Team Goldfinch

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Team members: Caleb McDaniels, Sam Bonauto
Hometown: Brunswick, ME, USA
Race vessel: Raymond Richards Ranger 20
LOA: 19’11”
Human propulsion: Pedal drive and backup paddles
Connect: instagram


TL;DR: Jason Bourne, bouncy castles, Greenland volcanoes, bath toys.

We can neither confirm nor deny that this actually happened, but if we were to genetically engineer the perfect human for R2AK, then train them through a secret government program based in a state of the art training bunker located in an undisclosed, semi-dormant volcano in Greenland only accessible through an underwater cavern and personal submarines—we’re not saying such a program exists, but if it did it just might have been produced Team Goldfinch.

How else would you explain two college-aged humans in their athletic prime who are just as likely to ace their final as they are to shrug out the following feats of athleticness: 200-mile bike packing trips, running a 6:45 mile, rowing machine-ing out 2km in under 7 minutes, storm-driven dinghy sails across San Francisco Bay, routine climbs up a 50′ rope.

It’s all impressive, but where in the star-spangled anywhere do you find five stories worth of rope to climb on the regular? Two words: Greenland volcano.

It gets better/less believable. Say what you will about Gen Tiktok, but when was the last time you spent a week straight in wet clothes, chugged olive oil for calories, and eaten spice kit soup because the food was gone? Unless you’re Team Goldfinch, the correct answer is somewhere between “Your 20s” and “Never.” While you were wondering which wine paired best with your latest brunch order, Team Goldfinch was jury-rigging a broken Laser boom in storm conditions in the middle of San Francisco Bay, finishing the WA360, and walking for 24 hours straight because the weather was too gnarly for the helicopter to drop them food.

Can’t get food? Time for a hunger-strained forced march in hurricane conditions. No shit.

Team Goldfinch parkours its way through the world the rest of us telecommute through. 50-foot ropes, SF Bay Laser dinghy rage romps, WA360 solo at age 20, high school and college sailing because it’s Maine, winter, and why not? One look at the CCTV and we adjusted our glasses: Jesus Christ, it’s Jason Bourne.

Talent, training, and hard-charging hoo-rah in the prime of life? Team Goldfinch has everything… except for a boat with a cabin, boat speed, or self respect.

While we appreciate the nod to Washington State’s official bird, we think it’s better than even odds that Team Goldfinch chose their team name due to the yellow hull of their race vessel: a Ranger 20. Say what you will about the trailerable, utilitarian hull, but make it yellow and its tubby shape nudges three steps to bath toy. Look at it: Little, yellow, different.

It’s nowhere near the fastest boat in the race, but a solid, yellow choice—and the price is right. Team Goldfinch is heading to Alaska on a boat loaned to them by a Port Townsend local. Sure, there’s some sort of justice in knowing that even top secret, master villain conspiracies have the same, bake sale level budget constraints as everyone else, but what kind of Jason Bourne, secret Greenland volcano training program throws all of those resources into creating the perfect racers but doesn’t budget for at least mid-tier race boat? You (allegedly) have submarines for crissakes—you couldn’t afford anything in a Farrier?

They’re going to be fine, but you’re sending James Bond to Alaska in a bouncy castle. This is on you.

Welcome to the R2AK, Team Goldfinch. Jason Bourne debuted in 2002. They were born in 2002. Even though we do, don’t think this is a coincidence.