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'It's kind of crazy': Platte Canyon High's yacht club will compete in a long distance boat race along the Pacific Coast

No high school team has ever done the SEVENTY48 (aka 70 miles over 48 hours), and no one from Colorado has ever registered for it.

BAILEY, Colo. — For spring break, the yacht club at Platte Canyon High School plans to spend a lot of time on the water.

It won't be on a yacht. It won't be in Colorado. And they're pretty sure it won't even be comfortable. But, they're betting it'll be memorable.

"This is the first year Platte Canyon High School's had a yacht club," special education teacher Kip Otteson said. "And this is the first event that we're attempting."

The event is a boat race along the coast of Washington called the SEVENTY48. It starts in Tacoma and ends in Port Townsend. No motors or sails are allowed. All the vessels must be human-powered.

Past participants have almost exclusively come from Washington or Oregon. Otteson says organizers were a little taken aback when a high school team from Colorado registered.

Needless to say, yacht club members don't expect to win. They hope to move fast enough to avoid a second night of paddling. "We are competing to finish," said sophomore Kai Otteson with a smile.

"In the boat we're gonna have 19 people, which is a ton," Kip Otteson said. "Most the boats that race, the most they have is two or three. And so, this is kind of crazy."

The team from Colorado will be coed, further complicating their race conditions. They're still brainstorming how the team and their five adult chaperones will relieve themselves while on the water.

"Otteson actually wants everyone to get a hoop skirt," senior Lisa Bezzant said. "And just like, you squat over a bucket. And then, you just chuck whatever's in the bucket over the side."

Because lakes in Colorado's high country are frozen right now, the yacht club will have to test their boat in an indoor pool. "Our plan was just, stick it in and see if we don't sink it and try and get everybody in and out," Bezzant said.

The boat the team is building is based on plans they bought online. It's modular, so they can break it apart and fit the whole thing on a 16-foot trailer for the trip to Washington.

"STEM is based on like building things and solving problems, and this is really a problem-solving mission," Kip Otteson said. "This is where we should be going as schools - not just concentrating on academics, but concentrating on things where the kids can get their hands on tools and build things."

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