The R2AK gold rush

21 September 2014     Editor    0 Comments.

One topic on everyone’s lips at the PT Wooden Boat Festival this year is the Race to Alaska, a sail/row/paddle race from PT to Ketchikan, AK sponsored by the Northwest Maritime Center, and promoted by our friends at Smallcraft Advisor. It’s a 750 mile “Aquatic Iditarod” with no rules except no engines allowed but muscle and wind. First prize is $10,000, and there is no second.

The start is set for June 4, 2015, which is a notoriously fluky and unpredictable month for weather. There could be a howling gale, or flat calm. There might be sleet or snow, there might be sun, it will probably be a cold, wet and foggy. There will be raging tidal flows, and there will be bears.

The weather is so unpredictable that designing the optimum boat and crew for the race is devilishly difficult and yet practically irresistible. There are rumors of top level BC multihulls being fitted with galley style oars, but if it don’t blow, they won’t show.

Great question- we have no idea.
We intentionally picked the start date because the winds are of unpredictable strength and duration.  There is an ongoing debate on whether the optimal boat will favor sail, oars, or paddles. From the conversations we’ve had, usually sailors are scared of the rowers, rowers are scared of the sailors, and kayakers don’t seem to be scared of anything. Our best advice is to choose a boat design based on your skills, then go for it.

So the question is… what would YOU bring to the R2AK to win the prize?



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