Rotto 2014 - Do I need a paddler?

helengheleng Hertfordshire, EnglandMember
edited February 2014 in General Discussion
I have just found out from my skipper that he has not managed to find a paddler for me for Rotto on 22nd Feb. I have read that paddlers are not compulsory, but highly recommended. I am tempted to go without a paddler as I had no problems in the EC without a paddler, but Rotto is a totally different ball game.

I am hoping to be amongst the faster women, which I would hope will keep me away from the majority of other boat traffic, but no doubt some speedy men and duos will catch up.

I would appreciate any advice or thoughts from others who have done or been involved with Rotto. Alternatively, if anyone knows of a paddler who might be available, please get in touch.


  • Hi,

    I've done Rotto 3 times - once as duo, twice solo. In my view the paddler is critical for navigation, feeding and safety.

    Your boat sets the course, but unlike the Channel, you're not out there on your own -even if youre fast! In total there can be about 600 boats on the day! it can get difficult for the boat to stay right beside you. It's easier for the paddler to follow the boat and you just stay beside your paddler. As the fast men, duos and relays overtake you, the paddler is great for safety too.

    In my experience there are always a lot of paddlers available in the last few weeks (they don't like to commit early) but suddenly with the hype of the swim building they all think that it would be fun and put up their hands as a paddler to help. Keep your eye on the Rotto website forum and troll through last year's post and contact paddlers who have offered their services in previous years. if they cant, ask if they know anyone. offer to buy beers and food ...I'm sure you will get someone.

    It a good community in WA, Im sure if you ask enough people you will find one.

  • helengheleng Hertfordshire, EnglandMember
    Hi AV!

    Apologies for not responding sooner. I decided to go without paddler to avoid last minute stress, my support boat had no problem finding me as I used a tow-float at the start to enable them to easily identify me.

    I successfully completed in 5hrs 33mins, so didn't have an issue with too many people overtaking (especially as the fast men were in the same wave and the duos/relays didn't start until about 45mins/hour later). To be honest, I wouldn't have done it any differently, and saved myself the cost of a paddler too, so all is good!!

  • RohanRohan Member
    edited April 2014
    I too did the Rottnest race this year, solo, without a paddler. My support boat was a 5m centre-console, hard bottomed inflatable. The driver could reach the esky and then to me. A paddler was not required.

    My only problem, being paddler-less, was that a 10-metre boat with rescue in large letters down the side said that we were disqualified and had the leave the race because we had no paddler.

    We ignored the request. They were wrong and weren't aware of the rules. 30-minutes later they came back and apologised.

  • helengheleng Hertfordshire, EnglandMember
    Rohan, I cannot believe they tried to make you leave the race, but pleased to hear you ignored them. I hope you made a complaint to the organisers - I would have been furious!

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