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A paddleboarder and 4-oar rowing gig racing at the Challenge Race

Challenge Race 2022: Sun, Fun, and Speed

By Andrew Rainville, Rowing Club Member, Coxswain, and Youth Rowing Coach

As the sun rose over the Green Mountains on Saturday, August 27, carloads of energetic competitors descended on Lake Champlain Maritime Museum for the annual Lake Champlain Challenge Race.

Hailing from across New England, the more than 70 rowers and paddlers came to test their mettle in the summer classic that has been held for 20+ years. The race, open to any human-powered vessel, takes the form of a triangle, measuring roughly 3.5 miles. Competitors start in North Harbor near the Museum docks, heading northwest, before turning northeast along the New York shoreline. Around the 2-mile mark, a second buoy signified another turn, this time to the south which completed the third and final leg of the journey.

Despite sunny skies and cool temperatures, a north-northeast wind added an element of difficulty on the second leg of the course. The race started at 11 a.m. with a wave of six coxed six-oar pilot gigs – four crews from the Maritime Museum rowing clubs plus crews from Bowdoinham Rowing and Boston Open Water Rowing. After a minute, those boats were pursued by four coxed four-oar boats, two rowed by the Hull Lifesaving Museum and two rowed by Green Mountain Rowing Club. In the final heat, another 11 boats, including kayaks, paddleboards, a scull, and a canoe joined the fray.

Boats get ready in the harbor for the Challenge Race

From the beginning, the crew of Jimmy D took a commanding lead and never looked back, leaving behind a tight pack of boats, jockeying for position around crowded turns and making moves on straightaways. Jimmy D would cross the finish line in 33 minutes and 23 seconds, the fastest time of the day and four minutes ahead of the second place pilot gig. The race for second in the gig category was tight, with positions 2-5 separated by only a minute and a half. 

In the four-oared division, the Hull Lifesaving Museum took the top two places with times of 35:18 and 37:42, respectively. They were followed across the line by the pair of skiffs rowed by Green Mountain Rowing Club.

The remaining solo vessels spread out over the course. Ultimately, Ed Keagle, Erik Brieland, Taylor Resnick, and Erik Hanson won the single scull, recreational kayak, paddleboard, and recreational canoe categories, respectively.

The full Challenge Race results are listed below:

Meg Langworthy, the bow rower of Triton, reflected, “It’s wonderful to have our friendly competitors from the rowing clubs on the coast come. A good time was had by all, and there were no mishaps or injuries, which is always a plus!” She continued, “It is always a highlight of our rowing season and the summer.”

Ann Berman, the stroke seat of the Hull crew in Wysquaqua, expressed, “Thank you to Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and rowers for hosting another amazingly FABULOUS race. As usual, Hull had so much fun, and loved seeing you all!”

As part of the annual summer classic, the Challenge Race always ends with a buffet lunch prepared by members of our rowing club for all Challenge Race participants. This year’s lunch was particularly delicious and appreciated by all.

The busy race season continues for our adult rowers with the Gloucester Harbor Race on September 17 in Gloucester, MA and the Head of the Weir race later this fall in Hull, MA. Anyone interested in joining our Museum’s rowing clubs (racing or casual) can do so at any of three weekly evening rows.

Enjoy these photos from our wonderful summer race day, courtesy of Buzz Kuhns. Click on an image to see it larger!

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