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Boaters mark summer solstice

The summer solstice occurs at 1:45 a.m. this year, and boating groups around the world will mark the June 21 transition in a variety of ways. The San Francisco-based Summer Sailstice urges boaters to take to the water under the mantra, “sail globally, celebrate locally.” At least 2,000 boats around the world are expected to participate this year.

In Grand Marais, Minn., they’ll celebrate on Lake Superior with the Wooden Boat Show & Summer Solstice Festival, which features handcrafted wooden boats, a boat parade, and a diverse “boats to tools” auction. The annual event attracts some 6,000 people.

In Alaska, they’ll celebrate in the form of the Yukon 800 Marathon Riverboat Race. Billed as the “longest, roughest and toughest speedboat race in the world,” the 800-mile sprint takes skippers from Fairbanks to Galena and back in two days, along rivers dotted with sand and gravel bars and floating debris. Powered with 50-hp outboards, the low-slung 24-foot boats are built “from scratch” and reach speeds approaching 70 mph.