The 28th Oar and Paddle Regatta played out Sunday on a picture-perfect day on Sengekontacket and the waters off State Beach in Oak Bluffs. The weather couldn’t have been better, and the high-tide slack current was perfect for the racers as spectators lined the pond from the Little Bridge to the Big Bridge, taking in the action.
Island Spirit Kayak donated its entire fleet of boats, with only a few paddleboards left on shore. All proceeds from the event are donated to the Friends of Sengekontacket.
Dana Gaines added another victory in a long, long line, paddling his fiberglass Stellar Surf Ski through the 2.4-mile course to the finish line in 21:57. Brian Beasley was the race runner-up for the second year in a row, clocking in with his Randy Durbin handmade wooden kayak in 24:53.
The top two went for a friendly ocean paddle after the race. After Dana saw what Brian could do in his racing surfski, he said, he was a bit worried about next year.
Durbin made three new wooden boats over the winter which competed in this year’s race, with five of the seven boats making the top 16.
David Charles (25:13) placed third, Dick Clark (25:28) was fourth, and John Robinson (25:31) took fifth, all in single kayaks. Dan Walker paddled the first canoe over the line to finish sixth overall in 25:39. Mark Baumhofer and David Vignault (25:44) were seventh in the first double kayak, Louis de Geofroy (25:54, single kayak) placed eighth, and Tucker Cosgrove (25:55), ninth.
Percy Burt, was first in a single plastic kayak, and placed 10th overall in 26:29. Percy generally puts a fresh coat of duct tape on the ancient piece of plastic he pulls out of the woods once a year, and absolutely kills the course.
Meghan Sonia, Islander and Island Spirit Kayak guide, was the first female kayaker in a sea kayak, paddling a wooden boat made by her grandfather in Canada. He sent it down for her with her name painted on the bow.
Anna Morin of Oak Bluffs, owner of MV Paddle Co., was the first paddleboarder across the line, barely beating her friend, Paul Hyzack, by a margin of 16 seconds.
Pat and Fran Loftus crossed the line together in a photo finish after delaying their start by four minutes to rescue a capsized paddler. The Huth family paddled with two dogs in their double kayak, and were seen constantly grabbing their anxious-to-swim dogs from the water and placing them back in the boat to cross the finish for a time of 42:56.
Race organizer Chick Stapleton had much to be proud of on the day. Collin Stapleton, age 7, paddled a sit-on-top plastic kayak with a time of 53:13, and is the youngest solo paddler to cross the line in the race’s history. Husband Tyler and son Kian, age 5, joined Dave Hobart under the bridge as safety kayakers. Hobart said that according to Kian, they spent most of their time “slashing jellyfish.” Chick’s brother Mike and wife Jenny Dowd were grillmasters, and cousin Elizabeth Dowd was one of the sponsors, with Karpet Kare.
In a sampling of medal winners, Herb Foster, 90, and Patricia Tyra won the Senior Paddlers Award; veterinarians Bridget Dunnigan and Charles Williams were first in a kayak with canine; lone swimmer Matt Coffey beat out a pair of paddleboarders to finish in 1:15.24; Talia Young was first among youth paddle boarders (1:16:43); and Ben Ramsey paddled the lone rowboat (Gannon and Benjamin–made). He and his wife Nisa were also race sponsors.
For official race results, visit my4.raceresult.com/105639/results?lang=en.