George Bass Surfboat Marathon started with great drama when a southerly buster forced organisers to shorten to first leg on Sunday.

Common sense prevailed and the crews were directed to end the race at Corrigans Beach rather than rounding the point to Moruya.

It’s the first time in 40 years that organisers of the world’s longest and toughest surfboat marathon have been forced to take such action.

Conditions were much improved on Monday for the 19km second leg from Moruya and Tuross and the Narooma men’s veterans team dominated the division finishing first both days and ahead of some of the open teams.

The men and women of Bermagui’s mixed team that is also rowing in the veterans division also did well finishing fifth on Day Two and Day Three.

Moruya Vikings won the first leg in the open men’s division ahead of Bulli, Moruya DBYD, Wollongong City (Ken) and Wollongong City (Rod).

The Narooma crew took out the first leg of the men’s veteran race ahead of Bulli, Queenscliff, Tathra, Northcliffe, Bermagui Mix and Pambula.

Moruya Met Caloundra won the first leg of the open women’s ahead of Torquay and Broulee Capitals.

Avalon was victorious in the women’s veterans ahead of Tathra and Anglesea.

Narooma’s Nick Ziviani finished fifth in the first leg of the ski paddle while Moruya’s Norm Lenehan came 11th.

In the second leg on Monday, Bulli came home in front with Moruya Vikings and Moruya DBYD on their tails.

The Vikings crew had won previously won 15 consecutive legs and were almost pipped by the other Moruya crew at the finish line.

In the Men’s Vets, Narooma came first again, looking forward to the leg into their hometown the next day.

Torquay beat Broulee Capitals home in the Open Women’s with Avalon Beach taking line honours in the Women’s Vets.

Conditions yesterday were perfect and Narooma again won its division, it’s first ever win on its home beach.

“The boys are rowing really well and are doing everything right,” sweep Brendan Constable said.

Constable said was the first George Bass where all eight rowers could row each day and Narooma had been doing full four-man crew changes every 20 to 25 minutes.

He thanks all the support crew including Cameron “Salty” Rowley, who drove his boat in support for the first three legs.

Narooma ski paddler Nick Ziviani had a good day on the third leg into Narooma finishing seventh after a horror day on the Tuross leg where he had an upset stomach finishing 12th.

“It is good water that I know well and I was rubbing the cunji on the rocks on the way down,” Ziviani said.

There were dramas for the Bermagui mixed veterans team with sweep Rob Shaw unavailable for two days due to work commitments.

Thankfully Chris Pike now from the Bronte surf club stepped in to sweep after the original replacement Neil Innes from Batemans Bay came down with a virus.

Bermagui also had to scramble for a support boat after its own experienced engine trouble, but thankfully Rob Pollock from Broulee came to the rescue driving a duck for the team on Tuesday.

Rower Warren Marshall said the good news was that Rob Shaw and the support boat would be back for the next leg into their home port.

“We’ve got a mix of four blokes and four girls and the girls are holding their own,” Marshall said.

Tuesday was also a big day for Tathra, who has raced in every George Bass since the event started but amazingly had never won a leg.

The women’s crew broke that drought finishing first in the Narooma leg in their boat “Zel” named after long-time club member Zel Caddy.

The Moruya open men’s crew was also happy with their performance into Narooma, even though they only rowed with six rowers.

“We’re travelling all right and taking it one day at a time,” sweep Chris Nicholson said.

“It really is a marathon effort with seven days of gruelling excitement.”

Nicholson was confident his crew could maintain their current third place in the division.

The marathon on Wednesday sees the rowers travel from Narooma to Bermagui, followed by the longest leg from Bermagui to Tathra.

The race then pulls into Pambula before the final leg into Eden on Saturday.

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