Tag Archives: Cape Ann Rowing Club

Horribles, 4th, done, What’s next? Blackburn Challenge!!

Blackburn Challenge, July 16, 2016. Long range forecast shows partly cloudy 85 degrees for that Saturday. Tide chart shows high tide at 9:30AM so the boats will be flushed out of the Annisquam at the beginning. So, perfect weather, perfect tide.

And for the 30th running of the Blackburn most contestants will be tracked by GPS using RaceJoy. (Click here.) Even if you are just watching the race you should go download the app to your phone now. Besides clicking to see that the race starts in 11 days, 17 hours, 30 minutes, you will get to see a progress report of participants. Rubber Duck will be finding out more about this app in the next week so watch GMG for updates. If you want to try it out on Rubber Duck her “Bib Number” is 40. (RD needs a bib, she dribbles.)

Breaking news: Cape Ann Rowing Club Facebook page might be able to change Rubber duck into a shark!! She feels faster already!

Rubber Duck in a shark costume.

Rubber Duck in a shark costume.


Participants: if you want to be tracked by the unwashed masses of GMG just post your bib number in the comments. Then you will see Rubber Duck closing in on Jimmy T.

Start at the high school, gun goes off north of the railroad bridge, paddle down the river and then start taking right turns until you go all the way around and into Gloucester Harbor to the Greasy Pole Finish line. Simple.

Start at the high school, gun goes off north of the railroad bridge, paddle down the river and then start taking right turns until you go all the way around and into Gloucester Harbor to the Greasy Pole Finish line. Simple.


Cape Ann Rowing Club Blackburn Challenge this Saturday!!!

How did this sneak up on Rubber Duck? Timer says 4 days left to train! Time to get serious and kick the chipmunk family out of the scuppers and get paddling. Back by popular demand, the Rubber Duck Tracker (click). If you click now you might catch the daily training run to Stone’s Pub for the mandatory three Fishermans IPA’s as Rubber Duck figures out how this new software works and not have it drain the iPhone battery. Save the link to your smartphone and get out there and watch the race. Rubber Duck tracker goes live at 8AM Saturday. Major hint: to actually watch the race think of this dot as the end of the flotilla of 2oo plus boats. Anyone actually winning their division will be an hour or two in front of Rubber Duck. RD likes to make sure everyone makes it to the Greasy Pole finish line and the Cape Ann Rowing Club promises there will be cold beer for RD on tap at Pavillion Beach.

This will be the fourth year in a row for Rubber Duck. Here is a photo taken by Donna Ardizzoni hanging from a rope off the A. Piatt Andrew Bridge as RD paddles by last year. I almost fell in when I heard my name floating down from high above the Annisquam River.


Visit the amazing Cape Ann Rowing Club (click here) and view the 2013 registrants for the race. Check it out and sign up for next year’s race. The majority of paddlers or rowers are super serious athletes who probably ran a marathon the day before but no one will make fun of you (at least to your face) if all you want to do is finish the challenge. You get a marvelous perspective of every nook and cranny of the shoreline of the most beautiful island in the world.

Cape Ann Rowing Club Essex River Race this Saturday!

Saturday, May 11, the Essex River Race sponsored by the Cape Ann Rowing Club will be held rain or shine. Over 230 craft of every kind that is human powered will be setting off around 10 AM from the starting line in the Essex River right there on the new causeway where the Essex River hugs Route 133. If you park in the way back behind Woodsman’s it is just a short walk to prime viewing. The serious racers will take less than an hour to do the six miles down and back and Rubber Duck will show up about a half hour later.

Many boats will be washing the winter cobwebs off as they are placed in the water. Wash off your winter cobwebs and come on down. And it’s never too late to enter. Get your craft and your butt to registration 8 AM to 9:15 and get a good start to the season. Registration and pre-race meeting at the Essex Shipbuilding Museum.

Even if it’s raining, come on down because the over 230 boats already registered will be there. And there is so much to do on that stretch between the Shipbuilding Museum and Woodman’s that the hour during the race will fly by.

Last year:


Can you find Rubber Duck?

Blackburn Challenge Registration Opens Today!

Donna Lind has sent the email. The 27th running of the Cape Ann Rowing Club Blackburn Challenge Registration is now open. Click here for Registration and Race info.

The Rubber Duck signed up today for her 4th paddle all the way around Cape Ann. Click the map below for Rubber Duck’s Blackburn Challenge timer (108 days to go until Saturday July 20, 2013.)

Cape Ann Rowing Club Blackburn Challenge

Cape Ann Rowing Club Blackburn Challenge

Rubber Duck has been faster each time she has paddled it. By the time she is 80 she will win it. RD will also have the popular GMG RD real time locator running during the race.

Rubber Duck is also registered for the warmup, the Essex River Race on Saturday May 11th. Both are a lot of fun.

2012 Essex River Race Roundup

For race results this link downloads a nice excel spreadsheet.

My race roundup: Nice day, I did not fall in, the beer was cold and the hot dog was tasty. The band did a nice job on some Fleetwood Mac covers a la Stevie Nicks. I finished in 1 hour 18 minutes 37 seconds. John Karoff who won my division finished in 58 minutes 29 seconds. If I had twin 150 Evinrudes maybe I could cut 20 minutes off my time. I happened to be chatting with John as we waited for the start since he had the same boat as me and I mentioned something about wishing I had gone kayaking at least once this spring before today. He said he had gone once, to something on the Charles River, a 19 mile race with many half mile portages. Meaning he had to pick up his boat and run to avoid dams and waterfalls. It was then I knew that although he seemed quite pleasant he was a mad man and was not surprised he took first place.

Other crazy people. Will Rich of Bayview and SUP The Coast fame (as in he paddled standing up all the way from Key West to Maine) finished first on a SUP board. It looks like there is a motor under his board, his time 1 hour, 2 minutes, 32 seconds. Crazy.

A James Tarantino of Gloucester rowed a banks dory to a time of 1 hour 24 minutes 6 seconds. A banks dory is about as opposite as you can get from most craft in this race. No carbon fiber, kevlar, teflon composite. A banks dory is made from large trees and  300 pounds of cod in the stern would not slow them up by much. The cod may add a minute or two to Jimmy T’s time.  That would be a good addition to the race. Then we could have a nice fish chowder at the finish.

OK, so who did the course the fastest? Borys Markin was sitting on something called a HPK single, or High Performance Kayak. These are long, thin, razor blade shaped, space age fiber crafts that I think if I sat in one I would be in the drink within a minute. Borys finished the race course in 42 minutes 41 seconds.  This is one of the reasons why I attend these races. These faster craft start the race after my division. So during the first 30 minutes of the race, packs of fast boats scream by one after another. As they do I try to imitate in some small way the technique they are using to paddle.  But not entirely. If I kept their cadence up I would blow a seal in less than a minute, but still instructive.

On to the Blackburn Challenge, just 55 days to go. Saturday July 14.

I would be negligent if I did not add that the Cape Ann Rowing Club did another amazing job with the Essex River Race. They make it fun for the normal as well as the athletically off their rocker types. Everyone who paddles in either the Essex or the Blackburn have come to expect a smooth race with nary a hitch and CARC keeps pulling it off.

If you go to the Blackburn Challenge website there will be photos posted over the next week or so. I don’t have anymore photos so I will just post a gratuitous photo of Homie biting Rubber Duck’s butt. (Homie doesn’t want her to race anymore.) 

76 Summer Days Until the Big Race

(Sung to the tune of 76 Trombones)
Seventy six summer days until the big parade,
with at least a hundred and ten dory rowers motoring away.
They were followed by rows and rows of the finest kayaks;
the cream of the Cape Ann waterways!

I’ll quit with one verse …

Blackburn Challenge: Saturday July 14.  There will be a kayak pod of “not the extremely swift” led by Wendie Demuth.

Click map for more  links and info.

There is also a short 5 mile race in the Essex River on Saturday, May 19th. Just go to the Cape Ann Rowing Club Web Site and you can sign up for both right now! Go ahead. It’s easy. You are probably an SK-male or SK-female boat length say 18 feet beam 25 inches. They take MasterCard and you get a cool T-Shirt you can wear to the GMG Mug-Ups to prove you did it. (SK means sea kayak which is what you have unless you are the Lance Armstrong of kayakers. Check your kibbles and bits to see if you are male or female.)

Rubber Duck signed up for both! ( I have got to hide the credit card.)

Rubber Duck Kayak Quick Tips: If you are thinking of going out to get in shape the water  temp at AO1 buoy today is 46F:

1) Do not kayak alone. 2) Wear and buckle up a PFD.  3) Dress for the water temp, not the sunny air temp. 4) Stick to the shore like glue. 5) A hand pump, a paddle float, a waterproof handheld radio tuned to VHS 16 are all good things to strap on your boat but only if you know how and when to use them.

Blackburn Challenge on Saturday!

BBCLOGOInfo from Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce:


The Blackburn Challenge, held on July 18 this year, is the premier human-powered open-water event on the East Coast. One of the reasons why this event has been recognized as one of the best open water races in America is due to the venue – a 20 mile circumnavigation of Cape Ann Massachusetts – a course that inevitably serves up a wide variety of conditions on the water. The first three or so miles of the race are along the protected and tidal Annisquam River, resulting in something akin to a head race, but with plenty more interesting obstacles to avoid (mooring and navigation buoys, boats, docks, etc.) and a 17 mile open water race after it. Once the river empties into the open waters of Ipswich Bay, the wind strength and direction play a decisive role in determining the conditions of the day, which range from relative calm (it’s never a flat water event) to very rough (staying upright and afloat trump the idea of competition). The last couple of miles from the Dogbar Breakwater at the entrance of Gloucester Harbor to Pavillion Beach, are usually plagued by confused boat wakes from numerous fishing, whale watch and pleasure boats going in all directions. Each year at the Blackburn brings us a very different story, making the event so interesting for open-water aficionados. One thing that thankfully remains the same each year is the fun time after finishing – cold beer, massages, good music and food and the inevitable harrowing stories from the event. The 2009 Blackburn Challenge will be the 23rd running of the event.

All event information may be found at the event website: www.blackburnchallenge.com

Rich Klajnscek
President, Cape Ann Rowing Club

photo from official website

photo from official website