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My New Boat for Missouri River 340 Race?

Submitted by on January 19, 2013 – 9:17 pm One Comment

Missouri River 340 Race start

Missouri River 340 or Missouri American Water MR340 is an ultra marathon paddling race from Kansas City to St Charles. 340 miles with 88 hour time deadline. The 8th edition of this race will take place from July 23 to July 26 this year.

A variety of boats are participating in this long race including kayak, surfski, canoe, outrigger canoe, stand up paddleboard (SUP), voyager canoe, dragon boat, pedal kayak. Is it possible to finish the race in a slow boat? I mean a really slow boat. Let’s take it to the extreme.


packraft - Wildcat Run on South Platte RIver

The slowest boat in my paddling fleet is the Alpacka Yukon packraft. I can maintain a cruising speed in calm water conditions of 2.5 mph. Let’s say that the river current can add 2 mph to this amazing speed. 4.5 mph overall speed means about 75 paddling hours which leaves still 13 hours of resting time within the 88 hour time limit. The river can add more speed, but a rough water or head wind can slow me down. I still need a very comfortable seat and an aggressive body maintenance to survive to survive 3.5 days of a such sedimentary life.

There is one problem with this plan … The time deadlines at the first couple of checkpoints are designed to filter out slow boats. You need to keep the average speed of 5.6 mph for the first 83 miles to Waverly. I think that with a cooperating river it would be possible to make it. If not, I would be disqualified, but I would have a chance to finish within the overall time limit the race course unclassified.

The packraft idea has a certain attraction to me if I could use a bike to shuttle back from St Charles along Katy trail to Kansas City. This would be a nice self contained expedition. My regular shuttle by Amtrak would be just too easy with a 5lb packraft.

Well, maybe, someday when I am ready for a bike shuttle. Right now, I am sticking to 20 mile packraft/bike river trips.

My advice for slow boaters how to finish the MR340 race: get fit, make your boat comfortable for a long sitting, and then spend as much time as possible on the river.

Related posts:
Speed Test of Alpacka Yukon Packraft
Biking and Packrafting – A Selfsupported Classic Run on the South Platte River near Greeley
10 Pictures from the Start of 2012 Missouri River 340 Race
How to Choose a Boat for an Ultra Marathon Race? The Case of Missouri River 340

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One Comment »

  • Laura says:

    Thanks for this post. This year will be my first and I’m. Grateful for any info I can find online!

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