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From Maine To Key West In One Weekend On The Water

When was the last time you hopped in your open-cockpit catamaran and ran as fast as you could on the mostly open ocean for 1,790 miles, stopping only to refuel? Imagine leaving Maine, for example, on Friday and running for 5-1/2 hours to New York City, catching a few hours of mostly worthless sleep. Then you head out again before dawn Saturday to run for almost six hours to Cape Hatteras, N.C., to refuel.

And then head to Miami, followed by Key West.

That’s exactly what Mike and Sarah Howe, the couple behind the popular Howe2Live YouTube channel and two of the most adventurous—strike that, just plain gutsy—folks you’ll ever meet.

After a few hours of fitful sleep, Mike and Sarah Howe began their adventure from New York City to Cape Hatteras. Photos courtesy/copyright Howe 2 Live.

And without question, their most recent adventure in their new MTI 440X catamaran powered by even newer Mercury Racing 500R outboard engines definitely was one for the books.

Sure, their initial goal was to travel the distance between New York and Miami in less than the 19 hours and 17 minutes it took Tom Gentry to make the run—of note from the opposite direction—in his 110-foot Gentry Eagle performance yacht in 1988. Having maintained their 70-mph pace, they reached Tybee Island, Ga., for a planned refueling stop in good shape to set a new New York to Miami record. But while they were there, thunderstorms kept them in port for an extra hour and the opportunity was lost.

“We left Tybee wIth great hope, but lost our built-up advantage,” Mike Howe said.

Everything about the Howes’ trip was planned to maximize efficiency and minimize wasted time.

“We were so excited when we left New York—at 3 a.m. a cruiser full of waving fans was stopped off the Statue of Liberty to cheer us on,” said Sarah Howe. “But I got so seasick staring at the FLIR and GPS, and I never get seasick. I was miserable for the next eight hours.

“Neither of us is a stranger to 16-hour shifts,” she continued. “But this, this was different.”

Compounding her nausea was a physical beating the likes of which neither of them had ever taken. The poundings delivered by the open Atlantic Ocean more than 30 miles from shore were so hard that Mike Howe experienced bright white flashes in his eyes with every hard hit in the 44-footer.

Howe described his wife as mentally “broken in half” by the time they reached shore in Georgia. But she rallied and soon they were back out there with a new goal of making it from New York City to Miami in less than 40 hours, the longstanding record for an outboard-powered boat.

Milestones from a remarkable weekend courtesy of Howe2Live.

“The stop at Tybee gave me a break to regroup,” Sarah Howe said. “And I was good for the rest of the trip.”

And that’s saying something given their adventures as chronicled through their Howe2Live YouTube channel. Plus, both are physically fit. Mike Howe is a former police officer and a current military contractor. Sarah Howe is a current police officer who has worked as a detective and SWAT team negotiator.

Short version? They’re tougher and more durable than most folks.

“I am most proud of my wife—I put her through a lot,” said Howe, who drew inspiration during the trek from Baja 1,000 off-road racing legend Ivan “Ironman” Stewart. “This was the most rugged endurance test we have ever been through. I kept saying to myself, ‘If Ivan can do the Baja 1,000, you can do this. Keep going.’

“Anything can happen out there,” he continued. “When you’re 34 miles offshore and haven’t seen another boat or land for three hours, literally all you have to depend on are yourselves and your boat. You’re vulnerable to any type of mechanical failure. If you have a medical emergency, you’re probably better off staying out there and waiting for the Coast Guard than running back to shore and trying to find land-based services in remote areas along the way, many of which are just empty nature preserves.”

The Howes didn’t have a single hiccup with their outboard-powered catamaran, which arrived in Maine with four operating hours and now has 35 of them. But they did share a few light and even comedic moments.

“I have a hilarious story about Sarah puking, but I’ll save it for the show,” Howe said, then laughed.

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Scenes from the adventure of a lifetime.

As they hoped, the couple made it from New York City to Miami in less than 40 hours. They took a break to celebrate with friends and family who came to meet them in the South Florida metropolis. Then they headed to Key West and their second home in Big Pine Key.

Though he had planned to have his wife take the wheel for a few shifts, Howe drove the entire way.

“I’m a few inches shorter now,” he quipped.

And now they are on their way back to their place in Maine. But for the return leg of their weekend adventure, they chose American Airlines over MTI.

“I have so much content to wrap my head around when I get home,” Mike Howe said. “I want to do a legit mini-series about our weekend run from Maine to Key West. And I have so much data to publish when I have a second to breathe.”

But whether their recent and most ambitious adventure to date debuts in a single segment or a series of Howe2Live episodes. rest is what they need right now. Sarah Howe lost five pounds last weekend. Her husband lost nine pounds.

Soon enough, though, it will be time for them to create the kind of compelling video content that often draws more than 1 million views.

No world records “officially sanctioned” by any of the current offshore racing bodies fell last weekend during the Howes run from Maine to Key West. The couple researched existing milestones and tackled them in their own way, meaning they are “official Howe2Live records backed by GPS and livestream data.”

But that really wasn’t the underlying point of their recent adventure.

Howe2Live isn’t about how to live with a boat, it’s about looking at life and how to take each day like it’s the last day of your life,” Mike Howe explained. “It’s about getting off the couch, getting out there and finding your own path.”

Howe paused for a moment, then laughed. “I can’t wait to get editing.”

For their return trip from Key West to Maine this afternoon, the Howes opted for a quicker way home.

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