I’m going to take a few moments to thank both our sponsors, and WaterTribe, for helping us have this wonderful experience.
Banks Sails Tampa – http://www.bankssailstampa.com/ . Dennis at Banks contacted me after receiving my letter soliciting a sail sponsor to donate a sail to be used to raise money for The Aidric Hunt Assistance Fund. He built us a wonderfully light reacher for Clarity, which we have gotten nicely covered with signatures wishing Aidric well in his life. This brought many donations for the Fund, but, due to the winds and our little leak, it never was used! After discussing it with the family, it has been decided to continue using the sail to raise awareness and funds, culminating with our entry in next years Challenge.
Go2outfitters – http://www.go2outfitters.com . Gary (and his wife) were a great help to us, and their support really made the whole Everglades Challenge entry feasible. Their generosity also allowed us to have some really top-notch gear, much of which will be reviewed here in the coming weeks. Check them out wither online, or in Lutz, FL – you’ll be glad you did!
T. A. Mahoney Marine – http://tamahoney.com/ in Tampa, who very kindly donated two hatches for our new bulkheads, thus allowing us to store way too much stuff in the boat! They are a great, down-home, old-fashioned marine outlet… just they way I like it.
West Marine – http://www.westmarine.com/ who, both from our local store in Holiday, Fl, and from the corporate office, gave us some much needed support. This helped us to fill in the gaps in sailing hardware that I had not managed to acquire over the past decades of hoarding odds and ends!
Harken – http://www.harken.com/ who donated a seriously needed roller furler, along with some cam cleats, blocks, and shackles (plus two great hats!). That roller furler was even more of a necessity than I realized as Clarity spent a lot of time with her aka bow about 6 inches under water, which would have made traditional headsail handling kinda dicey.
A Cup Of Organic – http://www.acupoforganic.com/ in Lutz, provided an incredible venue for two of our sail signings. There just isn’t a place like this anywhere else… if you go to their website and read about them, you’ll see what I mean. Plus, as a former barista, I’m kinda picky about my coffee – and they’ve got it down!
Antsail of WaterTribe – The legendary Ant Steward, only person to ever solo AROUND THE WORLD in an OPEN BOAT, and a fellow competitor in the Challenge, kindly gave me a bunch of leftover lines that all happened to be the right lengths for many a marlinspike job on Clarity, along with some really neat Lewmar blocks. He also provided an EPIRB for our use (MUCH appreciated), a carbon fiber tiller extension, and a few other bits of kit that made life easier. Of course, I think some of the stuff was really on loan…… I’d better give him a call!
Chief, of WaterTribe – http://www.watertribe.com I have no idea what Chiefs’ background is, but he has created something truly amazing with WaterTribe, and we owe him for it. Big time!
Pelican, of WaterTribe – http://drnickhall.com/ Dr. Nick Hall, Race Manager of the 2011 Challenge, author, motivational speaker, and all around nice guy, was the perfect voice at the other end of the phone when we called in to report our status after the leak started. We weren’t nervous, but the wrong temperament on the other end of the phone could have made us so. Not Pelican… he was the perfect person to do what he did.
And I want to thank every member of WaterTribe who helped to make this event possible, both by assisting in the management of the Challenge, staffing checkpoints, answering and posting thoughts on the WaterTribe discussion board, and by being there to compete with. Although I’m not sure compete is exactly the right word for what it is that we do… thanks everybody, and we’ll see you on the water!
The members of the Sailbird Yahoo group – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Sailbirds/ made a wonderful sounding board for my ideas as I put Clarity together, and they gave us great encouragement and moral support leading up to the race. Thanks!
The same goes to members of the AMF Sunbird Yahoo group – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/amfsunbird/ , a group I started 9 years ago with about 20 fellow Sunbird owners. It’s grown to over 515 members, and, even though I no longer have a Sunbird (but will again someday, mark my words!), I remain the moderator, and really enjoy the group. A special thanks goes out to those members of the group that contributed funds towards our entry fee!
The West Coast Trailer Sailing Squadron – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/wctss/ has also been a great knowledge bank, and source of encouragement. Plus, it’s fun to get together and sail with them!
Our last thank you goes to everyone who helped Aidric by donating to the Aidric Hunt Assistance Fund – http://hope4aidric.org/… you have done a wonderful thing by helping this young boy to overcome a terrible tragedy. Bless you all.