Raft-a-Palooza paddlers unofficially break Guinness World Record for largest simultaneous launch
Hundreds of paddlers hit the water at NH LAKES’ LakeFest: Raft-a-Palooza to help protect NH’s lakes from aquatic invasive species
On Sunday, August 3rd, an unbroken line of canoes and kayaks stretched along the entire Lake Winnipesaukee shoreline at Endicott Rock Park in Laconia, NH. Following a blessing of the fleet, paddlers braced for a countdown, and the subsequent race to get their boats launched in 15 seconds or less. They were participating in an attempt at NH LAKES’ LakeFest: Raft-a-Palooza to capture the Guinness World Record for largest simultaneous launch of canoes and kayaks. A group in Hobart, Tasmania set the current record of 308 boats on February 9, 2013. On August 3rd, 396 boats took part in the Guinness World Record attempt at Endicott Rock Park.
Participant Scott Ellis of White River Junction, VT remarked, “It was exciting and slightly chaotic, with a cool buzz in the air prior to launch. People were nervous about getting into the water in 15 seconds. It’s cool that we (unofficially) beat the world record.” Organizers now must wait for Guinness to certify the result.
Katy Brown Solsky of Concord, NH, one of the event’s official timers, observed, “Seeing all the boats on the beach was very exciting; it was like a rainbow of kayaks. The sense of community among the boaters was very moving.”
In addition to offering a fun-filled day of paddling and on-shore festival entertainment, the LakeFest: Raft-a-Palooza event also educates the boating public about the vital Clean, Drain & Dry! technique to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species. According to New Hampshire Lakes Association’s (NH LAKES) Vice President Andrea LaMoreaux, “Boaters seemed much more aware this year about Clean, Drain & Dry!, and why it’s important. There remain boaters who are unaware of the threat of aquatic invasive species, so there’s still a vital need to get the word out.”
Raft-a-Palooza also featured a Guinness World Record attempt for largest raft of canoes and kayaks; the current record of 2,099 boats is held by Sutton’s Bay, Michigan. While that attempt fell short this year, boaters and festival attendees enjoyed a beautiful day at the beach. Live music, the Watershed Warriors education program, new Artisan Marketplace, boat sales, food trucks, education area, an on-water scavenger hunt, and retail vendors filled the afternoon.
Funds raised through LakeFest 2014 directly support NH LAKES’ work to protect local lakes and their watersheds through education and advocacy. Since 2002, hundreds of paid and volunteer NH LAKES Lake Hosts have conducted more than 576,000 courtesy boat inspections and have made more than 1,409 “saves” of aquatic invasive plant fragments that were about to enter or had just left a waterbody.
Learn more about NH LAKES’ year-round work to protect New Hampshire’s lakes and watersheds by visiting www.nhlakefest.org.
LakeFest 2014: www.nhlakefest.org
NH LAKES: www.nhlakes.org
Clean, Drain, and Dry! Technique: www.lakefest.wordpress.com/clean-drain-dry/