The start of the paddle season is about a month away as the Waldo County YMCA will host the annual St. George River Race and Passagassawakeag River Race in late-March and early-April.

The 39th annual St. George event will be on Saturday, March 31 and 45th annual "Passy" event on Saturday, April 7. Both races will hold registration from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., with 11 a.m. starts.

The cost of each race is $20.

The canoe and kayak circuit begins with these two races.

For more information or to register, call 338-4598 or stop into the YMCA at 157 Lincolnville Ave., Belfast.

The St. George River Race starts with registration at the Searsmont Methodist Church. The course starts at the St. George Bridge in Searsmont Village, then includes three miles of dead water, one mile of rapids, two miles of dead water and curves with one Class III drop. This race has Class II and III rapids — plus or minus depending on the water level.

The Passagassawakeag River Race starts with registration at Littlefield Farm, Savage Road in Waldo. The course is one mile of flat water with many curves, and passes under a cement bridge, then one mile of flat water followed by short stretch of Class II rapids and then two miles of flat water to Rolerson's Bridge then Class I, II and III whitewater for one-and-half miles with a flat water finish.

There is a special combined race award. Race in the St. George and Passy events, get the fastest time as a individual, team, or kayak to be eligible.

Medals will be awarded for first, second and third places in each class.

The racing classifications include:

KS: Kayak Short — Kayak up to and including 13 feet 4 inches.

KW: Kayak Women — Any length.

K: Kayak — Kayaks 13 feet 5 inches and above.

KWW: Kayak Weekend Warrior — For beginner and intermediate kayakers.

OC1: Open Canoe Racing — One person.

OC1R: Open Canoe Recreational — One person.

OC1W: Open Canoe Racing or Recreational — One woman.

OC2M: Open Canoe Racing — Two-person, racing canoes 16 feet 6 inches to 18 feet 6 inches.

OC2Mix: OPEN CANOE MIXED — One male, One female in race-length canoe.

OC2MixRec: Open Canoe Recreational — One male, one female, recreational canoe.

OC2RS: Open Canoe Recreational Short — Two-person canoes under 16 feet 6 inches.

OC2RM: Open Canoe Recreational Medium — Two-person, canoe 16 feet 6 inches to 18 feet 6 inches.

OC2WW: Open Canoe Weekend Warrior — Two-person (for beginner and intermediate paddlers).

OC2W: Open Canoe Two Women — Any length canoe.

OC2Junior/Senior Rec: Open Canoe Recreation — One adult, one child ages 12 and younger.

OC2Junior/Senior Rec: Open Canoe Recreation — One adult, one junior ages 13-16.

CENTURY Rec — Two-person, combined ages of more than 100, recreational boat.

High School — Two high school students, recreational boat.

College (KW, KM, OC2, OC1W, OC1M) — Recreational crafts only.

Clydesdale — Two-person, combined weight of more than 425 pounds.

Courier Publications' sports staff can be reached by email at sports@villagesoup.com or by phone at 594-4401.