PHOTOS: Paddlers take to the water for 21st annual Yukon River Quest

Team Hatchet Lake races against Yukon Wide Adventures at the front of the pack through Lake Laberge in Whitehorse on Jun. 26, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Paddlers start their 715 kilometre paddling journey from Rotary Park in Whitehorse on June 26, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Team Hatchet Lake Voyagers race off the start line in Whitehorse on Jun. 26, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
The leading River Quest boats out of Whitehorse on the Yukon River on June 26, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Standup paddleboarder Bart Starboard leads the pack for his category in the Yukon River Quest 2019 race on Jun. 26, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Paddlers crossing Lake Laberge during the first leg of the Yukon River Quest on Jun. 26, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Bent Shaft crosses Lake Laberge in Whitehorse on Jun. 26, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
A paddle boarder drafts behind Paddlers Abreast voyageur canoe while crossing Lake Laberge on Jun. 26, 2019. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

The 2019 Yukon River Quest officially got underway with a mass start at noon on June 26 at Rotary Park in Whitehorse.

A total of 117 teams started on their way to Dawson City along the 715-kilometre route on the Yukon River.

As of 1 p.m. on June 27, 30 teams have reached the mandatory seven-hour rest stop in Carmacks.

First to reach the checkpoint was the tandem canoe team #wepaddletogether made up of Mike Vincent and Ivan English from Saskatchewan. The pair arrived at 8:12 a.m., approximately 20 minutes ahead of the next fastest team.

The voyageur team C6 Heave Paddlesports was the next to arrive, reaching the checkpoint at 8:32 a.m., followed by the tandem kayak team The Kiwis — Ian Huntsman and Wendy Riach, both from Christchurch, New Zealand — at 8:55 a.m.

Rounding out the first five in Carmacks are the voyageur team Hatchet Lake Voyagers that arrived at 8:55 a.m., just behind The Kiwis, and the four-person canoe team Alpha Super Awesome Strokes of Genius Wolf Squadron that arrived 8:58 a.m.

The first solo paddler to reach the checkpoint was kayaker Geoff Waters, paddling under the team name Atollman, who arrived in ninth place at 10:34 a.m.

Cedar Strip Chip, Chip McKay from B.C., was the first solo canoeist to reach the checkpoint after arriving in 16th position at 11:12 a.m.

The field is down to just 114 teams after a handful of teams withdrew from the race.

Race winners are expected at the finish in Dawson City sometime in the afternoon on June 28 and the race officially ends at just after 11 p.m. on June 29.

The awards banquet is scheduled for June 30 in Dawson City after the Canada Day parade.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

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