Dana Gaines fleetest of the fleet in 26th Oar and Paddle

Nearly 100 compete under perfect conditions.


Edgartown’s Dana Gaines winning the Oar and Paddle Regatta has become nearly as much of a tradition as the event itself.

Sunday morning, on one of the most beautiful days in the history of the competition, Dana did it again, outracing the fleet of 95 on calm seas in his royal blue fiberglass Surfski to finish in 23:02. Brian Beasley, a guide for Island Spirit Kayak, gave Mr. Gaines a good test, paddling a wooden sea kayak to a second-place finish in 24:15. Dick Clark took the third spot overall, and topped the 70-plus division, in 24:31. Diane Dmitri (47:49) led the 70-plus women.

The 2.45-mile course took paddlers and a pair of swimmers from Sengekontacket Pond through the Big Bridge and back on the ocean side, finishing at the Little Bridge off State Beach. With the pond at low tide, times were slightly slower than in the past.

Island Spirit Kayak sponsored the race, donated their entire fleet for the day, and provided staff and equipment for the postrace beach party. Mike and Jenny Dowd were the grillmasters, and Gian Carlo Buscaglia entertained the crowd with his music. Proceeds from the event are donated to Friends of Sengekontacket.

Pam Browning was the first woman across the line in a single kayak, and placed fourth overall with an outstanding time of 25:19. Louis de Geofroy also made the top five, clocking in at 25:38.

Single kayaks claimed the remaining positions in the overall top 15, except for Adrian Johnson, who placed 13th and won the Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) category in 27:13. Lee Zachary (28:40) was the second SUP across the line, and Ben Josephs (31:37) took third.

Sixth place overall went to Percy Burt (25:41), followed by 7. Tucker Cosgrove, 25:58; 8. Charles Schmidt, 26:05; 9. Joe Cosgrove, 26:30; 10. David Charles, 26:46; 11. Ian Schmidt, 27:01; 12. John Robinson, 27:06; and 14. Meghan Sonia, 27:15.

Randy Durbin placed 15th in 27:39, and added another handcrafted cedar strip Greenland-style kayak to this year’s regatta, bringing his fleet to three. All of his home-built kayaks made the top 15, including those paddled by Brian Beasley and John Robinson.

Jay Schofield and J.R. Thomas led the way in the double kayak category with a time of 30:51. Terry and Eric Goplerud were second in 30:53. Island veterinarians Bridget Dunnigan and Charles Williams, along with canine crew Mullet (retiring from Oar and Paddle competition) and Hogan, took the third spot in 33:00. Both dogs are cancer survivors.

Henry Nieder and David Vigneault (32:05) were the top tandem in the double canoe category, and Dean Wilbur (38:21) was the lone captain of a pilot dinghy.

The youth winners were 7-year-old Ada Coffey (SUP); Elizabeth Silva, 10 (single kayak); and Nick Pecararo, 13, and Collin Stapleton, 6 (double kayak).

Special honors go to Matt Coffey (52:33) and Beth May Goodell (1:18:15), who went oarless and paddleless by swimming the course.