The Adopt-a-Paddler Landcrew – Trish Beat

Landcrew Trish Beat (blue top) and Marni supporting three-man crew
Bob, Phil and disabled paddler Emma in the 2017 Classic

Classic rules require there to be land support for every paddler, whether that be a club supporting its paddlers communally, or individuals supporting their family or friends in individual canoes. Trish Beat has never paddled, but knows much of the river better than most paddlers after landcrewing for her daughter Mardi for 15 plus years. Not only that, she has often adopted other landcrew-less paddlers and done the same wonderful support job that Mardi enjoys. Read her story for what the landcrewing role can be like…

I’ve been landcrew for about 15 years and each year I find more things that I enjoy.
The main thing is being part of an event where I meet so many interesting and active people without having to be active myself, and knowing that they are raising money for the Bone Marrow Foundation.
On the Saturday I help with getting the kayak through scrutineering then off to the hamburger shop in Windsor for lunch and a relaxing afternoon talking with others while waiting for the start. That’s an amazing sight. So much enthusiasm knowing they have 111km ahead of them -- mostly in the dark although I believe it is beautiful with the stillness of the night and a moon shining on the water and cliffs.
After seeing my paddlers start, I then drive to Sackville where I can sit and relax on the riverbank with many of the other land crews. The local Rural Fire brigade often have a barbeque and tea or coffee for sale so it is a good chance to support them while watching the sun set over the river and, of course, watching the faster paddlers pass by. Mardi rarely stops there but I always have some warm soup and something for her to eat just in case.
From there I head off to Wiseman’s Ferry where I set up to wait until about midnight for Mardi. It always amazes me that there are so many people there in the middle of the night having fun socializing while waiting for their paddlers.
There’s always a great atmosphere, with everyone discussing how their paddlers are going, and any problems they have had on the way. On one occasion I was speaking to a paddler whose land crew hadn’t arrived (which upset him), so I gave him a mug of soup and a couple of chicken salad rolls and a peeled orange to take with him so that he could continue on. I always have spares of everything ‘just in case’.
It’s on the road again to Mooney Mooney to watch the fastest of the paddlers finish and then wait for Mardi who usually arrives just after I’ve watched a beautiful sunrise over the water.
Almost every paddler arrives with a big smile and great satisfaction that they have completed the paddle. It’s quite a feat.
As far as things to take, I always have a spare waterproof torch and batteries, extra warm clothes for my paddler, a chair and blanket, a good first aid kit, a small gas stove and billy, a supply of canned soup, bread rolls, a barbeque chicken and salad, bananas, nut and muesli bars, some chocolate, a pre-peeled orange in a cliplock bag, and of course warm clothes for myself as it can get pretty cold on the riverbank overnight. It’s also wise to have a distinctive small light at Wiseman’s so that the paddler can find where to pull in. It can get a bit crowded at times.