It's homestretch time at the boat-build. That means the less glamorous, but mission-critical features of Spawn must be fitted and tested. There's a lot to figure out.
Shelter, for instance. The Everglades Challenge –– the adventure race that got this boat-building project started –– naturally and responsibly requires that competitors carry a bug-proof shelter. With 300 Florida miles and the Everglades to traverse, I should think so.
Paddlers usually bring a tiny tent. For the trio onboard Spawn, the shelter is two-part: there's the forward state-room below the foredeck, and then there's a tonneau-cover/conestoga wagon shelter that spans the middle of the boat. The edges of the canvas cover are secured with a wide band of Velcro®.
The tonneau-cover not only helps repel water should it come raining or splashing into the cockpit while the boat is underway, it also makes a very cool fort.
The cover arches over the centerboard trunk like a cozy tent. A couple of sleeping bags and extra-long, extra-thick exercise mats make for rather deluxe sleeping accoutrements. A mosquito-netting panel facing the transom seals the deal, while allowing an intrepid sailor to slip an arm out of shelter to cook a tasty meal on the Jetboil stove.
So in case the wind poops out, the team won't be entirely at the mercy of the Everglades most annoying native species. I'll probably tuck a deck of cards into the toothbrushes-and-baby-powder personal-care kit for the guys.
You know, in the unlikely event of a boredom emergency.
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