Team Buckeye

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Team members: Robbie Stone, Jody Hawk
Hometown: Lucasville, Ohio, USA
Race vessel: Hurley Silhouette 17 Bilge Keel
LOA: 17′
Human propulsion: Sliding seat rowing
Connect: facebook, website

Unless you’re double jointed or an Orangutan, you’ve probably had an itch in the part of your back that you just can’t reach until you employ a half-willing relative or the corner of the fridge. If you were driving you had to do the rounded shoulder backmash into the seat while you swivel, hands firmly on the wheel, head down and looking through your furrowed brow to keep the bumper to bumper suspended in a metaphoric state.

The R2AK has been Team Buckeye’s unscratchable itch since we hit the go button on the website four-ish years ago. They tried to ignore it, but found themselves staring at the tracker, poring over the details, hanging out online far too long for someone not watching porn or playing Minecraft. There are sailors in Ohio (we googled it) but our hunch is that there were at least a few of their friends and neighbors who would have welcomed a Minecraft/porn conversation to break up what was likely a never-ending stream about boat designs, tidal navigation strategies, and that guy on the SUP. We’re guessing that by the third race there was a certain part of Ohio that learned that unless you wanted to go deep on R2AK you should probably wait until mid-August to invite them to barbecues.

Things started falling into place as a boat and a brother-in-law presented themselves, in a synchronicity that might lead one to suspect a setup by the Ohio BBQ league.

Half black-eyed pea, half buck-tooth grin, Team Buckeye is swinging west from the great swing state of Ohio to make a run for the land of the midnight sun.

The boat is a 1975 Hurley Silhouette MKIII, a 17-foot bilge keeled rocketship that has been built by many in the 40 plus years. This one was purchased off of Ebay “for a song.” It’s currently being purpose rebuilt for the R2AK, including the addition of a duel fuel propulsion system: rowing station and pedal drive.

On top of a mountain of dinghy and lake sailing that you’d expect, the Buckeye boys have a surprising amount of open water sailing for living in a state we always forget has a coastline. Up and down the east coast, out to the Bahamas, into the Chesapeake, and in a skill we hope remains irrelevent, have spent a remarkable amount of time underwater—over 500 dives between the two of them. Off the boat they’ve trained in Army survival and voluntarily did multiple re-enactments of the Bataan Death March seemingly as a fun run. We hope it was as fun as it sounds, and flattered(?) that R2AK is your next bit of optional misery.

That boat, that crew, they believe they can set the record “for an under 20′ mono-displacement hull sailboat.” Because no one has that record presently; so…so do we.

Welcome to the R2AK Team Buckeye. No matter how sure you are of your shot at the record, we’d suggest not betting too heavily on your own aspirations—take it from Pete Rose.