Do I need to be an experienced paddler?
Sudbury to the Sea is suitable for complete beginners. Previous participants might have only had a couple of hours in a canoe before completing the full two days! However, you must be able to get in and out of a canoe in order to portage around obstacles along the route because we strongly advise everyone to keep clear of weirs and sluices. The event gives a great sense of achievement to those taking part and is a fantastic family activity. River Stour Trust volunteer marshals will be visible along the route (particularly the checkpoints) and will assist wherever possible upon request. On the river, you will rarely (if ever) be out of sight of other craft so this forms part of the safety margin.
Why should I take part?
You will be seeing parts of the countryside that are inaccessible by any other means. Your entry fee will go towards the restoration and conservation of the Stour Navigation for the benefit and enjoyment of the public. You can certainly paddle the river at any other time of the year (and we certainly encourage you to do so) but we think S2C is quite special.
Do I have to book a place to take part?
Yes! We are limited to 300 craft taking part following agreement with the Environment Agency and riparian landowners. We will not exceed 300 entries and if you miss the boat (please excuse the pun!) then we can add you to a waiting list on a first come first served basis should anyone drop out ahead of the event.
How and when do I book a place?
You need to complete our booking form and make payment to confirm your participation in the event. The majority of people book their place online but we do hold a few spaces in reserve for those who prefer to book by post. Your craft MUST also be registered for navigating the Stour (see below). We generally open for bookings in July and you can subscribe to our mailing list for S2C information and updates – click here. You will among the first to know when we are accepting bookings for the event which is vital since we are limited to 300 craft taking part. We will not pass on your details to any third parties and you can amend your details or unsubscribe at any time.
Do I need a permit or licence for my boat to take part?
The simple answer is yes! All craft must be registered to take to the water on any part of the Inland Waterway network of England (canals, rivers, navigations). The Environment Agency (EA) is the navigation authority for the section of the Stour that runs from Brundon Mill (upstream of Sudbury) to Cattawade (near Manningtree).
There are two options:
- Visitor Craft Registration – available during the booking process and valid for 7 consecutive days (as issued by the River Stour Trust on behalf of the Environment Agency)
- Please note: We can also help if you would like to enjoy the Stour or any other Environment Agency waterway beyond S2C. Longer term craft registrations are available to cover the craft for 31 consecutive days or until 31 March next year.
- British Canoeing Membership – join British Canoeing which permits the member on all navigations in England as well as providing Civil Liability Insurance amongst other benefits. Find out more at www.britishcanoeing.org.uk
- Please note: option 2 covers the member and not the craft so if you are lending/borrowing a craft for this event then the paddler must join Canoe England or obtain an EA visitor craft registration.
What do I need to hand in order to complete the booking process?
We have created a booking guidance sheet to help you but essentially you will need the name, phone and address details for the primary paddler, the payee’s name, name/s of other paddlers in the craft, an emergency contact (who will not be taking part in the event) and a card or PayPal account to process the payment!
Do you hire out canoes or kayaks?
We have a very limited stock available to book online, and we will share the details of local companies who can rent you a craft for the weekend on our website.
Can I just paddle on one of the S2C days?
If you are unable to paddle the whole weekend then you are welcome to take part on one of the days but we will need to charge you the full fee. You will need to make it very clear on the booking for which day you are paddling because we monitor craft as they move along the Navigation for reasons of safety.
What are the overnight arrangements?
S2C participants are invited to bring along their own camping equipment to camp overnight at Rushbanks Farm at Wissington. This site is next to the river and the camping fee is paid directly to Rushbanks Fam campsite warden (cash only). Do not call Rushbanks to book– S2C pitches are already reserved! You pay the site on arrival. Details about the campsite are provided on the S2C webpage for this year. There is no necessity to camp if you live locally or simply prefer a bed! However, you must be able to return to this location to check out on Sunday morning at the times stated on the route guide.
Can I take part in the event to raise money for charity?
We are more than happy for you to use the event to raise money for charity. You will get a certificate when you reach the finish at Cattawade so you are able to prove your success! We would be delighted if you would like to raise funds for us and a sponsorship form is available to download.
What do I need to bring?
Your basic kit list will consist of:
– Life preserver/buoyancy aid is essential and probably the most important piece of safety kit
– Cash (there are no card payment facilities over the entire weekend)
– Bottled water
– Sunscreen and cap
– Appropriate clothing and accessories for warm/cold/wet weather
– A spare change of clothing and footwear in a dry bag
– Helmet is advisable and should be CE approved – CE1385
– Camping gear (tent, sleeping bag, etc)
The British Canoe Union give advice on appropriate kit and equipment for paddlers. Follow the link to the relevant webpage – www.bcu.org.uk/our-sport/getting-started/kit-and-equipment/
If, having booked, you can’t take part, let us know. We look at refunds on a case by case basis and cannot guarantee anything, but we do try to be reasonable.
Do you have a community page where I can ask questions, share thoughts, ideas and photos with other people taking part/interested in S2C?
Yes, we have Facebook and Twitter accounts for S2C. Click on the logos and join the conversation!