Friday, February 28, 2014

Everglades Challenge 2014: Friday is Inspection Day

The starting line Friday on Tampa Bay.  Mosquito poised to strike.  (Photo by SOS)
The WaterTribe is gathering for the 2014 Everglades Challenge that will start Saturday 7:00am.  Boats and gear were brought to the starting line today (Friday) on the beach at Fort DeSoto park.  Friday is a day of reunion, meeting old and new friends, while making last-minute preparations, loading gear into boats,  and checking in with the race managers. Safety gear inspections must be passed. Attending Chief's captains meeting is mandatory.  
Captains' meeting Friday (Photo by DogsLife)
Friday is also an informal boat show of new and old designs and innovations.  Most notably,  Friday is a day of celebration: just getting to the starting line is at least half the battle.  Even for those arriving with the same boat as last year, a tremendous amount of time and effort has gone into some combination of planning, preparation, innovation and training.  Others arrive with new home-built boats that were many hours in the making.

SandyBottom and KiwiBird like to start their Friday with a hearty breakfast at iHop and with the usual at-the-pancake photo by a friendly waiter using SandyBottom's iPhone. Last year they were accompanied by the crew of the DawnPatrol (DancesWithSandyBottom and SOS). This year the crew of the Mosquito (PopTarp and SOS)  were on hand.   PopTarp (a.k.a John "Jake" Kohl) and SOS are friends from their years of high-performance off-shore "Tybee 500" catamaran racing.    

PopTarp,  KiwiBird, SOS,  SandyBottom

Having completed the long drive to Fort DeSoto is another reason to celebrate. SandyBottom and KiwiBird drove away from Chapel Hill, NC at o'dark thirty on Thursday. SOS drove away Tuesday evening. PopTarp flew to Tampa, but said his arms are not too tired  [ba-DUM-ching]. Thank you, I'm here all week.

KiwiBird and SandyBottom roll out

SOS hauling Mosquito and SUPboards for use at Key Largo

Here are some fine aerial (kite) views of the line-up of boats last year,  March 1, 2013.  To find details about the photographer and to view the entire video version,  go to...

EC 2013

EC 2013

EC 2013
DawnPatrol, overall winner of the 2013 EC (2days and 2minutes),
is the white cat-ketch in the center of this image.

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