Answers to important questions nobody has asked me yet:
Q: Is it easier to ship a boat to Denmark or just row there?
A: Local Sea Scout skipper Maria Kearney and her crew are trying to figure out how to get a 40-foot wooden boat from Tacoma to Denmark for July’s Atlantic Challenge seamanship competition.
“A lot of people think we should just row across the Atlantic,” Kearney said, then laughed. “That’s not going to work.”
When the 16th Atlantic Challenge starts July 16, a quarter of Team USA will be from the South Sound.
The five local crew members — four from Tacoma and one from Edgewood — are currently raising funds to ship their boat to Denmark so they can compete against teams from 15 other countries in rowing and sailing races and skills competitions.
They’re hoping a local shipping company will volunteer to deliver the boat as they have in the past, but Kearney said initial requests were denied. “I know it’s asking a lot,” she said.
She estimates shipping the boat will cost as much as $20,000. Additionally, expenses for the participants are expected to be about $3,500.
The boat is called the Vérité (A French word meaning truth) and it was built by the group and community volunteers in the 1990s. Modeled after a French captain’s gig, the boat has three masts but can also be powered by 10 oars. “It requires a lot of teamwork,” Kearny said. There are only 78 of these boats in the world, Kearney said, and all competing countries at the Atlantic Challenge must use one.
Earlier this week, the Tacoma group had raised just $100 of the $20,000 it hopes to raise via its gofundme.com page. Raising the rest of the money won’t be easy, but facing challenges is what the Atlantic Challenge is all about.
The Atlantic Challenge International, according to its website, was founded on the teachings of famous educator Kurt Hahn.
Hahn, founder of Outward Bound, believed young people should venture in the mountains or to the sea to be challenged. “In so doing they would learn about themselves and their fellows at the same time,” reads a passage on the website.
The goal of the Atlantic Challenge is for the competitors to learn about sailing, rowing, seamanship and boat-building by immersing themselves in these activities. And, as they come together to compete, to develop an understanding of cultures.
“One of the fun events is when all of the different countries switch and end up on a different boat,” Kearney said. “It’s a lot of fun because of the language barrier.”
The event is July 16-23, but participants will be gone for about a month. Before heading to Denmark, the team will train for 2½ weeks off of the coast of Maine.
“There is no electricity, no plumbing,” Kearney said. “We take everything we learn and put it into use during the competition.” The training will take place on different boats than the one they’re shipping to Denmark.
Kearney is one of three trainers for Team USA and describes the five local participants as high achievers.
Hannah Cantlin, 21, is studying biology at Tacoma Community College and working at South Hill Veterinarian Hospital. Sarah Rodin, 16, attends Stadium High. Coleman Snell, 15, is a student at the Science and Math Institute of Tacoma. David Kroker, 20, is a TCC engineering student. Lacey Wentler, 19, is a Pierce College student from Edgewood.
“They are really good young men and women, and this is going to be a great experience for them,” Kearney said.
The team had a fundraising event April 9 in Tacoma, but is also collecting donations via the Tacoma Youth Marine Foundation.
Q: How many Tacoma cyclists were arrested in Seattle last weekend?
A: Darrell Eslinger, president of Tacoma Wheelmen’s Bicycle Club, wasn’t happy that biking across state Route 520 floating bridge on April 2 would require paying a fee to a Seattle-based bike club.
Because it’s a public bridge, Eslinger believed it should have been open to all cyclists, not just those participating in Cascade Bicycle Club’s Emerald City Bike Ride.
Upset with the state Department of Transportation, Eslinger sent a letter to Gov. Jay Inslee and announced that he and others planned to ride across the bridge without paying for or participating in the organized ride.
On April 2 he and two other cyclists parked near Bellevue and attempted to ride over the bridge and back. They were not stopped, he said, and they had a pleasant ride.
Some within the Tacoma Wheelmen didn’t agree with Eslinger’s stance. When a story by The News Tribune’s Adam Lynn was posted on the group’s Facebook page last month, responses included “An unnecessary can of worms opened” and “This is horrible.” There were also comments in support of the stance.
Eslinger chimed into the online conversation to clarify that his beef was with the state and not the Cascade Bicycle Club.
So, are club members upset with their president?
“I don’t know,” Eslinger said Sunday afternoon. “I’ll find out pretty soon.”
The club’s 41st Daffodil Classic ride, it’s largest ride of the year, is April 17. The club’s next meeting is April 19.