Additional challenge this year, at the beginning of the race we were handed a pool noodle and told we'd be judged on creativity. Tom and I have been competing for years, but we generally grab two other random people to come work with us, often total wild-cards (I think the only person who's repeated a year is my Dad, we've only practiced with one or two of the other people, basically we expect them to be human clamps).
This year Tom invited Susan, a kick-ass paddler from the Petaluma Small Craft Center Coalition who complained that she'd pulled a muscle and couldn't really paddle, and then easily pulled us through the first heat easily (I took stern for that race), and Sam, a carpenter.
With about 45 minutes to go, Tom was heads down in making deck plates and planing shear lines, Susan and I were sanding and shaping paddles, and Sam disappeared.
He showed up half an hour later with a beer in one hand, and that pool noodle sculpted into this awesome dragon figurehead:
Which got us another nice prize package. Sam rocks.