Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race takes place June 14

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Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race takes place June 14

Post by SEARHC GUY » Fri May 02, 2008 8:13 pm

“When muscle serves as motive power, the relativity of the distance becomes an important psychological factor.” — Jack Calvin, National Geographic, July 1933

Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race takes place June 14

SITKA, April 1, 2008 — Racers in kayaks, canoes, rowing shells, paddle boats, Tlingit warrior canoes and other human-powered watercraft will compete in the second annual Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race on Saturday, June 14, in Sitka. The race is a benefit for the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society.

The Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race features two courses — a long course of 23 miles and a short course of 13.3 miles — with the start-finish line near the Mount Edgecumbe High School boat ramp on Sitka’s Japonski Island. The starting time for the long course race is 9:00 a.m. and the start for the shorter race is 9:45 a.m. The two courses will head north on Sitka Sound and follow a counter-clockwise circle around various islands in the area, with the long course heading to Beehive Island and the short course circling Middle Island (a map is posted online). If the weather is bad, an alternate course will be used (most likely to Silver Bay south of Sitka). A community potluck picnic will take place after the race at 1 p.m. a few hundred yards away from the start-finish line, where the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society is renovating a historic boathouse so it can be turned into a maritime museum.

“Human-powered craft is a common sight in Sitka Sound,” said Sitka kayaker Steve Reifenstuhl, who founded the race with Sitka rower Mark Gorman. “Hundreds, maybe thousands, of tourists come to Sitka each year to kayak our waters. Sitka is the perfect venue for an ocean race, with sheltered waterways in the shadow of Mount Edgecumbe (a dormant volcano on Kruzoff Island). We see the race as a celebration of the community’s ties to the ocean and its rich Tlingit heritage of human-powered canoes. The event dovetails nicely with the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society’s goal of establishing a maritime museum on Sitka’s waterfront.”

All racers are expected to attend a mandatory pre-race safety meeting on Friday night, June 13, at a time and location TBA. There also will be a pre-race safety briefing 30 minutes before the start of each race. Racers can compete as individuals or pairs in kayaks, canoes, rowing shells, rowboats or paddle boats, or they can race in teams using Tlingit warrior canoes. All watercraft used in the race must be human-powered vessels. All competitors must wear personal flotation devices with whistles. The entry fee is $40 for the first person and $25 for each additional person competing in the same boat.

This is the second year for the Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race. The inaugural year was a huge success with 55 racers and we are expecting to surpass those numbers this year.

Reifenstuhl said the only two ocean kayak/canoe races he knew of were the two Iditayak races from Pelican to Hoonah and Pelican to Juneau in 1993 and 1994, respectively. He said he knew of shorter sprint races for kayaks and canoes in Juneau, but he knew of no other ocean races in the marathon class of the Sitka Sound Ocean Adventure Race. There also have been shorter Tlingit warrior canoe races in Juneau and Kake.

For more information, safety tips and entry forms, go to For further questions, call the race hotline at (907) 747-6480 or race coordinator Kayla Boettcher at (907) 747-3665.


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