Team members: Alex Whitworth, Megan Hahn
Hometown: Northbridge, NSW, Australia
Race vessel: Alberg 23
Human propulsion: Row and pedal drive
R2AK cred: 2018 R2AK Team B4B2 (DNF- equipment failure)
First up Everest.
4 minute mile.
Paddleboard to Alaska.
There are things that are the obvious kind of awesome, feats whose Spartan syllables should rake in overtime pay for conveying the entire concept at the same moment they’re laying down just how badass it all is: 74 hotdogs, 10 minutes. Coney Island record.
Impressive, gross, obvious: overtime.
Team Wingnuts’ kind of awesome is the mix of Type One impressive (two circumnavigations) and the Type Two kind of accomplishment that gets better when you drill down into the rich vein of nuance that increases the impressed and knowing nods of the insiders as you go:
- First boat to circumnavigate via the Northwest Passage
- First boat to bookend their lap of the globe with Sydney-Hobart Races, and, just for giggles, throw a Fastnet in the middle.
Let’s read back that ticker tape of miserable: race a historically shitty Southern Hemisphere race that kills people with some frequency, go halfway around the world, race the other historically shitty Northern Hemisphere race that kills people with some frequency, go around the other half of the world to where you started, race the first shitty again. Then, head out for a second lap around the globe, but this time make it harder by plotting your course through the part inhabited by icebergs and polar bears.
That’s nuanced like a rhino charge.
The team: two people couldn’t be more different in the same ways. Let’s start with their age gap. One was born in a Maltese air-raid shelter back when Nazis lived in other countries and had better uniforms. The other was born in Nome, Alaska in the age of snowmobiles. He’s the kind of adventurer, offshore sailing instructor, university professor you’d want to have in your corner for just about any sailing experience on the water. She’s the kind of hunter, fisher, dog musher, commercial crabber you’d want in your corner when the Zombies show up. Between the two of them they’ve got 2.8 circumnavigations, the Northwest Passage, 30 marathons, and at least one cross-continental bike ride, and the lower portion of the 2018 R2AK until they bowed out as gracefully as one can when their engineless Bayliner Sailboat (yes, a thing) gives up the ghost.
“Alberg 23” is a set of syllables that get pretty close to ubiquity. Classic lines and a pedigree to spare, it somehow exists elegantly in the awkward space between daysailor and full-sized cruiser without seeming to compromise too much on either side. It’s a big upgrade from their Bayliner—it has a keel, an icebox, and if they’ve learned anything from last year a delamination resistant hull. Whether it rows or swears better will define what syllables define its R2AK legacy.
Welcome back to the R2AK, Team Wingnuts. Whatever team name you choose, you’re wingnuts to us.