Strong winds can’t throw Pilgrim Paddle off course for long

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  Rowers race from the Beesleys Point beach on Saturday, Nov. 30 during the sixth annual Pilgrim Paddle. The race is usually held on Thanksgiving Day but was postponed this year because of strong winds.
Rowers race from the Beesleys Point beach on Saturday, Nov. 30 during the sixth annual Pilgrim Paddle. The race is usually held on Thanksgiving Day but was postponed this year because of strong winds.

BEESLEYS POINT – The sixth annual Pilgrim Paddle was held at the Beesleys Point beach last week.

The race is usually held on the morning of Thanksgiving Day, but was moved to Saturday, Nov. 30 because of strong winds. There were 20 mph winds on the Great Egg Harbor Bay Thursday, according to race organizers.

The course takes boat crews under both the Garden State Parkway and the Beesleys Point bridges as they circle Drag Island. The race this year was also unique because of the construction underway at both spans.

The Beesleys Point Bridge is in the process of being demolished. A new southbound Parkway bridge is being built at the same time.

Sea Isle City Beach Patrol alumnus Kevin Larkin and Upper Township Beach Patrol alumnus Jim Gibbons set a new course as they won the Pilgrim Paddle, beating eight other crews. They finished the 3.5-mile course in 29 minutes, 19 seconds.

The Wildwood Crest crew of Terry McGovern and Darrack Kobrowski followed one minute and 33 seconds later, coming in second. Rounding out the top five were the Upper Township Beach Patrol crew of Wayne MacMurray and Bill Kindle in third place, the Upper Township Beach Patrol crew of brothers Joe and Jon O’Neil in fourth place, and Sam Downs and Ed Giordano of the Cape May Beach Patrol in fifth place.

Bill Millar and Joe McCann of the Ocean City Beach Patrol came in sixth. Jack Devine and Joe Grimes of the Wildwood Beach Patrol came in seventh. In eighth and ninth were mixed doubles teams comprised of Joe and Barb LaRosa and Bill and Brooke Handley, respectively.

Bridge construction is visible in the background as racers paddle.  Bridge construction is visible in the background as racers paddle.


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