Local adventurer Chris Cuddihy is hoping the third time is a charm.
The Riverside resident will strike out on his third annual “Round Island Row” today, Friday, to raise money and awareness for the Riverhead-based Suffolk County United Veterans, which runs a shelter for homeless veterans in Yaphank and has other programs for veterans throughout the area.
Mr. Cuddihy’s first two attempts at rowing around Long-Island non-stop, using varying boats and crew members, were cut short by problems with the boat and crew members becoming ill.
This time the crew will be just Mr. Cuddihy, his son, Ryan, and Ryan’s friend Aaron Williamson of California, whom the younger Cuddihy met while hiking the Appalachian Trail a few years ago. This year’s boat is a converted sailboat that two Ohio State engineers once took from Cleveland through the Great Lakes, down the Hudson River, out into the Atlantic, then in through the Intercoastal Waterway to Miami.
It took six months, but they weren’t trying to do it non-stop.
This year’s row will kick off Friday morning at 6 a.m. at the Mount Sinai Yacht Club and, if successful, will finish there too. If all goes well, Mr. Cuddihy estimates it can be done in six days. And if they don’t make it, he will shave his head bald, he said.
The row also has a sponsor this year in the Long Ireland Beer Company, which hosted a christening of the boat Saturday.
“What we really love about the charity is that it’s grassroots and any money raised stays right here on Long Island,” said Liam Hudock of Long Ireland, himself a veteran.
Mr. Cuddihy has done a number of fundraisers for Suffolk County United Veterans in recent years, including a 24-hour run around downtown Riverhead on Veterans Day that drew almost 80 participants.