The Missouri River will soon be dotted with kayaks and canoes for the annual Missouri River 340 race starting on Aug. 24, 2010. Most of these boats carry single paddlers or small teams, but there will be one boat on the water this year that will dwarf the others — a 41-foot, bright orange dragon boat carrying 21 paddlers from Kansas City to St. Charles as Team Beauties and Barnacles.
The custom boat was built from a kit by student apprentices and instructors with the St. Louis Carpenters' Joint Apprenticeship Program over a span of two months, and the paddles for the race were designed and constructed by Charles Lockwood of Thetis Paddles based in Columbia.
Team members have been fundraising in support of their upcoming Missouri 340 attempt, and the proceeds will go to the Shriners Hospital in St. Louis. In addition to the fundraiser, both the boat and the paddles will be donated to an inner-city youth paddling program in Cincinnati.
The voyage of "Lynn's Lyon," — named in honor of the man who donated the funds for the kit — will also be documented in detail for submission to the Guinness Book of World Records for the longest trip taken in a dragon boat.
According to Guinness, the standing record is 82.07 nautical miles, less than a quarter the length of the 340 miles the team will race in the Missouri River 340.