Team FSM, or the flying spaghetti monsters for those of you who have not been blessed by his noodly appendages, won the outrigger canoe race at the Puddle Jump Rendezvous in Moorea. It was a hard fought battle, against about 20 other teams of 4 cruisers, with two local Tahitians keeping us in line. The races were a lot of fun, and a LOT of work! We have been buddy cruising with three other boats over the past month or two. Two Catamarans, Ceilydh and Whatcha Gonna Do, and another similar monohull named Britannia. We decided to make up three teams between us, a kids team, a men’s team and a women’s team. Although they fought valiant battles, the women’s and kids teams were eliminated in the first heat. We were able to get a little rest, which was good since we were all pretty toasted after the first race, even more impressive since the sprint was less than a minute long. We also were able to move though the semi-final round, though this time we had a tougher time, but we also were honing what skill we had and had a good system down.
The races were pretty intense, I am not sure how long the course was, but it was about 55 seconds of explosive paddling and then you were done. I know these boats can easily paddle faster than any of the other sailboats we are with under power, so I am guessing a good team can go 10+ kts in a 6 person canoe.
We knew the last race would be tough, as the other team had a earlier time a few seconds faster than us. The other team was not happy with us, since they thought we were in ‘their’ canoe, even though we have raced in the same canoe in the last race. Upset that they couldn’t have it, they decided to flip us right before the race, so we had to take 5 minutes to bail out the boat while they were on shore resting. Sadly, this would not be the last time we had to use the bailers.
We pulled off the line slightly ahead of the other boat in the final race, though they were right behind us and holding steady. We lost our rhythm about half way down the course when switching paddles from one side to the other and they briefly caught up with us, but after the missed stroke we put the pedal down as they say and regained the lead with a few boat lengths to go. We kept on going, and had one more switch to go before the finish line.
The lead paddler, who was a local would call out a switch, you would then do two more strokes, and swap over to the other side, theoretically not missing a beat and keep on going. As the last switch was called, we all got going on the new side, the nose of our boat had just crossed the finish line, maybe a few feet in front of the other boat. All of a sudden the outrigger was airborne and we capsized, right across the finish line.
There was much debate on if we won or not, the other boat being called the winner for a short period of time. Luckily for us, one of the spectators watching was the equivalent of a sailing judge, but for Polynesian outrigger canoe races and decided only the bow had to cross the line, not the entire boat and we were declared the winners.
Andy Turpin from Latitude 38 said it was the most exciting race finish in the history of the PPJ Rendezvous! 🙂
Hopefully I can get a photo us us added to this tomorrow when we have fast internet again, but out crew of the race was :
Evan from Ceilydyh
Michael from Whatcha Gonna Do
Krister from Britannia
Lauren from Piko