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Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

What is the average water temperature in June in the Charente?

This can vary greatly from year to year. However, we can expect a minimum of 17/18 degrees Celsius and a maximum of 23/24 degrees Celsius.

Will I get seasick?

It is very unlikely! Small waves may be generated by boats crossing, the wind can also create a slight chop.

Is a neoprene wetsuit compulsory?

No, wetsuits are not compulsory but recommended, to prevent the risk of hypothermia during the marathon races.

How fast is the current in the Charente, is there a risk of being swept away?

The current in the Charente is weak, the only areas where the current increases slightly are in sections that do not form part of the race, or where access is prohibited.

What are the categories and prizes?

The Flow Des Gabarriers is an aquatic adventure that will recognise the fastest swimmers during a prize-giving ceremony at 5.30 pm. There are different categories (scratch ranking, wetsuit/no wetsuit, men/women etc.) and exciting prizes offered by our partners.

What is the time limit for the 3km?

The event ends at 6pm, so every participant must be out of the water by then. In 2022, all swimmers finished in less than 1h30.


Do I need to bring a canoe escort for the 3km?

No, the canoe escort is required for the marathons only


Where are the start and finish lines located?

The starting line of the 3km is located under the Maurice Hennessy quay in front of Place du Solençon, to get there you have to swim across the Charente! The finish line is located at the Cognac Canoe Club pontoons.


Can I wear my favourite swimming cap ?

No, you must wear the official FDG swimming cap provided.


Can I register if I don’t have a FFN or FFTRI licence?

Yes, but a medical certificate of fitness dated less than 1 year before the event will be required.


Do the FINA/FFN rules governing open water apply?

No, only the rules set out in the "Flow des Gabarriers" internal regulations apply.


Where can I stay during the event?

The Cheval Blanc, the Valois and the'IBIS centre ville are the 3 FDG official hotels in Cognac. Get together and enjoy a special discount offered for participants and support teams. To book, simply get in touch with the desired hotel, there are plenty of options from twin, double or quad bedrooms !

Questions about the Flow Des Gabarriers and the Apprentice Gabarrier marathons

I don't have a kayakist to escort me ! Will the organisation source someone for me ?

Every participant is responsible of his own team including the kayakist.
The FB page is a great way to find a volunteer to escort you during your swim.

What is the time limit to finish the Apprentice Gabarrier 16km swim?

The maximum time allowed to finish the 16km race is 7 hours. Any swimmer still in the water after 6pm will be asked to return to shore.

If I am too slow, where is the cut-off point after which I must abandon my attempt to reach Cognac?

The Châtenay bridge is the last compulsory waypoint that must be reached before 5.30 pm.

I want to take part in the Flow des Gabarriers relay but I don't have a team, what can I do?

Just go to the Flow des Gabarriers Facebook page to find some teammates!

How is the relay takeover organised?

There is no set distance, time or place for the relay takeover. However, the best technique is to do the takeover from the team's canoe(s)/kayak(s). It is also possible to follow on a mountain bike on the Flow Vélo. The use of a motorised support vehicle on the banks is strictly prohibited.

How do I get to the start line on the morning of 3 June?

A shuttle bus will be available for participants and their companions, leaving from Place de la Poste in Cognac at 6.30 am sharp. It will take the group to the Bain des Dames in Châteauneuf for an arrival just after 7.00 am. Please book as soon as you register as places are limited. A shuttle might also be available for swimmers registered for the Apprentice Gabarrier 16 kms. TBC.

What is hypothermia?

It is serious! And it can lead to severe consequences. Preventing hypothermia is crucial, so prepare yourself and your team for this eventuality.


How can I hire a canoe or kayak?

The Cognac Canoe Club offers special rates for the event! Reservations can be made online at the time of registration.


Is it possible to have several canoe/kayak escorts?

Yes, there is a minimum of one canoe per solo/team but no maximum. However, the number of boats available is limited so please think of the other participants!

Can I customise my canoe?

Yes, we encourage this! You can attach balloons to it, wear a funny hat or anything else that makes you stand out!

What items should be on board the kayak/canoe?

The day will pass quickly but your escort(s) will spend several hours on the water. Here is a non-exhaustive list of things to bring: lifejacket (provided with the rental), cap or hat, water, energy bars, shoes, watch, sunglasses, sunscreen etc.

Can my escort use a paddle board?

The course is not suitable for paddle boards. Unless you are very experienced on the board and have at least one canoe escort already, the use of paddle boards is not recommended.

Is it possible to have an accompanying boat?

No, the marathon course includes 9 locks and is not suitable for boats. Only canoes and kayaks can accompany swimmers.

How can I follow the swimmers from the shore?

By bike/ mountain bike via the Flow Vélo. It is forbidden to use the Flow Vélo with motorised vehicles (no cars, motorbikes etc.)

Is it possible to hang onto or climb onto the canoe to rest?

Yes, but it is against the ethics of the sport! The spirit of open water is to limit physical interaction with anything else in your environment to what is strictly necessary, such as during entry to and exit from the water. It is therefore possible to touch your canoe or to hold onto it during relay takeovers for example. However, out of respect for other swimmers, we encourage you to limit the number of occasions when the swimmer is in continuous contact with the canoe.

Is it possible to swim through the fish passes or canoe passes?

No, this is strictly forbidden as it is very dangerous.

Will there be refreshments en route?

There will be a refreshment station on Garde Moulin island and at the finish site. Refreshments during the race are the responsibility of each swimmer/team. Nutrition is individual to each athlete, who must establish their plan and logistics according to their needs.

How can I follow my progress live during the marathon?

Each solo and each team will be followed during the day via a real-time timing system accessible from a designated web page.

What is the time limit to finish the Flow Des Gabarriers 33km swim?

The maximum time allowed to finish the marathon is 10 hours for solo swimmers and 9h40m for relays. Any swimmer still in the water after 6pm will be asked to return to shore.

Is it possible to camp the day before at the departure area at Bain Des Dames in Châteauneuf?

Yes, it is possible as long as you keep to the designated camping area and respect the rules in force, such as the ban on fires.

Questions about the pool float race

Do I have to wear a life jacket for the Big Splash?

Yes, it is compulsory to wear a life jacket, which will be provided by the organisers.

I can't swim, can I participate?

No. You must be able to swim at least breaststroke and be able to cover at least 25 metres.

Do I have to wear a costume?

Yes, if you want to try to win a prize in the best costume competition!

Can I use an oar or a paddle?

Yes, the only means of propulsion allowed is one pair of flippers and one oar (or paddle) per team! You will have to coordinate!

I am by myself, can I participate?

No, this race takes place in teams of two.

My pool float is too small for 2 people, what can I do?

It's up to you to construct a raft with several pool floats!