Not sure what else I need to add after that title, but here goes.
Background: The Everglades Challenge is an annual unsupported adventure water race that sends a fleet of paddlers, sailors, and rowers down the west coast of Florida from St. Petersburg, across the Everglades, and ends 300 miles later in Key Largo.
It begins on the first Saturday of March.
It's organized by a group called the Water Tribe, and the start at Fort DeSoto Beach is one of the goofiest, most glorious marine spectacles imaginable.
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My favorite skipper has participated for a few years –– his WaterTribe handle is "Two Beers."
He sails with Jahn Tihansky ("Moresailhesaid") on a boat designed by OH Rodgers ("Ninjee"). The team has surprised more than a few skeptical onlookers and broken a couple of records.
I've been chronicling the ongoing adventures, naturally.
Each year, the guys innovate, redesign, refine. Mr. Linton spends many a spare hour dreaming about the project, and then many a busy day implementing the improvements.
This year, it's a new arrangement for the water ballasting and hiking racks.
Carbon fiber attachments and integral glass-over-wood tanks hinge up and out. This change, we all hope, should improve flotation as well as speeding up the processes of getting the boat from trailer to water.
Plus it might be a bit cushy for the tushy.
He told me that there is no other sailing competition that gives him the chance to use his strategic wit, maritime experience, and boat-MacGyvering in this way.
I get it, but still I worry. 300 miles. Storms. Gators and crocs. Sticky mud and razor-sharp oyster beds. Sleep deprivation. Idiot powerboaters. Et cetera.
Water testing in a couple of weeks, knock wood.