Slimy, sludgy Gowanus Canal to hold first regatta

Posted at 8:43 PM, Apr 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-04 20:43:07-04

When you think of a regatta, sailboats racing through clear waters with boaters enjoying good clean fun in serene surroundings,  may come to mind.

Now imagine a similar boating challenge with canoes, kayaks and rowboats moving along Brooklyn’s slimy, sludgy and smelly Gowanus Canal.

The Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club, which has about 200 members, is planning to host its first ever regatta, the “Gowanus Challenge,” on June 15.

Participants will race along the 2.5 mile course to raise money for the club which provides information and gives the public access to the waterfront.


Each rowing team is expected to raise $500, individual kayakers $250.

“We feel it’s going to be able to attract more boats and more interest than just the people who canoe in the canal,” said Bill Duke, captain of the Gowanus Dredgers.

The Environmental Protection Agency labeled the Gowanus Canal a Superfund site in 2010.

An investigation by the agency confirmed widespread contamination of the urban waterway which was once used as an industrial dumping ground.

“You definitely want to wash your hands before you eat a bagel after you canoe,” said Duke.