Torrential rain, big surf and poor visibility made ocean conditions too treacherous for the George Bass marathon and hampered the race's first few days, organisers say.
The marathon, now in its 40th year, has competitors row nearly 200 kilometres of coastline over seven days, from Batemans Bay to Eden on the NSW far South Coast.
Marathon organiser Andrew Edmunds said he regretted the need to race on contingency routes planned on inland bodies of water, but weather had made the ocean routes too dangerous.
Not content with one attempt, this is the second time Canberra's Harriet Walker has put herself through the mental and physical test of endurance that is the biannual marathon.
Two months before the last George Bass in 2014, Ms Walker's father died from gastrointestinal cancer. He had been diagnosed only four months before.
When the chance to race came up again, Ms Walker wanted to put some extra meaning into it and raise money for gastrointestinal cancer research. The team got behind her to help collect $6000.
Four times a week for six months the eight women hauled their 200-kilogram surf boat onto the shores of Lake Burley Griffin, and into the surf at the south coast's Broulee Beach at the weekends.
"It's just definitely the challenge and the teamwork aspect to it, we've all been working together for a while," she said. "It's a physical challenge that we all love, and it's a mental challenge on top of that.
"We describe ourselves as the Jamaican bobsled team of the surf boat world," Ms Walker said of their inland training location, which distinctly lacks surf.
They used the lake to their advantage, the flat surface ideal for steady rowing sessions to improve fitness.
Sharks are a constant concern when the team moves from lake to ocean. "We try not to say the 's' word too much," said Ms Walker, who is also the team captain.
Because fishing has decreased along the South Coast, there had been more shark sightings in the area and the surfboat teams had to change the way they subbed rowers in and out of the boat.
Of a team of eight, only four row at once. A back-up boat drops off two to swap every 20 minutes, and this year the back-up boat required to circle the surfboat to ward off any nearby sharks.
Coach and sweep Gary Pettigrove said the team felt good about their chances this year.
"We've put in six months of good prep and worked really hard," he said.
"We had a discussion after [our last] training, if we were to go and be first and second in every leg down the coast. So thats our goal, let the final result take care of itself."
In the first, second and third legs, the Capitals have come in second.
Both Monday and Tuesday's legs were forced inland because of rough seas, while conditions for Wednesday looked unlikely to improve.
"We never like going inland, but have looked for a number of options and a race at sea today was just not possible," Mr Edmunds said.