A Blackburn Weekend
To say I look forward to participating in the Cape Ann Rowing Club’s annual Blackburn Challenge each and every year would be an understatement. Sandwiching the event into 3 nights of camping at Cape Ann Camp Site allows this paddler to get closer to a Cape Ann state of mind.
So before earning the right to wear this year’s T-shirt (at left), a few days were spent paddling about the Jones and Annisquam rivers, swimming at Wingaersheek Beach, and enjoying the taste of Cape Ann’s seafood (my favorite was the fish chowder at the Causeway Restaurant).
And then, at last, yesterday morning the day of the event arrived and I paddled off from the campground…
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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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