In 2018 four of us undertook the challenge, aboard Giant Corn - a 25' CNC.
Spoiler alert... we all made it, and we didn't win. But there were some hairy moments. And a lot of peddling. And now we're hooked.
In 2019 we chased the race aboard Giant Corn for about ten days up to Port McNeill. Suitably obsessed, we all decided to trade in Giant Corn for a larger, racier vessel, In September, 5 of us became the owners of a 1981 Dash 34' with the intention of racing in the 2020 R2AK. Our new vessel came to us with an illustrious history of winning local races under her (now former) boat name, 'Optical Illusion'. She's a fin keel, fractional rigged sloop with a 6.5-foot draft, fibre glass hull, and 5200lb of displacement. Designer was Laurie Davidson out of Duncan, BC, and this boat is hull number 10 of we think only about 35. She's got a full sail inventory with a huge racing mainsail, lots of foresails for changing weather and conditions, and an exciting selection of spinnakers.
A new team of 7 people was formed around a 2020 challenge, bringing new sailing, engineering, and documentation skills to our team. Then the race was postponed, so we went around Vancouver Island instead. Then it was postponed again in 2021 and another year passed and NOW the team reformed, and then reformed again, into a 6-person crew for the 2022. All our fingers and toes are crossed.
With the team hailing from Washington, Vancouver Island & the Okanagan Valley, training as a whole team is tricky, but we are smart and crafty folks. Stay tuned!
Meet our 2022 Race team
About the Race to Alaska.
It’s like the Iditarod, on a boat, with a chance of drowning, being run down by a freighter, or eaten by a grizzly bear. There are squalls, killer whales, tidal currents that run upwards of 20 miles an hour, and some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.
R2AK is the first of its kind and North America’s longest human and wind powered race, and currently the largest cash prize for a race of its kind.
R2AK is based on the hardest kind of simplicity: You, a boat, a starting gun.
$10,000 if you finish first, a set of steak knives if you’re second. Cathartic elation if you can simply complete the course. R2AK is a self-supported race with no supply drops and no safety net. Any boat without an engine can enter. In 2017, 41 teams were accepted and 27 finished.
Have you seen the Feature Film about R2AK ?
(spoiler.... we're in it... a little bit)
Our 2018 race:
We were thirsting for adventure! 'Giant Corn', our 25ft C&C is a solid, seaworthy boat, with two very experienced sailors on board, one moderately experienced sailor, and an attractive piece of rail meat, who has shown herself to be a fast and enthusiastic learner with an adventurous spirit. Between the four of us, we've covered all the bases as far as survival and sailing skills go, and we are a clever, resourceful and creative bunch, up for a challenge. Cheer us on to Ketchikan!
About 'Giant Corn'
Our craft was a 1974 25-foot C&C sailboat, well-maintained, with a full complement of sails. She's a very solid, full-keel boat, sleeps four adults, boasts a small makeshift kitchen in cabin and a Dickinson BBQ on the rail. When there's no wind, we planned to be moving her with old-fashioned human pedal-power. Our mechanical engineer friend designed us a pedal system to hook over the transom and dangle into the water so that a single person could take a shift at pedalling when the need arises.
In order to prepare for this grueling undertaking, we overhauled and spruced up our old girl. New paint, solar panels, new mainsail, custom-built pedal drive, new electrical & comms systems... Also pretty new upholstery and a catchy new name.