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Portland Paddle Guide to Attempt Speed Record

Joe Gugliemetti will attempt to paddle a solo kayak from Boston to Portland in under 24 hours, a distance of 90+ miles

Portland Paddle guide, and Maine paddling legend, Joe Gugliemetti is at it again. Having previously set the speed record for paddling the entire Maine Coast (in 4 days!) and having paddle from Portland to Augusta in just over 13 hours last season, Joe is now attempting to set another record with a paddle between two of New England’s most famous cities along the coast of the southern Gulf of Maine. To his knowledge, no one has ever paddled from Boston to Portland, alone in their boat and entirely under human power, in such little time.

Joe plans to depart the evening of Sunday June 9th from Deer Island in Boston. He will then paddle to Gloucester and through the Annisquam River. Once through the river his intended route will continue straight north to Kittery, before finally entering southern Maine. From there he will hug the coast, and, after rounding the rocky headland of Cape Elizabeth,  will make landfall in Portland Harbor. If all goes as planned, Joe hopes to complete the paddle by 9 pm Monday or earlier.

In order to complete the trip within the goal, Joe will need to maintain an average speed of just around 4 knots (nautical miles per hour) for the entire length of the trip. If he is able to stay on pace, Joe will pass Newburyport, Mass, roughly a third of the way through the trip, at just about 6 am Monday morning. A further third of the way through the trip, Joe hopes to pass York Beach and Cape Neddick by 2 pm. Exact times and speeds will vary throughout the paddle, depending not only on Joe’s physical effort, but also upon the tidal currents, winds, and other environmental factors.

When asked about his training practices Joe said it involved a lot of time in his kayak, a lot of time on a rowing erg, and a lot of time envisioning the staircase scene from Rocky. When asked what else he did to prepare he answered, “packed snacks, packed water, and obsessed over wind speeds.” Joe will paddle in an Epic Kayaks 18X, a design intended for racing and high speed, long distance paddles like this.

A team of paddling enthusiasts have come together to support Joe on this effort, some to paddle sections alongside him, and others to monitor his position via GPS in case of an emergency.

a group of people kayaking along a rocky coastline in Casco Bay.

To learn more about Joe, his training practices, and other adventures he has gone on, check out our blog post with him and fellow Portland Paddle guide Kyle Martin about long distance and offshore paddling.

Want to Track Joe’s Progress?

You can follow along with Joe’s latest adventure by visiting his Garmin InReach Tracker webpage!

We will continue to update this post and our social media to cheer Joe along in his journey. Best of luck to him!

 

 

Updates:

  • Official start time: 8:52 pm, Sunday June 9th, 2024
  • 10:45 pm: current speed, 5 knots. Location, off the coast of Swampscott, approaching Marblehead
  • Approximately 1:30 am: Joe enters the Annisquam river
  • Approximately 2:30 am: Joe exits the Annisquam river
  • Circa 6:00 am, Vytas “Vick” Marciulionis, who paddled with Joe through the night for safety, comes to land. Reports Joe is tired but feeling good and chugging along!
  • 6:12 am: Joe crosses the New Hampshire border!
  • 9:40 am: Joe enters Maine waters!
  • 12:13 pm: Joe passes Cape Neddick Harbor
  • 5:13 pm: Joe enters Saco Bay, the last major Bay before rounding Cape Elizabeth
  • 7:27 pm: Completes the rounding of Cape Elizabeth, beginning the final approach in to Portland harbor
  • 8:44 pm: Joe touches land on Cushing Island, officially arriving in Portland and completing the challenge!
  • Final elapsed time: 23 hours, 52 minutes!
  • Actual distance covered: 93 nautical miles (107 statute miles)!