San Juan Island paddlers depart for the Round Shaw Race
Posted August 5, 2022 at 8:27 pm by Jeff Arnim
At 5 p.m. this evening, seven members of the San Juan Canoe & Kayak Club shoved off from the beach at Shipyard Cove in Hawaiian-style outrigger canoes full of camping gear, bound for Shaw Island County Park – the starting point for tomorrow’s Round Shaw Race.
“It’s a race for human-powered craft,” says David Halpern, the club’s founder. “Canoes, kayaks, rowing shells, pedal boats – anything people are moving with their own force.”
David says the race typically draws between 30 and 50 boats from throughout the Pacific Northwest. All of the boats start from the county park on Shaw, but every participant chooses the direction they want to travel.
“You’ve got to look at the tides, the currents, and then the winds, and you make a calculation – is the wind against you here, and for you there, and so forth – then you try to figure out which direction is going to be most advantageous. Typically, half the people go one way and about half the people go the other. And the first one back wins.”
David says the fast boats generally complete the 14.2‑mile loop in about two hours. For slower boats it’s closer to three.
“The other great thing about this race,” David explains, “Is that it’s the longest-standing human-powered boat race in the state of Washington. It’s quite a tradition and it’s a cool race.”
Six of the paddlers – David, Wendy Zappelli, Yubi Schollmeyer, Eric Swergold, Kaitlin Kominsky, and Kristen Arnim – will race in the 44-foot outrigger canoe pictured above. John Pachuta will paddle in a single-person outrigger.
You can support the San Juan Update by doing business with our loyal advertisers, and by making a one-time contribution or a recurring donation.
Categories: Around Here