2013 Dispatch #3
By now you're starting to get the idea. The more time you spend in your boat vs. on shore, the further you go each day. And the further you go each day, the more likely you are to finish the race and finish well. No day is more crucial than Day 1... so we can assume you've got plans to go at least as far as Hills Island. But in your planning and staring at maps, it may be helpful to know what else lies beyond Hills Island as options for Day 1. Here is our list of spots where we plan to have safety boats on station for Day 1/Night 1.
Hills Island (mile 281)
Grand Pass sandbar (mile 272)
Miami (mile 263)
Mouth of the Grand River (mile 250)
Dalton Access (mile 239)
Glasgow (mile 226)
Franklin Island Access (mile 195)
Katfish Katy's (mile 180)
Cooper's Landing (mile 170)
Jeff City (mile 144)
Consider these options in your planning process. Might be handy to have some notes on your map about where these are so that as you pass Hills Island, feeling good, you know you're only 9 miles from the next safety boat downstream. And once you get there, it's only 9 more miles to Miami.
Safety boats stationed at locations other than checkpoints will be instructed to leave anchor lights on all night so you can spot them. You're welcome to visit their island or sandbar for a rest. Most will have fires going and be generally hospitable.
Taking the race in small bites is good both physically and mentally. Rather than stare down the 18 miles from Hills Island to Miami, consider a 9 mile chunk. Or, the 37 miles from Miami to Glasgow can be broken into 13, 11 and 13. Not to mention myriad other places to pull over and catch some rest. Assuming normal water levels, there will be lots of sandbars and shoreline.