These intrepid first time Challengers on their Hobie 18 Magnum arrived at 0400 this morning to a receding, muddy tide, and with a non-functional SPOT. Watertribe rules require a SPOT on board to track progress, and to enable the sending of OK, help, 911, and custom preset messages. They are supposed to be watertight and tough, but we Tribers are a tough lot in our own right, and equipment doesn’t always survive unscathed. Or survive at all.
An available SPOT was located about an hour west of CP-2, and one of the crew was driven to the location to retrieve it. Met halfway on US 41, they came back, loaded up, and set out at 11:18 AM. As of this writing, it appears they’ve been at CP-3 for an hour, after a challenging sail from Chokoloskee to Flamingo.
We take a calculated risk when we participate in these types of events, and we mitigate those risks as much as possible with individual training, a comprehensive set of required equipment, and the assertion that we know what we are doing. In fact, in our various Challenge events, outside help is either strictly limited, or totally prohibited. At times, a variance can be issued, as it was here, since a SPOT was required to continue in the Challenge for safety reasons.
Not everything in life is risk free, and many of us enjoy challenges that involve a certain amount of risk. Race car driver, mountain climbers, cave divers, and even circus clowns getting shot out of cannons accept that element, and embrace it. For many of us, life without that elemental charge just wouldn’t be life at all.
Come and spend some time on our WaterTribe site at www.watertribe.org – follow the course tracks of each entrant, see how they have placed (some of us race to the finish, while some of us treat the Challenge as a traditional expedition-style voyage) and read the commentaries posted in the forums by WaterTribers, their shore contacts, and race staff. Just don’t be surprised if, after reading the various parts of the site, you have a desire to join us. If you do, don’t hesitate, for as Chief has said, it’s a life changing experience.