The next OkoumeFest Ultra Marathon is
Saturday, May 16, 2015. There is a mandatory
equipment inspection and captains meeting the day before on Friday, May 15, 2015. All Newbies (anyone who has not completed a previous Challenge) will have a skill assessment on Inspection Day. Refer to the schedule for time/date specifics.
OFUM cost is $195.00
for the captain and $195.00 for
a crew member if any.
Billing starts March 1.
Registration ends April 5 at noon.
Payment deadline is April 5 at noon.
Due to the exteme commitment for this challenge late registration and/or late payments will not be allowed. We recommend that you commit to this race early so you have plenty of time for planning, training, and preparation. Pay early in the payment cycle. You can get a full refund up until March 31 at noon. No refunds after that
date and time.
All WaterTribe events are dangerous events as defined by law and common sense. You
are responsible for your own safety. You must read and understand
Rules and Warnings
before you register for this event. Although the warnings read
specific to Florida, they all apply to the Chesapeake Bay environment and must be
read and understood for this event.
You might want to consider arriving a couple of days early to take part in the associated Chesapeake Light Craft OkoumeFest being held on May 15-16.
CLC OkoumeFest 2013
The OFUM distance is roughly 64 nautical miles depending on your course selection.
This challenge is a circular race in a clockwise direction with start and finish
at the same location at Camp Wright and Matapeake State Park. Wye Island must be circumnavitated
and there will be SPOT checkpoints to insure that path. There is an overall maximum
time limit of approximately 2 days and 5 hours.
Here is a nice chart to show the overall course. This chart is not intended for
You'll want NOAA charts 12272 and 12270 or their equivalent for full detail.
Note that the course encloses Neck Island, Wye Island and Kent Island. In addition
to CP1 at Wye Island there will be some SPOT checkpoints required at key points
along the course to insure these islands are enclosed in your course. Other course
decisions will be up to you.
1. The start and finish is at Matapeake State Park. OkoumeFest runs all day Saturday.
The beach is huge, so there’s plenty of room to set up and stage your boat for the
Sunday morning start. Camping will be available through CLC. More about starting,
finishing, camping, and parking at Matapeake soon.
2. The first leg takes you north under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. This is open water
and can be very rough depending on the strength of the prevailing SW or NW breezes,
especially where it piles into the Chester River. You'll transit a narrow cut
through Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge, beneath a bridge with a fixed 6-foot vertical
clearance and 23-foot horizontal clearance.
3. South through Kent Narrows. This takes you under a drawbridge with an 18-foot
vertical clearance when closed. The tidal flow through Kent Narrows is frightening.
You will transit the Narrows with great caution and attention to the tide tables.
4. Continue south down Eastern Bay into the Wye River, to circle Wye Island Taking
the north side first on you way to the checkpoint. You'll have to go under a
bridge with a fixed vertical clearance of 10 feet.
5. The only checkpoint in the race is at a park pavilion, part of the Wye Island
National Resources Management Area. (I am working on the logistics of that, and
there's a small possibility that the checkpoint location will change slightly.)
6. Head back across Eastern Bay into the open Chesapeake, and north to finish at
Matapeake. This is open water and liable to be quite rough depending on wind strength
Green markings denote possible stealth-camping areas. Like just about any place
except Maine or the Sea of Cortez, Chesapeake Bay shoreline is mostly privately
owned. Those who can sleep aboard their boats (or go without sleep) obviously have
an advantage. That said, resourceful kayakers who practice stealthy, zero-impact
camping will find beaches and shoreline where they can rest and refuel in these
A. Eastern Neck Island has a mostly marshy shoreline, with countless eelruts and
gunkholes. There are broad sandy beaches on the southern shoreline, unreachable
except by boat.
B. Marshy Creek is the home of the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center. Anecdotally,
I'm told that shore camping is available there, but they are touchy and this
would require advance clearance. It's a protected anchorage for sailors but
offers less to stealthy shore campers. I will investigate possibilities.
C. Much of Wye Island is parkland. It features many secluded beaches, eelruts, and
gunkholes for the stealth camper. Stay away from the manicured lawns of the mansions
(not hard) and you're essentially invisible.
D. The eastern side of Tilghman Point has excellent shelter for small boat cruisers
and beaches with stealth-camping possibilities.
The OFUM is run as an unsupported, expedition-style adventure races for kayaks,
canoes and small boats. Your safety and well being are completely up to you. You should be an expert kayaker and/or sailor before you consider
Although this event is not an ocean race, the location
is coastal, subject to the same weather patterns and conditions one finds beyond
the narrow barrier islands and impacting the shallow sounds./p>
Unsupported means that there are no safety boats or support crews to help you during
the race. You are not allowed to have a support crew follow you or meet you during
the race. It is okay to have family or friends meet you at the official checkpoint,
but they cannot provide anything other than emotional support. See the official
WaterTribe Rules for more details.
Expedition-style means that you should carry the same type of equipment and supplies
that you would carry on a major expedition. Camping equipment, food, water, safety,
communication means, etc. is required. Please read the WaterTribe Challenge Equipment
List (in the Rules PDF), which details required equipment for a Challenge. Please
choose your equipment needs carefully. Everyone must also carry all safety equipment
as specified by the Coast Guard, local regulations and common sense.
Each participant in this event is required to have a PLB attached to your lifejacket.
You must wear your lifejacket while on the water at all times.
In addition, all boats in this challenge are also required to carry a SPOT device.
The tracking subscription is not required, but it is very handy and highly recommended.
Please read the instructions for Spot Setup and Usage for WaterTribe events.
Although this is a race, many participants are more interested in cruising and adventure.
Whether you are a cruiser or racer is up to you; time allows for both. Just getting
to the starting line is a major accomplishment, and many starters will not finish.
As the English settlers claimed more territory around the Chesapeake Bay area the
Native American's movements became more restricted by foreign laws, badges and guns.
By the early 1660s the badges became silver and copper medallions with the names
of the towns enscribed on them. These badges were given to the local Chiefs to issue
to their messengers. The messengers were required to wear a badge which would identify
them and give them the authority to travel in safety outside of their tribe's territory.
This replica of the Appamattock Indian Trade Badge is based on the original, which
is in the collection of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and on display in the
Jamestown Settlement museum galleries.
WaterTribe recommends that the pin be removed and the badge attached to your own
Camping is available and can be arranged via Chesapeake Light Craft.
Gear Inspection -
Friday, May 15, 2015
Is Mandatory .
Saturday, May 16, 2015 to
Sunday, May 17, 2015.
The meetup location for the equipment inspection, start and finish of the OkoumeFest Ultra Marathon is Camp Wright
in Stevensville, Maryland. This is a great location with camping sites, cabins, and other amenities. You can make reservations
by calling their Rental Coordinator at (410) 643-4171.
The race will start in Matapeake State Park. The Matapeake launch beach is just south of Camp
On the morning of the start you will transport your boat to the Matapeake Beach at sunrise. Then take your car back
to Camp Wright for the duration of the event. About 60 minutes after sunrise there will be a roll call and you will be given the launch command if
conditions meet the launch criteria. You can depart anytime after the launch command is given. If you are not present at roll call, you must check with the Race Manager before launching.
Note: No boats will be
left on the beach overnight.
Class 4 and class 5 boats have the option to launch from the boat ramp just south of the Matapeake Beach. They depart Camp
Wright and head for the ramp at sunrise just like everyone else.
Any boat may finish at the boat ramp or Matapeake Beach or the Camp Wright kayak landing. Details will be given at the captains meeting.
Friday afternoon there will be a captain and crew meeting which is mandatory.
Your boat may be inspected for final class determination. If you can't make it to
the normal equipment inspection on Friday, you should arrange another time.
make special arrangements well in advance. Try to get setup as early as possible.
The checkpoint is on the south side of Wye Island, but you must go around the island
on the north side before stopping at the checkpoint. Be sure to send a SPOT OK or
CUSTOM message on the north side of Wye Island.
As you approach the checkpoint, you will see this view on your right.
Did "Virtual" in the title catch your attention? Due to the nature of some parks
in the Chesapeake area, access to this checkpoint can be difficult. Therefore, this
is a virtual checkpoint meaning that all you have to do is get within 0.1 nautical
miles according to your GPS and hit your SPOT OK Button. Sit in your boat until
your SPOT indicates that it has sent out the OK message and then proceed. If you
need help, you can come ashore and hit your SPOT Help Button. We will call your
shore contact to arrange pickup. If we have to pick you up, there could be a long
wait and the pickup may not include your boat. If you need emergency help, use your
PLB and/or call 911.
Since no camping is allowed at this location, you need to camp before or after you
arrive at the Virtual CP. But remember, this is an Ultra Marathon. The schedule
allows for catching some sleep, but not a whole lot. You should be able to get by
with a 2-4 hour nap which will give you one or two REM cycles.
As you approach the checkpoint docks you will see this.
The GPS location of the CP is as follows:
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You must be a WaterTribe Member to register for an event or setup your SPOT Link.