There has been much going on around here lately, including the move back to New Port Richey from Tampa, but things are settling in, so I’ve started to get on track for the 2014 Everglades Challenge.
The first step has been to begin getting in shape. With the knee injury and a lot of other issues that I let go too far, my condition is not where it should be. Biking 3 times a week, with a 100 mile or more total goal has been helping a lot, and now that I trust my cardiovascular system is up to it, I’ll be adding core strengthening and flexibility exercises to my workout.
The next decision is which boat to use next year. Discovery, my 12.5′ AMF Puffer, was up to the task (except for the rudder…) with the wind abeam or behind me, but I’m not sure I’d like to have to sail her to windward down the coast. I could, of course, take the inside route, but I really hate to row, and there could be a LOT of rowing involved. Clarity, my 18′ Sailbird trimaran, is also up to the task, but she’ll need a centerboard or leeboards to replace the daggerboard I tried last time, and a better rudder. Clarity would also be tough to row or paddle for any distance alone, but she can also handle the outside passage in just about any weather, and can certainly take even more than Discovery could. Which, as it turned out, was a lot too!
I would have used Clarity this year, except that during preparation time, Checkpoint 1 was still at Grande Tours in Placida, which involved going under a bridge low enough that the mast had to come down, and I wasn’t really wanting to do that single handed. However, with the switch to Cape Haze Marina, the mast no longer has to come down, and the paddling/rowing/cursing distance became much shorter. The switch came to late in the year to change boats, so I went with Discovery. I’m glad I did, because I did indeed discover a lot on the voyage.
For the 2014 Everglades Challenge, I’ve decided to use Clarity again, with some modifications. First, as I had thought about a couple years ago, the cockpit will be completely decked over, so there will simply be no place for water to collect. It will be divided into 3 or 4 water-tight compartments, and the bow and stern will also be sealed off. All storage will be located in between the crossbeams, with the possible exception of a forward anchor locker and sail bin, to keep the weight more centralized. The deck will be extended about 1′ past the gunwales, in order to have a 5′ x 8′ platform, which will be large enough to pitch a tent for sleeping aboard. This will negate having to get a camping permit for the Everglades in between Checkpoints 2 and 3.
My plan at this point is to rig for singlehanding. However, if the right crew comes along, I’d consider doing it with another person. I’ll discuss that possibility in a later post.
I will also be in touch with Feeding Children Everywhere to see how we can help them again this year.
And, perhaps most importantly, I can get Aidric’s sail and toy monkey all the way from Fort Desoto to Key Largo.
More news soon, as I expect to start gutting and modifying Clarity the first weekend in August!