It’s been years since the Yukon River Quest last made the 715-kilometre voyage from Whitehorse to Dawson City. In 2020, it was cancelled due to COVID-19; in 2021 it was due to excessive water levels — mainly around Carmacks. Not to be deterred, the Yukon River Quest organizers are already making plans for the 2022 paddle. Registration for the “Race to the Midnight Sun” will open on Nov. 1 at 2 p.m. Yukon time. “We are looking forward to it but there may be a little bit of trepidation,” stated River Quest president Peter Coates. “It’s been a while since we’ve had a proper registration and there’s nonetheless a level of uncertainty with COVID-19.” Because there are still several unknowns, Coates stated there were some modifications to registration. Most notably, at first glance, is the dates. Nov. 1 is while the “large boats” voyageurs and C4s (4-person canoes) can register. A week later, tandem boats can placed their names down and the subsequent week, registration will be open to solo boats. “The last time we did registration we got hit with a tsunami of registration,” stated Coates. “There had been multiple troubles with credit card processing. I don’t expect that going on once more however I don’t want to be dealing with that tsunami so we’re starting registration gently.”
International groups can join up for the 2022 race, as they might in 2019 when the “tsunami” of registrants happened. “We stuffed up within 4 and a 1/2 of hours,” stated Coates. “The price we were taking registration fees in was spectacular. I want to stem that lag a little bit.” When it comes time for humans to register, on their respective day, they’ll discover the registration rate could be different — that is once more due to the uncertainty. “We won’t be taking the entire registration rate like we typically do,” stated Coates. “We don’t need to be in a role of taking humans’s cash while there may be nonetheless uncertainty. We could be taking simply the waitlist rate which is $50 in November.” In February, Coates stated the River Quest board will reevaluate wherein matters are at after which ask for the entire rate. For groups that don’t have their very own boat, they won’t should pay the condo rate upon registration.
“Normally, you aren’t allowed to hire a ship from us till you’re completely paid, that has been relaxed,” stated Coates. “If you’re at the waitlist you can hire a ship, normally you reserve a ship by paying 1/2 of the rate.
“I’ve changed that so that you only have to pay 5 per cent of the boat rental to secure the boat – at the least till February.” Since it’s been years since the race has been held, Coates suspects spots will fill up quickly. “We are residing in very strange times,” stated Coates. “But, I would assume there to be a whole lot of pent-up demand because the race hasn’t taken place. Lots of factors haven’t taken place. We should be getting more people.” Because of the expected demand, Coates stated they’ll be allowing extra groups to participate.
“We’ve extended it from 125 to 150,” stated Coates. The race is open to worldwide groups because travel regulations are being relaxed, stated Coates. Things could change so if the authorities calls for it or just recommends it the race will follow that. That means members have to be double vaccinated. “The present day COVID-19 guidelines require us to require vaccines of everyone in the race,” stated Coates. “So, we will be requiring vaccines.”
To sign-up for the 2022 Yukon River Quest, people can go to yukonriverquest.com. For solo paddlers, they’ll want to show they have the experience needed to finish the race before they can register.
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