A giant mosaic of 1,925 canoes and kayaks filled a corner of Fourth Lake off the shore of the central Adirondack town of Inlet on Saturday, Sept. 24. The boats vied against Pittsburgh, Pa. for the Guinness Book of World Records title as World’s Largest Floating Raft.
Inlet has almost 400 residents; Pittsburgh has 350,000. While the Guinness World Record title determination will not be made for months, the Adirondack raft’s boat count was far beyond the larger Pennsylvania city’s 1,619 boats. David beat Goliath handily.
“When the tiny town of Inlet decides to win, we do it in a big way,” said Connie Perry, organizer of One Square Mile of Hope, the raft-building event that hosted over 2,200 paddlers in solo and tandem boats from 14 states and Canada. “We had two goals: to raise funds for Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s breast cancer research,” she said, “and to grab back the Guinness World Record we held three years ago.” In 2008, Inlet won the title with 1,104 boats.
The rules for the Guinness competition are very detailed and include more than just the number of boats. Adele Burnett, Director of Inlet’s Information Office, said that the boat count was verified by a simple system that entailed each paddler receiving a numbered sticker before entering the designated raft area.
“We immediately knew there were at least 1,925 boats in the raft,” Burnett said. “So we know for certain that we had far more boats in our raft than Pittsburgh had.”
The aerial photos and video will be reviewed by Guinness and an official determination will be made later next spring. Not until then can the world title be claimed.
Perry isn’t worried about Guinness declaring Inlet the official winner, but the waiting will be hard. Pittsburgh, with their smaller number of boats had to wait almost 6 months before they were awarded the title. “With 300 more boats, we know we won the count. Now we’ll wait to see if we win the official title of world champion,” Perry said.
One Square Mile of Hope has exceeded its goal of $65,000 for Komen’s breast cancer research efforts from this year’s event so far. More donations continue to come in.