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Yukon River Quest 2022

Glenn MacGrady

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When the race starts on June 22, 257 paddlers will represent 13 countries, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the U.S.A. They’re racing for a purse of $59,000 . . . .
 
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Yep, the start of this race is quite a spectacle. Never participated, but had a chance to witness the start in 2008 while on a trip up there. Good luck to all 2022 participants.
G.
 
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Is there an online site that provides good coverage?
https://www.yukonriverquest.com. Every racer has a SPOT device. Go to race tracker and you can follow every racer in near-real time.

I have completed three Yukon River Quest races, 2008, 2013, and 2017. Not sure I am finished yet. At the time there was always a 100 entrant start cap. Quite the fun race with a Lemans style running start to your canoe.

I have also raced the Yukon 1000 mile twice, 2009 (the very first one), and 2011 (https://www.yukon1000.org). Entry fee then was much more reasonable than the insane cost to enter now. I do not undersstand why there is such a difference now. We made back our complete team entry fee (7 in a voyageur canoe) with our class winning awards. I actually really much prefer the Y1k for its greater degree of self reiliance, autonomy, and detailed planning on the part of the race crews. I especially like the crew strategy and the navigation challlenges to decide on the route with the fastest time, which is not necessarily the shortest distance through the obvious and the not so obvious "ahortcuts". Some likely looking (at first glance) shortcuts will deposit you in dead virtually unmoving water while your competition leaves you far behind by remaining in the faster currrent of the main channel, even though a greater distance.
That sure looks like fun......wish I was there....and younger!
I raced my first YRQ at age 58, My most recent at 66
 
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Glenn MacGrady

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Ten records were set at the 2022 Yukon River Quest, with an overall record that race director Mia Lee said will be a tough one to beat going forward. The race, which is the longest annual canoe and kayak race in the world, traces the historic, 715-kilometer gold rush route from Whitehorse to Dawson City in the Yukon. High water conditions contributed to 2022’s speedy descents.

Something Else Entirely, a four-man canoe team with paddlers from the Yukon and Ontario, crossed the finish line in Dawson City in 39:08:12. That bests the previous record of 39:32:43, set by Team Kisseynew in 2008.

On edit: I just noticed that the men's solo SUP time beat the men's solo canoe time. Sounds embarrassing to me, but I'll resist all petitions to change this site to SUPtripping.net.
 

Glenn MacGrady

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The winning solo SUP paddler was Lincoln Dews, who is apparently a world-class SUP racer and who hails, as we all probably suspected, from Maroochydore, Australia.

. . . stand-up paddleboard. Australian SUP racer Lincoln Dews smashed the previous SUP record by more than four hours. Dews, a three-time Australian SUP champion, landed in Dawson on Friday afternoon after paddling for 47 hours, 46 minutes and 32 seconds. The previous record, set by Bart de Zwart in 2017, was 52:16:06.
 
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In past years sups had been windbound on a certain long open stretch of the river for two days while canoes continued to paddle on by
 
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I am trying to envision riding an SUP through Five Finger Rapids.. Must have great balance! Would love to see a video if it exists.
 
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I am trying to envision riding an SUP through Five Finger Rapids.. Must have great balance! Would love to see a video if it exists.
no video, but here is my Voyageur making our way through FFR. In the bow, in one instant I am paddling air, a fraction of a second later I am submerged, passing through a standing wave. This was during a relatively mild flow year through the rapids. I have been there when it offered a much more exciting ride. Custom spray covers are mandatory. One thing about it.... it is all over in about 15 seconds and at the base of the standing wave train you just wiah you could go back up and do it again. A number of boats capsize every year, but a YRQ safety boat on scene will pick them up a short distaance later. During the 1000 mile race there are no safety boats posted, you are on your own for self rescue, canoe, kayak, or SUP.

95AMLRE.jpg
 
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On edit: I just noticed that the men's solo SUP time beat the men's solo canoe time. Sounds embarrassing to me, but I'll resist all petitions to change this site to SUPtripping.net.
The river has fast current generally everywhere, but with significant variations across its width. Moving just a boat length left or right may gain you as much as 3 or more mph. In general you want to be on the side of the river that has high vertical banks, but those can switch left to right around every bend. You can't efficiently keep traversing left to right and vice versa to chase and stay in the main current, and hope to make good time where the river can be nearly a half mile wide. Much depends on how skilled you are in choosing certain shortcuts on your route, especially in the highly braided multiple island sedtions of the Yukon Flats.

The river will determine where you go if you let it. Decide a half mile prior to an island which side you want to pass because the current will split before you get there. Read the surface riffles to see where this happens. Get in the wrong siide of current and you can end up traveling a mile or more farther than you otherwise might if you navigated better. Once you are captured in a wrong side split current it is very difficult to exit to a better choice.

Fast water enetering a narrow sluce may be temping to enter, but if it broadens out much a short distance later, you may find yourself in dead water with almost zero current to push you along.

Below Dawson (on the 1000 mile race) where the river tends to be broad with many meanders, you will get into spiral current flows, where a surface current develops that will whisk you to the outside of a bend, perpendicular to your desired course, significantly increasing your distance and time to travel forward. it can take sprint strength effort and prior knowledge of how to stay out of this devil current and to continue on a shortest distance fastest time path down river. It is all part of the strategy that I love about racing the Yukon.

It definitely helps to have prior experince on this river, to make better choices the next time.
This may be how the SUP did so well.
 
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no video, but here is my Voyageur making our way through FFR. In the bow, in one instant I am paddling air, a fraction of a second later I am submerged, passing through a standing wave. This was during a relatively mild flow year through the rapids. I have been there when it offered a much more exciting ride. Custom spray covers are mandatory. One thing about it.... it is all over in about 15 seconds and at the base of the standing wave train you just wiah you could go back up and do it again. A number of boats capsize every year, but a YRQ safety boat on scene will pick them up a short distaance later. During the 1000 mile race there are no safety boats posted, you are on your own for self rescue, canoe, kayak, or SUP.

95AMLRE.jpg
We ran it no spray cover and amazingly no intake of any water . No one else around.
Wenonah Cascade
 
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Great Pics! Thank You!

I've gone through FFR twice and noticed both times that some very hard paddling, while turning to the left side of the channel, kept us out of most of the standing waves. Anyway, it's a great adventure and I hope to do the Teslin/Yukon again next year as it's a milder trip for Old Phardtz.
 
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