Link to a video clip of the start of the EC 2008 race shot by Root
It’s that time of year again – the time when each year I stare at the pages of the Watertribe website, trying vainly to work out the meaning of the results from the Everglades Challenge, and to try to identify the entrants’ boats.
My family really has no idea why I do this, but I can explain it – it’s simply that a 300-mile race involving an assortment of kayaks and small sailing boats along the Florida coast seems to me to be a hugely challenging event. The fact that most of the entrants seem to be in middle age or beyond only adds to my admiration. These are people like me! And the winners arrive at the finish in just a few days or fewer – this year, the winners were sailing a Tornado catamaran (corrected thanks to Jamie’s comment below) and completed their run in less than two days.
Generally, I get the impression that the whole thing has become more professionalised, with lots of moulded plastic expedition boats, and so is less quaint than it has been in years gone by. Still, the lads who came second were sailing a plywood vee-bottomed sharpie-derived ketch that most home builders would have not trouble constructing for themselves, and the fourth home was the always astonishing Matt Layden in his self-designed and self-built 8ft pram dinghy with a lid, Sand Flea.
The positive side of the growing professionalism, I suspect, is that the entrants are taking greater care over their safety each year, which must be a good thing with so many small, vulnerable boats strung out along the Florida coastline.
But the rabbit punch is that some of these people will be going on to attempt the Ultimate Florida Challenge, a circumnavigation of Florida involving a portage across the northern part of the state.
So here are the relevant web links:
The Watertribe website.
Videos of the event hosted at YouTube.
A picture gallery by someone called JC.
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One thought on “Watertribe Everglades Challenge 2008”
Hello Gavin, I agree with you that it is difficult to glean the results from the Watertribe website. With all due respect I must correct the info about the overall winners. They are two top cat racers sailing a Tornado Catamaran. Until recently the Tornado was the only multihull class in the Olympics. They destroyed the course record for the Everglades Challenge and have sent cat sailors into paroxysms of joy all over the web. The monohull sailors thought they had the EC in their pocket due to several years of weak multi performances and now are plotting their revenge.