Congratulations to Robert & Druce for their 1st place finish in the Class 1 tandem kayak division of the Everglades Challenge 2010!
Here is a video set; http://www.youtube.com/kayaklakemead?feature=mhw4#p/c/E3F85BF190C5F065
We placed 1st Place in our division of tandem kayak, 2 person male, Class 1. Class 1 is expedition kayak outfitted with downwind sail. Truthfully there wasn’t much competition in that division. We had to wait about 48 hours for the next boat in that division to finish. Regardless of class of boat or division, everyone is racing! We were the fourth kayak to finish. I am very proud of Druce. He is my son, a teammate, and a leader when the chips were the lowest they could get.
There were six classes of boat. So, all kinds of craft out there. It’s a wild and crazy race. There were a total of 42 boats on the start beach, 18 DNF. Counting Class 1 (kayaks with sail) and 2 (kayaks with no sail) there were a total of 19 kayaks, 8 DNF. The first guy in was Class 2. He creamed the course setting a new record. The next guy in was in Class 1, a good paddler, a good guy, and becoming a friend. The next boat to the finish was a Class 2 tandem. These guys beat us by about 20 min, a couple of Carolina adventure racers, good guys. We were the fourth kayak in. The next kayak didn’t arrive for about another 46 hours!
It is a f#%#$’ing tough race, to put it in the most basic terms. It reduced the two of us to near zero. Yet, we kept on going because we know how. I am so proud of that son of mine. We did well, but honestly we just were not trained for 300 miles of pure kayaking such that we could turn in a great performance. We were trained for 300 miles of adventure racing and anything that might come our way. That’s why we could finish it. That’s why we did a fairly good job. We pushed ourselves hard. Our kayak was not the fastest so, we had to make our distance by not sleeping. We got about 1.5 hours sleep in the first 175 miles, but at that point we were both having trouble not fainting. We got about 5 hours sleep at that point, we had to. We covered the next 100 miles in 24 hours, a good job, very steady. However, for the last 35 to 40 miles, we were just two paddling basket cases barely making 2 mph – we were toast.
Our sail broke on the very first leg. We went out to sea on that leg as opposed to staying in the inter-coastal waterway. It was a bold move and we were flying at an average of 7 knots, but the stresses on the boat were too much. There were 3 rescues at sea that afternoon. Two sailboats from the race and another sailboat not involved in the race. We witnessed one Coast Guard rescue. The CG helicopter did a low fly-by, we gave them a thumbs up and they flew on. We later altered the sail so we could still use it as a lap sail with one guy holding while one guy paddled. We used this technique to good effect for two approximate 12 mile sections later in the race. Two out of three hatches would not remain watertight in bigger seas, thus we had to duck tape those hatch covers closed whenever we expected to encounter waves.