Friday, March 05, 2010

Everglades Challenge 2011

Am I having a mid-life crisis? My wife Lori thinks so. If I am, at least it's not a the typical one one so often seen in these parts. I'm not buying a Corvette, taking on a mistress, or dying the gray out of my hair. Perhaps those things would alleviate my middle-aged angst, but they just aren't for me for numerous moral, legal, and financial reasons. And men with dyed hair aren't fooling anyone.

So what to do then. The answer is obvious: race from St. Petersburg, FL to Key Largo in a 17 foot open sailboat!

Ok, maybe not that obvious.

What I'm talking about is an annual race called the Everglades Challenge ("EC"). The EC starts on the first Saturday of every March from Fort Desoto park at the mouth of Tampa Bay. From there, we race down to three manditory checkpoints along the way. The first is ~68 miles south at Boca Grande, near Placida. The second is another ~80 miles down past Ft. Myers and Marco Island at Chokoloskee. The third is at Flamingo on the southern tip of the FL mainland ~80 miles south along the remote and wild western shore of the vast Everglades. The final leg is only ~35 miles east across Florida Bay to Key Largo. Racers have a total of 8 days to make the 260-300 miles to the finish. Most successful challenges seem take 3-6 days to complete. The course record was set just two weeks ago in an astonishing 26 hours and 12 minutes by a crew of two on a Tornado catamaran.

I've made up my mind to get to the starting line in 2011. I've bought a boat and have started getting her ready to go. Follow along with me on my blog as I get ready for this great adventure.