It’s been over 18 months since Inlet earned the world record (for the second time) for the largest floating raft with 1902 canoes, kayaks, and guide boats held together only by hands. But, thanks to the magnificent photo by Nancie Battaglia, the event is still in the forefront of national periodicals. You will recall that Battaglia’s photo appeared in Sports Illustrated and National Geographic. Recently it reappeared in the March issue of Reader’s Digest and the May/June edition of Sierra Magazine.
Whether due to the photo going viral or just because the Inlet event offered a popular activity for paddlers, challenges to the record are popping up everywhere. So far no one has succeeded in besting the record, but this year there are four attempts, any one of which may find Inlet having to recapture the world record.
On August 17, 2013, a group in Illinois calling themselves Floatzilla (floatzilla.org) will have a third go at the record, their first two attempts falling short, but gaining in numbers each time. They form their raft on the Mississippi River as part of a daylong series of water events.
Labor Day weekend will see two record attempts: on Saturday, August 31, a group in Sutton’s Bay (sbfloatilla.com) will try for a second time to make their “Floatilla” on Lake Michigan larger than Inlet’s. Last year they were getting close with their over 1750 boat total. On Sunday, September 1, a new entry in the competition will try to break Inlet’s record. This group is the Vashon Youth and Family Services group (vyfs.org) on Vashon Island in Puget Sound near Seattle, Washington.
Another new contender is the New Hampshire Lake Association (nhlakes.org) on the other side of the country. They will make their attempt on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire on Saturday, September 7.
The latter two groups have enlisted the aid of the One Square Mile of Hope Committee by way of conference calls. The Inlet group has generously shared the organizational information and tips they have gained from their two successful record-breaking events.
So far, OSM has not heard of any international attempts to wrest their world record title, but their fame has certainly spread from “sea to shining sea.” For further information about any of the challenges, go to their websites, listed above.