Team members: Marjory Stewart, Christophe Credico, Chris Watt, Bruce Cutting, Paul Kolesnikoff
Hometown: Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin, USA
Race vessel: Santa Cruz 27
Human propulsion: Rowing and pedaling
In this tortured world, this world of fair and balanced rage and resentment, where the ragged edge of social cohesion is frayed down to the last gossamer thread, who will stand for truth, justice, and the North American way? They might not be the heroes our moral bankruptcy deserves, and they might not accept their seemingly unique claim on the mantle, but Team Ripple might be the only hope we have.
When we met Team Ripple’s 2018 incarnation (Team Reliance) we had our suspicions. Marjory was a wholesome student turned outdoor educator, turned mountain climber, turned marathoner with 30 to her name including 7 blue ribbons and the 1987 Canadian national championship as the only woman to run one in Canada from whenever marathons started until exactly when she crossed the finish line. It was a victory for her, the present, the future, and the rest of us: she was the first, so she was the fastest. After most of a lifetime of wholesome adventure, she learned to sail ten years before she smiled her way into R2AK’s puffed up comedic skepticism—we honestly thought she was selling something. That she loved who we were was the kind of big smile hug from the friend we’ve always wanted (…but we didn’t need it, dammit, we were fine.)
Marjory and her 2018 R2AK crew charged as far as they felt prudent, then smiled exuberantly out of the race and went sailing. Sailing for sailing’s sake, the audacity. (To be honest, we wanted to bring the heat on this one, but, well, we’re just not feeling it at the moment. They made a good decision…)
This year Team Ripple augments Marjory’s hug, smile, and cup of warmed milk with a couple other Canadian good moods in human form. They push their limits, teach their kids, visit their parents, and seemingly do whatever they can to shatter our self-narrative that accomplishment means sacrificing career and family. This January they biked from Cairo to Capetown, 11,780 KM…and we know that despite it being buried mid-paragraph in their application. The sentence before waxed enthusiastic about hiking the West Coast Trail with their 78 year-old father and 19 year-old son; the following sentence talked about oatmeal and their Scottish Heritage. Three generations accomplishing things together, hot cereal, and the length of a continent by bicycle in three sentences; if wholesome could take an audacious physical form it would be Team Ripple. (…no joke here. They are one of the few we have ever met who can do amazing things and neither self-aggrandize nor shrug it off in false modesty. Pure and earnest celebration. Can we just hang out for a while before you tuck us in?)
Even their boat has the guileless dawn and optimism quality of a Charlotte’s Web pig. Last year their Balboa 20 was too small, so they got something bigger: a Santa Cruz 27 named ‘Shazam.’ An SC-27 is a solid choice and a proven finisher in the annals of the R2AK so…um… way to go on your good decision? (Dammit, sincerity is harder than we thought.)
At this point you might be waiting for the punchline, some twist of sarcasm or poke in the nose just to keep this thing R2AK. Instead of waiting for that, why don’t you go call your kids, or your parents, or someone close to you. Tell them you love them and invite them to go for a hike, or a sail, or just hear how their day was. Seriously. Chances are it will feel pretty good, and at that moment you might get a little closer to understanding just who the hell Team Ripple is. By our measure they are without irony, ego, and seem to have heart to spare. Yes, even for you.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Ripple. (No really, that’s all we wanted to say. We just meant it more sincerely than it might have come across. Still on the learning curve here…)