The Huddled Masses photo by Dave Scranton

Not official, but numbers look good. Canoes; Kayaks on Fourth Lake: 1,925 boats gravitate to ‘one square mile’ in pursuit of Guinness world record

by Betsy Dirnberger

Inlet, NY erupts with enthusiastic participation for latest record event

Rushing the Turnstiles...Dick Lasher was among the volunteers stationed on party barges to pass out stickers to canoes, kayaks and guideboats as they entered a roped area on Fourth Lake last Saturday. From there the crafts joined one another in forming a free-floating "raft", whose immense size was unlike any the world has ever seen. At the end of the day, event organizers calculated that 1,925 stickers had been distributed to boats entering the storied "One Square Mile of Hope" in an attempt to break a world record off the shore of Inlet's Arrowhead Park beach. Photo by Gary VanRiper

A giant mosaic of 1,925 canoes and kayaks filled a corner of Fourth Lake off the shore of the central Adirondack town of Inlet on Saturday, September 24.

The boats vied against Pittsburgh, PA for the Guinness Book of World Records championship title as World’s Largest Floating Raft.

Inlet has 400 residents; Pittsburgh has 350,000.

While the Guinness title winning determination will not be made for months, the Adirondack raft’s boat count was far beyond the Pennsylvania’s 1,619 boats. David beat Goliath handily.

Sarah Cohen

“When the little town of Inlet decides to win, we do it in a big way,” said Connie Perry, organizer of One Square Mile of Hope, the raft-building event that hosted over 2,200 paddlers in solo and tandem boats from 14 states and Canada.

“We had two goals: to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research”, she said, “and to grab back the Guinness World Record title we held three years ago as the world champion.”

Ann Weyman, Connie Perry, Sherry Barger, Maria Justice. Photo by Dave Scranton

In 2008, Inlet held the title with 1,104 boats.

The rules for the Guinness competition are very detailed and include more than just the number of boats.

Adele Burnett, Director of Inlet’s Information Office, said that the boat count last Saturday was verified by a simple system that entailed each paddler be handed a numbered sticker before entering the designated area.

The Huddled Masses photo by Dave Scranton

“We immediately knew there were at least 1,925 boats in the raft,” said Burnett. “So we know for certain that we had far more boats in our raft than Pittsburgh had.”

The aerial photos and video will be reviewed by Guinness and an official determination will be made at a later date. Not until then can the world record be claimed.

Perry isn’t worried about Guinness declaring Inlet the official winner, but the waiting will be hard.

Pittsburgh’s raft had 1,619 boats last year, and it took almost 6 months before they were awarded the title.

“With 300 more boats, we know we won the count. Now we’ll wait to see if we win the official title,” Perry said.

Nancie Battaglia, One Square Mile of Hope’s official aerial photographer, when asked what all those boats looked like from the sky, said, “It was a beautiful human mosaic, with each person a tile of hope.”

All net proceeds will go to breast cancer research.

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