About 150 paddlers circled Shelter Island for the third annual Great Peconic Race on Saturday, a charitable competition which benefits shellfish and eel grass bed restoration projects.
Described by organizers as one of the East Coast’s premier competitions for elite, intermediate and novice paddlers, the race kicked off from Wades Beach for a 19.5-mile circumnavigation of Shelter Island. New this year was a 9-mile race course, a 3-mile untimed, recreational course, and a beach party.
Proceeds from the race will benefit the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s “Back to the Bays” initiative, and will contribute to habitat and shellfish restoration work being conducted by CCE and the paddle community.
“Our goal is to raise money to bed as many scallops and improve the eel grass as much as we can,” said race organizer Billy Baldwin. The race honors Mr. Baldwin’s brother, Ted, who died at age 48 in 2011.
“We try to honor him by saving these waters,” he said.
Racers were also given a bag of seed clams — 10,000 in all — to spread in designated planting sites.
A full list of winners and the total amount of money raised was not yet available.