Object of the Day

First Place in the Cayuco Race

This photograph features the first place award ceremony for the 1971 Canal Zone Council BSA (Boy Scouts of America) Ocean to Ocean cayuco race.

Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race
Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race

Were you a participant in this 1971 cayuco race?  Are you, or someone you know, pictured in this photograph?

Did you attend this race or any other Ocean to Ocean races?

How popular was cayuco racing in the Canal Zone in the 1970’s?

If  you have any information about this photograph or the 1971 Ocean to Ocean cayuco race, please share it with us in the comments section!


    • Peter Swain

      Those are the McIlvaine brother for sure. Don’t remember the other two guys names. They beat us that year, we were 2nd in Destiny from the Gold coast. In 1970 we were also 2nd with this crew 3rd. They spent Friday night at my folks house in Gatun after 1st leg which we won. My mom made them breakfast early Saturday morning and they went on to beat us to Gamboa – thanks mom, just kidding. We won next 2 legs but they beat us to Rodman and won overall – great job!

  • Joe Wood

    Info received from Kari McIlvaine: The people in this photo are (from left to right) Ed McIlvaine, Ron Mahn, Kenny McIlvaine, Lynn Myers, and Charlie Keenan.

  • Rob Villalobos

    I was involve in the 1971 race. Our explorer group had four boats in the race. The four boats placed first, third, fifth and eighth. The boat names were “Dear Dick”, fifth place. “Cachapaleti”, eighth place. “Non illigitimus carborundum” first place and after all these years, I have forgotten the other boat name. I was on the Cachapaleti with Rick Dahn, Charlie Watkins, myself, Rob Villalobos and one other that time has left behind. Maybe someone seeing this remembers more. There was a newspaper article that came out two weeks before the race that was about a near collision with a Japanese tanker during training in the canal.

    • Michael D. Urban

      Rob, I believe I was the 4th man. I later rowed in the Bejuco, Rum Runner, and finally the Dear Dick, achieving 2d place in 1974 together with Frank Robinson, Roger Franz and Jim Jennings. Excellent times. The NIC was a terrific boat – probably the best ever (sorry Hobey Richey!). The McIlvaine brothers were incredible athletes.

      Now I am a writer living in New England. For a great novel about the CZ and Panama set near our era, check out DRAKE’S COFFIN. Available on Amazon.

      Good to hear you are alive and kicking!

      Michael D. Urban

    • Rob Villalobos

      Yes you were our fourth. Thanks for refreshing what memory I have left. Rick Dahn lives in Florida, I live near Spokane, WA. Both of us are on facebook. I’m haven’t found Charlie Watkins yet. So many great memories of a life long ago. Right after I saw your post, I ordered your book. Great reviews. I’m looking forward to reading it when it arrives from amazon. Your last post was in 2014 so my response is on a time delay. I hope you read it some day and get ahold of me on Facebook. Thanks, Rob

  • Peter Swain

    I was in the boat that finished 2nd to these guys. We won the first leg but decided half way down the Banana channel on the way to Gamboa that we should back off just a tad as we didn’t think the NIC could hold their pace – we were wrong and couldn’t pull them back once we realized this. We won the 3rd and 4th stages but it wasn’t enough. Our boat, the Destiny, had Greg Gougen, Zan Green, Rob Bloemer, and myself. We finished 2nd the year before also but with Billy Deaton instead of Zan Green.

  • Jim

    Jim Sweeney
    I recognize Ed on the left. I didn’t get to the Canal Zone until 1972 but I got to participate in many races as an adult and all my kids participated, with my youngest son being in the record breaking Rapid Transit two years in a row. Cayuco season ran from the beginning of dry season until the first weekend of Spring Break. It was kind of a coming of age activity for the Canal youth and later for the Americans who went to the US schools in Panama. Adults could compete for fun or for serious competition as patch boats starting after the explorer scouts cayucos started. The rules for the type of patch boats were less stringent, so some had more than four paddlers and we added rudders later on, which was not allowed for the kids boats. You can still see the races on YouTube as Panama sponsors the races now and has added more types of events, including the Ocean to Ocean race.
    My kids raced in the Tsunami and also so did others and so did I after the kids grew up and left. I trailered the Tsunami up to California from Panama in 1999 and it sits by a boat shed at an outrigger club now in Northern California. Someday I hope to take my grandkids out in it with their dad who was the first one to paddle in it in 1988.

    • guess who

      Coach Sweeney:

      Could you please post some of your patch boat race pictures. Especially pics from the 1989 race on board the SLAVE GALLEY. That was a very famous boat that many competed in. Withinin the patch boat category it was probably the heaviest and the most challenging boat to race in all categories including trophy boats.

  • Margaret Whipple Booth

    I was in the 1973 race and it was the first year for girls to enter. We came in last and won the lead achor award. I was in the Sea Exployers Coca Solo ship 9. We where an all girl crew and fix the cayuco our shelves with our skippers help. The day of the race the cayuco had a leak so we fixed it with chewing gum and it stayed for the whole race. It was a great and exciting two days.

  • Randy Hull

    The “Destiny” finished first in 1969 and 1970. Crew members were Randy Hull, Joe Cronan, Don Bensen and Mike Green in 1969 and Randy Hull, Joe Cronan, Mark Kredell and Richard Bock in 1970.

  • Blair Bates

    I am working on a project for a friend and am looking for any old cayuco pics….especially the Gryphon…Cardiac Arrest and Unexpected….My name is Blair Bates. Hit me up on Facebook!!

  • Ivy League Moron

    HAHAHA You can tell that Ed, the only dude without a tie, has already gone “hipster” gay! Non-Illegitimus Carborundum. Won again in 1974 by the guy steering while dragging the three other crew member on his back. If anyone reads this, please tell McIIvaine … I said he’s a big FAG !!!

    haha – ps, I taught Jay Gibson everything he knows about cayucos!

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