Time to switch to serious training for the 2012 WaterTribe Ultimate Florida Challenge.  I paddle and expedition all year long, but come the 1st of each year, the training needs to ramp up quite a bit for my annual March Challenge.

Training over my years of WaterTribe has become a bit different.  The first couple of years I trained really really hard, needing the confidence and worrying I wasn’t fit enough.  For my 2006 UFC I created a website (very antiquated) and posted my then training log, I trained hard.   But, you learn quickly in a WaterTribe Challenge that while fitness is expected, it’s really your mind that gets you through it.

This year again will be very different.  Teaming up with my son Alan (SOS), sailing a trimaran he’s designed and is building for the 1200 mile race.

My last blog post ‘The Mosquito Floats’ was us testing out the trimaran in “River Mode”, with amas pulled in to 7 ft. (sailing width is 14 ft).

We needed to assess paddling vs rowing.  A double rowing station would clearly be fastest, however, we found she paddled well enough to eliminate the downsides of rowing; the extra weight of 2 sets of oars, figuring out rowing seats and where to locate oar locks.

I’ve started ramping up the paddling distances.  There will likely be no sailing on the Rivers (St Mary’s and Suwanee), and with 320 miles of Rivers to paddle, the paddling distance will be greater than the whole of the 300 mile Everglades Challenge.

Also back to biking, there is that 40 mile portage.  Drought in Northern Florida has the River levels quite low.  With our trimarans anticipated weight and draft, we may find we are adding many more extra miles of bike tow portaging.   The current plan is 2 bikes, one towing the main hull, the other the amas, distributing the gear, mast, sails, etc… between us.  Bike towing is the only way we can manage the portaging with the boats weight and size, even though the race requires we carry the 2 bikes and carts the whole 1200 miles.

Then there is the sailing.  If you’ve followed my blog over the years you’ll know I’m really a paddler, not a sailor.  But after Paul (DancesWithSandyBottom) and Alan built our “Dawn Patrol” for the WaterTribe Challenges they have done together, I’ve had so me time over the past few years to learn a bit.

That said, I’ve never sailed a multi-hull before.  Alan will Captain that part of the Challenge.  He’s quite experienced having completed a number of Tybee 500’s over the years.  Course his style of sailing is a bit more adventuresome than mine has been.

Cat launching off a beach on East Coast of Florida during a Tybee 500.

Alan told me he’s training too. Yea right!  The other day he hopped a train from Vienna to Venice as he vacations with his girlfriend in Germany, Italy, Spain, and wherever they feel like going.  He’ll be back home early February to finish building the boat.  And I hope in time for some sea trials.