Friday, October 23, 2009

Anyone up for a race?


I received word from the GurneyGranny that a mutual friend is pondering organizing a kayak race on the south shore. CleanGene lives in the area and is active in a number of conservation organizations. To commemorate the addition of the Gaylord Nelson Wilderness Area to the Apostle Islands Nat Lakeshore, he did a little fund raiser which involved paddling around the entire archipelago from Meyers Beach to Bayfield. The one interesting twist was that he did it in a day. I believe he left Meyers Beach sometime around 4pm and paddled into Bayfield around 3pm the next afternoon in his meticulously constructed Chesapeake 17 LT. We both built the same boat; his would look good in a wooden boat competition. Mine looks great cruising past at about 30mph on the roof of my car. I also don't think that it or its primary paddler could go 75 miles in one stretch.

I'm intrigued by this idea and think it could be loads of fun. If you look at the map, the race would run from Herbster to Cornucopia. The course would take paddlers up the west shore of Bark Point and then cross the mouth of Bark Bay to Roman Point and into Cornie. Depending on wind and waves, it could be a very interesting race. Both Bark and Roman Points can be rockin' and rollin' if the wind is anywhere from dead west to dead east. I'm sure the logistics involving the safety boaters, Coast Guard, volunteers, etc would be formidable but also very doable. I've paddled the route before and it is scenic, fun, and challenging at times. A couple years back RonO and I set out into Bark Bay and reached a shoulder in the bay just south of Roman Point. The northeast wind hit us and the waves jumped up to all of 4'-6'. I remember thinking that it was May, the water was colder than hell, and we were on our way to CampO, where rolling and then jumping into a 190F sauna would be much more amenable than an involuntary roll in frigid Bark Bay. I slid over by Ron and had not gotten my mouth open when he yelled, "How about we turn around?". Great minds think alike I guess.

One of the things the potential organizers need to do it gauge possible interest since this is indeed a fund raiser. The Two Harbors Kayak festival has jumped up and down in size, usually because of weather and conflicting weekend events but its still a pretty good and well attended race. I guess if folks out in cyberspace would send me an email or comment on this post, I could pass it on to CleanGene. Between the Twin Cities clubs, the Madison folks, the two Chicago area groups, and the band of renegades in Milwaukee, I think they would draw a pretty good field. I could even see a tooth and nail relay competition between the clubs. My guess is that competition between ISK, SKOAC, MadCity Paddlers, CASKA, the Prairie Coast Paddlers, and the Beer City crew could be ferocious. I also know a few folks in Thunder Bay as well as the crew at Naturally Superior Adventures might be lured south as well. Plus, unlike Two Harbors, there is Woody's Bar in Herbster and Fish Lipps and the Village Inn in Cornie. Post race refreshment at its finest. It is Wisconsin, you know.

Feedback is needed. Let me know your thoughts on this thing and I'll get the info to the potential organizers. I may even have to lure RonO and the ManFromSnowyLegs into paddling the route a week from today on our way to the Annual Grouse Kill at Camp O. An adventure like this might even lure the Commish north from his chicken farm in Verona. Look for a report to follow.

3 comments:

Kate Foley said...

Would you say that Herbster to Cornucopia is about 8 miles driving distance, closer to 13 on the water?

Depending on the date of course, I'm up for it.

Chris said...

I think it's a great idea! Boreal Shores would be more than happy to help promote the event, in most any way possible...

If you decide to paddle on your way to camp next Friday, give me ring as I'd be willing! With the way the lake has been lately, at the very least it could turn into a little surf session...

Peggy O said...

I'd be there, assuming the dates work.