Post-race communications update

11 April 2019

24 April 

1900 BST - Well what a disappointment the website turned out to be! Please accept our sincere apologies for its collapse over Easter. The technical fault which caused it to go down on Good Friday was quickly identified but because it involved the live timing/results feed it could not be fixed until the end of racing. We did manage to get a workable site up and running on Saturday. In the coming months we will revamp the website and come up with something much more robust.

Fortunately, we established and widely promoted our new official channels on Facebook and Twitter in the run-up to Easter, so we were able to continue communicating. We will provide data on all this activity in due course. Initial numbers look impressive.

Senior Doubles competitors will also be aware that we activated our mass-SMS (text messaging) service on several occasions overnight on Easter Saturday – when we received new information about bridge closures on the Tideway and after ordnance was discovered in Marlow, forcing us to send teams to marshal a compulsory portage around the bridge area there at short notice. We know paddlers and support crews appreciated being given live information from the DW Organisation mid-race.

We are keen to do better, of course. If you have any comments or observations about our communications activity or the race in general, please email the team at - everything will be fed back to the organising team for our post-race review.

Easter saw much incredible racing with many individual highlights, not least the victory of a mixed crew in the Senior Doubles, an amazing performance by a girls crew in taking third place in the Junior Doubles, the first high-kneeling C2 to finish the race. And some outstanding fund raising activity. Of course some of the most remarkable stories take a while to come to light. We will take the time to find and tell these stories over the coming days – please do share your photos and stories with us via email:

The weekend was marred by the death of a competitor, the first fatality in the history of the race. We continue to cooperate fully with the relevant authorities to establish the full facts of what happened. We extend our deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and club of the paddler.

18 April

2300 BST - No significant issues ahead of the start of racing on Good Friday. Weather looks promising, Devizes Wharf is all set up and ready, ground controller Keith Bennett has everything sorted there. 

First boats are due to depart at 0700 BST (these are the endeavour class, the non-competitive 'tour' of the DW course). 

Stages race paddlers "may" be required to wear lightsticks at Thames Young Mariners on Monday morning. The Umpires will make a decision on this over the weekend and, if required, the lightsticks will be handed out at boat check, to be worn on left hand shoulders. 

The DW safety team has flagged the temperature and dehydration as a potential issue. Support crews are urged to ensure their crews are appropriately hydrated - that means with electrolytes. Do not over-hydrate by forcing your crews to drink pints of water every hour, as excessive water can also be problematic on long endurance events - if in doubt check out the advice on the NHS website as to what 'appropriate' means. 

Support crews: sun cream, sun glasses and hats are the order of the day. 

1910 BST - We've had questions about status of demonstrations in London. Simple answer is we do not know what it will be like at 0600 on Sunday and Monday. The team setting up at Westminster say traffic is slow but passable. Westminster bridge is open. Parking may be more difficult. Allow more time seems best advice - but we'll know more closer to the time.  Watch this space.

1820 BST - Just over 12 hours to go before the first starts in the Stages Races. The weather forecast remains good, looks like Friday will be sunny with a gentle breeze. Maximum temperatures likely around 21-22 degrees. 

The DW Organisation meeting is at 2000 BST, we will update this page later this evening if anything significant emerges at that meeting. 


17 April 

1135 BST- Special DW money-off gear offer: Lifemarque are a partner of DW, they provide some of the kit on the compulsory kit list. They're offering DW entrants a code to buy gear at a discount - if you order today it will arrive in time for DW. Website is - enter the DW20 code at checkout on the Lifeventure and Lifesystems websites. (Many thanks, Lifemarque!) 

0925 BST - DW has a very international flavour this year. We're welcoming crews from the US, South Africa, Germany, Belgium, and the Netherlands. Any other overseas competitors we're not aware of? Get in touch! 

0920 BST - If your race story is newsworthy, please email: What stories are we missing? Summary of some of the competitor stories we are following:  

  • Fowey Canoe Club aiming for wins in different classes
  • GB Team paddlers Moule/Sharpe aim for a win in a good time (will conditions allow it?)
  • Military Veterans and Royal Marines Jon White and Lee Waters aiming to finish for the second time
  • Reporting our exclusive interview with DW record holders Brian Greenham and Tim Cornish (it's online, plus we have a much extended version in the DW programme, available free at the Wharf on Friday/Saturday)

0915 BST - BBC weather forecast is for temperatures "in the 20s" this weekend. Just a note to support crews: don't underestimate the risk of dehydration or sunburn - and that's just you. Your paddlers will need to be checked very carefully throughout the day. Make sure they're drinking plenty. And when night falls, make sure they have sufficient clothing. The change in temperature will be another challenge for them. 


16 April

1700 BST - A full MEDIA PACK is now available for journalists following the DW canoe race. This includes a MEDIA ADVISORY, several press releases, and backgrounders. Please note, high-resolution imagery is available on request. Details here (opens in new window). 

0820 BST - Last call: Good Friday afternoon kit checks for early starts on Easter Saturday.  If you're a senior double planning to leave before 8am on Easter Saturday you can request a Good Friday afternoon kit check from 5-7pm. If you want one of the slots, write to Richard Lovell, the Chief Umpire at with your name, boat number and predicted start time.


15 April 

1400 BST - The Crofton Beam Engines Car Park will be open on Good Friday and Easter Saturday and all support vehicles are instructed to park there. Do not park on the road, which will be coned. The entire area will be marshalled. Infractions will be penalised.

1350 BST - DW Organisation publishes the 2019 Race State. The Race State for the DW 2019 race is YELLOW. As previously reported ( DW has a series of contingency plans which depend on the likely race conditions. These conditions are defined in a series of Race States from Green ("no action required") through to Black and Cancellation ("Extreme/adverse weather and water conditions"). 

This means no crew self assessment is required. Competitors are, however, advised of a possible cold, 12-15 mph easterly wind. Water levels and flows are low with no significant rainfall forecast. If the forecast improves and wind speeds drop, we could revert to Green. All paddlers, supporters, and DW volunteers are reminded of  the possibility of sunburn. 

1300 BST - We are getting some it has to be said "stressed" correspondence from South African canoe fans telling us in no uncertain terms that the Dusi is the 'world's toughest canoe race'. Well, that may be so - but the debate about toughness is just that, a debate. And DW's claim to be the 'world's toughest NONSTOP canoe race' stands, in our view anyway. The Dusi is actually a stages race with some truly epic parts, and very long arduous portages. But paddling 125 miles nonstop? That's tough. And that's DW. 

0905 BST - Weather forecast for Easter looks good - if you're standing on the bank watching, that is. 19-20 degrees on Saturday could be tough for crews who've trained all winter in less than ideal conditions. 

0900 BST - We are aware of some inconsistencies in the entries list for the Junior Doubles, mainly in terms of  the clubs for which crews appear to be entered. Please let team leaders deal directly with our entries secretary rather than everyone inundating him with emails. Thank you. 


14 April 

2000 BST - We have our Instagram channel going. It's at dwrace125 on Instagram. Hashtag for the race is #DWCANOERACE - for all platforms. If you take photos on DW (preparation, mid-race, support crews, etc) please do upload them to social media and hashtag the race so everyone can see them! 

2000 BST - Official photographers. Many of you have been in touch. To avoid doubt, you must be accredited with me if you want to be given privileged access on course. This means collecting and wearing a blue 'media bib' so you can be identified as a photographer and given the relevant access, especially at the start, finish and many of the portages. No bib will likely mean no access. Please contact me at for details of when to pick up a bib. 

Please note, official photographer status is mainly for the news media. 

1950 BST - the Corn Exchange in Devizes will be available for accommodation for race-goers who want it. Please contact for details. 

1945 BST - entries are now live on the DW website, earlier than we expected. Please check you're correctly listed. We have had some queries about club affiliation. You are reminded about the rules concerning your designated club. Please read the relevant rules if you're in any doubt. (Any issues with entries, contact


12 April

1800 BST - Apologies for garbled description of the location of Temple Footbridge earlier. I blame it on the fact that when I approach it in a boat I tend not to make huge sense. But earlier advice stands - it's closed over Easter. 

1700 BST - I expect to have details of parking around Crofton fairly shortly.  And some other portage parking opportunities to come. Watch this space over the weekend. 

1400 BST - The Environment Agency has emailed us about the continued closure of Temple Footbridge, part of the Thames path and sometimes used by DW support crews. The bridge was closed following a recent inspection, which identified issues needing investigation.  The EA says these investigations will last beyond Easter. If you were planning on using Temple, you can't for now. 

0900 BST Hammersmith Bridge long-term closure for all vehicles. You can still cross on foot or bicycle. If you're coming from the A3, you'll need to divert to Putney Bridge. If you're coming up the A4 from Chiswick Bridge it probably won't make much difference in the middle of the night (non-stop race) or at the crack of dawn (stages race) but you can probably expect a bit more congestion. More details on the BBC news website.

0800 BST A week to go to the Stages race starts in Devizes! 


11 April 

1700 BST - Sending out press release and media advisory to national/regional and local media. Growing interest in the race story. If you have high-resolution preparation and race photos you would like to share with us (with a credit), please email them to 

1600 BST - This is going to be our news and information service between now and the end of the DW canoe race. I'll be posting useful stuff here that will be relevant as we count down the 7 days to race start. I'll also be publishing on our Official Facebook Page ( and on Twitter (

Please, if you have news updates for me, you can email me ( or message me via Instant Messenger, Facebook, Twitter (@dwcanoerace or @guydresser). 

If you have issues with your entry, please email the entries secretary, not me - it's Stuart West and his email is 

If you have umpiring questions, please contact the Chief Umpire, not me - it's Richard Lovell and his email is 

 1300 BST - Welcome to the Devizes to Westminster Live Blog. My name is Guy Dresser and I'm the head of communications for the DW canoe race.