Oar & Paddle Regatta makes waves, raises more than $1,000

The race benefitted Friends of Sengekontacket, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the pond and its barrier beaches.

Roger Williams and Bridget Dunnigan, with dogs Hogan and Mullet, were the first to cross the finish line with pets. — Photo by Michael Cummo

The 24th annual Martha’s Vineyard Oar & Paddle Regatta saw 74 paddlers, and 5 dogs, race the 2.51-mile course that ran from Little Bridge to Big Bridge on the Nantucket Sound side of the barrier beach and back to Little Bridge through Sengekontacket Pond. Hosted by Island Spirit Kayak, the race raised $1,029 for Friends of Sengekontacket, an organization dedicated to the preservation of the pond and its barrier beaches.

Adam Maleh of Dover, 21, crossed the finish line first with a speedy time of 21:08, with Alex Potter of Weston, 21, close behind with a time of 24:18. Last year’s champion, Dana Gaines, finished fourth overall with a time of 25:16, but first in his Surfski category.

West Tisbury’s Jessie Holtham, the first woman to cross the finish line, participated with her 2-year-old daughter Jolene. This was Jessie’s fourth consecutive regatta. She said she enjoys “a little friendly competition.”

More than two dozen spectators lined the shore to watch the paddlers race. Edson Rogers of Edgartown played “God Bless America” on his trumpet prior to the start of the race, and continued to provide tunes during the race. When the first kayak with dogs crossed the finish line, he played a verse of the classic, “How Much Is That Doggie in the Window,” much to the crowd’s delight.

66-year-old John Robinson, racing in a skinny 20-foot wooden kayak, said he looks forward to the race every year. “It’s a fun race, and a great day,” he said. “Though when Dana Gaines is here, no one else expects to win. We are all out here just to have fun.”

Mr. Robinson, who capsized at both the start and finish of the race, won the best start and finish prize.

Individual racers Pat and Fran Loftus crossed the finish line neck and neck, with wife Fran edging her husband by a nose.

“I love this race,” Ms. Holtham said, “because it feels like the end of summer.”

First place results:

Rowing skulls: Adam Maleh, 21:08; Surfski: Dana Gaines, 25:16; Singles fiberglass kayaks, female: Fran Loftus, 41:49; Singles fiberglass sea kayak, male: Louis de Geofroy, 27:56; Singles wooden sea kayak, male: Tucker Cosgove, 29:21; Singles wooden sea kayak, female: Jessie Holtham w/ 2-year-old Jolene: 37:06; Singles plastic sea kayak, male: Dick Clark, 26:56; Sit-on-top-single, female: Stephanie Murphy, 47:59; Sit-on-top, male: Jay Schofield, 38:23; Sit-on-top single w/ kid: Mat and Ben Parker (age 4), 52:25; Sea kayak double fiberglass, M/M: Geoff Gibson and Travis Ritchie, 25:00; Sit-on-top-double w/ 2 kids and dog: Matthew, Guinevere, Charly and Anderson Cramer (ages 5 and 3), 48:17; Sit-on-top double w/ kid: Caroline Lawrence, Aaron and Ailsa Carmisciano (age 5), 40:51; Sit-on-top double w/ 2 kids: Elizabeth Dowd, Samantha Warren (9) and Collin Stapleton (4), 59:60; Sit-on-top double M/F: Herb Foster and Donna Foster, 62:51; Sea kayak double w/ multiple dogs: Bridget Dunnigan and Roger Williams, 33:37; Pilot dinghy: Dean Wilbur, 40:47; Rowing canoe: John LaBell, 36:58; 8 man paddle board SUPsquatch Team: Anna Morin, Alley Estrella, Justin Alexander, Liam Cosgrove, Olin Turnell, Leif Turnell, Nick Pecarao & Joe Scavo, 52:49.