34th Annual Wappinger's Creek Water Derby
by Bob Rancan
On April 24, 2004, the Hackensack River Canoe & Kayak Club was represented at the 34th Annual Wappinger's Creek Water Derby.
The team did not finish anywhere near the top - the four boats involved made it to the finish line in the 2 hour, 35 to 36 minute range. The racing boats atop the leaderboard took advantage of this year's high water to run the 8 mile course in about 55 minutes!
We would have had much better times if the leader had not opted to take a 40 minute lunch break along the course. A proper sit-down midday meal was always a tradition in his family. It also did not help that the club treasurer reeled in an abandoned Bob Landers rental canoe, emptied it and left it onshore to be recovered. Turning in the floating drybag to race officials also ate up some of the clock, as did the excessive bird watching.
On the bright side, we all finished, and nobody got wet. The day was beautiful, the kind of April day that you wait all winter for. And, there were flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers, Phoebes and a Carolina Wren.
The event was sponsored by the Aquatic Explores, Inc. of Poughkeepsie and it was great to see all the people who turn out to promote their local river. It was an old-fashioned canoe day too, with many of the boats being pulled out from under mulch piles for the annual trip down the river. It was canoe/kayak history, 1955 to the present.
Thank you to Phil Brown, Jan Robinson, Tom and Mark DeAngelis for joining me. I think we can cut our time down by 5 or 10 minutes next year.