Team members: Nathalie Criou, Satchel Douglas, Neil Roberts, Tanguy De Lamotte
Hometown: San Francisco, CA, USA
Race vessel: Beneteau Figaro 2
Human propulsion: Pedal Drive
R2AK cred: Crewmembers from two 2016 finishes (Team Hot Mess, Team Beat Sarcoma)
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Robbing banks is a lot like doing the R2AK.
True, that sentence should have started with ‘If heist movies contain an ounce of truth…’ but it looks so much cooler our way. Still, the premise stands: Like the R2AK, if you’re going to pull a Hollywood bank job, you’d do your homework.
You’d get your regular crew and one new guy with that special skill who earns your trust with their early success. You’d nod, he’d gets back to work. You’d get the plans, study the air ducts, trace the alarm wiring, and rehearse with a mock-up in some abandoned warehouse in a place that looks like Nevada. You’d even have a plan b when your getaway driver gets arrested just hours before the job—it was a broken taillight and an outstanding warrant for back alimony. The car: fast. The escape route: flawless. Roll up, masks down, one on the tellers, another on crowd control, shots in the air to get their attention, monitor the clock and the scanners. Go time.
If at this very moment you are grasping for the point as much as we are, it’s essentially this: Team Shut Up and Drive looks like the heist crew assembled to knock off the R2AK.
Their boat is a Beneteau Figaro 2; a straight ahead racing sled designed by the French for short-handed offshore racing. The 2 is way less of a science experiment than its new foiling sibling but has been clocked at 24 knots(!)—by our math the exact speed at which underwear becomes a safety deposit box. They’ve also fabbed up a human-powered twindrive as a contingency for when the wind takes two in the chest and doesn’t get up.
Team Shut Up and Drive has the collective rap sheet that kept the Sargent flipping pages in the file and making a low whistling noise. It starts with the type of nickel and dime stuff you’d expect: placements in local races, national honors around the collegiate buoys, two Race To Alaskas. By page three it goes deep into the kind of rare air racing that is a bit of a stranger for the rag tag navy that is the R2AK: two times in both the Transat and Vendee Globe, 1st place in Fastnet and Solitaire du Chocolat, Class 40 world champion, 2nd places in Sydney Hobart, Pacific Cup, at which point Sarge threw the folder at us and told us to stop wasting our time in the office and go get them.
The lingering question is ‘why?’ Their sailing chops would make them Bond-level villains—why are they in this carjack of a race? Using their skills on the R2AK is like a mission impossible style heist on a convenience store. Ocean’s 7-11.
At the time of writing they’re still looking for one more crew. Before you get excited: They don’t want a sailor. Tacticians that they are, they’re looking for bike meat with documented power output, a valid passport, and an approved set of podcasts. If R2AK is on your bucket list, and by which they seem to mean places you’d like to poop in a bucket, you could join the crew and become the second person who learned to sail while winning the R2AK.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Shut up and Drive. We’re just going to lie here and clutch our pearls until the police arrive.