Weather-wise, in spring in Maine, the changes week to week, day to day and even second to second, can be significant. And nobody has to explain that to the state's hardy whitewater paddlers, who participated, during an eight-day span, in much different conditions during the two early-season canoe/kayak races sponsored by the Waldo County YMCA.

Paddlers braved temperatures in the low to mid-30s and gusty winds that made it feel like it was in the mid-20s Saturday, April 6 to not only accept the challenge to cross the difficult "Passy" course, but to celebrate the birthday of a longtime popular Waldo County race.

The 40th annual Passagassawakeag River Race was held one week after the 34th annual St. George River Race was contested in temperatures in the low-50s and near perfect springtime weather conditions.

View video at bottom of this story.

Click for photos from the Passagassawakeag River Race.

Saturday's "Passy" race again attracted paddlers of all ages and experiences in canoes and kayaks, including one brave soul on a paddle board (Chris Strout of Bar Harbor). In all, there were 157 paddlers in/on 93 craft.

For the second straight week, Ray Wirth of Belfast, paddling his kayak, recorded the fastest time, crossing the course in 42 minutes and 36 seconds. The second fastest craft of the day was a canoe paddled by Barry and Lori Dana of Solon in 45:07.

The course started at the Littlefield Farm on Savage Road in Waldo.The first mile was flat water with many curves. The course passed under a cement bridge to another mile of flat water followed by a short stretch of Class II rapids. Then a two-mile stretch of flat water to the Rolerson’s bridge, then Class I, II and III whitewater for a mile and a half, leading to a flat water stretch to the finish.

Dale Cross, Waldo County YMCA director and longtime paddler/river race organizer, admitted Saturday's weather was cold, but added, "Any day you can sit in a canoe holding a paddle with the sun shining, it's a good day."

The winners of the combined race series, which was the fastest total times for the St. George and "Passy" events, were:

One-person Canoe — Bob Martin of Dedham.

Two-person Canoe — Lori and Barry Dana of Solon.

Kayak — Wirth of Belfast.

The "Passy" was held a week after the 34th St. George River Race attracted a record 223 participants in 132 crafts to start the whitewater paddling season.

In that race, Wirth recorded the fastest time, paddling his kayak over the six-mile course in 41 minutes and 44 seconds. Wirth outdistanced second-place finisher Ben Randall of Sabattus, who finished in 46:04, by four minutes and 20 seconds.

At the "Passy," there were a bundle of paddlers from Maine, more specifically Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Penobscot and Hancock counties, but a few from other New England locales, including Norfolk, Conn., Andover, Mass. and Contoocook and Pittsfield, N.H.

Medals were awarded for first, second and third places in each class in each race.

The individual Passagassawakeag results in each division were:

Kayak Short (KS, kayaks up to and including 13 feet 4 inches) — 1, Mark Bamford, Bucksport, 51:07; 2, John Carter, Surry, 51:14; 3, Larry Merrill, Orrington, 52:07; 4, Dan Baumert, Levant, 52:54; and 5, Chad Montminy, Waldo, 57:06.

Kayak (KW, women in kayaks any length) — 1, Leslie Gregory, Swanville, 52:26; and 2, Karen Francouer, Orono, 54:46.

Kayak (K, kayaks 13 feet 5 inches or longer) — 1, Wirth, Belfst, 42:36; 2, David Nutt, Edgecomb, 46:53; 3, Randall, Sabattus, 46:54; 4, Jeff Sands, Bangor, 47:45; 5, Emmanual Boss, 49:11; 6, Ben Fuller, Cushing, 52:06; and 6, Glenn Montgomery, Belfast, 53:02.

Kayak weekend warrior (KWW, for beginner and intermediate kayakers) — 1, Rusty Cook, Morrill, 1:07:10.

Open Canoe Racing (OC1, canoes with one person) — 1, Bob Martin, Dedham, 49:27; 2, Chris Dalton, Bangor, 53:57; and 3, Brian Battista, Parsonsfield, 55:02.

Open Canoe Recreation (OC1R, one person in a recreational canoe) — 1, Bob Hessler, Ellsworth, 52:36; 2, D.W. Smith, Lamoine, 53:30; 3, Greg Shute, Alna, 54:01; 4, Chad Meyers, Camden, 54:30; 5, Mark Risinger, Newburgh, 56:46; 6, Dale Hartt, Hermon, 56:51; 7, Gary Martin, Hampden, 56:53; 8, Bob Winslow, Belfast, 56:54; and 9, Isaac McKillen-Gofried, Orono, 1:19:42.

Open Canoe Racing or Recreation (OC1W, one woman in a racing or recreational canoe) — 1, Sarah Quaintance, Auburn, 59:36.

Open Canoe Racing (OC2M, two people in a racing canoe 16 feet 6 inches to 18 feet 6 inches) — 1, Chris Francis, Levant, and Mark Ranco, Bangor, 46:37; 2, Dick Kelley and Brian Kelley, Brewer, 48;16; 3, Jeff Owen and Tommy Owen, Orono, 49:53; 4, Dan Littlefield, Waldo, and J.D. Goulet, Bradford, 51:42; and5, Adam Ouellette, Buxton, and Justin Kinney, Yarmouth, 56:30.

Open Canoe Mixed (OC2Mix, one male, one female in race length canoe) — 1, Barry Dana and Lori Dana, Solon, 45:07; 2, Priscilla Reinertson, Contoocook, N.H., and Al Paradise, Pittsfield, N.H., 47:40; and 3, Chip Loring, Old Town, and Ander Thibaud, Mount Desert Island, 51:18.

Open Canoe Recreation (OC2MixRec, one male, one female in a recreational canoe) — 1, Bronwen Pierson, Bucksport, and Bill Deighan, Newburgh, 50:09; 2, Greg Dorr and Lara Dorr, Bangor, 50:39; 3, Shawn Burke, Andover, Mass., and Allison Adams, Newcastle, 50:55; 4, Dale Cross, Morrill, and Caitlin Cross, Brewer, 51:09; 5, Angus Deighan and Abbey Verrier, Bar Harbor, 51:31; 6, Sandra Mitchell, Buxton, and Terry Wescott, Thorndike, 53:00; 7, Hannah Renedo, Orono, and Bruce Weik, Freedom, 54:45; 8, Bridget Winslow, Belmont, and Grant Starrett, Belfast, 58:22; and 9, Schuyler Thomson, Norfolk, Conn., and Abby Burbank, Wiscasset, 59:47.

Open Canoe Recreation Short (OC2RS, two people in a recreational canoe less than 16 feet 6 inches) — 1, Brad Krog and Dawn Krog, Bowdoin, 53:13.

Open Canoe Recreational Medium (OC2RM, two people in a recreational canoe 16 feet 6 inches to 18 feet 6 inches) — 1, Dan Wagner, Belfast, and Jake Feener, Lincolnville, 47:57; 2, Justin Varney, Northport, and Evan Hutchins, Swanville, 52:10; 3, Jon Thurston, Searsmont, and Glen Widmer, town unavailable, 55:29; 4, Brad Coffey and Jeff Wahlstrom, Bangor, 59:59; and 5, John Schofield and Gordon Hamilton, Orono, 1:18:20.

Open Canoe Weekend Warrior (OC2WW, two people, including a beginner and intermediate paddler) — 1, Scott Giroux, Searsport, and John Dillenbeck, South China, 52:39; 2, Roberto Lopez Anido and Eric Gallant, Oron, 56:43; 3, Seth Jones and Heidi Bunn, Newburgh, 57:02; 4, Josh Povec, Camden, and Rob Kaczor, Union, 57:06; 5, Sarah Whitty and Charlie Smth, Veazie, 58:03; 6, Matt Stern and Chris Jessen, Wiscasset, 58:10; 7, Rich May, Brewer, and James Seymour, Bucksport, 1:01:34; 8, Leah Boch and Charlie Fear, Wiscasset, 1:01:45; 9, Don Cross and Whitney Cross, Morrill, 1:03:25; 10, Eliot Lamb and Dan Fowler, Orono, 1:12:43; 11, Hester Kohl, Belfast, and Bob Kohl, Liberty, 1:15:31; and 12, Joe Ditzel, Cape Elizabeth, and Jim Ditzel, Brunswick, 1:16:22.

Open Canoe Two Women (OC2W, two women in any length canoe) — 1, Samantha Nadeau and Kailey Schmidt, Orono, 55:52; 2, Lisa Bates, Alton, and Tara Wagner, Hope, 57:06; 3, Stacy Linehan, Westport, and Jenn Barton, Alna, 57:11; 4, Holly Whitney and Becca Abuza, Wiscasset, 59:23; 5, Susannah Owen, Orono, and Mariah Atwood, town unavailable, 1:03:57; 6, Sarah Nutt, Edgecomb, and Alice Anderson, Rockland, 1:06:58; 7, Jenn Goldstein and Dana Mark, Wiscasset, 1:11:15; 8, Fiona Sorensen Hamilton and Lynn Caron, Orono, 1:13:00; and 9, Kate Ferguson, Orono, and Mary Hartt, Dixmont, did not finish.

Open Canoe Recreation (OC2Jr/Sr Rec, one adult, one child, ages 12 or younger, in a recreational canoe) — 1, Clayton Cole, Corinth, and Ashton Mabee, Bangor, 52:58; 2, J.D. Burke and Jack Burke, Newburgh, 57:02; 3, Christian Andrus and Ethan Andrus, Hope, 57:06; 4, Dan Kelley and Colby Kelley, Bucksport, 57:38; 5, Bucky Owen and Katie Owen, Orono, 58:31; and 6, Weber Roberts and Caellen Roberts, Hope, 1:02:51.

Open Canoe Recreation (OC2Jr/Sr Rec, one adult, one junior ages 13-16 in a recreational canoe) — 1, Aaron Cross and Andrew Cross, Morrill, 51:23; 2, Annika Gallant, Orono, and Gary Brooks, Dixmont, 53:34; 3, Eric Taylor and Peter Taylor, Deham, 54:08; and 4, Aaron Winslow and Jackson Winslow, Belmont, 55:45.

Century Recreation (two people with combined ages of more than 100 in a recreational boat) — 1, Dan Merrill, Stockton Springs, and Al Beeson, Bucksport, 54:49; 2, Bob Miller, Harmony, and Bob Moriarty, town unavailable, 56:08; and 3, John Lightner and Tom Maycook, Belfast, 58:20.

High School (two high school students in a recreational boat) — 1, Calum Hamilton and Yuval Boss, Orono, 51:51; and 2, Emilie Seavey and Joseph DeSisto, Orono, 58:32.

College (KW, KM, OC2, OC1W, OC1M, recreational crafts only) —

Clydesdale (two people with a combined weight of more than 425 pounds) — 1, Tammy Kelley, Lamoine, and Rick O'Donald, Newburgh, 52:13; 2, Jason Cross, Hampden, and Randy Cross, Hancock, 53:12; 3, Eben Allen and Rich Marshal, Sedgwick, 58:12; and 4, 4, Chris Brann, Auburn, and Darren Pesut, Crouseville, 1:18:49.

Paddle Board — 1, Strout, Bar Harbor, 1:08:48.

Two-Person Kayak — Mark Berry and Asa Berry, Princeton, 57:07.

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