Registrations are now being accepted for the 10th annual Yukon River Quest, the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world, which will be held June 25 to June 29, 2008.
The 740-kilometer (460-mile) wilderness adventure paddling marathon is held on the Yukon River from Whitehorse to Dawson City in Canada’s Yukon Territory. Entry forms are on the race website www.yukonriverquest.com.
Deadline for entries has been moved up to May 1, 2008. Teams are encouraged to register early due to the growing popularity of the event. There remains a limit of 85 canoe and kayak teams, plus voyageur teams, with 100 being the maximum number of teams allowed to start. There also is a limit of 25 solo kayak and five solo canoe teams. All boats must meet the specifications defined in the YRQ rules on the website.
Entry fees remain $700 (CAD) for tandem canoes and kayaks, $400 for solo canoes and kayaks, and $200 per person for voyageur canoe teams of six or more paddlers. Each team also must post a refundable $200 rescue deposit in the event that they, along with their gear, have to be evacuated by safety boat.
The 2008 race purse has been increased to $31,000 (CAD) from $26,500 in 2007. This includes a new $500 prize for the top Yukon canoe and the top Yukon kayak.
"While we've seen an increase in teams from around the world over the past three years, there has been a slight drop in Yukon teams," said YRQ president Jeff Brady. "We hope the new Yukon cash prizes draw more local teams into the fray."
There are only a few changes to the rules from last year to improve safety. All teams will now be required to carry a tent, and some additional monitor points have been added to improve team reporting and results. Boat category specifications are largely unchanged, although some tweaking is being done to better define the existing canoe specs, Brady noted.
In 2007 a record 79 teams started the event, while 65 finished. A voyageur was the first team to finish, and the big boats took the top four positions. Texas-based winner Coureur des Bayou set a new category record in 41 hours and 15 minutes.
But Brady noted that the prize money is good for winners of all classes. "While the glory always goes to the first team in, the prize money is spread around," he said.
More than 80 volunteers helped with the event last year, Brady added, but more are needed to help as the race grows. If anyone is interested in helping with the event, please contact the race organization at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 867-33FLOAT.
View last years winners at:www.yukonriverquest.com/07Race/07raceawards.htm
The Yukon River Quest is one of the premier events in the north and the paddling world. It has been featured on the BBC, CBC and in numerous paddling and adventure magazines. This year, the National Film Board released the film "River of Life", which followed the Paddlers Abreast team. The film has been playing festivals this fall and has generated even more interest in the event. A record 10 voyageur canoes entered the race last summer.
After a LeMans-style start in downtown Whitehorse, teams paddle round-the-clock under the midnight sun, stopping for just two mandatory rests at Carmacks (7 hours) and Kirkman Creek (3 hours). It is a grueling wilderness adventure race that tests the stamina of both professional and recreational paddlers from around the globe. The prize, for many, is just finishing the event in world-famous Dawson City, site of the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897-1898.
For more information about results, how to enter, and preparation for the event, visit the race websitehttp://www.yukonriverquest.com/
The race is organized by the Yukon River Marathon Paddling Association, based in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada. Major logo-level sponsors in 2007 were the Whitehorse Star, Canadian Rangers, Yukon Emergency Measures Organization - Whitehorse and Faro SAR branches, Air North-Yukon's Airline, Kanoe People-Clipper Canoes, PR Services-yukoninfo.com, Northland Beverages-Aquafina Water, and Integraphics.