NEW! Interactive Course Map:
Aerial photos of Great Works, Basin Mills and Veazie Rapids, courtesy of R.W. Estela, Gyro Geo Aerial Survey, LLC.
The racecourses are on a stretch of the Penobscot River that has been recently restored to preindustrial free-flowing condition through the removal of two dams (the Great Works and Veazie dams). The river has been essential to people here for thousands of years, for sustenance, traveling, and industry. Now, with this stretch returned to a more natural state, this large river can again support a vibrant ecosystem and exciting recreational opportunities. The Penobscot River is an industrial river and industrial debris exists in the Great Works, Basin Mills, and Veazie rapids.
The Penobscot Nation and ACA New England hosted the 1st Annual Bashabez Run on this stretch of river, re-tracing the route of Chief Bashabez from Indian Island to Brewer. Photos from this year’s race are online.
Photos from a pre-race scouting run, with great shots from the river, are also available here.
Downriver Courses: The downriver race will run from Old Town’s waterfront park to the Eddington Salmon Club covering about 9.4 miles. There are five significant rapids on the racecourse and are separated by varying lengths of quick water. All five of the rapids are of class II-III+ whitewater, depending on flow rates, and each extends over a significant distance. The rapids are: French Island Rips (class 2 or 2+, ~100yds), Great Works (class 3 or 3+, ~700yds), Basin Mills (Class 3, ~250yds), an un-named class 1 or 2 rapid of about 200yds, and Veazie Rapids (Class 3 or 3+, ~800yds). At normal flows, there are no mandatory portages, but the rapids can be portaged if a racer so chooses. Any portage chosen should be scouted since the terrain of the banks varies a lot and industrial debris exists in places. Racers are unlikely to encounter non-racing recreational nor commercial rafting/boat traffic. Starts for the downriver race will be mass starts by class. With good current the whole way, fast times for the downriver races may be in the 70-80 minute range.
The location of the youth downriver short course for competitors ages 10-12 and 13-15 will be determined at the time of the event depending upon current conditions. One option being considered is to race from the river right boat ramp below Basin Mills to the river left boat ramp above the Veazie rapid. This course would be quick water nearly all the way and would include the un-named class 1 or 2 rapid.
Sprint Course: The sprint races will start at the Old Baseball Field, Bradley, just above Great Works Rapid and will be approximately 0.6 miles. The finish will be just below Great Works rapid so paddlers can use the Bradley-side portage trail for multiple runs. Starts for the sprints will be on one-minute intervals.