Chickity Check It! Trash Paddler’s account of The 2013 Blackburn Challenge

Sunday, July 21, 2013

A Sizzling Blackburn Challenge 2013

The sun had just climbed above the horizon (at left) as I paddled down the Annisquam River to Gloucester High School where rowers and paddlers would register for this year’s Blackburn Challenge.  The event is named for Gloucester fisherman, Howard Blackburn, and it commemorates his desperate mid-winter rowing of a banks dory 60 miles to refuge back in 1883.  Howard Blackburn’s principal adversary was bitter cold temperatures that took a costly toll on his fingers and toes.  Nonetheless, he toughed it out and prevailed.  Participants in yesterday’s event faced the opposite extreme….HEAT!…and plenty of it!!!  The questions going through my pre-event mind were "is it prudent to wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) while exerting in this kind of heat?" and "do I have enough drinking water onboard?"  My answers: PFD would be strapped to my deck and 100 ounces of water proved adequate.
As participating boats congregated near the starting line, a bit of a traffic jam occurred when human powered boats of all types were passing under a raised drawbridge (most probably a "don’t do")…

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One thought on “Chickity Check It! Trash Paddler’s account of The 2013 Blackburn Challenge

  1. “No sooner had I crossed the finish line and hit the beach then several claps of thunder rang out and a lighting bolt reached down from the clouds. This must have been the final insult for those participants still out on the course.”

    I was still out there but no insult. The thunder scared the shit out of me. Thunder is oh so much louder out at sea with a wet paddle in your hand and no other high points around.

    Nice write up. I almost forgot how hot it was once we got some breeze after getting even with Thacher Island.


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