Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2009 Yukon 1000

Well, here’s a new race of interest, and now the longest of its kind. Not only has the inaugural 2009 Yukon 1000 Canoe and Kayak Race recently been advertised, but mandatory equipment includes carrying a SPOT. In fact, the race's organization is based around SPOT.

Because the 1600km race is unsupported, paddling down the Yukon River from Whitehorse, Yukon across the US/Canada border and on to the Dalton Highway Bridge North of Fairbanks, Alaska, officials are relying on competitors sending two SPOT OK messages a day to confirm their positions – before 2130 to confirm that you’re off the water and camped, and again at 0530 the next day from the same position to confirm you’ve rested at your campsite the entire night. And then another SPOT OK message every six hours while paddling. Otherwise you’re disqualified.

The official starting date of the 2009 Yukon 1000 Race will be Monday July 20, 2009 at 1100, at Rotary Park in Whitehorse, Yukon. Solo kayakers are allowed, but for safety reasons you have to travel with another solo kayaker to make up a team. And you have until August 3 to finish the race.

Unfortunately for me, but perhaps fortunately for FliesWithKiwiBird, at least one member from each team must have completed the Yukon River Quest to be eligible to enter the race. I e-mailed race organizer, Peter Coates, to see if he could open entries up to WaterTribe. And he responded quite smartly: “You know that is not a bad idea. On the other hand, we have had people completely loose it on the River Quest because of how Big and Empty the river is, and the Flats are much Bigger and Emptier. There are only about 1000 people living along the river from Dawson to the highway bridge, 600 miles. And we want to be confident people know how to pack for an expedition in the Arctic.”

But he did say that they’re relaxing the Yukon River Quest prerequisite for the first year. “Pretend the rules say ‘or equivalent racing and wilderness experience’.” And Peter’s happy to review your experience with you, as he did with me.

And another point quite interesting is that FliesWithKiwiBird says I can do the race, if SandyBottom makes up a team with me. I can see us in a Kruger...


Dawn (aka SandyBottom) said...

Let me email him and see if he'll accept my experience of 5 Everglades Challenges, a 1200 mile Ultimate Florida Challenge, the Missouri River 340 mile race, and a month long Newfoundland expedition on the remote SouthWest coast.

Ginger Travis said...

You two should go for it! I took a guided one-week trip on the Yukon in 2006 (with Joe Jacob). It's a huge river but would be an absolute piece of cake after this year's EC. No tides, and the current runs one way all the time.

DaveO said...

My cousin Nick lives in Eagle, AK. Not sure if that is on the course but Eagle sits squarely on the Yukon. It will be interesting to see if you two can pull this one off.

Kristen said...

It looks as though we do pass by Eagle, Dave.