• Happy Scream Day! 😱

General Clinton Canoe Regatta

Part of The Tripe Crown Series.
General Clinton
The Au Sable River Canoe Marathon
La Classique internationale de canots de la Mauricie

One of these days it would be fun to head up north and race The Clinton.
I've run this race three times... it's a long long day! Even thou it is early spring the Susquehanna R is Flat and Slow.

The first time I tried this race, I was in the 9th grade so my buddy and I had to of been around 15 or so. We took it on in a 16' Grumman and never made it to the finish line. We ended up bailing on the race in Otego NY. Not because we were tired but because we were so cold. That year there was still ice on some of the river edges as we had a really late unusual spring. There are dang portages and many sections shallow where you are getting out to sprint with your canoe the best you can.

The second time I ran the race was in my senior year of Highschool with the same friend and a slightly better canoe. We actually finished just as it was getting dark and they were lighting off the fireworks - almost late to the party.

The last time I ran this race was in 2004 and it is much more organized and has lots more different classes and styles

I never did the race in any kind of racing canoe and my best time was 10 hours 40 min in a Mad River Exp
Did the Gen Clinton race a dozen times, but have not been there in the past couple of years. It was good for early training and an excuse for getting in shape for the summer season. Billed as 70 miles, but really measures out to only 63 miles. For some reason it is not really one of my favorites. I just can't seem to get into the same 'homey" feeling and strategy and planning that I get on the 90 or the Yukon.

The first race of the season I always look forward to is the "Round the Mountain", a relatively short race to start out the season, but good for getting early season sprint blood flowing with a more local familiar friends feeling.
May 13 this year
Last edited:
I haven't done the Clinton in years as my partner moved to NC and honestly, I wouldn't want to do it with any other person at this point. We used to "practice" two or three times before the race but that was it due to our work schedules. We figured we were always ahead of the game because the winners usually had 200+/- hours of pre-race practice in; we never had more than 10. Since our times were only a 3 hours off the winning time at the most, we felt like we were the real winners.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.


PS - Our worst time over the years was 10 hrs. & 45 min. The best? Just over 9 hrs. (don't remember the # of seconds)
I've never paddled in the race, but I have paddled Otsego Lake, the source of the Susquehanna River, and part way down the river. Cooperstown, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, is on the southern tip of Otsego Lake, surrounding the outlet into the Susquehanna. In his novels, James Fenimore Cooper called Otsego Lake "Glimmerglass," a most wonderful word that rolls off the tongue and etches images into the mind.

All in all, a very nice place to visit and paddle even if you are not engaged in a race.

Otsego Lake.jpg
I truly enjoy living not far off of the Susquehanna River, about 10 miles south of Cooperstown. Once the river was danged up to create Goodyear Lake (for hydropower production), there's always plenty of water to paddle. Great place to be during summers with little rainfall when many streams become considerably smaller, making them difficult to paddle.

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

This sounds like a cool event. I wonder if a boat like a hemlock kestrel could do the open rec class( i know its not optimal). Iam sure it would be a very very long day. Besides c1,2 race boats what do they run for open rec. Iam looking at finishing, and seeing what racing is all about. Thanks.
Ripple - My guess is if you're willing to paddle it, the Kestrel would make it. Many people do the race in aluminum canoes and the Kestrel's hull is a lot more sophisticated so the paddling should be easier for you. If you're concerned, I'd suggest you contact the race committee to see if the boat fits into the current categories and required dimensions. There's no use paddling all that way not to qualify at the end; although all we ever got was a chicken dinner and small participation plaque (LOL).

That's all for now. Take care and until next time...be well.

Thanks, I might head up to the aera, to do some recon when the Temps improve. I think I can get my hands on a Grumman. I live in Putnam co ny, so not a crazy drive. I love to do things in my general aera (new york and new england). This seems like a cool chalange, and it gives me something to focus on. As far as the kestrel, I do not want to beat it up on rocks and obstacles. But I would like to use it to the max. I also thought if those c1 and c2s can go through at those speeds, I should be ok? Also iam interested to see this level of racing, endurance boats equipment, style, strategy, etc. Iam sure it's a fine kind of madness! Thanks for the feedback, and I will get in touch with the organizers.
If you're interested then definitely give it a shot. It's a whole other world and what those racers can do with a canoe is incredible. I found them to be a very open and friendly community.

Not my favorite race event, but definitely worth doing a time or two, especially if you have a team to participate with.

I have no experience with this race in particular but back when I was doing some racing I found I did not really enjoy the long distance races. At least here in the upper midwest there were regular 6-12 mile canoe races throughout the season. Minneapolis even has(d?) a weekly local race on a weeknight where you could accumulate points through the season but it was open to anyone that wanted to show up.

I found these shorter races much more enjoyable. Everyone finished close to each other so everyone stuck around for the finish and talked afterwards. It wasn't uncommon for there to be a pot luck or for everyone to go out to eat afterwards.

The long distance races were so long that the top finishers finished hours ahead of the back of the pack. The race organizers are usually the only ones to greet you at the finish and everyone is so tired that they generally pack up and leave right after finishing. The long races are much more physically demanding as well. You can be exhausted at the end of a 6 mile race but probably not in any real pain. You will definitely be in pain long before finishing a 90 mile race.

I don't want to talk you out of it though. Many people love the long races. But if you just wanted to dip your toes in the racing waters then finding some local shorter courses might be a good way.

Thanks for the replys, and I understand you're points. I hear you about the longer vs shorter events. I know it's a race, but it's seems like there is a open class that let all and any go. (No prizes/points) For me it would be a challenge. A fun and grulling one!
Even if i just went as a spectator, It would be interesting to see some of these athletes, and the set ups of there boats. I have never seen, or been to an event like this. I would guess this event attracts some talented athletes. Thanks.
My absolute favorite race is the Yukon River 1000 mile race. I finish it in about six days in a voyageur or C4 canoe, other finishers may take several days more and we do not see most on river after the mass start. Second favorite would be the Yukon 440 mile River Quest, closely followed by the Adirondack 90 miler. I have always been greeted at the finish by my very important pit crew, spouses mainly, along with supporting friends, plus race officials. It is not just the physical paddling and "pain" of the longer marathon length races, it is the intense planning, training and team coordination, the efficiency of navigation, best paddling technique in difficult areas and reading odd currents, the unique sights, and all the on race options of critical decision making. A six mile "race" is just a training warm up.

I do several shorter Adirondack regional races as well, especially including the 90 mile Canoe Classic (which is staged over three days). Everyone gets to witness and cheer on each following racer finish until the last one crosses the finish line, and all stay to participate in a variety of awards and have a provided meal in the park. The same is true of most shorter non-marathoon races. Get tired, sure, but it is a good kind of tired, and any little pain does not last long and is well worth the experience.