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Course Description

Course Description and Race Rules

Course DescriptionRace Course Map

 

PLEASE NOTE: This course description and accompanying map  includes references to photos. Please click on the photo reference in the text below or an area of the race course on the map to see what would be your view and landmarks from that point forward. The orange triangles in the photos represent the buoys (either large or small) that will be placed on the morning of the event.

 

The Beach-to-Beach Power Swim will be conducted as four simultaneous events:

 

Short course swim for solo swimmers from Maho Beach to Cinnamon Beach (approximately 1 mile)

Intermediate course swim for solo swimmers from Maho Beach to Trunk Beach (approximately 2¼ miles)

Long course swim for solo swimmers from Maho Beach to Hawksnest Beach (approximately 3½ miles)

Long course swim for three-person relay teams from Maho Beach to Hawksnest Beach (approximately 3½ miles). The relay team transition points will be at Cinnamon Beach and Trunk Bay Beach

General Notes:

 

a) This course presents several navigational challenges so it is vital that competitors review this course description carefully as well as study the map of the course. Although the course is marked, it is the responsibility of every swimmer to know the course. 

b) Buoys will be placed specifically for this event. These are small (20" round yellow buoys marking the entrance to exit chutes; (30”) orange triangular buoys and larger (4’-5’) red/orange yacht racing buoys as gates and navigational buoys. These large red/orange yacht racing buoys will be used to aid in navigation for the longer stretches 

c) Swimmers should disregard the USCG or NPS permanent buoys (white cylindrical boat exclusion buoys, white or blue boat mooring buoys, etc). Swimmers should note that these buoys are hard and the buoys themselves as well as their up-lines are likely to have barnacles and other marine growth that can cause abrasions or other injuries and swimmers should avoid contact with them. 

d) Swimmers should always keep the single buoys (either the small orange triangular buoys or the large red/orange yacht racing buoys) on their left. 

e) When two buoys (in any combination of sizes) are near each other they are to be considered “gates”. Swimmers must always swim between these paired buoys, ie, through the gates. 

f) Any swimmer who deviates from the course (e.g. misses a gate or cuts a buoy) will be redirected by a kayaker, or disqualified from the official race finish. 

g) This course description will be periodically updated so competitors should check this site often. 

h) The final course description and instructions will be given at the pre-race meeting and will take precedence over the information provided here or from any other source. However, it is CRITICAL that all swimmers (relay and individuals) are familiar with the course in advance of race day.

 

All swimmers will follow the same course, so it is probably easiest to describe the course by the three legs of the relay:

 

1. Maho – Cinnamon (approx 1 mile):

 

The race will begin on the beach, at the dinghy channel at the north end of Maho Beach

Swimmers will go out through the dinghy channel and turn left around the small orange triangular buoy (Photo 1)

Swimmers will proceed south (swimming parallel to Maho beach) towards a gate at the end of the beach

Swimmers should go through the gate and turn right, away from Maho Beach towards America Point (Photo2)

Swimmers will round America Point, (Photo3) and swim to the area between Cinnamon Beach and Cinnamon Cay (Photo 4).  Note that swimmers will be swimming closer to Cinnamon Beach than to Cinnamon Cay.  At this point, the swimmers path depends upon which course they are doing (Photo5) and are outlined as follows:

Short course solo swimmers: swim towards the yellow banner on shore and between the two yellow buoys into the finishing chute. They will exit the water in the finishing chute and end their race when crossing the finish line under the yellow banner on shore. Remember: your race and time end when you cross the finish line, not when you stop swimming or exit the water.

Long course relay swimmers: swim towards the yellow banner on shore and between the two yellow buoys into the finishing chute. They will exit the water in the finishing chute and proceed to the relay tagging area identified on shore, where the second relay swimmer will be stationed and an exchange (tag their second swimmer) will be made.

 

Intermediate and Long course solo swimmers: swim between Cinnamon Cay and Cinnamon Beach, keeping to the right (SW) of the short course finish/relay exchange area. Long and Intermediate course solo swimmers pass through a gate defined by the two orange triangular buoys in the area between Cinnamon Cay and Cinnamon Beach.

2. Cinnamon – Trunk (approx 1.25 miles):

 

Intermediate and Long course solo competitors and the Leg 2 relay swimmers will head through a gate (Photo 5) in the area between Cinnamon Cay and Cinnamon Beach.

A water/aid station (a small boat staffed with volunteers) will be stationed past the gate, west of Cinnamon Cay.

Swimmers will proceed west, heading towards a small orange buoy in the middle of Cinnamon Bay and a large red/orange buoy off Peter Bay Point and Windswept Point (Photo6).

Swimmers will round Peter Bay Point and Windswept Point, keeping ALL red/orange buoys on their left. Note that the course is well seaward of the point (or land) as the near shore waters contain very shallow reefs that are quite hazardous (Photo 7). Remember: keep all single red/orange buoys TO YOUR LEFT!!!!!

Swimmers will continue around Windswept Point and then between Windswept Point and Trunk Cay, keeping the red/orange buoys on their left and Trunk Cay on their right and swim towards the finishing area on the beach. Similar to the relay exchange area at Cinnamon Cay, there will be a relay exchange area at this location and a gate for the long course swimmers to swim through (Photo 8).

Intermediate course solo swimmers: swim around the orange triangular buoys (keeping them on their left) towards the yellow banner on shore and between the two yellow buoys into the finishing chute. They will exit the water in the finishing chute and end their race when crossing the finish line under the yellow banner on shore. Remember: your race and time end when you cross the finish line, not when you stop swimming or exit the water.

 

Long course relay swimmers: swim around the orange triangular buoys (keeping them on their left), towards the yellow banner on shore and between the two yellow buoys into the finishing chute. They will exit the water in the finishing chute and proceed to the relay tagging area identified on shore, where the third relay swimmer will be stationed and an exchange (tag their third swimmer) will be made.

Long course solo swimmers: swim between Trunk Cay and Trunk Beach, keeping to the right (NW) of the relay exchange area. Long course solo swimmers pass through a gate defined by the two orange triangular buoys in the narrow area between Trunk Cay and Trunk Beach.

 

3. Trunk – Hawksnest (approx 1.25 miles):

 

Long course solo competitors and the Leg 3 relay swimmers will head towards a gate in the narrow area between Trunk Cay and Trunk Beach (Photo 8).

The second and final water/aid station (small boat staffed with volunteers) will be stationed past the gate, to the west of Trunk Cay.

Swimmers will proceed west, heading towards a small orange buoy in the middle of Trunk Bay and a large red/orange buoy off Perkins Cay (Photo 9).

Swimmers will round Perkins Cay and Peace Hill, keeping the orange triangular buoys on their left (Photo 10).

Swimmers will continue to bear left and proceed towards Gibney/Hawksnest Beach, through a gate consisting of 2 orange triangular buoys at the far eastern end (left-hand side when in the water facing the beach) of Hawksnest Bay and turn right and swim towards the yellow banner marking the finish line on Hawksnest Beach (Photo 11) and (Photo 12). Note that this is not the shortest distance from Perkins Cay/Peace Hill to the finish at Hawksnest Beach.

Swimmers will exit the water between the two yellow buoys into the finishing chute and proceed (run) to a finish line under the banner on the shore (Photo 13). Remember, your time (thus official race finish place) will end when you cross the finish line ON SHORE, not when you stop swimming!

Safety Notes:

 

a) This is an open water swim course. Each entrant is responsible for his or her own safety and knowledge of the course. Please review these notes and maps IN DETAIL prior to race day. 

b) Much of the race will be swum over coral reefs. Swimmers should keep to a depth of at least four (4) feet over the reefs. Do not touch or stand on any coral. 

c) Swimmers should exercise extreme caution when rounding America Point, Peter Bay Point, Windswept and Perkins Cay/Peace Hill, particularly if there is any surge. Peter Bay Point and Windswept can be particularly hazardous and swimmers should exercise extra caution. 

d) Kayaks/Stand-up Paddlers (SUPs) will accompany swimmers to provide floatation devices and other assistance to swimmers in distress. Safety support boats, with St. John Rescue personnel, and Park Service patrol boats will back up the kayaks to provide emergency assistance if necessary. If you need assistance, remove your swim cap and wave it in the air to catch the attention of the nearest kayaker. If you can, proceed towards the kayak/SUP; otherwise wait for the kayak/SUP to come to you. Note that once you hold on to a kayak, SUP, buoy or safety boat, you are out of competition. 

e) Kayaks/SUPs may provide navigational assistance at any potentially confusing or hazardous point and will attempt to control nearby boat traffic crossing the course. However, swimmers are responsible for their navigation. Also, swimmers should be aware of their surroundings and any motorized or sailboat traffic around them at all times.

   

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