Gowanus Canal Gowanus Canal

Welcome to the Jun 14, 2014 Gowanus Challenge! We'll (try to) update page weekly with fundraising results

The Gowanus Dredgers and the Red Hook Boaters are holding a historic race this June called The Gowanus Challenge!

The race is historic because, to the best of our knowledge… this is the first race where entire course, and the ensuing awards banquet will be held completely on a US Government sanctioned Superfund site. We were unable to get USOC sanctioning, so we'll settle for EPA. The race and lunch party are on June 14th 2014 and we challenge all other boathouses to field teams, and independent kayakers to come on their own and join the fun!

We hereby officially issue a challenge to you, and/or your boathouse to test your mettle on our home turf, the mighty Gowanus Canal, once the life blood of industrial Brooklyn, now being called the “Venice of Brooklyn” by real estate developers. The course is a 2.5 mile round trip from the Dredgers Boathouse to the mouth of the canal and back.

Support a TeamSee Q & A below for answers to questions and we'll update this page weekly as teams are added

The Gowanus Challenge is open to all canoes and other closed-bottom boat (kayaks, skiffs, etc) to race from the Dredgers Boathouse to the mouth of the canal and back. Team Registrations are now being accepted and remember to list your "team name" in the designation section. Our goal is for each canoe team to raise a $500 "entry pledge" and kayaks / other boats to raise $250 "entry pledge" so forward this to your friends, family, classmates and co-workers and tell them to make a donation to support your team. We'll post results weekly on this page and will award a special prize to the team that raises the most funds!

The race will start at 11:00am from our 2nd Street dock on June 14 (6/21 rain date) with 10:30 registration and equipment checks. This is a fundraising event to provide critical money to support our programs but we absolutely guarantee this will be one of the best paddling events of your summer.

We need volunteers to help us solicit prizes from local merchants and to assist in other ways. If you're not interested in racing a canoe or kayak on contaminated waters, you can still support a team - just list team name in the Designation section of our donations page! We need volunteers so send us an e-mail if you would like to help? For those unable to raise the entry pledge, we will consider donated prizes instead - up to $250 value. The Gowanus Dredgers have a limited number of canoes, made available for members of our organization (only $25 to join) on a first $200 donated for team, first canoe reserved basis. The following FAQ has the Q & A Details:

Q. What kind of ride can I bring?
A. If it doesn’t have a sail, or a motor, you are welcome. We will have two “classes”

  • Canoes, any size, shape, or number of crewmen, we know one when we see it.
  • Open Class, anything else. Kayak, rowboat, surfski, paddle board, peddle boat, rowing shell, whatever surprise us but be aware that the Canal has 12 CSOs!

Q. But ... isn't the water toxic?!!
A. That's the point of the race! All waters of NYC Inner Harbor are contaminated so avoid consumption. Of course, we don't have the parasites found in other waterways because they can't survive in Gowanus. View our Canal water quality test results and volunteer to be a tester!

Q. Aww Man I left my canoe in Portland, and my ex-boyfriend ran off with my kayak and my dog.
A. Dude no worry. If you can get pledges of at least $500 in sponsorship money we will provide a canoe for and your buds to paddle, no sweat. Let us know you need a boat and we will reserve one.

Q. $500!!! Whoa, that’s a lot of cabbage!
A. Listen this is a fundraiser, don’t be a tightwad. We are reserving our canoes for folks who can raise that much; if you have your own boat, there is no minimum, BUT please reach out to your all your workmates, neighbors, parents, etc etc. and get pledges. Hey, remember all those lousy girlscout cookies you bought from sally in accounting? What about that lame walkathon the boss was in last year??? This is your time to shine, hit them up. Warning: The 4 lowest fundraisers will be automatically entered into a paddle board based jousting contest under the Carroll Street Bridge!

Q. Ok I’m in, what is in it for me?
A. A mad-cap adventure on the Canal, followed by an excellent awards lunch party. If you can raise at least $100 you get a T-Shirt. If you win your class you get an amazing prize (TBD). There may also be prizes for:

  • Highest total pledge amount
  • Best dressed crew
  • Coolest team name
  • Largest number of sponsors

Q. How do I register?
A. Simply send us an email to gdredgers@gmail.com let us know your team name, then begin making your pledge donations using network for good
Be sure to click through all the way to submit donation and INCLUDE YOUR TEAM NAME in the designation section for each donation and you will receive an auto-e-mail confirmation. We will post weekly updates to this page to track how you stack-up against the other teams. KEEP GETTING PLEDGES right-up to race day. If you have cash or checks of course bring them along on race day!

Q. So what’s up with this awards banquet, do I need a tux or gown, where will I change?
A. The awards banquet will feature local Brooklyn based liquid refreshments, and a specially designed Artisinal Superfund Pizzas produced in Brooklyn that feature exotic ingredients from around the world. Dress code is “no shirt, no shoes, no problem - no pants, slight problem”.

Q. What if the weather is a downer?
A. In case of rain the rain date is June 21st. If the weather is in doubt check this webpage for an answer. The Dredger’s Captain will make a decision by low water on race day.

Q. My lame boss won't even give me a raise, why would he sponsor my team?
A. Tell him, for $500 sponsorship, he'll get:

  • a tax deduction to the extent allowed by law
  • company name on canoe and logo on race page send jpg
  • outfit team in company gear and rights to use any photos in marketing material
  • unlimited gratitude from the Dredgers and Citizens of NYC for helping clean NY Harbor

Support our sponsors:
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Race starts and ends at the end of 2nd Street, off Bond St near to 164 2nd Street, Brooklyn, NY 11231 and 2 blocks from Carroll Street F/G subway - extit to front of Bklyn-bound train.

2013 Race Press Articles

Brooklyn Paper - Wall Street Journal - Daily News - PIX 11 News - Vimeo Movie - The Observer - Gothamist
Register / support your teamGowanus Challenge Race1
2007 Gowanus Canoe Race
Team Stat's updates every few days
$625 Toxic Avengers
$545 Dolphin Rising
$500 The Staten Island Ferry
$300 Greenwood Gravediggers
$300 Combined Shark Overflow
$293 Dolphin Spirits
$200 SI Ferry Princesses
$150 Gowanus Cutting Board to Death
$120 Red Hook Zombies
$100 Gowanus Swim Team
$100 Smilin' Eye landers
$10 James Baldwin School
$10 Gowanus Iguanas
$0 Village Community Boathouse
$0 The Honey Dippers
$0 Brooklyn Bridge Park Boathouse
$0 SuperFun Sewer Rats
$0 Wallabout Channelers
$0 La Mer de Brooklyn
$0 Red Hook Rainbows
Register / support your teamGowanus Challenge Race1
2007 Gowanus Canoe Race

Q. So what’s the schedule for the day?
A. So glad you asked…

07:35 AM low tide at the Battery. To really appreciate the splendor of the canal its best to catch an entire tide cycle, and for sure the best time to start is low tide.

09:30 AM Ceremonial “opening of the gate”. Each year the challenge kicks-off with the arrival of the Gowanus Dredgers captain dressed in his formal “navy whites” to open the gate to the Dredgers equipment hanger and begin the lauching of the Dredger’s fleet.

09:45 AM Boat selection. For teams that have reserved one of the Dredger’s canoes they can select their craft, christen it with the team name, and begin outfitting it to their specifications. There will be ample time to wax the hulls, polish the woodwork, and chrome. The boats will be ship-shape and Bristol standard well before the start.

10:00 AM Formal Registrations begins. All Captains will receive their official commemorative race number, and attach it to their craft.

10:30 AM Captains meeting. All captains will report to the main tent for a briefing that covers the safety protocols and terms of engagement. An optional Rum ration will be dispensed to those teams who are of legal drinking age, and require fortification before proceeding to the field of honor.

11:00 Starters pistol.

13:30 Post Race Banquet and awards ceremony. *note all times except low tide are approximate and subject to change.

Register / support your team
Gowanus Challenge Race3
2007 Gowanus Canoe Race

Race Press: NY Times - NY1 News - DNAinfo.com - Pix 11 News - Daily News - Brownstoner - Brooklyn Paper

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