American Canoe Association – Whitewater Open Canoe Downriver

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2009

The 2009 WWOCD will be held on the Lower Dead River. West Forks, Maine on July 1st – 5th, 2009.  The downriver race course will be from Spencer Rips to the access road below Lower Poplar Hill Falls section of the Dead River.  The downriver races will start at the put-in near Spencer Rips and finish approximately 12.6 miles downstream at the access road below Lower Poplar Hill Falls.  The sprint races will be on an approximately 1.2 mile portion of the lower half of the course starting at the put in below Lower Spruce Ledge and ending below Lower Poplar Hill Falls.  For the sprint races, competitors will start at one-minute intervals.  For the downriver races, competitors will start en mass by class.  It is estimated that competitors will take approximately 85 minutes to 120 minutes to complete the downriver course and 7 to 12 minutes to complete the sprint course, depending upon water level.  The 2009 race results are available here .

Course Descriptions: The Dead River is an interesting venue for whitewater open canoe racing.  The Spencer Rips to the Lower Poplar Hill Falls stretch of the river consists of about 29 Class II and III rapids.  The average drop is about 31 feet per mile and the expected releases are about 1,300 CFS.  The river is relatively remote, though there are multiple access points maintained privately by logging companies.  At the expected flow, the Dead River is more difficult than the French Broad, site of the 2008 Championships, and comparable in difficulty to the Youghiogheny River, site of the 2007 Championships.  A superb source of information about this section of the Dead River is the American Whitewater site, see:  http://www.americanwhitewater.org/content/River_detail_id_787_

Downriver Course: The downriver race will run from the standard put-in at Spencer Rips to the access road below Lower Poplar Hill Falls, constituting 12.6 miles of class II-III whitewater.  Named rapids in the first four miles include Spencer Rips, Quatro Wave Train, The Minefield, and Haydens Rapid.  Named rapids in the four miles downstream of the Gravel Pit access include Enchanted Rapid, Elephant Rock, and Pine Tree Beach Rapid.  The remaining rapids to the access road at the finish include Mile Long Rapid, Evil Nasty Hole, Upper and Lower Spruce Ledges, and Upper and Lower Poplar Hill Falls.  At normal flow, there are no mandatory portages, but many of the rapids can be portaged if a racer so chooses.  Any portage chosen should be studied since the banks can be rocky and slippery.  Racers may encounter some commercial rafting traffic.

The location of the races for the younger age group classes (10-12) and (13-15) will be determined at the time of the event depending upon current conditions.  Assuming there is median flow at the time of the event, however, these classes will race from the access road below Lower Poplar Hill Falls to Downtown West Forks, Maine (2.2 miles).  This stretch consists of fast moving water and class 1 rapids/riffles.

Sprint Course: The sprint races will cover approximately 1.2 miles of rapids, including both Upper and Lower Poplar Hill Falls.  Some runs are likely to encounter some commercial rafting traffic.

The ACA New England Division will be hosting the 2009 WWOCD event.  For more information visit:

http://www.canoe-newengland.org/