Saturday, March 03, 2007


The Everglades Challenge 2007 is underway!

With 15 knot winds at their backs and partially reefed sails, Team RAF launched from the beach at Ft. De Soto at 7:30am.

Available now, you can see 4 dozen photos of a few of the challengers preparing on the beach. Wizard who set a record the single-handed record in Enigma last year (EC'06: 3 days, 5 hours !) has a newer smaller entry this year, SandFlea, shown in the photos.

Tampa Bay was rough with 4-5 foot surfing waves. Very exciting. But at 5-7 mph, was crossed in less than 1.5 hours. Team RAF then took the "inside" route down into Sarasota Bay.

Wizard (in SandFlea) reported in the WaterTribe forum that Team RAF zoomed fast past him on the "inside" route at about 9:30am.

SandyBottom (in a Kruger Dreamcatcher) called in a report from near Sarasota Bridge having covered about 24 miles in 4 hours. Team RAF had recently flown past her hiked out on the akas. She snapped some photos of them. She said they were doing well.

The EC'07 challengers are riding a weather front that is moving south with them, bringing favorable winds for the next few days. Winds are streaming out of the North/NW. Skies are overcast.

It was hard to stay warm this morning with air temperatures in the 64 F to 74 F degree range, water temperatures near 70 F, most cloudy skies with little warmth from the sun, and continual spray from punching through waves.

In the Tampa Bay crossing, a few challengers had trouble. Manitou Cruiser (owner of Kruger Canoes) reported two kayaks recovering from being flipped.

Chief reported that the Sea Pearle "BanderSnatch" driven by SailBadTheSinner and RedOverRed was dismasted (mizzen mast?) and had to withdraw. Yep, they were indeed mizzen a mast. But they are safe. After being dismasted they saw MiamiProas signalling for assistance but could not get to him due to the dismasting. MiamiProas was in a shoal area and seemed OK, but had damage.

Last night (Friday) Team RAF visited a grocery in Saint Petersburg to stock up on food. SandyBottom helped them out by keeping the raccoons away from their gear and drybags. When they returned Kotzebue and SOS helped her fix a problem with her GPS and user-unfriendly Garmin BlueCharts.

The Team was up early this morning finalizing the packing of the building and packing of the boats. Having just finished the "construction" stage, when Chief said "Go!" they were ready for the next stage: "training".

However, with winds like these --if they stay favorable-- Team RAF may never have to learn to paddle.

[DancesWithSandyBottom reporting]

No comments: