One of the more demanding boating events this winter is the 10-year-old WaterTribe Everglades Challenge in March. The event is an expedition-style adventure race for kayaks, canoes, and small boats. It follows the SW coast of Florida from Fort Desoto in Tampa Bay to Key Largo, roughly 300-nm (www.watertribe.com).
The race must be completed in eight days or less and participants must carry their own supplies. Participants camp along the route and are prohibited from receiving any help. This year sailing friends Tony Vandenberg and Sean Hawes will be the first to compete in the event as windsurfers. They will test their mettle by sailing the course on 12.5-by-2-foot Starboard Phantom 380 racing sailboards.
The boards are equipped with custom dry bags that fit between the bow and around the mast track forward of the primary sailing position. They each will carry a maximum of 50 pounds of gear on the board, the rest in a backpack.