It's a marathon, not a sprint. So we've been telling one another, wisely, for months, as we picked out cold-weather gear, additional electronics, packs of AA and AAA batteries, as we've talked about whether the Spawnsters will stop and camp or press on through nasty weather.
I don't know how the 1,200 miles of the Ultimate Florida Challenge is calculated, though I suppose it comes down again to that old successive approximations under a curve...Even though the event is never about curves.
In any case, the first stage is done. The two boats (catamarans, naturally!) that arrived ahead of Spawn in Key Largo summed up their race: it was the worst conditions for sailing that they remember. Really rough. Really grueling.
I sat with Paula Paddledancer, the race organizer, as she fielded calls from worried family members of the racers, and from the racers reporting in that the wind and the waves were brutal, I thought, well, that's the first leg. I only hope the next four legs are less tough.
Spawn arrived in Key West Monday afternoon. Jeff said, "I'm surprised the boat is still under us. It was –– it was just awful out there."
The word "miserable" was bandied about.
A nice big meal at Mrs. Mac's, a very long night's sleep, a big breakfast at Mrs. Mac's, a bit of light boat-repair (replace blown ratchet blocks and jib sheet. Replace jib hook that straightened during re-entry after flying off a wave. Toss Jahn's defective shoes. Restock food and batteries. Repack everything) and they were away on the tide by noon today.
Spawn's personal tracker –– a SPOT, which brand I do not recommend –– seems to be on an extended popcorn break. The hapless customer service rep at SPOT agreed that it seemed to be acting unusually, and suggested when they got back to shore, he might be able to troubleshoot some things.
Can you HEAR my eyes rolling?
Instead of pinging every half an hour, as advertised and expected, the SPOT tracker evidently will only sing out after I send a text asking Jahn to please please for the love of all things holy press "okay."
This stage should actually be fun!
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