The Port Washington-Manhasset Kayak Run is not a race but instead an opportunity for people to enjoy Manhasset Bay in a noncompetitive way.
The idea for the event was conceived in 2004 by members of the community – Community Chest board member Joel Ziev, Twin Pines Co-op and Twin Pines Kayak Club founder Edna Turner and Atlantic Outfitters owner John Thompson – who wanted to help enhance the kayaking experience on the bay.
Now, the on-the-water event returns for its 15th year on Saturday, July 20, and Community Chest of Port Washington’s executive director, Julie Meer Harnick, said it might be the largest kayaking event on Long Island.
She said last year the kayak run saw almost 100 participants paddling on about 76 boats, including one with a crew of dogs adorned in floaties and life vests.
Harnick said the easy-structured, well-supervised event is a good opportunity for people who aren’t too familiar with using the bay for water sports.
Participants follow a marked route consisting of 12 checkpoints, each manned by volunteers. Safety assistance is provided by the town’s bay constable and Port Washington’s fireboat.
Boats take off from the Town Dock at 10 a.m. and checkpoints include the Port North Dock, Gulfway Marine, Manhasset Isle Community Dock, Manorhaven Park boat launch, North Shore Yacht Club, Brewer Capri gas dock, Plum Point Dock, Worry Wort or the Yellow Barge, Manhasset Bay Estates, Port Washington Estates, Port Washington Yacht Club and the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club.
Harnick said that while some attendees do go out for speed, there will be no awards for a fast finish.
Participants usually begin arriving at 9 a.m. to put their boats in the water, Harnick said. Rentals are available from Kostal Paddle and Atlantic Outfitters at a discounted price for those who do not have their own boats.
The raffle’s grand prize this year will be a new kayak and proceeds will go to the Community Chest of Port Washington, which co-presents the event with the Town of North Hempstead. The 2019 Port Washington-Manhasset Kayak Run is sponsored by the Peter & Jeri Dejana Family Foundation.
Registrations for the event are available in paper at the Town Dock, Atlantic Outfitters, Kostal Paddle and West Marine and also online at portchest.org.
Fees for ages 20 and under are $10 in advance and $25 on the day of the event. For adults, fees are $24 in advance and $45 on the day of the event. Admission includes one raffle ticket, hat, whistle and light lunch at the conclusion of the event.