CanYou Canoe Cayuga 2016? Of course you can!

Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016!

The fifth annual run of our signature paddling event will be held on Sunday September 11. People in kayaks, canoes, and balanced on SUPs  – Stand-Up Paddleboards – will be paddling a revised southern-loop path starting and ending at Stewart Park where the after party will take place! Live music and food trucks will make for a fun and challenging individual and family-friendly event.

Registration and details available soon. Be sure to check back!

Below are sections describing:

  • Weather and Safety
  • Rules of Event (printable pdf on the right)
  • Training (printable pdf on the right)
  • Clothing and gear
  • Boat Rental

Weather and Safety 

In the event of bad weather the event may be shortened or cancelled. Your fee can not be returned but it could be used as your entrance fee for next year or you may wish to treat it as a gift to the Watershed Network. It will be your choice.

We will send emails to all participants in case of cancellation or changes to the event and it will be posted on our web site and Facebook.

Rules of event  

  • All paddlers must wear pfds (personal flotation devices) at all times.
  • You must sign an Insurance waiver, available at the start.
  • You must carry at least one bailer and whistle per boat.
  • You have to pin your boat number (which you will be given at registration) on your front so that it is visible to the safety boats.
  • You must stay close to the side of the lake wherever possible.
  • You must stop at any designated rest stops and make sure that you have been recorded when leaving. You do not need to stop and take the refreshments if you do not wish to and if safety boats are ahead. 
  • If you get into difficulties look for the safety power boats to help you.
  • It there is a thunder storm with lightning we will delay the start and if you are already on the water find a safe place off the water and sit out the storm.


If you are not used to paddling the distance for which you have registered it is important to carry out some training before the event.  A training program for those tackling the long loop – 17 miles – is provided below, and can be downloaded and printed from the list at right. Start several months before the event, at the latest by July.

  • Practice your stroke as that will reduce the effort – get instruction if necessary from Puddledockers or Paddle-N-More
  • Practice using your core to paddle your kayak. Many individuals new to kayaking primarily use arms.  Arm paddling increases exhaustion quickly. Want to know the difference? Instruction through Puddledockers or Paddle-N-More can assist you with developing muscle memory and develop the skills necessary to paddle more efficiently during long-distance paddles.
  • Get a paddle buddy - practice your wet exit and re-entry skills. This will make it safer and more comfortable to paddle in more challenging weather conditions. If you do not know how, again contact Puddledockers or Paddle-N-More
  • Rapidly get up to 1-2 hours of paddling with little rest time
  • Repeat 2 hour paddles 3-5 times
  • If the conditions are challenging or you’re having an "off day", alter your paddle, keep shore bound. You don't have to cross open water for a good workout.
  • Build up to a 4 hour paddle with just short rests
  • Keeping comfortable while you paddle allows for a more relaxed paddle. Less tension while you paddle keeps your body working more efficiently - better breathing allows for more oxygen to your muscles - less cramping and stiffness developing
  • At south end of Cayuga Lake a trip from Myers to Taughannock and back is about 2 hours or so (you can have a swim half way).It is beautiful, especially at sunset.  From the Inlet to Mosquito point and back is about 8 miles or a 2+ hour paddle. At the north end, from Cayuga State Park south to the Red Jacket yacht club and back is a little over 10 miles.
  • Repeat the 4 hour twice more.
  • Allow the boat to travel at its "hull speed". Exerting a lot of effort pushing the boat will just tire you out. Unless you are racing, approach it like a good comfortable walk - sprinting can quickly exhaust you
  • Nutrition is important to your training schedule: Remember, eat before you are hungry and drink before you are thirsty. Proper nutrition and hydration are important throughout your training and on the day of the event. Quality proteins, carbohydrates, fats, and water provide energy and thermoregulation. Eating plenty of fresh produce, clean proteins, unsaturated fats, and drinking plenty of water are important to every training program leading up to the event.  Work with a nutritional consultant if you want to revamp your nutrition and train your body to use fuel efficiently! 
  • The event will take 10 hours plus for most of you with three stops and more if the wind is not kind.


One of the biggest things we want our participants to know is you should be prepared to get wet and possibly swim!

Although the event is held in early September the weather could be windy, cool, and of course wet. Do not wear cotton!  It is dangerous in wet and cold conditions.  Please read our note about clothing and how to properly dress for wet and cold conditions.  We want all our paddlers to be safe and warm!  Most importantly, please make sure to bring something warm to put on at the rest stops.  After being active, participants can cool down quickly at rest stops.  We will have space blankets available but your own warm jacket is better!

Notes about clothing and how to properly layer clothing for outdoor events:

Layering clothing is very important during outdoor events.  You can add layers if you get cold and remove a layer if you get hot! 

  • Layering: It is recommended to have 2 to 3 base layers in addition to a wind layer, a waterproof layer, and a t-shirt.  For those who get cold easily, it is recommended you add another insulating layer.  It is important that all layers fit over one another comfortably. 
  • Notes about clothing materials:
  • Cotton – absolutely NO cotton. Cotton absorbs and retains water. This is not a material recommended for outdoor travel, especially during any paddling event.
  • Wool – a natural material that is the best for backcountry travel.  Wool wicks away moisture from the skin and insulates when damp or wet.  Wool is also heat resistant and will not melt when placed by a fire to dry.
  • Fleece – a synthetic material for wicking away moisture from the skin.  It is bulkier, but lighter than wool.
  • Polypropylene – another synthetic material used as a base-layer for wicking wetness away from skin. 

 Paddling clothing and other gear checklist

c  Base Layer: polypropylene/other synthetic material – long sleeve and short sleeve are recommended

c  Extra Layer for warmth – fleece top and bottom

c  Waterproof layer – spray jacket/dry suit

c  Water shoes/sandals – no open toed shoes

c  Sun hat – baseball cap

c  Paddling gloves  

c  Extra fleece jacket and pants for rest-stops

c  Knit hat for rest-stops

c  2 Nalgene Water Bottles - filled

c  Sunscreen

c  Small personal First Aid Kit & personal meds

c  Dry bags – to help keep extra clothing dry

Paddling equipment and other gear:

c  Coast Guard approved Personal Flotation Device (PFD)

c  Whistle – must be attached to PFD

c  Paddle

c  Extra Paddle

c  Pump/sponge/bailer

c  Paddle Float & Tow Line

c  VHF Radio (Optional)

c  Leatherman & Repair Kit


Scoll down for pics from the 2015 event.

A bright and windy day on Cayuga Lake made for an exciting CYCC!


Ithaca's Cayuga Outrigger Canoe Club takes to the lake.Organizer John Mawdsley reports that fifty-one paddlers started, including the outrigger. Thirty-four finished at Cass Park. The rest pulled out at various locations - they were not lost! In a further breakdown, eight started at Cayuga State Park in the outrigger, where it had been towed on the Friday. Fourteen started at Dean’s Cove, eight started at Sheldrake; and twenty-one put in at Taughannock State Park. Six paddlers got car rides from Sheldrake to Taughannock and resumed paddling there.

A big thank you to the West Shore homeowner south of the Ithaca Yacht Club, who gave two of the paddlers a beer!

The flexibility and uniqueness of this great event is demonstrated by the ease with which people were able to select one or more segments, and change their plans based on conditions. Participants could choose one stretch of lakeshore, or the whole event length. As long as paddlers checked in and out with the organizers at each launch point, they were free to create a lake-paddling adventure to fit skills, strength and conditions. One family, aware of the winds, spent the afternoon noodling around in Cayuga Inlet – and then joined the others at Cass Park for the great food and music.

Over 50 volunteers worked behind the scenes, including onshore volunteers from Cornell’s Biology Service Leaders, the Trumansburg/Town of Covert’s Ambulance, and Seneca County Sheriff Stan Warne. The Trumansburg Covert ambulance team at Taughannock State Park.Paddlers were tracked by the Tompkins County Ham Radio Operators, traveling in their mobile tracking unit (truck!). On the water, safety boats were at hand in case of paddler problems. These included the US Coast GuardAuxiliary Flotilla 2-2 out of Ithaca. The key volunteer coordinating the safety boats was Greg Albrecht. Thanks to the coordinating team, who planned and prepared in advance, and were there to make sure it all went smoothly: Bonnie Shelley, Lois Chaplin, Brenda Wickes, and Maureen Cowen.

US Coast Guard safety boat crew.From Paul Davis: “This was an awesome event. Very well organized. Thank you so much!”

Tim Noon wrote:  “Great event this weekend! Thanks for organizing.  Also thanks to Lois for giving Nick (#6) and me (#5) the ride to Taughannock from O'Malleys.  My little infant daughter also had a great time dancing it up with the band after.  Great day!  See Ham radio club of Tompkins County tracked next year.”



Cayuga Lake Cake with creeks, paddlers, by Patricia Haines Gooding.








We are grateful to Tompkins County Tourism Program for supporting the event with a grant for this year and all of our previous three years.

We would also like to thank our Corporate Sponsors:

  • Tompkins Trust Company
  • Puddledockers
  • Paddle-N-More
  • Sheldrake Winery
  • Sciarabba Walker & Co., LLP