34-th Annual -- Connecticut River Raft Race -- July 26, 2008

Millenium Buzzard Voyage

Even though the 34th annual raft race was cancelled the Millenium Buzzard still managed to make a sprint down the swift & swollen flood waters of the Connecticut River. This America Class raft is quite fast, a very maneuverable vessel, and well suited to the task of making a flood run. The excursion was a little over 8 miles long and got underway from the Rocky Hill boat ramp and concluded at the Portland Riverside Marina. The usual race course is less than half this distance, so their journey was quite a long haul. The raft’s Captain, Steve Layden, directed the crew’s efforts in this epic voyage while Todd Brown took care of navigation duties by plotting the course of the raft. The crew was substantial with close to fifteen people onboard. Everyone on the raft wore a custom made purple T-shirt with the team’s logo on the front and the statement, “Fish tremble at the sound of my raft!” printed on the back. Before disembarking from the raft the crew had to put ashore in the trees. The water was high enough that a lot of tree branches were blocking the way. After some delicate maneuvering the raft made a clean landing on the sandy shore. The safe arrival of the Millenium Buzzard brought with it some deliverance for Bob Niland, who is the race committee President. Bob was clearly relieved that the raft had arrived safely and with no incidents to report. Todd announced that the entire journey took just 2 hours, 33 minutes. This puts the raft’s average cruising speed at right around 5 knots. Later in the day as Todd came forward to accept his team’s pewter mug he announced that the Millenium Buzzard made raft race history by coming in both first and last place. This statement enticed a heartfelt round of applause and cheering from the crowd gathered at the awards ceremony. It was then that many a participant realized, the Millenium Buzzard had persevered over the flood waters, and in doing so, made this year’s raft race somehow official and complete. This elegant act of valor keeps the torch burning in the hearts of the raft racers. It also makes a resounding statement that the race must go on…and so it did.

Millenium Buzzard Arrival | Voyage Stats 3 | Bob Welcomes Raft | Crew Goes Ashore | Cannon Shot

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