Team members: John Scragg, Nicky Scragg, Pat Ninburg
Hometown: Burien, WA, USA
Race vessel: Corsair Sprint 750 Trimaran
Human propulsion: Pedal propulsion supplemented by rowing stations
TL;DR: Piracy, elite military units, hypothermia, Nostradamus, and the existence of go-karts.
If you’ve ever worked at sea you know how it works. The hours are long, you’re away from home for weeks (sometimes months) at a time, the work is rough, but the horizon to horizon, 24/7 simple singularity of purpose can approach divine. People tell you when to get up, when to go to work, and when food will be ready. The ship functions around the clock and settles into its own rhythm, almost becoming its own organism that you are a part of. Your options for diversion are limited to your imagination, the slowest of internets, and the sum total of resources available between bow and stern, port and starboard. Same for when shit hits the fan. Oceans are vast, and you’re probably hundreds of miles from help when things go wrong and the clock starts ticking between whatever solution you can execute and the kind of tragedy that gets your name added to the base of the nearest sailor-shaped statue.
On better days, you’ll see things that folks on shore can only dream of: whales on the regular, northern lights, flying fish, green flashes, foreign ports, the non-cartoon and trying to kill you kind of you pirates. You’ll also be surrounded by the most competent and least boring coworkers one can hope for. Because of the hands-on hard work, the remote nature of life at sea, and the kind of person who seeks it out—there’s a bond between mariners. No one goes to sea on accident.
While it’s especially true with former crewmates, there’s a bond between anyone who’s experienced life at sea. More than that, you can usually tell who in a room is part of the club—it’s like Gaydar, for boats. You’ll catch a glance of an eye or a snippet of a story and pretty soon you’re shoulder to shoulder at the bar, three beers deep into the three-part cycle that’s as close to canon as a mariner might get:
- The small world six degrees of mariner “Wait, you sailed on that boat? Do you know…”
- The competitive calamity porn of “You think that’s f***ed up? This one time…”
- The nameless game where both players deride the entire experience of working on the water while almost, almost denying their desire to do it again.
It can take hours.
By the end of the night, you shake hands, cast off the mooring lines holding you to the bar, tack into the night, and never see each other again. Fast friends for the evening, but the fleeting nature is okayed and understood without the first word. Navigation, damage control, mechanics, first aid—there are many skills that build a mariner’s career, but regardless of anyone’s particular specialization, a mariner’s life is defined by saying goodbye. See you on the one whistle.
We didn’t ask, but we imagined it was one of those late-night, bar stool and back-slap sessions where Team Lost But Don’t Care was formed. Why? The rock-solid skills and experience at the core of TLBDC make them damn near the Seal Team Six of professional mariners. What do we mean? The two senior members of the team have a couple of lifetimes of careers on the water; one of them, honest to god, ran away from home at 16 to join the British Merchant Marines and seemingly never looked back. TLBDC has a combined total of seven continents and four oceans of experience as professional mariners—and most of them as captains. If you’re keeping score, yes, that’s all of them. Yes, including Antarctica.
More than the big stories on the big boats, TLBDC’s imagined bar stool summit would have shared and compared stories that span the length and girth of maritime possibility: Captains on tramp freighters between Africa and almost everywhere else, traditional schooners, cruise ships, modern-day square riggers, and 30-foot sailboats transiting the wrong way up the west coast. Did we mention Antarctica? They took boats there, multiple times, on purpose. Yes, it’s the coldest place on the planet, but it’s also the notoriously stormiest part of the world. And they took boats there, multiple times, on purpose.
You think that’s f***ed up? This one time they decided to Race to Alaska, on one of the smallest Trimarans ever dreamt up by the late great Ian Farrier: the Corsair Sprint 750 MK1 is a 24-foot, warm water splash-fest designed for daysails and the kind of racing that puts you around the cans by day and under the ample covers of your own warm bed every night. At 24 feet long it’s the lightest of the Corsair trimarans, and at least in Florida’s racing circles, it’s known as a fun boat. Water temp in Florida right now: warm enough that it’s been 10 years since someone even Googled hypothermia. Alaska’s Google results? There’s no end and no mercy.
The Sprint 750 is also known as an athletic boat, which is our theory on their choice for their third crew member: a 19-year-old who, at least to our estimation, possesses a prescience of his role that can only be described by the impossible and dated mashup of Doogie Houser as played by Nostradamus.
His response to our inquiry of his physical fitness? “BMI 21.8, regular weight training, rock climbing, and I’m 19.” Boom, knows his role. He knows he’s the meat in the mariner sandwich… and we immediately regret that sentence as much as we stand by it. His maritime experience? He has been on a boat. His adventure cred: rock climbing, mountain stuff, and semi-pro go-kart racing.
He’s the Ivy League freshman with bad grades and the same last name as the new library.
While his legacied status might get him nudged to yield his time to some random senior Senator of Wherever during floor debates, there may be some logic: with half the cabin and 2/3 the waterline of the full-scale models, the Corsair Sprint 750 is designed to run a few laps and then let you head home for the evening—Team Lost But Don’t Care is go-karting to Alaska. There’s clearly more strategy here than brawn and legacy alone.
Two parts no-joke, pro-mariner, all-star team; one part saltwater intervention of the all-muscle, no-boat, next generation? Welcome to the R2AK, Team Lost But Don’t Care. See you on the one whistle.