On Saturday, more than 3,000 boats gathered on Fourth Lake for the One Square Mile of Hope cancer fundraiser in an attempt to form the world’s largest raft of canoes, kayaks and guideboats. The record still needs the approval of Guinness officials, but it looks to have beaten the current one of 2,099 boats set last year by a group on Sutton’s Bay on Lake Michigan.
The Inlet raft, held together only by hands, fulfilled a Guinness rule by free-floating for at least 30 seconds, according to organizers.
Kiwanis of the Central Adirondacks and the One Square Mile of Hope Committee, co-chaired by Carolyn Belknap and Connie Perry, organized the event, which was a fundraiser for cancer research. Organizers started working on the event in November.
“We were pretty confident we could turn the people out,” Belknap said. “We had huge numbers all along the way. It was clear we were on track to break the record.”
The event raised more than $100,000 through registration fees, auctions and other activities. The majority of the money will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. In addition, a portion of the proceeds will go to the Foundation for Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. That money will be used for breast cancer research at the Upstate Cancer Center and children’s cancer care at Golisano Children’s Hospital.
Despite temperatures in the 50s and rainy weather, paddlers from at least 30 states, two Canadian provinces, Thailand and Belgium made their way onto the lake.
“To come and to be in the midst of people all trying to do the same thing is pretty powerful,” said Belknap said.
In order to meet Guinness requirements, the organizers documented the gathering of boats with video and photographs. That evidence will be sent off to London so that Guinness can verify the accuracy of the count.
This would be the third time the Inlet-based fundraiser has broken the record. In 2008, the Inlet group put together a raft of 1,104 boats, beating the previous record of 776 boats joining together on Hinckley Lake in Cleveland in 2001.
Inlet’s record stood until 2010 when a group of 1,619 boats got together on the waters off Point State Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
In 2011, Inlet regained the status of world champs with 1902 boats. That record stood until the group from Sutton’s Bay broke it.
Photo by Nancie Battaglia: An aerial photograph of more than 3,000 canoes, kayaks and guideboats on Fourth Lake Saturday.