Team members: Alexa Rust, Peter Ledochowitsch
Hometown: Seattle, Washington, USA
Race vessel: Hobie Miracle 20
Human propulsion: Pedal drive with secret sauce, SUP paddles
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Did you know that there is a minimum age to compete in Olympic Gymnastics? Seriously, as of 1997 you had to be 16 to wear the gold/bronze/silver and officially be the best in the world at the uneven bars, balance beam, and whatever other sort of tight ponytailed jumping and swinging you might be interested in being the best to third best at.
Other than you’re not that good and you’re not that young, do you know why you can’t be in the Olympics younger than that?
For real. The Chinese gymnastics program is so damned good that they’ve caused the entire system to exclude their sub-16-year-old talent, and caused parents to time nights of calculated abandon on Olympic cycles; Chinese prophylactic sales plummet 9 months plus 16 years from a floor routine that will happen four Olympics from now. That part is all true. Parents immerse kids into the gymnastic boot camps from as early as two on the outside chance their little tumbler is their ticket to big time.
Team Ravenous has a certain Chinese gymnastic factory feel, if only for the simple fact that they included the following line in their application:
“I cannot remember knowing a time not knowing how to sail or fixing boats with my dad.”
We chose to take this as indication that she was the product of a Chinese-style sailing immersion puppy mill rather than present day amnesia or early onset anything. She claims twenty years of sailing experience (and damned few birthdays on top of that) racing, living aboard, cruising, and gearing up for the R2AK by getting some stick time on the beach cat they plan to flog angry and glorious to Alaska.
Team Ravenous combines her en utero sail training with his adult onset sailing syndrome. While she short tacked out the womb, he fully formed then bolted sailing on to his passion for regularly surviving hang gliding flights, getting lost cave diving, rock climbing, white water rafting, and now racing to Alaska. In the ten years since his infection, he’s sailed in and out of racing, living aboard, and teaching sailing in the wind-whipped San Francisco Bay.
Their vessel of choice is a Hobie 20, a vessel that has spent most of its life appropriately sailing on inland lakes, in warm places, during the warm time of year, and by people who employ the dry towel support system that is their lake house. Fast and exposed with a limited payload, the Hobie 20 is like the 15-year-old Olympic gymnast: not quite big enough.
While it may lack the payload to carry much more than the bare essentials, we see three key advantages to the open, wet ride of the Hobie 20:
- It will scream in the right conditions
- Easily moved by oars
- Luxurious compared to an SUP
While we may have thrown the last one in to make them feel better about their choice, we admire the hell out of anyone who R2AK’s without a cabin.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Ravenous. We hope that between your Hobie’s weight allowance and your Chinese trainers, you can eat enough.