Team members: Ken Holmes
Hometown: Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
Race vessel: Self designed with Hobie parts
Human propulsion: Hobie mirage drives, sliding seat rowing station
To be clear: it didn’t have to be like this. There are options.
Regardless of whether you show up to win or just to do something incredible only for you, there are two ways you can show up to the R2AK:
- Find a boat that already exists.
- Manifest something from blurry idea into three dimensions.
Unless you have Larry Ellison quantities of money or time, the smart play is to find a boat that exists both as a concept and a finished form. Sure, building boats can be a rewarding, expensive, and obscenity-enriching experience, but a smart person once offered us this koan mid-project: “Do you want to go sailing or do you want to build a boat?”
Whether it’s the free range nature of the R2AK, or the everyman vibe that we throw out there in our bid to be the Happy Gilmore of the sea, we get our share of people on the “Plan B” of that choice. Professional and amateur, sail and human power, sober and slurred: more than a few of the few/proud on our starting line who can’t shop off the rack. To date, we can name a dozen-plus boats created specifically for the R2AK. Some of them designed and built by actual Americas Cup designers and builders. A more common approach is to rely on the power of an ‘infinite number of monkeys and a bottle of bourbon’ style of innovation. The special-est of this set find a broken/partial boat and apply all of their creativity and both parts of the epoxy until the contender emerges.
So far, none of the one-off wonders have won—but that’s not the point… at least for most of them, and especially not for Team Old Fart in a Windstorm.
If building a boat was like birthing livestock, Team Old Fart in a Windstorm would be elbow deep into bringing their boat into the world. Their design: a three hulled Frankenmaran that uses the cadaver of a ubiquitous beach cat as the central concept.
Team Old Fart’s vessel is now at full gestation after being mentally impregnated by staring at a Hobie 18 for too long, then widening its hips to include a 24-foot center hull to increase boat speed, dryness, and livability—solid assets for the R2AK. Assuming they can get it done, Team Old Fart in a Windstorm has a solid shot to finish, a long shot to win, but sure thing for being a concept that will inspire untold masses to into rescuing beach cats to build and bolting on a middle hull. Garages and spouses: beware.
The human part of Team Old Fart’s human factor ascends beyond its bottom-of-the-Lego-drawer engineering. A veteran of the inside passage from everything from fish boats to kayaks, the solitary old fart on Team Old Fart knows the course and can small boat, big boat, kayak, and his 200-300 km bike rides give credibility to the pedal drives he’s attaching for speed.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Old Fart in a Windstorm. If you’d like your legacy to continue after the race, we could put in a good word for you at the International Space Station. Old Fart in a Spacesuit has way more longevity.