The Boothbay Region YMCA 27th annual Rowgatta on Barters Island Aug. 8 got blue skies and light winds. Twenty-six single kayaks, five double kayaks and two paddle boards made the nine-mile trip around the island in under three hours. The event raises funds for the Y’s second grade learn-to-swim program.
BRYMCA Healthy Living Coordinator and Rowgatta organizer Abby Jones has been heading the event for seven years. She said it could not have been more perfect for these times since participants are naturally distanced. All it took was a little planning around registration to make sure the event was totally safe. Kayakers and paddlers wore masks as they registered, socialized and launched their crafts one at a time for social distance.
“We're so lucky. It's the event of the season, that's what I've been saying. So many other things were postponed or canceled due to COVID-19, but we're here!”
The Knickerkane Bridge venue and Barters Island course are relatively new as the first 25 years were on Southport Island launching from Newagen, said Jones. “We moved to Barters Island because it's a little shorter, so we feel it's a little bit safer and a little more inviting to the average paddler.”
This year had a challenge due to the extreme low tide, forcing most paddlers to launch on the north side of the bridge rather than the boat launch on the south side. Volunteer Abbie Shaw, a self-described “Y person,” has been participating in the organizing of the event for three years. “We’ve had days where it's high tide, we've had days where it's low tide. Today it's a little slick getting in, but the weather couldn't be nicer and the wind is low, so they should have a good paddle. And this is a great cause.”
Jones thanked over 20 volunteers including Tidal Transit which provided kayak rentals and transit at a discount. Said Jones, “Special thanks to Robert Jordan, Paul and Louis Cowan, Bonnie Reed and the entire BRYMCA family who really helped pull this together … It's such a small, friendly, perfect, wonderful event. Everyone was very appreciative to have (it).”
The results: Dave Grody, first, 1:25:22; Dan Benson, second, 1:26:15; Scott Yeomans, third, 1:35:50; Tag Curwen, fourth, 1:41:00; Eric and Louise Ranshau (double), fifth, 1:47:15; Matt Fenwick, sixth, 1:48:02; Jim Hutzelman, seventh, 1:49:44; Don Celler, eighth, 1:49:55; Robert Cotier, ninth, 1:51:21; Luke and Samantha Glenn (double), 10th, 1:53:48; Rick Taylor and Bonnie Haeger (double), 11th, 1:56:21; Janelle Munson-McGee and Jacob, 12th, 1:57:15; Dr. Aqui Alamo, 13th, 1:58:59; Jon Bigelow, 14th, 1:59:28; Jacob Stonecipher, 15th, 2:07:15; Steve Berger, 16th, 2:07:15; Kim Brauer and Kirsten Blycher tied for 17th in 2:11:29; Rodd Langenhagen (paddle board), 19th, 2:11:45; Roberta Lloyd, 20th, 2:16:27; Jim Newton and John Herger tied for 21st in 2:19:04; Alison Curwen, 23rd, 2:25:51; Jacquie Moen, 24th, 2:25:52; Maria Coppola, 25th. 2:25:53; Deb Schaefer, 26th, 2:32:36; Doug and Sharon Goldhirsch tied for 27th in 2:45:48; Joan and Patricia McCabe (double), 29th, 2:47:12; Michael Chambers (paddle board) and Ryan Chambers (kayak) tied for 30th in 2:53:04; Kathy Prall, 32nd, 2:59:33; and John Prall, 33rd, 2:59:48.