I haven’t updated this record lately; I’ve been too busy trying to get ready for the Everglades Challenge.
This raid-like race for small sail and human-powered boats runs every year in March. It starts at Fort DeSoto, a county park on Tampa Bay, and ends at Key Largo about 300 miles south. Last year’s winner, Randy Smythe, set a new course record in his self-designed one man trimaran, of 1 day and 16 hours, a remarkable time for a single sailor. The limit for the race is 8 days. We hope to finish somewhere in the middle of that time frame.
Although this is definitely a race, and we’ll do our best to keep Slider moving well, we’re not really going with a racing mentality. Slider’s best quality is not her speed, but her comfort. We’ll try to demonstrate that you don’t have to be an iron man, or even a great sailor, to participate in events like this. You just have to have the right boat, and make proper preparations.
Folks who’d like to follow the race can check the web site of the event sponsor, Watertribe.com
Here’s a picture of Slider on her trailer.
Notice the little cabin on the starboard cockpit. This was my attempt to make Slider into a multi-day racer for two. Since my wife Nancy is going to be my crew for the Challenge, I decided that a dry protected berth would allow a two-person crew to keep moving much more steadily than might be the case if Slider was a completely open boat. The cabin is tied down by two lashings, and it’s the work of a moment to cast these off and remove the cabin. The cabin has a small 30 watt solar panel to keep a motorcycle battery topped up. This is to run the LED navigation lights, and to recharge cell phones, cameras, and the netbook chart plotter we’ll be carrying.
The race starts Saturday March 3, 2012. We hope to be there tomorrow night, with a day for gear inspection and getting the boat up the beach. In the EC, boats must be small and handy enough to be launched from above the highwater mark, by their crew, and using only gear that can be (and must be) carried aboard for the race.
Wish us luck!