The race started at the southern end of Manhattan on the Hudson across from Ground Zero. Forty-one participants in sea kayaks, surf skis and OC1s set off in five waves up the Hudson River (but with the current) to the northern tip of Manhattan.
Leading the field was Barton, paddling an Epic V10L, and Brooklyn’s Joe Glickman, who somehow convinced Barton that he’d get lost without the gracious guidance of a local. At the northern tip of Manhattan paddlers headed East (right) and south down the tranquil Harlem River. Halfway down the Harlem, Barton and Glickman, who were on record pace, overtook the team of Mark Webber and Andrew Folpe, paddling a Fenn double.
Around the notoriously tricky section of the river called Hell’s Gate, where the Long Island Sound dumps into the East River and scores of old sailing ships smashed into rocks here and sank, Barton did what he typically does – paddled off alone – around the tip of Manhattan to the finish. His time of 3 hours and 21 minutes smashed the previous record of 3:43 set by former German National Slalom Team Member Dorian Wolters. Glickman finished second in 3:27. The third boat across the line was Webber and Folpe in 3:35.
In the OC1 division, Gary Krapf broke the record for fastest circumnavigation by six minutes with a time of 3:53. Jeremy Grosvernor finished second (4:00:05), just seconds off the old record. Caroline Brosius was the fastest female in the OC1 division (4:16). The fastest sea kayak, Glen Jabkowski (3:58) in a Kirtin followed by Big Apple icon Eric Stiller (4:05), the author of Keep Australia On Your Left. The fastest woman was Alex Landrum in a Fenn (4:21).
Local paddlers from the New York region dominated the divisions, taking advantage of local knowledge and local conditions to place solidly through out.
The Mayor’s Cup event was the premiere part to the New York Waterfest, a day devoted to raising awareness for the Hudson River and raising money for Riverkeeper. Many folks enjoyed a day of rafting. Twenty 12-foot commercial whitewater rafts left Pier 96 and paddled down to North cove marina. The sounds of laughter, fun, and excitement filled the beautiful fall day
Next year with more advanced warning and more international paddlers, the Mayor’s Cup organizers hope to make it a bookend event with the US Surf Ski Championships held on the last weekend in September. This is a legitimate course both in terms of distance and rough water. This year there was a $2,000 purse and lots of great swag, and we hope there will be more of both in the future.