Saunders and Ochoa To Take a Jet Where No Jet Has Gone Before

We knew this was coming one of these years.  Every year at the NC Governor’s Cup, long-time class member Barry Saunders would imagine how cool it would be to have a Jet-14 participate in what I call a “death race”, but is actually the WaterTribe NC Ultra Marathon Challenge (NCC).  Basically, you show up with your craft (mostly canoes, kayaks, and small sailboats) at the start line, beach launch it (no assistance allowed from anyone or machine that is not going with you for the race), and sail “around the block” (the rivers, bays, canals, sounds of NC) until you quit, finish 100 miles, or God forbid have something go wrong.  The race route is shown below.

The 2014 NC WaterTribe Challenge race route

The 2014 NC WaterTribe Challenge race route

This year, Barry and crew Todd Ochoa are taking the challenge.  On Friday, Sept. 26, they will set off and attempt to finish the challenge (only 53% of all starters finished last year).  The online race instructions warn that “All WaterTribe events are dangerous events as defined by law and common sense. You are responsible for your own safety” (that’s when I was out).  If you go to the website, you can read the full 1200 page disclaimer about all the bad things that can happen to you and your boat (e.g. capsize, hypothermia, snake bites, hurricanes, etc…).  It is enough to give a man pause.

But this isn’t stopping team Saunders.  It turns out that several modifications were necessary to oufit “Old Blue” (#737) into a WaterTribe Challenge worth boat.  One small inconvenience is that there are portions of the course which require the mast to be dropped and oar power if any forward progress is to be made.  Check out the modifications that Barry and Todd have done to get #737 ready for the race:


Yes, that’s Todd rowing Old Blue out on the big water, with the mast resting comfortably overhead.  Also installed are sail furlers and a pop up rudder, among other things.  No word on how many of the modifications can/will remain after the race is completed.

I’m sure Barry and Todd will send us the story when they’ve completed the race.  Congratulations on accepting the challenge – safe travels!

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