To the sound of cheering crowds (modern-day crowds, that is –– the noise a swellign crescendo of plasticky key clicks) Spawn of Frankenscot arrived safe and sound in Key Largo 1 day, 12 hours, and 46 minutes after starting the 2016 Everglades Challenge.
They were the first boat to finish and they broke the previous monohull record by 12 hours. Click-click-click hurrah! Social media applauds!
Here's a gorgeous short video of the team –– shot by Ninjee's cousin Simon Lew via helicopter over the Gulf of Mexico.
They were fortunate in the conditions. The wind stayed mostly abeam or aft, so that they were running or reaching about 75% of the course, with only a few chunks of rowing against the tide (like at the Indian River Pass), and short slogs upwind with crew on the wire.
The Spawnsters barely had time to snack during the trip, though they wouldn't have starved: an unfortunate Spanish mackerel, leaping boisterously from the water somewhere out in the dark blue empty, landed with a surprising thud in the cockpit in the middle of Saturday night. The team trained their headlights onto the piscatorial visitor. "What is it and where should I grab it?" Moresailesed inquired before flinging it (by the least harmful corner of its tail) back into the sea.
The mighty yacht herself landed with a thud from time to time in that last stretch of what navigators call "skinny water." Florida Bay (Rod Koch describes it as "lunar") is shallow and full of both mucky sand and hard coral. Said boat designer Ninjee, "I didn't realize how much running aground we would be doing." Discussion of a stainless-steel leading edge on the centerboard followed.
Spawn disturbed at least one hazard of the course: a 7-foot-long shark had the startle of its weekend when the boat passed over it in about 2 feet of water. "It looked like an explosion of mud behind us," said TwoBeers.
Special thanks to Ensign RumsDown, who IS a driving Ninja and generous friend.
As he announced to the team in a manly bellow from the shore of Chockoloskee (after Mary and I had warbled "I love you" across the starry, echoing darkness) "I LIKE YOU!" Really do.
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