Added: On the subject of gales and adverse wind, I received this precise breakdown of the Everglades Challenge results from Patrick Forrester:
When you count all kayaks including the Hobies there were 59 kayak entries in the 2016 EC. Only 19 of them finished. When you count single conventional (not including the hobies) kayaks and decked canoes and subtract the tandem conventional kayaks only 13 out of 35 paddlers finished. Tandem conventional kayaks did the best at 2 out of 4 finishing. 0 of the 3 single Hobie Adventure Islands finished. 3 of the 16 tandem Hobie Adventure Islands finished. In the end the big head winds were just too much. If it could have only been a favorable wind there would have been a lot more finishes.