Royd Whedon’s Dances With Waves, a Kruger Dreamcatcher, as the boat approaches the Manatee Bridge over the ICW at Anna Maria Island a couple hours after the start. Sailing kayak trimarans are a popular boat for the Challenge. Royd made it to the finish in 6 days, 11 hours, and 35 minutes. Photo by Steve Morrell
Shane Perrin, the first person to do the 300-mile Challenge on a paddleboard. Shane made it within the eight-day time limit, arriving in Key Largo on Friday evening, the seventh day. Here he is pictured the next day on his board at the finish. Photo courtesy Dana Clark/Breathe Magazine.
Smythe, followed by Guy deBoer, and the Core Sound 17 of Phil Garland. Inside Pine Island Sound, Alan Stewart’s Core Sound 20 was setting the pace, closely followed by Hal Link’s Mystere 4.3 catamaran.
mast broke off, when a marker snagged a spinnaker line. They gathered the wreckage, and continued to the finish under jury rig. By 2:34 Monday afternoon, Phil Garland’s Core Sound 17 finished, taking second overall—and becoming the second fastest monohull ever to finish. Both Core Sound skiffs bested the fleet, including all of the multihulls. The third and fourth boats to finish were Hal Link’s Mystere 4.3, and the Hobie 16 of Aras Karaitis. Roger Mann’s Class 3 design, made with Hobie Tandem Island parts, finished fifth. Behind the leaders, the two Sea Pearls of Bill Fite, and Luke Lukowski and Bill Wright, were dueling it out. Amazingly, 72- year-old Bill Fite, sailing solo, stayed ahead of the younger two-man team of Bill Wright and Luke Lukowski. Bill Fite, tribal name Jarhead, slept very little, and forged ahead whenever possible. Bill rowed all through the pitch-black night against the tide in Indian Key Pass to check point two, and after clearing Flamingo, rowed all night across a flat, calm Florida Bay to the finish line, setting a solo Class 4 record of just under three days! Guy deBoer in his Hobie 18 Magnum overcame his earlier difficulties to finish a couple of hours behind Bill Fite’s SeaPearl. Tuesday night, Luke Lukowski and Bill Wright sailed to the finish line in their SeaPearl 21. The venerable Lightning, sailed by Per Lorentzen and Tom Dyll, overcame a broken rudder to finish 12th overall.
Sunday Morning Positions By Sunday morning the fleet was stretched from Lemon Bay (Englewood area) to Cape Romano (southern tip of Marco Island). Phil Garland’s monohulled, 17-foot skiff had surfed its way into the lead ahead of the multihulls! He was about five miles ahead of Alan Stewart’s Core Sound 20. Randy Smyth’s Sizzor was under jury rig and limping toward Naples. Guy deBoer’s Hobie 18 seemed to be adrift 20 miles offshore Marco Island. Later, he described being hypothermic, confused and drifting in big seas, but he managed to warm up, get hydrated and recovered enough to make it to checkpoint two. The race to checkpoint two turned into a drag race between the two Core Sound monohulls, with the Hobie 16 of Aras Karaitis trailing them both. After dueling it out for 30 hours, Phil Garland’s little Core Sound 17 was first into Chokoloskee, ahead of Alan Stewart’s Core Sound 20 by 28 minutes. But leaving Chokoloskee is more challenging than getting into the checkpoint. There are several channels used by the fishing guides, and Alan’s Core Sound 20 took the shorter route back to the open water, opening up a lead that he never relinquished. The race between these two monohulls continued in Florida Bay down to Cape Sable (the coastal turning point into Florida Bay). Their average speeds were in the 10-knot range, which meant they were seeing 12-knot speeds when planing. It was quite a drag race, but the longer Core Sound 20 eventually pulled away, and checked into and out of Flamingo first. Phil Garland and his crewmember, Dan Neri, said they were running on fumes when they arrived and decided to rest and recharge in Flamingo.
The First Finishers Monday morning, Alan Stewart’s Core Sound 20 completed the race to Key Largo in 2 days and 2 minutes setting a new monohull record. Five miles from the finish, their main 46
A Stand-up Paddleboarder Reaches the Finish Toward the back of the fleet, an amazing effort was being made by Shane Perrin to become the first stand-up paddleboarder to complete the challenge. As this is being written, he is crossing Florida Bay on the final leg to the finish. After the finish, he plans to continue south to Key West, completing a 400-mile long journey. While stopped for a rest at Marco Island, Shane had all of his equipment and gear stolen from his paddleboard. The WaterTribers heard about his plight on social media, and donated over $3000 to his Internet website, so he could replace his equipment and continue his challenge. On Friday night, March 8, about 9 p.m., Shane paddled across the finish line in Key Largo—and into the record book. www.southwindsmagazine.com