Story last updated at 7/22/2009 - 12:13 pm
SITKA - A drummer kept time as fifteen paddlers pulled the ocean canoe through windy waters during the morning hours. Fifteen other boats were also on the water during the mass start of the race, now in its third season. There were two courses this year, a 6-mile "sprint" course and a 14 -mile "endurance" course. Sitka Search and Rescue and the Coast Guard provided a well-coordinated watch on the race.
Racers came from as far away as New York and Utah, with paddlers from Anchorage and Sitka making up a well-rounded field.
Up to the halfway point in the sprint course, all the boats were in a close pack. In the end, the ocean canoe took third place, with a time of 1 hour, 29 minutes.
"Next year, with a little more practice, I think we will take first," said Bryant Mackey, one of the paddlers in the big boat.
First place in the sprint class went to Bridget Kauffman and Ted Laufenberg, paddling a double kayak and completing in 1 hour 25 minutes. In the endurance course, Mark Gorman once again easily outpaced the competition in his rowing shell with a time of 2 hours and 7 minutes. "I think we should award him an anchor," said race participant Matthew Turner. In the kayak class, Rich Forst lead the race with a time of 2 hours and 18 minutes.
Afterwards, racers and the public enjoyed a picnic at the Sitka Maritime Heritage Museum. Proceeds from the race went to benefit the group that is working to restore the building.
"This race gets better every year," said race coordinator Kayla Boettcher. "Next year I hope we can double the number of boats in the water. It makes for a fun race!"
Boettcher encourages racers to mark the next race on their calendars for July 10, 2010. "It is never too soon to start planning!" she said.
Bridget Kauffman and Ted Laufenberg, double kayak, 1:25:08.
Joseph Mahoney and Pete Menendez, double kayak, 1:26:10.
Amy Tice, Travis Clemens, Bryant Mackey, Shelby Shedda, Kevin Klott, Megon Coon, Gale Kehres, Frederick Hill, Matt Hanson, Kelly Garvin, Shari Sjogren, Katie Cueva, Erin Abreu Gilland, Dustin Madden, Arlo Davis, Renae Mathson, ocean canoe, 1:29:20.
Jeff Budd and Ryan Kauffman, double kayak, 1:31:02.
Rob Allen, single kayak, 1:34:15.
Donna Russell, single kayak, 2:04:48.
Mark Gorman, rowing shell, 2:07:42.
Rich Forst, single kayak, 2:18:22.
Matthew Turner, single kayak, 2:27:19.
Tiffany Opp and Chris Trella, double kayak, 2:41:12.
Tim Fulton, single kayak, 2:46:40.
Litia Garrison and Nancy Knapp, double kayak, 2:53:24 .
Paul Norwood, single kayak, 2:55:13.
Justin Albee and Michaela Dunlap, double kayak, 2:59:49.
Bill Foster, single kayak, 3:09:06.
Gary Nikkola, single kayak, 3:16:00.