How to navigate in open water swimrun races

Swimrun races with high swim/run ratio taking place in big open water, put high demand on the swimrunners ability to navigate. If the race is known to demonstrate changeable wind and current conditions, this skill becomes even more important.

If you do a coastal type race, it’s easy enough to navigate even though this most likely mean having to breathe on the coastal side during the swim. However, when swimming point-to-point races and over large open sea, there is the chance to deviate from the planned course without knowing it. Especially if the winds and currents are strong. This is the reality for many races, including ÖtillÖ.

What most racers usually tend to miss in island swimrun races is the fact that the current, despite the wind direction, tends to change and re-shape when passing an island or narrow gap. Usually also picking up in strength in certain areas.

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Hell’s Hop 2016: A weaterh to remember

Mark Cohen is sharing with us his experience at the first edition of Hell’s Hop, a swimrun in the Hebrides off the north west coast of Scotland.

I registered for Hell’s Hop, then told my mate Alan Kennedy I had signed us up! The prospect of racing in Eriskay and Uist was very exciting. It’s wild and remote.

We realised how wild and remote as soon as we left Glasgow airport. The plane to Barra, lands on the beach, if the weather’s ok! We then caught the last ferry to Eriskay before the ferries were cancelled for the rest of the day due to the crazy wind and rain. Some competitors never made it to the start line as they couldn’t get to the island. Some arrived just in the nick of time on the morning of the race.

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