The Blackburn Challenge is a 20+ mile open water circumnavigation of Cape Ann. Participants row or paddle small boats in the open ocean waters around Cape Ann, and conditions can vary dramatically throughout the day. Occasionally the water can be very rough, with strong winds and high waves. While we have some powerboats on the course to monitor checkpoints, we do not provide boat escorts—you should expect to be out of their sight and fully independent most of the time. Unless you have solid experience in difficult conditions with the boat you plan to use, you should not enter this event. Always plan an “escape” path to safety, and if you encounter any problems along the way, pull out and call to let us know. The orderly, safe and sportsmanlike conduct of this event is your personal responsibility, and is essential to guaranteeing the future of the Blackburn Challenge.
We have no rain date; there’s always an event. Alternative courses will be in place for rough weather conditions, or fog. The Blackburn Challenge is open to all seaworthy oar or paddle powered craft. Classes include men’s and women’s Banks dories, fixed seat singles, doubles, multi-oars with cox, multi-oars without cox, sliding seat singles & doubles, single & double touring kayaks, single & double racing kayaks, surf skis, and outrigger canoes, in about that order. Refer to the enclosed sheet for anticipated start times. A final breakdown of heats and classes will be announced at the skipper’s meeting as well as changes to course if warranted. Though CARC attempts to recognize any class represented by several entries, we make no guarantees.