My favorite skipper had been talking about the WaterTribe's Everglades Challenge Race, for instance. The event is open to wind- and human-powered vessels and starts at Fort De Soto Beach in St. Petersburg, goes along the coast south, across the Everglades, and finishes in Key Largo.
330 miles of saltwater, gators, and storms. Oh my!
It's been on his radar for a while: he's followed the adventures and mishaps from over the shoulder of his designated computer users, weighing tactics and considering strategies. He got serious last year, when a boat-builder contacted him and offered him a sponsorship deal. The deal came to nothing, but the seed germinated.
“We need to get our tribe names,” he told me. Not following his train of thought, I responded with an elegant, “Huh?”
“The teams all have tribal names. People follow you based on your tribal name.”
“We need names.”
“How about Pink Pony and the Captain Winnebago?”
Long pause. Disapproving frown. "Maybe you should look at the tribe names."
I looked. There are some great names: Sailsalot, SaltyFrog, Dances with Sandy Bottom, Green Mountain Girl, Passaic Paddler.
So I considered a few of our favorite things.
Nearly as soon as we had decided on these handles, Captain TwoBeers started shaking the trees for support and suggestions. Calvin Reed, who is an extended in-law, generously donated his elderly Flying Scot, "Red Stripe."
A brief word on Flying Scots BEFORE modification. The Flying Scot is a one-design sailboat that’s had fifty+ years of happy use in North America. The boat is 19 feet long, with a single mast and the usual three sails of a centerboard sloop. It’s a wide, round-bellied, fairly simple boat, built –– according to builder Harry Carpenter –– with a 55-gallon drum’s worth of resin in every boat. A stoutly built, stable creature.
We’ll be testing that one pretty thoroughly.
And what if we added a carbon bowsprit? A shaped centerboard? Hiking racks?
But first: the Sawzall. Captain TwoBeers applied blade to fiberglass and FrankenScot emerged from a cloud of dust: 60+ lbs of deck and seat removed.
FrankensScot resembles an escaped bathtub minus the plumbing. Squint and dream, and FrankenScot might resemble the awful cousin of an Aussie 18.
Mua ha ha! Stage One is complete.
The linked documentary below chronicles 2013's stormy Everglades Challenge, compressing the 80+ competitors and week-long adventure into an hour and a half -- with a charming rhyming narrative that calls to mind vintage newsreels.