Whitewater season flows in

Rites of spring: St. George, 'Passy' paddle races on horizon

Late-winter snow and early-spring melt should provide plenty of fast-moving water
By Ken Waltz | Mar 13, 2019

Belfast — After the latest winter storm blasted the Midcoast with a bundle of snow in recent days it probably is not the best time to think about climbing in a canoe or kayak to paddle down a raging, rock-filled river, but that is precisely what hardy souls do at this point of the calendar, as the whitewater paddle season is set to glide in the end of March and beginning of April.

The popular, much-anticipated Waldo County YMCA-sponsored events are timeless rites of spring — and begin the state's historic paddle season.

The 40th annual St. George River Race is Saturday, March 30 at 11 a.m. at the Searsmont Methodist Church on Route 131. Registration is 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. and the cost is $20 per paddler.

The race starts at the St. George Bridge in Searsmont Village, before three miles of dead water, one mile of rapids, two miles of dead water and curves with one Class III drop. This race has Class II and III rapids — plus or minus depending on the water level.

The 46th annual Passagasawakeag (Passy) River Race is Saturday, April 6 at 11 a.m. at the Littlefield Farm in Waldo. Registration is 8;30 to 10:30 a.m. and the cost is $20 per paddler.

The race starts at the Littlefield Farm, then one mile of flat water with many curves, passes under a cement bridge, then one mile of flat water, followed by a short stretch of Class I rapids, two miles of flat water to Rolerson's Bridge and then Class I, II and III whitewater for one and a half miles before a flat-water finish.

For more information, call Karen Varney at 207-338-4598 or email her at kvarney@waldocountyymca.org.

The following are classifications for the races:

Kayak short (KS): Kayaks up to and including 13 feet 4 inches.

Kayak (KW): Any length.

Kayak (K): Kayaks 13-5 and above.

Kayak Weekend Warrior (KWW): For beginner and intermediate kayakers.

Open Canoe Racing (OC1): One person.

Open Canoe Recreational (OC1R): One person.

Open Canoe Racing or Recreational (OC1W): One woman.

Open Canoe Racing (OC2M): Two-person racing canoes 16-6t o 18-6.

Open Canoe Mixed (OC2Mix): One male, one female in race-length canoe.

Open Canoe Recreational (OC2MixRec): One male, one female, recreational canoe.

Open Canoe Recreational Short (OC2RS): Two-person canoes under 16-6.

Open Canoe Recreational Medium (OC2RM): Two-person canoes 16-6 to18-6.

Open Canoe Weekend (OC2WW): Two person (for beginner and intermediate paddlers).

Open Canoe Two Women (OC2W): Any length canoe.

Open Canoe Recreation Junior/Senior (OC2Jr/Sr Rec): One adult, one child (12 years or younger).

Open Canoe Recreation Junior/Senior (OC2Jr/Sr Rec): One adult, one junior ages 13-16.

Century Recreation — Two person, combined ages more than 100 recreational boat.

High School — Two high school students, recreational boat.

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

Clydesdale —Two person, combined weight over 425 pounds.

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