Team members: Katy Stewart, Drew Smith, Rebecca Rankin
Hometown: Gig Harbor, Washington, USA
Race vessel: F27
Human propulsion: Oars
We’ve all done it. We’ve all been the awkwardly tall guy at the Indigo Girls Concert, trying not to block the view of the 30+ rows of ‘L Word’ extras who were seething behind us; our head-shaped patriarchy the only thing between them and their enjoyment of mid-nineties lady anthems. But there we were with our big hair and basketball height trying to blend in to the whatever nothing we could find in the middle of the center section—power slouching, shoulders trying to eat our neck into our jean jacket to avoid getting shanked with a sharpened tampon in the middle of ‘Galileo;’ absorbently bleeding out to the king of night vision, ruler of insight.
We’ve all been there, or maybe just us for that one, but at one point or another we’ve all been exposed on the barren plains of the human condition—vulnerable and exposed without prospect of refuge.
Animals deal with it all the time. Butterflies and fish camouflage with markings that look like big eyes of larger animals, buffalo and zebras herd up to make it hard to know where one ends and the other begins, octopus and chameleons change colors to accessorize with their surroundings. In recent years the concept of biomimicry has driven human efforts through animal imitation, and while it hasn’t resulted in an as yet fictitious ‘Butterfly Battalion’ where soldiers put big googly eyes on the back of their helmets to confuse…well, no one, it has led to advances in blending in. Example: to the untrained eye the only difference between a sniper wearing a bush-like sniper suit and an actual bush is that one of them is shooting at you.
Before biomimicry, radar, and apparently better judgement, rather than blending in the WWI version of the royal navy decided that the best way to throw off attackers was to assault them with visual patterns that induced head scratchy mental dissonance. They called it ‘Razzle Dazzle Camouflage,’ and beyond being a phrase impossible to say without jazz hands, it looked like something Picasso created during an epic hangover, when he was mad at specifically you, and had just stared at a zebra. Black and white linear shapes with no perceivable rhythm or logic, painted on naval vessels to confuse enemy lookouts. The idea was that if the enemy didn’t know which way your paint job was headed, when they did the math (by hand) to figure out where to point the guns, they would carry the one to the wrong place and miss. (It’s definitively bizarre/cool enough to check out: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dazzle_camouflage)
‘Did it work?’ you ask? Absolutely not.
Team Razzle Dazzle (*jazz hands*) has that same kind of ‘hiding at the top of their lungs’ quality of the art deco camouflage of the same name. In an email equivalent of a toddler covering their eyes to avoid detection, they asked us to play up the fact that their team is shrouded in secrecy—and then they posted their photos to their Facebook feed. But fine, we’ll play along (clears throat, reads from script):
“Team Razzle Dazzle (*jazz hands*) is a sparkly, shiny, bigger-than-life enigmatic team of mysterious mystery. Their amazing collective previous experiences are a puzzle wrapped in an enigma wrapped in a fast racing trimaran… seasoned R2AK veterans, blah blah blah…” (We were apparently supposed to take over at that point.)
Who are they? Let’s just say they are all professional boat folks who have done the R2AK more times, on more different vessels, than just about anyone else. Not that we know who they are (PS: We do.), but 2019 will be their fourth race, on four different boats, with three different team names. We can’t tell if their soul just can’t get it right or they think they are being followed, but if Team Razzle Dazzle (*jazz hands*) was trying to be secretive, they both are trying, and 100% need to do a better job.
Their boat? Absolutely no clue. They even told us it was an F-27 trimaran and we have no idea what it is. This is going to be a huge surprise.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Whoever You Are. Whichever way your paint job is headed, we look forward to understanding what the enigma is.