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Blackburn Challenge: 20 Miles Later - Gorriaran Breaks Record With 1st Place Finish

Twenty Miles Later – Gorriaran Breaks Record With First Place Finish

Gloucester, MA/ July 23: Last Saturday was the North American Open Water Rowing Championship contested at the Blackburn Challenge in Gloucester.

Here is Dan’s Account:

“The forecast leading up to the race was looking favorable so I brought two boats with me this year, a flat water racing single as well as an ocean boat. The difference is in the length and height of the gunnels. The weather look perfect early but a storm front came through and roughed it up a bit just before we started. I had the flat water boat all rigged up and ready to go so I took the chance…. and paid for it. The good news is I won and set a course record in the process. The bad news is my hands are still trashed from rowing such a narrow boat in the ocean. It was a bad idea, which I’ll never do again. Ocean boats are for the ocean, flat water boats are for rivers.

“I did get a very cool trophy that simply reads: FASTEST MAN, which I may actually display. That made my day, bloody hands and all.”

Congratulations to Dan! His course record is 2:30:31. That’s 2 hours, 30 minutes, and 31 seconds. Quite an achievement! Below is the story from the Gloucester TimesThe Gloucester Daily Times Sun Jul 24, 2011, 11:52 PM EDT

July 24, 2011

Records broken at 25th Annual Blackburn Challenge

By Nick Curcuru Staff Writer / Gloucester TimesThe Gloucester Daily Times Sun Jul 24, 2011, 11:52 PM EDT

Records and milestones were at a premium in Saturday's 25th Annual Blackburn Challenge, one of the premier open water rowing races in the entire country.

A field of 416 participants made the 20 mile trek from Gloucester High School, all the way around Cape Ann and ending at Pavilion Beach. The 416 participants is a record in the race which was fitting for it's 25th anniversary. The race started in 1987 as a simple challenge that was meant to emulate Howard Blackburn's row to Nova Scotia in 1883 and has turned into one of the most popular, and grueling, open water races in the country.

"We were hoping for a big turnout because it's the 25th anniversary and we got it," Cape Ann Rowing Club and sliding seat racing rower Rich Klajnscek said. "Three weeks before the event we only had half the participants signed up to go, it was a little nerve racking but we got a lot of late entries."

The field of participants wasn't the only record broken on Saturday, Providence native Dan Gorriaran broke the course record in the sliding seat racing single men's division with a time of 2:30:31 beating the previous record by 45 seconds set by Mike Dreher in 1996. Klajnscek was the second place finisher in the division, which are the fastest boats in the race.

"I usually finish second when (Dan) races," Klajnscek joked.

In addition to records being broken, the 25th Annual Blackburn Challenge also featured several milestones.

Gloucester's Christina Carpenter, who just recently won the International Dory Races this June, added another milestone to her list becoming the first woman to participate in and finish the Blackburn Challenge in a grand banks dory with a time of 5:47:42, good for third place in the Banks Dory division, which is the slowest moving boat in the race.

"That was a big accomplishment for her to finish third in her first try," Klajnscek said. "The dory division is one of the most grueling, they suffer twice as much as the other competitors."

Gloucester's Will Rich, who went from Florida to Maine on a stand up paddle board finished first in the paddle board division with a time of 3:57:55. According to Klajnscek Rich finished in a time that most finish in a kayak, even though kayaks move faster then a stand up paddle board.

The final milestone went to Gloucester's Jimmy Tarantino. While he finished second in the Banks Dory Division behind winner Kurt Bittrolff, Tarantino was named to the Blackburn Challenge Hall of Fame. In 2009 "Jimmy T" broke the course record in a Banks Dory with a time of 4:34:25. He joins Dreher as the only two members of the Blackburn Challenge Hall of Fame.

Klajnscek described the weather conditions as nearly perfect. While severe heat was expected in the area, at race time it was fairly mild and the water was as calm as it gets both in and out of the harbor according to Klajnscek.

"As a participant in the race you hope for some rough water or challenging conditions," Klajnscek said. "But as an organizer you want exactly what we got on Saturday. Everything was perfect."