This is a video and picture account of my recent trip in the
2010 Everglades Challenge. Duckworks (recently ran) a lengthy
written account with photos that provides a much more detailed
recounting of the event. This is sort of a visual diary, with
what I hope is an illustrative chart thrown in here and there.
It suffers shortcomings inevitable when the solo sailor attempts
a photographic telling of an event. When the good stuff is going
on, you're too busy handling the boat and/or dodging disaster
to think of turning on a camera. Inevitably, some interesting
events happen at night when you can't photograph them. And worrying
about sound quality or whether the wind is wiping out your narration
usually comes far down the list of concerns when sailing. Still
I had fun shooting it and putting the videos together. I hope
it captures some of the flavor of an Everglades Challenge, including
the patience needed to complete one and the fresh and unique,
well, challenges that each event offers.
This begins on the starting beach with a look at the fleet.
Hopefully I've shown enough for the boat nuts to appreciate the
variety without dwelling too long to be boring. Then it's the
launch and the first day's sailing. About the time I'm showing
my double reef while on the Intracoastal Waterway, the boats outside
on the Gulf were experiencing steep seas that would capsize two
of the competitors. The second day begins with sunrise on Pine
Island Sound, then shows most of the long run down the Gulf coast
between the sound and Cape Romano. It ends as Oaracle is approaching
This picks up at Marco while I'm ruminating on trying to go
in Caxambas Inlet, an ultimately unsuccessful maneuver because
of shifty winds. Unfortunately, the wild downwind ride from Caxambas
was done in the dark, so the surfing in rough seas at more than
hull speed and under the constant threat of a gybe is shown only
by a squiggly line on a chart. The video clip behind Indian Key
came after my first decent sleep of the trip, and I hope the succeeding
shots show the grind of rowing to the second checkpoint at Chokoloskee.
I was too busy to shoot anything on the intricate exit via Rabbit
Key Pass, but that was compensated for by the stunning sunrise
the next morning. Part 2 ends approach the to East Cape at Cape
Sable, in company with DancesWithMullet, another competitor.
The long beat from East Cape to Checkpoint 3 at Flamingo begins
this segment. Then there's more rowing, after a night at Flamingo,
in getting through the narrow channel by Murray and Clive keys.
My proudest achievement of this EC is getting through that channel
without grounding or even hitting, thanks to steering by the autopilot
and the careful use of the oars. Then there was a lot of sailing
hard on the wind and beating to get around Florida Bay, since
the southeast wind made the direct route too difficult, at least
for me. Some camera difficulties prevented more shots here, and
the final slog up the Intracoastal was done mostly in the (unphotogenic)