Adrenaline ‘Raisin’ fun in 43rd canoe race

Christianne Dagenais of Wakefield, Que. shoots through the McIntyre Rapids. Scenes from the 43rd annual Raisin River Canoe Race on April 19, 2015. The 30 kilometer canoe and kayak race is from St. Andrews West to Williamstown. (Cornwall Newswatch/Bill Kingston)

SOUTH STORMONT/SOUTH GLENGARRY – With sunshine and a high of 13 degrees, participants for the 43rd running of the Raisin River Canoe Race were met with almost ideal conditions.

But for the 174 boats and 303 paddlers in the 28.3 kilometer race on Sunday, some still got a taste of the fast-flowing, frigid water.

Participation was up from last year, say organizers.

The first test was Devil’s Chute, just east of County Road 22, where many boats and kayaks were either hanging up or scraping off the rocks just beneath the surface.

In Martintown, streets were packed and there were concessions and musicians, as spectators watched paddlers make it through the dam. Some didn’t come through unscathed though as a kayaker was the first to capsize.

Some chose to portage around the dam site.

Then, the McIntryre Rapids, just east of County Road 27, tested many souls with a least one canoe swamping in the rapids.

At the awards ceremony later in the afternoon, coordinator Phil Barnes told the audience that the water was “very similar to last year” as far as conditions and levels.

Many locals thought the river was much lower than in previous years, with no recent rainfall and the winter runoff more-or-less finished.

Barnes says the fastest craft down the river with a “blistering time” of 2:45:40 was the pro-boat duo of Gaetan Plourde and Jeff Brainard from the Perth area.

There were 69 awards given out in various categories. You can find a complete list of preliminary results here.

Click on a photo below to open a gallery of images from the 43rd Raisin River Canoe Race.

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