High, fast waters could put some new names in the Yukon River Quest record books on Friday.
Teams reached Carmacks sooner than usual on Thursday as the Yukon River ran fast below pristine weather conditions.
“Teams started showing up at 8 a.m., which is fast,” said race president Carl Rumscheidt on Thursday. “So the high, fast water is showing up in the results.
“We’re in Carmacks now and it’s a beautiful hot, sunny day, so the racers are feeling the heat and hopefully staying well hydrated.”
The first three boats – all tandem men’s teams – came into Carmacks within 20 minutes of each other during the 715-kilometre canoe and kayak race from Whitehorse to Dawson City that began Wednesday at noon.
Leading the way was Faro’s Tim Lynch and Nova Scotia’s Dave Lewis in a tandem canoe. The team, Round Side Down, is attempting to defend their men’s tandem canoe title from last year’s race, in which they were fourth overall.
Arriving second to Carmacks was the Australian tandem kayak team On the Way to Maine at 8:07 a.m.
Inuvik, N.W.T.’s Men of the Midnight Sun reached the shore at Carmacks in a tandem canoe at 8:20 a.m.
A total of 67 boats and about 180 paddlers registered for the 15th annual event, deemed the worlds’ longest annual paddling race.
But the Quest is now down to 61 boats. Two teams cancelled following traffic accidents on the way to Whitehorse, three simply did not show up at the start line, and a mixed tandem canoe team from Whitby, Ont., called Looking for Jamaica, scratched on Lake Laberge.
As usual, the River Quest features paddlers from around the territory, the country and the world.
Whitehorse has 31 paddlers, joined by two from Teslin, one from Carcross, one from Beaver Creek and one from Faro.
Also represented are Ontario, Manitoba, B.C., Alberta, Nova Scotia, N.W.T., Quebec, Saskatchewan, plus U.S., Germany, Austria, Japan, Poland, Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom with 35 paddlers.
The first boats are expected to reach Dawson Friday afternoon.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com