INLET - Like a giant mosaic, 1,925 canoes and kayaks filled a corner of Fourth Lake on Saturday. The boats vied against Pittsburgh for the Guinness Book of World Records championship title as "World's Largest Floating Raft."
Meanwhile, an aerial photo of the raft by Nancie Battaglia of Lake Placid covers two pages in the new, Oct. 3 issue of Sports Illustrated magazine.
While the Guinness title-winning determination will not be made for months, the Adirondack raft's boat count was far beyond the 1,619 in Pittsburgh, even as it fell short of the 2,000-boat goal. Inlet has 320 residents; Pittsburgh has 350,000.
One thousand, nine hundred and twenty-five canoes and kayaks gather to form a giant raft for the One Square Mile of Hope event Saturday on Fourth Lake in Inlet.
(Photo — Nancie Battaglia)
In the Fourth Lake raft were 2,200 paddlers, in solo and tandem boats, from 14 states and Canada. More than 100 Saranac Lake area paddlers participated.
The event, called One Square Mile of Hope, raised money for breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Each participant paid a $25 registration fee toward this cause, and more money was raised through a boat raffle, a silent auction and direct donations. The funds are still being counted, but $65,000 is being sent today to the Komen Foundation, with more to come.
One Square Mile of Hope was previously held three years ago with 1,104 boats, breaking the previous record of 700 in Cleveland, and raising $52,000 for the Komen Foundation.
"When the Adirondacks decides to win, we do it in a big way," said Connie Perry, organizer of One Square Mile of Hope and owner of Frisky Otter Canoes and Kayaks in Inlet.
Guinness is expected to review aerial photos and video and make an official determination around March next year. Not until then can the world champion title be claimed.
The rules for the Guinness competition are detailed and include more than just the number of boats. Adele Burnett, director of the town of Inlet's Information Office, said that the boat count last Saturday was verified by a simple system that entailed a numbered sticker on each boat.
"We immediately knew how many boats were in the raft," Burnett said. "So we know for certain that we had far more boats in our raft than Pittsburgh had."
Perry said she isn't worried about Guinness declaring Inlet the official winner but that the waiting will be hard. It took almost six months before Pittsburgh's raft was awarded the title.