Team members: Shad Lemke, Mark Bostrom, Scott Wood, Patrick Heaney
Hometown: Wilsall, MT USA
Race vessel: Olson 30
Human propulsion: Pedal Drive
R2AK Cred: Impressively boring 6th place finish in 2019
In the two months/fourteen COVID years since this all started, do you remember what it felt like to live pre-pandemic? Remember being on the receiving end of a hug, cough, or a handshake and not fearing for your life/the life of your grandparents? Remember sitting down at restaurants, not knowing what Purell smelled like, or when “riding bareback” meant something other than not wearing a mask on your twice-a-month trip to the grocery store?
Looking back at the “before times,” even the bad times were good by present standards.
By today’s ‘Touch your nose and you die’ standards, boring was good, so good. Given the big and little uncertainties and ambiguity we’re masked up for and are staring down at the moment, here in the R2AK command bunker we’d love some boring. Give us a week of nothing-really-matters, low-stakes decisions where the consequences aren’t bookended by “Everyone dies” and “Great Depression.” Give us the casual, Jello-mold, tuna-salad banality that we can depend on and we will gladly gate check our lifetime supply of adrenaline so it doesn’t take up space in the overhead bins we can‘t use anyway.
All of that to say, it was a refreshing change when they reapplied to the race with a promise: “We are going to be one of those boring teams.” Other than not getting to race at all, Team High Seas Drifters couldn’t have picked a better year to harness their self-proclaimed boring selves…and they are boring in the best way. They are experienced and prepared.
Building off of their 2019 boring/awesome/6th place finish, Team High Seas Drifters signed up with a different pickup crew: this time with more chutzpah and less relatives. Their collective resumes include crazy tales from the sea and mountains: single-handed TransPacs, sailing from SF Bay to the BVIs and race week in St. Martin, competitive racing around the buoys in the fastest/most exclusive yacht club in Montana, high-G ski junkies with documented speeds in excess of 70 mph, self-supported big mountain climbs and triathlons across the western expanse of Rockies, Tetons, and Cascade Ranges, and the cherry on top: 10 years as a working cowboy. Broke over 200 wild horses. (That last sentence is punctuated with a period because there is no mark in standard English to denote spitting tobacco juice onto a saloon floor.)
Given all of that adventure, why come back? Their words: “This time we beat more trimarans.”
These guys aren’t boring—with a single typo they’ve cast themselves as Olson 30 Terminators.
…and they’ve earned it. Beyond the fact that they’ve led at least one salvage op of an Olson 30 destined for “yard planter” and restored it to ‘buoy killer,’ they are returning with the ironically named, crazy yellow Olson 30 ‘Dark Horse.’ Some have called the Olson 30 the ultimate choice for the R2AK. Relatively affordable, fast, and sturdy, it’s also 3 feet longer/faster than the SC-27 that some other people call the ultimate boat for the R2AK. Neither are anywhere as fast as any of the boats that have won this thing, but, pandemic silver lining: While the Olson 30 might not have the theoretical boat speed to do it, at least in 2020 they aren’t going to lose to any multihulls.
Welcome back to the R2AK, Team High Seas Drifters. Channel your Olson 30 Terminator: you’ll be back.