The Yukon River Quest has had all 125 spots fill in record time.
Registration opened on November 1. A wait list has now been started, and currently has 14 teams on it.
The rapidity in which the spots filled was a welcomed surprise for the organizers.
“It took between two-three days for registration to fill. It’s a new record,” said Jeff Brady, a spokesperson for the Yukon River Quest. “It took us by surprise. Last year was the 20th anniversary of the race and that filled by mid November. It is nice to see more interest, and it is nice to see it grow.”
The solo boats filled the quickest, which according to Brady is what usually happens. The River Quest has gradually increased the amount of solo racers but had to cap it at 50 for safety reasons.
“The 50 solo boats filled quickly,” said Brady. “There will be seven solo canoes, 12 stand-up paddle boards, and the rest are kayakers. We limit the solo boats to 50 because of safety. Since they are paddling alone they get the majority of attention from our evacution staff.”
The race will also cap the number of voyageur boats, which carry six or more paddlers.
“We had 12 voyageur canoes register,” said Brady. “We tend to cap the amount of voyageur canoes to 15 because there are so many people in a boat. The minimum amount of people in the boat is six but they can have more if they wish. There isn’t enough bank space to hold more than the 15 boats.”
The race also saw a fair number of C4 (four person canoes) register according to Brady. The C4 class was introduced two years ago and is the newest class in the River Quest.
Fourteen countries will be represented in next year’s race. Racers will be coming from: Canada, the United States, Australia, England, Ireland, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Wales and France. These 12 countries have all been represented in the race in previous years.
The race will welcome competitors from two new countries. The first team is named Endless Possiblities and are mixed tandem kayak team from Papua New Guinea. Cheryl Sinclair and Glen Bonnici are the racers. According to their team bio on the River Quest webiste, Sinclair’s aim for the race is to “reach the end in a good time for a nice cold beer.”
Bonnici’s bio says his reason for joining the race is “because Cheryl asked me too.” His aim of the race is to have that nice cold beer with Cheryl.
The second country new to the race is Norway, represented by solo kayaker Morten Paulsen, from Lillesand.
According to Paulsen’s bio he has competed in numerous races around the world.
His bio says he joined the River Quest because, “I think the YRQ looks like the perfect combination of kayak racing and expedition padling. Not to forget the amazing nature of Canada wilderness. I’m up for the challenge.”
Paulsen’s aim for the race is to, “Race smart, no big mistakes and finish on a good time and experience the wilderness.”
The race will take place between June 26-30. It is the 21 Annual race.