Sunday, July 21, 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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