Our time is valuable and limited and our free time is more of a premium. When we look to spend a fun filled day on the water we want to get the most out of it. We want to make every minute count. The challenge is how do we live the most minutes living the Sea-Doo life?
The sun is only up for so long in a day. To make the most of your day on a Sea-Doo watercraft some try to ride from sunrise to sunset, but how many actually accomplish that?
This is a day you are guaranteed to make the most of. Let’s take this a step farther. Let’s make it more interesting. What if you watched the sun come up over the horizon of the water and said, “Go” to your group of ride friends and rode all day racing the sun to sunset and watched the big ball of light sink into another horizon of the water?
This was the concept behind the latest Sea-Doo video challenge Racing the Sun.
One of the more interesting navigational treks in North America is the Okeechobee waterway that cuts through the lower half of Florida. This waterway offers a short cut for both pleasure and small commercial vessels bypassing a long trip around the southern peninsula and to make passage from Florida’s East coast at the city of Stuart, to the peninsula’s West coast at Fort Myers Beach. This waterway is a manmade passage managed by the Army Corp of Engineers and stretches more than 160 miles from east coast to west coast with the 30-mile wide Lake Okeechobee providing the open water middle point.
Most of the waterway consists of dredged canals measuring 100-150 meters wide and includes five locks, to control the water levels of the Okeechobee, which helps provide irrigation for millions of acres of sugarcane and citrus crops. The sights along the way are interesting to say the least as hundreds of species of wildlife can be seen as well as domesticated horses and cattle sipping at the water’s edge. An equally diverse array of vessels and people can be encountered during a trip on the waterway.
The ride lends itself to an incredible Sea-Doo experience as the protected waters make it a trip nearly any Sea-Doo watercraft owner can do. We challenged some accomplished riders to make the trek and videoed the adventure. To ensure the odds of completing the challenge were in our favor, all three rode new 2016 300 horsepower Sea-Doo watercraft models including X-TEAM racer Erminio Iantosca (@erminioiantosca) on a RXP-X 300, Cody Hawkins (@codyhawkins) on a RXT-X 300 and Ashley Sponaugle (@ashleysponaugle) on a GTX Limited 300.
The project had to be shot in one day as thee are no retakes with a sunrise and sunset. This was a challenging project and very aggressive planning to capture such a ride on video and tell the full story. The crew was minimal to say the least. The crew consisted of three riders, one boat driver, one cameraman and two truck drivers to chase along with the trailers, plus two Facebook fans in Ft. Myers we would meet up with at sunset. Planned a month in advance, weather was a major concern and when the day came we were gifted with near perfect weather, a tad windy, but no rain and mostly sunny skies.
The day of the crew woke up at 4:30 and launched the units prior to sunrise to get over to the south end of Hutchinson Island and the Stuart Inlet. Exactly 6:13am the sun broke the horizon and the clock started. Thee riders aboard three 300 horsepower watercraft set for a 14-plus hour trek. We knew we would encounter many slow speed zones and waiting at locks and this was built into the plan. What wasn’t built into the plan was the photoboat’s steering fading away at about the 20-mile mark.
With 85% of the trip in front of us, right around the point where we pass several cows next to the waterway, the steering gear box faltered and we had virtually no steering to the left. With veteran adventure boaters the team continued using what little steering they had and using so leaning along the way. Luckily the wind was from the rear and the there were little sharp turns involved in the journey allowing the chase/photoboat to keep up with the 300 hp watercraft.
The three new Sea-Doo models ran flawlessly and covered plenty of distance and other than the diverse scenery along the way the only drama was keeping the boat on course. The adventure was just that as our riders successfully made it to Sanibel Island where they met up with local Facebook fans Julio Paulo who owns a SPARK model and Raegan Wesch a proud owner of a Sea-Doo GTX 155. Over three hours of video was captured over the nearly 15-hour journey and it was all cut into a 2:00 video that you may have seen on the Sea-Doo Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube channels. We also produced a longer version that shows a little more of the adventure and some of the elements that make the Sea-Doo life the most fun you can have on the water.
Enjoy and have a great summer.