Thursday, August 1, 2013
Exmouth Rowing Club’s Ali Martineau was in Britain’s victorious Royal Canoe Club team that won the ladies event in La Porquerollaise, a 65km
offshore Polynesian canoe race out of Toulon.
Martineau, from Exe Pilates at the Martineau Chiropractic Clinic on Imperial Road, was initially invited to compete for a place in the team.
Her competitors (now her teammates) for a place included two Olympic silver medallists.
After a year of training that led to her paddling her single-seater outrigger canoe many miles every day throughout the year (even capsizing in Exeter Canal in midwinter!), and a rigorous selection process, she was offered a place in the team.
The Royal Canoe Club entry beat all the French Ladies teams, several mixed teams and even many of the mens’ teams.
The race took over six hours out into the Mediterranean paddling 65km around Porquerolles Island and back to Toulon.
The teams of ten race in six-person outrigger canoes, exchanging crew members throughout the race by dropping replacements in the water ahead of the canoe!
Those to be replaced throw themselves out of the canoe on one side as the replacements haul themselves in from the other side.
In September the Royal Canoe Club ladies team are going to the Hawaiian Islands, where the races originated, for the Na Wahine O Ke Kai.
Last year, over 700 ladies took part in the race, many canoes capsized in huge seas before even getting to the start of the race, but 71 canoes finished
the gruelling race across the open ocean from Molokai to Oahu.
This year the British team hope to become the first from these shores to win the Na Wahine O Ke Kai.