Bird Island Challenge Raises $4,800

The start of the race. Photo by Jaime Rebhan.

August 19, 2010: The 8th Annual Bird Island Challenge, held to benefit the Gleason Family YMCA in Wareham, Massachusetts, provide Y memberships to needy families, was a big success and lots of fun. The paddling and rowing event was held Sunday, Aug. 14, and drew some 75 participants of all ages and levels of experience, who set off in kayaks, rowing shells, canoes and even a whaleboat to complete one of the race’s 3 courses: a 3-mile paddle to Long Beach Point and back, a 6-mile round trip to Stone Point, and the big enchilada—the 13-mile Bird Island course.

Race Course

The first competitors set off at 8:00 from Zecco Marine just south of downtown Wareham and quickly made their way down the Wareham River and into Buzzards Bay, fighting a rising tide and a light southeast wind. A fleet of volunteers in various powerboats, along with the Marion and Wareham harbormasters, kept other boats away and stood by to assist any exhausted racers.

Bird Island rowers. Photo by Jaime Rebhan

The winner of the men’s kayak racer division was Onno Bokhove (44) from the Netherlands, who has been summering in Woods Hole, where he studies fluid dynamics. He completed the 13-mile course in an amazing 1 hour and 47 minutes. Second-place finisher in the men’s kayak racer division was Wesley Echols, who clocked in at 1:52. The winner of the women’s kayak racer division was Ellen Stewart (36), who completed the Bird Island course in 2:15.

The event raised $4,800. For more information on the event, go to Wareham Week

Special thanks to Wareham Week’s Jaime Rebhan for providing photos of the event.

Check in with New England Boating for a full video of the race, coming next week!