Registration opens for 2008 Yukon River Quest

Registrations are now being accepted for the 10th Annual Yukon River Quest, the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world, which will be held…

Registrations are now being accepted for the 10th Annual Yukon River Quest, the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world, which will be held June 25-29.

The 740-kilometer wilderness adventure paddling marathon is held on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City. Entry forms were uploaded to the race website www.yukonriverquest.com on Monday.

Deadline for entries has been moved up to May 1.

Teams are encouraged to register early due to the growing popularity of the event.

There remains a limit of 85 canoe and kayak teams, plus voyageur teams, with 100 being the maximum number of teams allowed to start.

There also is a limit of 25 solo kayak and five solo canoe teams.

All boats must meet the specifications defined in the YRQ rules on the website.

Entry fees remain C$700 for tandem canoes and kayaks, $400 for solo canoes and kayaks, and $200 per person for voyageur canoe teams of six or more paddlers.

Each team also must post a refundable $200 rescue deposit in the event that they, along with their gear, have to be evacuated by safety boat.

The 2008 race purse has been increased to $31,000 from $26,500 in 2007. This includes a new $500 prize for the top Yukon canoe and the top Yukon kayak.

“While we’ve seen an increase in teams from around the world over the past three years, there has been a slight drop in Yukon teams,” said YRQ president Jeff Brady. “We hope the new Yukon cash prizes draw more local teams into the fray.”

In 2007, a record 79 teams started the event, while 65 finished.

A voyageur was the first team to finish, and the big boats took the top four positions.

Texas-based winner Coureur des Bayou set a new category record in 41 hours and 15 minutes.

But Brady noted that the prize money is good for winners of all classes.

“While the glory always goes to the first team in, the prize money is spread around,” he said.

More than 80 volunteers helped with the event last year, Brady added, but more are needed to help as the race grows.

If anyone is interested in helping with the event, please contact the race organization at info@yukonriverquest.com or call 867-33FLOAT. (IS)