Paddlers race across Lake Laberge during the 2018 Yukon River Quest. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)

Yukon River Quest race leaders near finish line

The first boats are expected in Dawson between 6 and 7 p.m. on June 29.

The 20th annual Yukon River Quest is underway and the first team has already left the second of two mandatory rest stops headed for Dawson City and the finish line.

Yukon Wide Adventures, a voyageur team, has been in first place at every checkpoint since the race started on June 27 in Whitehorse. The team left the Coffee Creek rest stop at 7:41 a.m. on June 29 following their three-hour break.

Just an hour behind the race leaders, Paddlesports Mongrels, another voyageur team, are in second place.

The first tandem teams are running in third and fourth overall.

The Kiwis, a tandem kayak team, are just three minutes ahead of fourth place tandem canoe Team Alpha Super Awesome Cool Dynamite Wolf Squadron and just eight minutes behind Paddlesports Mongrels.

The fastest solo paddler is kayaker Wayne Anderson, who is expected in Coffee Creek shortly after deadline.

Bryan Allemang is the fastest solo canoe, currently just under five hours behind Anderson.

In the stand-up paddleboard category, past winner Bart de Zwart is in first place, predicted to arrive in Coffee Creek early on the afternoon of June 29.

As of 9:30 p.m. on June 28, 17 teams are confirmed as withdrawn from the race, bringing the total number still in the race down to 86.

The first boats are expected to arrive in Dawson City sometime in the early evening of June 29.

The 715-km race started at Rotary Peace Park in Whitehorse at noon on June 27 and includes a mandatory seven-hour rest stop in Carmacks and a three-hour rest stop in Coffee Creek.

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

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