Paddlers brave rough waters in 29th Annual Blackburn Challenge

The 29th edition of the Blackburn Challenge proved to be more of a challenge than usual.

Dan Havens, Kathleen McNamee, Theresa Haught and Will Rhodes

Dan Havens, Kathleen McNamee, Theresa Haught and Will Rhodes

A 20-plus mile trek around Cape Ann is difficult enough at face value, but add choppy seas and high winds to the equation and the race becomes an incredibly difficult test of will, strength and technique.

Rowers were hit with four-foot swells once the race hit the 16-plus mile, open ocean portion of the race making it difficult for even the most experienced rowers. At the end of the day more than 200 boats entered the race and nearly three dozen did not finish the race because of the rough ocean conditions.

The Blackburn Challenge has been a Cape Ann staple for the last three decades and is seen as one of the most difficult, and most popular open water races on the East Coast.