It's getting to be that time of year -- when we return to the ongoing adventures of Captain TwoBeers and Moresailesaid, on board their strange and mighty steed, Spawn.
As many of you readers know, each March brings the Everglades Challenge, which is an unsupported, human-powered adventure race of some 300+ miles along the left coast of Florida. Vessels of astonishing diversity push off the beach at Fort DeSoto at dawn on the first Saturday in March and make their various ways south and across the Everglades to Key Largo, Florida.
My favorite skipper built his own boat, a 21-foot-long light-weight, shallow-drawing sloop for this event, with help and a design from the cool OH Rodgers, plus the assistance of a village of friends. Over the past few years, sailing Spawn, TwoBeers and Jahn Tihansky (Moresailesaid) set a course record, spent time upside down in the Gulf, rowed for days, and punted on the last leg.
After half a dozen of these challenges, our Spawnsters aren't bored, but they are ready to expand their challenge.
So in March 2022, the guys will attempt the Ultimate Florida Challenge.
What is the Ultimate Challenge? Just a lot more sleep-deprived, salt-encrusted, navigationally puzzling ooey-gooey goodness!
Spawn will (knock wood) depart as usual from the beach, but instead of ending in Key Largo, their race will continue for another 900 miles, up the right side of the state, across the top of Florida, and then back to the beach where it started.
1200 miles in a small boat.
The big twist? Once they approach the Georgia border, they'll switch out of Spawn and into a canoe. (I know! Jeesh!). There's a long paddle through narrow and skinny water (possibly less skinny, but still narrow, depending on the preceding weeks' rainfall. There's even some Class III whitewater.), which prohibits both Spawn's mast and her generous width.
The event's rules permit sailors to transform into paddlers mid-race, as it were, and, naturally, requests they change back when the course permits...which will happen AFTER the 40-mile portage.
Forty miles! Pushing their canoe! On a country highway!
Training started this past summer.
This will be a world of difference from the two-day sprint of past Challenges.
The team's goal is to get it done. In under three weeks.
Myself, I'll keep fingers crossed and hope for a good weather window.
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