KiwiBird launched right on time this morning at 7:00 am and by 7:30 was on the pointy end of the Class 1 flotilla just behind SaltyFrog. At this point, however, everyone recognizes that it's a very long race, and each paddler is just looking for a sustainable rhythm. Overall, Bumpy is setting his usual rapid pace in his 20' beach cat. He appears headed outside, whereas the kayaks will seek the shelter of the Intracoastal behind the barrier islands.
Tampa Bay is one of the longer open-water crossings and can be fairly rough. Of more concern, however, is the heavy ship traffic. The racers must cross the ship channel for Tampa Bay within a couple of miles of the Mullet Key beach.
The winds are a bit more adversarial than they were predicted to be yesterday, although down Placida way it's still blowing over the beam of south-bound boaters. If this pattern continues, it will be a fairly long day down to CP1. I don't expect KB to be there before late evening--2200 or later.
SandyBottom appeared to be tardy in getting her Spot working but by 7:30 was quite near KB. It takes longer to get the larger, heavier sailboats in the water, and out of courtesy, the sailors let the kayakers start first. Thus DwSB and SOS are a bit behind at the moment, but that won't last.
When I spoke to KB last night, they were about to head to Jo Jo's La Pizzeria for a pasta fest, another tradition for the Triangle crew. Last real food for a number of days, with a possible respite at Marco Island. I'm told KneadingWater can be quite persuasive.