The 3rd Annual Wild Goose Chase Human Powered Regatta took place Sunday, September 16, 2018. A record number of participants and boats entered the fun challenge. The weather cooperated with calm conditions and warm temps. The course remained the same as an out and back around the island of Fairfield Pond.
Some athletes claimed they would only be doing a leisurely paddle for them, but as usual with the blast of the starting cannon, the race was on. Taking an early lead in an SC1 canoe, I showed the way. Following in a close race was Jessica, also in an SC1 canoe, and Tania and Jason paddling a recreational two-person canoe. Last year’s sweep paddler returned to improve with a more systematic strategy using her kayak. Pulling the Canots Cadorette Canoe out of the barn, Demetre, Kristina, Hadrian, and Hunter hoped the boats legendary perfect record would deliver another 1st place. The longtime race heckler Laura turned over a new leaf entering the race for the first time.
As the field spread over the calm waters, the race intensified. Early gaps were slowly reeled in as seasoned racers familiar with the endurance challenge began to chip away at the eager newbies' underestimation of the difficulty of the challenge. It is one thing to paddle around the island, quite another to race around it. I was the first to the halfway mark with an increasing lead. I took a wide approach to stay in the deep water and with no chop, the flat-water boat was gliding well. Jessica made it to the island in second, but a hard charge from Tania and Jason had the intended effect. They wanted to wear Jessica down by staying within striking distance. Dorothy was happy not to be last this year and in the middle of the action. She had advanced positions knowing that cooking yourself early in the race would have consequences on the return voyage. Taking a more direct route, the heavy invincible Cadorette closed not with speed, but tangents. Rocks and ledges are not a concern for its durable bottom. Laura found out that things are not as easy as they look. Her kayak was designed for leisure, but as the field spread out, she began taking risks to stay in contact. Unfortunately, rounding the island, she ran aground on the ledge just beneath the surface. Earlier previews had been conducted in high-water, and the late summer drought had significantly lowered the water-level.
I picked up the pace as I neared the finish hoping to better last years’ time picking up the overall win and the Male SC1 division. Jessica returned in a heated sprint with Tania and Jason as the pair overtook the solo paddler in the final meters of the race. Their boat not so efficiently splashing through the water taking the Two Person Recreational division. Jessica sealed the deal on the Female SC1 division with her third overall finish. The retired Marines and children used their expertise to battle back against Dorothy who had passed them in the first half of the race. In another sprint finish the Cadorette plowed low in the water, but did what it does best, tracking straight and fast winning the Family Division. Dorothy finished 5th overall winning the Sea Kayak division. Laura freed herself from the shallows and returned tired, but happy to have completed her first race ever. She even got some hardware having won the Recreational Kayak division.
The post-race awards ceremony was lively with everyone taking first place in their respective categories. Shoreline observers also rushed to the celebration vowing to follow Laura’s lead moving from heckler to competitor.
Congratulations to all the participants! The Wild Goose Chase Human Powered Regatta continues to grow and draw new competition and interest each year. The USA Canoe and Kayak Association is supportive of expanding this event to generate growth and interest for the sport in our region.
Tania and Jason 41:16
Demetre, Kristina, Hadrian, and Hunter 50:22