Team members: Alex Whitworth, Megan Hahn
Hometown: Northbridge, NSW Australia and Nome, Alaska US
Race vessel: Bayliner US 18
Human propulsion: Sliding Seat
First up Everest.
4 minute mile.
Paddleboard to Alaska.
There are things that are the obvious kind of awesome, feats whose Spartan syllables of introduction should rake in bonus overtime pay for conveying the entire concept at the same moment they’re laying down just how badass it all is: 72 hotdogs, 10 minutes. Coney Island record.
Impressive, gross, obvious, overtime.
Team B4B2’s kind of awesome is the mix of Type One impressive (two circumnavigations) and the Type Two kind of accomplishment that gets better when you drill down into the rich vein of nuanced feats that garner the impressed and knowing nods of the insiders: first boat to circumnavigate via the Northwest Passage, first boat to bookend their lap of the globe with Sydney-Hobarts, and, just for giggles, throw a Fastnet in the middle. Let’s read back that ticker tape of miserable: race a historically shitty Southern Hemisphere race that kills people with some frequency, go halfway around the world, race the other historically shitty Northern Hempisphere race that kills people with some frequency, go around the other half of the world to where you started, race the first shitty again. Then, head out for a second lap around the globe, but this time make it harder by plotting your course through the part inhabited by icebergs and polar bears.
That’s nuanced like a rhino charge.
The team: two people couldn’t be more different in the same ways. Let’s start with their age gap. One was born in a Maltese air-raid shelter back when Nazis lived in other countries and had better uniforms. The other was born in Nome, Alaska in the age of snowmobiles. He’s the kind of adventurer, offshore sailing instructor, university professor you’d want to have in your corner for just about any sailing experience on the water. She’s the kind of hunter, fisher, dog musher, commercial crabber you’d want in your corner when the Zombies show up. Between the two of them they’ve got 2.8 circumnavigations, the Northwest Passage, 30 marathons, and at least one cross-continental bike ride. Type One or Type Two, we think they’ll be fine.
The boat: as odd as B4B2 is prepared. The 1980s gave rise to the Bayliner line of motor boats that was as much a mark of middle class ascendency as it was a punchline for sailors. Designed to maximize fun, affordability and bow wakes, compromises to efficiency were overcome by a larger motor and a throttle that went all the way down. Seemingly, the world class adventurers of B4B2 looked at the field of options and thought, “Well, they never made sailboats before or since…” The US-18 packs all of Bayliner’s sea faring legacy into eighteen feet and still has plenty of has room—a main, jib, and a tiny cabin just big enough to sleep two people weary from the oars, the ridicule, and from offering the latest passerby another version of the answer, “Yes, they did make sailboats.”
Welcome aboard Team B4B2, may “Bayliner engineless to Alaska” be the next set of syllables people find unanimously impressive.