For 24 years, kayakers, row boats, and now paddle boards and more, have been racing for a good cause at the Oar & Paddle Regatta. Originally started by Island legend Dana Gaines, who loves to kayak and has actually won the regatta 22 times, the Oar & Paddle Regatta is a fundraiser for the Friends of Sengekontacket.
Four years ago, Island Spirit Kayak began hosting the event, and it’s gotten even bigger and more fun. And, if you know Island Spirit owner Carolyn Stapleton (Chick), fun might as well be her middle name.
The race is from Little Bridge to Big Bridge and back in Sengekontacket. Dana Gaines’ best for this event is 19 minutes which is pretty amazing. However, it’s not about speed for everyone, though Chick tells me that people have been practicing the course quite a bit.
For many, it’s about the fun. There are over a dozen categories, so pretty much everyone is a winner. There’s one for kayaking with a dog, kayaking with kids, one for kayaking with the dog and family and many more. This way more people can participate and do it for the sport and fun.
One of the categories that has really grown and I look forward seeing in action is the wooden boat category. A number of entrants have made their own kayaks or paddle boards. Speaking of Island made, the pilot gigs, Grace and Cassie, from Sail MV, will even be there (the wooden boats you see from the ferry boat in Vineyard Haven).
It’s quite the scene. Dozens of boats in the water, all competing to finish the course first, and after all that hard work, medals are awarded (almost everyone gets one). Live acoustical music, and a celebratory cookout across the street from Island Spirt Kayak at State Beach. Plenty of food and refreshments to enjoy and reward yourself with.
The entrance fee is $25 per person and with that, you get a t-shirt, the cookout, and you can even use a kayak or paddle board if you need to. Island Spirit Kayak donates all their equipment for the event. After all, everyone loves Senge and wants to see it healthy and thriving.
The money raised goes to fund testing the water quality and to help discover where high concentrations of nitrates are coming from and it also helps to fund the oyster project in the pond in partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group.
The Friends of Sengekontacket really work hard to help the pond, and this is an important fundraiser for the group.
This year, there are a lot of sponsors underwriting the costs, Offshore Ale Co., the Green Room, Nancy’s, Martha’s Vineyard Pirate Adventures, Island Spirit Kayak, Deep Water Estates Services, Warren Electric, and Stands Alone. Because of this, the money for the entry fee goes right to Friends of Sengekontacket.
The race begins this year on Sunday, August 30th, at 10 a.m. You can register as early as 8:30 a.m. Forms are available online and at the event. This is a great event for families and friends!
Don’t want to be a participant? Come watch and cheer everyone on.
Look for me – I might win for double kayak with the family and a poodle (I am watching my mom’s toy poodle Beau for a month). Stay tuned to see if we win a medal.
After the event, Island Spirit kayaks and paddle boards will be for sale just incase you get hooked and need to bring home a souvenir.
Thanks for reading On Point. You can learn about the Island Spirit Kayak and the Friends of Sengekontacket on Facebook. Don’t forget to “Like” Point B on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and YouTube.
A special thanks to Chick for so many great pics of the Oar & Paddle Regatta!