The Start

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lonely with bay bridge
Arriving about 5:45am, we made last minute preparations and called out "here" at roll call. We chatted briefly with other competitors, and with a final hug from Anneliese, we shoved off… eventually. First we had to inflate the rollers, then clean and stow them in the lazarettes before inflating them again (for reserve buoyancy in case of capsize.)
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Soon after paddling away from the beach we were far enough from shore so that the East wind was able to drive the boat… little did we know that this would be some of the best wind of the entire trip! We slipped towards the Bay Bridge, and as we went under the second span, Aiden swore he saw our van with the flash of red from the Rose Tree Media sticker on the back. I agreed to be polite, but it turns out that Hoa had timed a crossing nicely, and saw us at the same time, so kudos to both for good eyes!

We slowly caught several paddlers, but at the entrance to the Chester River the tide swept us away from our first filter, the bridge to Eastern Neck island, just as the wind died. We remarked to Leatherlungs that we hoped he was wrong as he switched to rowing. He never switched back, and ended up the Class IV runner-up. Our reluctance to make the same decision only delayed the inevitable and lengthened our ultimate course.

Just a few minutes behind Leatherlungs at this point was ShadeSeeker, whose brother Wizard is an uniquely innovative small boat designer and fellow veteran Watertriber.