FalconSails at the Everglades Challenge

The Everglades Challenge is a known-around-the-world 300 mile adventure race that starts in Tampa Bay and ends in Key Largo. To finish, racers push themselves, day and night, in some of the most dangerous sections of water, and weather Florida has to offer. This includes 100 miles thru the heart of the Everglades National Park. This is the top & most well known kayak sailing race on the planet! Class 1 racers use a stock kayak or canoe and are allowed to use a sail up to 1 square meter in size. Falcon Sails 1.0 square meter sail is perfect for this race. It is easy to use, reliable, provides the best propulsion per square inch, and provides amazing up wind performance.

Falcon Sails have been used in the 2013 and 2014 Everglades Challenge, and were the most commonly chosen class 1 sail in the 2015 & 2016 Everglades Challenge. There are no close seconds. It is no surprise after Falcon Sailors amazing results in the 2013 and 2014 Everglades Challenge.

Here are the rosters with results:

The 2016 Everglades Challenge starts Saturday March 5th at 7am.

For the 2nd year in a row, Falcon Sails has the largest number of compact sails at the starting line!
We have more than all the competing sails combined!

As of February 23rd, here is the list of racers using a Falcon Sail:

Patrick Forrester - FalconSails - Class 1
Joe Tousignant - Joewildlife - Class 1 - 2013 class 1 first place winner with using a Falcon Sail. See the story below.
Charles Wolfe - SeaWolf - Class 1 - See his results under the 1200 mile Ultimate Florida Challenge.
Rodney Dutton - Tiderider - Class 1
Ken Boydstun - Swampg8r - Class 1
James Hurst - Jammerjim - Class 1
Marvin Brager - Clueless - Class 1
David May - Mzee - Class 1
Dan Lockwood - Savanadan - Class 1
David Wicks - Paddlemaker - Class 1
Lauren Demos - Purfectlyferal - Class 1
Travis Knight - SquirrelyPaddles - Class 1
Robert Clendening - Sandfly - Class 1
Charles Burke - SandyRower - Class 1

You can track these participants on the Race Tracking map at this location.

The 2015 Everglades Challenge started Saturday March 7th at 7am.

Here is a list of Falcon Sailors that made it to the 2015 starting line - Ordered to be canceled by the US Coast Guard. See notes below.

Cliff Alfiche - CliffJumps - Class 1
Paul Shaw - PaddlePeddler - Class 1
Patrick Forrester - FalconSails - Class 1
Rodney Dutton - Tiderider - Class 1
Ken Boydstun - Swampg8r - Class 1
James Hurst - Jammerjim - Class 1
Marvin Brager - Clueless - Class 1
David May - Mzee - Class 1
Dan Lockwood - Savanadan - Class 1
David Wicks - Paddlemaker - Class 1
Lauren Demos - Purfectlyferal - Class 1
Travis Knight - SquirrelyPaddles - Class 1
Robert Clendening - Sandfly - Class 1
Nora Jones - LadyNoraonthesea - Class 1
Bob Williams - SirBobsalot - Class 1
Carl Karickhoff - YoYo - Class 1

Notable, will be missed for 2015:

Joe Tousignant - Joewildlife - Class 1 - 2013 class 1 first place, Can not make it this year, but says he will be there next.
Charles Wolfe - SeaWolf - Class 1 - 2014 top place Falcon Sailor Withdrawn for injury.
Justin Blais - Frenchman - Class 1 - 2014 top place Falcon Sailor can not make it this year.
Patrick Rohde - Yakmandu - 2013 & 2014 Class 3 Falcon Sailor can not make it this year.

Due to extreme weather (with significant number of rescues logged by the coast guard and local sheriffs department (some counts where at 13)), the United States Coast Guard demanded the 2015 Everglades Challenge be canceled only a few hours into this race. 
The race usually takes well over 100 hours for most participants to finish.  When the race was canceled, most of the Falcon Sailors were enjoying a nice lead over the competition.  We have to wait until March of 2016.  One very interesting development is SeaWolf / Charles Wolfe, and JoeWildlife / Joe Tousignant have committed to doing the Florida Ultimate Challenge which is 1,200 miles. The first 300 miles of the Florida Ultimate Challenge is identical to the Everglades challenge.  It runs at the same time.  Both SeaWolf, and JoeWildlife have used a Falcon Sail in everglades challenges, and have done very well and will use a Falcon Sail in their 1,200 Ultimate Florida Challenge. 

The 2014 Everglades Challenge started March 1st at 7am.

There were 5 Class 1 racers that used a Falcon Sail in 2014.
This includes 1 Falcon Sail employee that had zero long distance racing experience.

Falcon Sail Participants included the following:
Charles Wolfe – SeaWolf - Tide Race Pace 18 with a 1 square meter Falcon Sail
Cliff Alfiche – CliffJumps - Epic 18x with a 1 square meter Falcon Sail
Justin Blais – Frenchman - Epic 18x Sport with a 1 square meter Falcon Sail
Paul Shaw - PaddlePeddler - Current Designs Nomad with a 1 square meter Falcon Sail
Patrick Forrester -FalconSails - Epic 18x Sport with a 1 square meter Falcon Sail

With only 5 out of 28 total (single class 1 kayaks with sail) competitors, the Falcon Sail racer finish line results were amazing!
Class 1 competitors without sails, have been removed from this analysis so Falcon Sailors are only being compared to other Kayak Sailors.

- Falcon Sailors took 3 of the top 4 ( single class 1 kayak with sail ) positions.
- All but 1 ( FalconSails ) finished in the top 29 percentile in this group.
- Falcon Sails average finish 7th among single kayak sailors was in the top 26 percentile.
- 100% of Falcon Sailors finished in the top 68 percentile. It was really impressive that even the first time distance racer did so well.
- There were no DNFs and DNS ( Did not finish ) ( Did not Start )
- There were zero Falcon Sail rig hardware break downs or failures.

No competitor of Falcon Sails came even close to posting results like this.

There was also 1 Ultra Marathon (65 mile abbreviated Everglades Challenge to check point 1) Falcon Sail racer.
Mike Stoll – IncipitFugitHora – Valley Canoe Products RM Nordkapp with 1 square meter Falcon Sail.
Even with very little sea kayaking experience, minor paddle sailing experience, a slow boat, a late start, and light winds, Mike was able to finish the 65 mile race with an impressive time of 18 hours and 42 minutes.

Patrick Forrester, owner & first time participant in the 2014 Everglades Challenge, says "Both expert and beginner paddle sailors want a kayak sail rig that provides maximum ease of handling and predictability that's also compact, lightweight, and durable, with impressive up wind potential and maximum all around efficiency per square inch. All paddle sailors need a sail rig that can be lowered and stowed out of the way in seconds, like the Falcon Sail can be. Our investment in the Everglades Challenge continues to help us produce an even better sail and rig just like motor sports have resulted in greatly improved car and motorcycle designs "

In 2013, the first year Falcon Sails were used in this known-around-the-world race, there were some amazing results!

There were 3 Falcon Sailors in the race, and where finished in just over 5 days.

There were 2 Falcon Sailors in class 1. All Class 1 racers use a standard kayak or canoe and up to a 1 square meter sail.

Joe Tousignant (JoeWildlife), used a 1 square meter Falcon Sail with our carbon fiber rigging kit, on his Kruger Canoe to compete in Class 1. When considering the difficulty and distance of the route he chose, he came in first place out of 30 racers! At 5 days 9 hours 36 minutes he racked up, the fastest class 1 time ever for a Kruger in the everglades challenge record books. Even if you do not consider the longer distance route he chose, he still came in 4th place out of 30 racers.

You can see the 2013 Everglades Challenge Class 1 results on this web page.

Here is a picture of Joe enjoying part of his 300 mile paddle sail during the 2013 Everglades Challenge.

Everglades Challenge Kayak Sailor

Joe bought his Falcon Sail just before the race and had no experience paddle sailing until that time. (Falcon Sails does not recommend waiting so late to learn how to paddle sail) Joe says " I had no experience paddle sailing until a few weeks before the race, and only had 2 short practice paddle sails in light wind. It takes some practice, but once you get the hang of paddle sailing, it is easy. The Falcon's ability to be quickly lowered, really helped a few times during the race. I had a lot of fun with the sail and could surely push it harder with more experience! "

Joe also said "My experience with my Falcon Sail has been very positive. The Falcon Sail kept the boat moving when I was taking breaks to rest, eat, or doing other housekeeping chores. I was easily able to add at least .5 mph to my paddling, and normally about 1 mph, even with reduced paddling effort. My best and most memorable run was down the Joe River towards the end of the Wilderness Waterway, where it really helped me maintain a fast clip. I watched the miles peel away after paddling some 36 hours straight, giving me the confidence and encouragement to keep paddling and get to the last checkpoint at Flamingo."

Joe mentioned how some times there where significant following seas and gusty conditions that made paddling of any kind difficult, so he occasionally took advantage of how easy it is to lower his Falcon Sail. He feels that as he gains more experience, he will leave the sail up a lot more and derive further benefits from his not-so-secret weapon. After the race he spoke with the Falcon Sails owner and designer about ways to improve his rigging for even better performance. Falcon Sails is always happy to talk with our customers or anybody that is even thinking about paddle sailing of any kind.

The other Falcon Sailor in class 1 (cliffjumps) finished the race with the 5th best time out of 30. This racer used sails from other makers in previous years and did not finish the race on those attempts. With a 4th and 5th place finish, Falcon Sailors averaged 4.5th place. The closest competing sail had an average of 10.5th place, and on average, was 30 miles behind the average Falcon Sail racer.

In class 3 Falcon Sails had 1 racer with a tribe name of yakmandu. Class 3 allows for unlimited sail sizes and lateral resistance appendages, outriggers, and other items that class 1 does not allow. The leaders in this race have purpose built boats. The Falcon Sailor in this class used a simple Necky Lookshaw kayak with a 1.3 meter falcon sail, a canoe paddle, and some home made outriggers, and still had the 4th best time out of 11 in this class.

This very demanding race proves the effectiveness and reliability of our design. The Falcon Sailors in this race, covered nearly 1,000 miles, and had zero failures. Falcon Sails have more than just an advanced and highly efficient design, they have all the features that experts and novices are looking for. It is simplistic, compact, and reliable.