Team Super Friends

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Team members: Chris Adams, Josh Ward, Evan Jess, Chris Burford, Brian Genung, Thane Jennings
Hometown: Seattle, Washington, USA
Race vessel: Peterson IOR Flush deek
LOA: 44′
Human propulsion: Rowing
Connect: facebook, instagram, website, youtube

The Westminster Dog Show isn’t the R2AK, but it is the pinnacle of another similarly random and significant manifestation of human endeavors that doesn’t quite map to the digital age. After the 15 minutes we forced ourselves to watch it with aging relatives, as far as we can tell, it’s essentially: spend way too much on a dog with papers and pedigree, train it forever, get a designer leash and a hair stylist that’s not afraid of lice, claim a championship that few people outside of the inner-est of circles understand or care about…except for the mildly annoyed millions who tune into ESPN out of habit and go, “Really, this?”

Before the pro-dog set goes all ‘Best in Show’ on us, couple points:

  • We like dogs, but more in that, “Please stop humping our leg,” kind of way.
  • We get it; ours is a boaty glasshouse and we’re nowhere near thinking we should throw stones at another overly obsessive hobby that appears to be mostly for white people.

In the awkward transition from setup metaphor to attempted relevance, Team Super Friends is all mutt—and we love that. Scrappy, friendly, pee on the paper, and lick your face. Pedigree be damned, all of our dogs that haven’t been batshit crazy have been mutts. Team Super Friends has been the poster child of R2AK style, mutt-tastic adventure for two out of three of these things. Mutts don’t need a fancy boat, they roll with whatever they have—from a San Juan 21 with a cracked hull that only made it 100 miles in year 1, to a T-Bird in progress that made it all the way in year 2. Team Super Friends’ race in 2016 was like one of those incredible journey stories where, against all odds, the scrappy little dog makes it 750 miles after a series of near misses and the kindness of strangers. Purebred would have faked a pulled hamstring, called for help, and given up. Nothing stops a mutt. Team Super Friends overcame the gamut of obstacles to get to Ketchikan:

  • 4 groundings
  • Their third crewmember walked off 100 miles in and didn’t come back.
  • In a sleep deprived moment, they got turned around and sailed the wrong way for eight miles.
  • Anchored inside of Seymour Narrows.

But they made it, in a $2,000 boat, with nothing but 10-year-old PVC raingear, longjohns, and a couple of sweaters. Better yet, they made it in a year where more than half of the fleet didn’t, including some notable purebreds.

This year Team Super Friends have mutted-up to a bigger boat, an all-aluminum 42-foot IOR boat—built in 1977 at the height of International Offshore Rule craze and also the peak of the aluminum boat craze that actually never happened. The boat is flush-decked, fast, and big enough to house the six crewmembers/professional movers who signed on to flog this overgrown beer can up the Inside Passage. When the wind is light, this team of movers plans to move their can through the water, not with a fancy engineered system of gears and pedals and math—these mutts are going to make do with oars and callouses and tenacity and swearing. Rowing a 40-foot piece of floating metal is its own kind of special, but not the enviable kind.

Welcome back to the R2AK, Team Super Friends. All hail the return of the mutt.