One Water Race is divided into five stages with each stage having one or more unknown checkpoints to be passed. It will be up to each team to choose the route they consider to be the best and fastest. A choice that must be made in consideration to weather, wind, waves, currents and terrain. Wrong choice can and will be absolutely crucial. Here’s a short guide of the course and its five stages.
STAGE 1 – Norrtälje
The island of Arholma is the last island before the open sea and the starting line is located at the former top secret coastal defense facility “Batteri Arholma”, strategically located by the sea on the northern tip of the island. The facility was built for the Cold War and was completed in 1968.
The Island of Arholma is also the place for our race basecamp, at beautiful Arholma Nord. Here is were the last race prep take place and the start of the race fires off.
Stage 1 – Norrtälje is the initial stage of the race and where the racers meet the terrain for the first time and encounter the first swim. It’s a high pace stage that features both large fairways and larger islands with long runs.
STAGE 2 – Österåker
The second stage and the shortest of them all. Stage 2 – Österåker contains a myriad of small islands and vast amounts of swimming. Keeping the pace and retaining the body temperature showed to be a challenge. This is where the racers met the darkness for the first time when entering night mode.
STAGE 3 – Värmdö
The longest of the stages, passing through the largest municipality in the archipelago, Värmdö. The terrain is characterized by both a series of larger islands with long runs and smaller islands with almost no vegetation making navigation an additional challenge.
Stage 3 – Värmdö covers the entire middle part of the archipelago all the way to the outer skerries making it the most diverse stage of the race and perfect for the race concept.
This is where the race starts to get interesting. Leaving the northern parts behind and entering the more inhabited areas of the outer archipelago and the natural reserve around Bokö Storö with impenetrable terrain, a.k.a “Hell island”.
The stage features both the complete darkness and a beautiful sunrise in the later part of the distance. The racers enter day two of racing were strategy and route choices become more important.
STAGE 4 – Haninge
Stage Haninge is mainly located in the outer part of the southern archipelago. This is where the race starts to get really tough and where the racer faces the reality of being taken off the race due to cut-off times.
The stage features large islands with long runs and long distances of swimming. This is also where the racers encounter the infamous Danziger Gatt, a 6km stretch of open sea often battered by rough weather and high waves.
STAGE 5 – Nynäshamn
The final stage features the finish line at the beautiful Landsort light house. At this stage the racers enter the third day of racing and sleep deprivation, and exhaustion will be apparent threats to the teams. The terrain is diverse with open sea crossings and small islands before reaching the island of Öja and the final lap to the finish line.
Only the toughest will make it this far…