Last May I ventured over the Bay Bridge to Kent Island to look at Chesapeake Light Craft's OcoumeFest and also to look at some of the competitors in the inaugural WaterTribes Chesapeake Challenge long-distance along-shore marathon (an offshoot of their Everglades Challenge). They were starting that Sunday morning of the OcoumeFest.
Of particular interest was the 17-foot i550 sport boat specifically built by the Gougeon brothers for these type of events. The race poses several challenges that a modern small sailboat is not normally designed for; low bridges, traversing very shallow water, human propulsion when the wind quits and for those endurance types, the ability to keep going on little-to-no-sleep. It is a race where it is tough for a sailboat to keep up with those machine-like kayakers who maintain a steady, grueling pace.
Bob Ames, John Z and I had an interesting conversation with the two sailors who were piloting the Gougeon i550 sport boat Hot Canary; Joe Frohock, the creator of the Mothmaran, being one of the team.
Click here for the Gougeon article on building the i550 Hot Canary.
The sleeping arrangements - just simple camp-mats laid on the floor under the cuddy cabin.
This is Joe Frohocks life-jacket. The following live on his life jacket during the race. A very sharp serrated knife, electrical tape, a whistle, a mirror, a high-pitched rescue whistle, a waterproof flashlight (and several other items I've forgotten -I think he also had an EPIRB).
A mast tabernacle so the mast can be quickly pivoted down to get under bridges. It turns out this wasn't quite enough, the freeboard on Hot Canary too high for one of the bridges in the race. They were stuck in front of one low bridge for several hours until the tide went out.
A rudder cassette allows the rudder to be pulled up or "reefed" for shallow water steerage. The mulit-part shock cord assemblage allows the aft part of the cassette to bounce back in case of a hard grounding.
The sideview of the i550 sport boat. The i550 is specifically designed for home-building in plywood and has a flat bottom panel.
The rowing station was a simple carbon plank that sat on the side decks, just behind the lifting daggerboard trunk. Rowing the i550 was not one of the design's strong points. The flare to the i550 sides can be seen at the transom.
Joe Frohock, Bob Ames, John Zseleczky
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