2023 SMSKN Summer Event

by: John Haile

On a lovely Saturday, July 22, SMSKN held its annual summer gathering at Mitchell Field in Hapswell. In addition to the usual cook-out and social time, this year’s gathering featured a special event: the Richard Rotnem bequest auction. Earlier in 2023, Richard Rotnem asked SMSKN to find a good use for his extensive collection of boats and paddling gear, given the fact that he was no longer able to paddle, and wanted his kit to find good homes with those who would use it. Richard began his serious paddling career in Massachusetts and then, after moving to Maine, worked for many years as a guide with the  LL Bean Outdoor Discovery School. He was a friend of SMSKN and a loyal member of MASKGI. 

When Richard and his partner, Mary Ellen Kelleher, approached SMSKN about donating his gear, SMSKN’s board decided to offer the bequest to members at minimal cost, including giving many of the items away for those who needed them. On the 22nd, a great group of club members gathered and, when all was said and done, we raised over $1300 from the sale of Richard’s gear. This money will be used as seed money for the Richard Rotnem Scholarship Fund. The fund exists to honor RIchard’s legacy and to further the club’s goal of enhancing safety on the water by providing financial support for club members who seek first-time professional training in sea-kayaking skills from a Maine coach or outfitter. The initial $1300 will be enhanced with additional funds from the SMSKN budget, and will allow us to have a generous budget for support of our paddlers who want to grow their skills. Details about the fund and how to apply for support can be found on the SMSKN website (smskn.net). 

Following our cookout and the sale of the Rotnem items, we began our kayak “rodeo.” After boats were launched at high tide, master of ceremonies Bob Arledge set the paddlers three challenges: 1) speed rolling (how many rolls can you do in 60 seconds)–won in a tie by Joe Herlihy and Phil Anderson with 13 each. 2) Paddling backwards in a figure eight–narrowly won by John Haile, who had been training hard for months for this event. 3) Team recovery (teams of four all get out of their boats at once–first team to return to shore with everyone in a dry boat wins) was won by Glen Gordon, John Rogers, Nananda Col and Jon Swan.

It was a wonderful event–many thanks to the SMSKN board and to all those whose hard work and support made the day possible.

See photos from the event here.