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Education is a big issue in northern Michigan, whether we're reporting on school funding issues to breakthroughs in the classroom.

It's Official! Flotilla2 Breaks World Record

The Guinness Book of World Records confirmed Wednesday that Suttons Bay broke a record with Flotilla2. The August 31st event corralled 2,099 canoes and kayaks together on the bay creating a massive, multi-colored flotilla.

Organizer Kate Thornhill estimates the effort raised about $45,000 dollars for student programs in the cash-strapped local school district. She says she now hopes to boost the bottom line with sales of world record memorabilia.

The 2013 effort gains the record, despite a close call with disqualification. At the moment of the official count, a power boat got caught too close to the raft and winds pushed it into the Flotilla.

The raft needed to float freely in the water, tied together for at least 30 seconds to set the record. It could not be touching the power boat.

Thornhill says the world record was salvaged with proof from a high-definition video shot from an unmanned aircraft, proof they wouldn’t have had a year earlier.

“He was able to capture the whole raft close up on video,” she says of the videographer who volunteered his services. “And it (the video recorder) was over that part of the raft where the power boat got mixed up for long enough to prove that there was a 30-second interval.”

Since the group now holds the world record, Suttons Bay does not a plan a Flotilla3, at least not in 2014.

Thornhill says she is planning to participate in a Flotilla next year, though. She hopes to travel to New York to help out the competition… the flotilla group Suttons Bay just beat.

“They’ve always said that they hope that we beat the world record, so that they can do it again,” she says of the New York group.