It's no secret - the pandemic has upset apple carts left, right & centre. But we're gonna to make lemonade outta this crop of citrus and set an interim challenge for our team for 2020. Instead of travelling up to Ketchikan, we plan to head up the inside route along Vancouver Island and hang a left at the top for a sleigh-ride down the outside with the full team in our new boat. It's a great chance to experience some big open ocean and to see if we really can survive with 7 people and 4 sleeping spots. It'll also put another 580 nautical miles on our experience meter.
We've bought a tracker and have update our documentation equipment so we plan to provide updates along the way and we hope you'll follow along! More to follow soon on how that will all work.
The (Intended) Plan
August 25, 2020 - Arrive back at North Saanich Marina
So, we're now deep in the depths of provisioning & preparing the boat for the big trip!!
We’ve enhanced our original crew and the 2020 team includes specialists such as a mechanical engineer, an electrical engineer, a computer programmer, two photographers, creative types, oh, and of course, some salty sailors. We’ve thanked Giant Corn for her service, and upgraded to something with a little more panache. We are now in possession of a fast, light, sleek, spirited boat, and we’re in the process of modding her for R2AK 2020. She’ll be needing solar, some new instruments and wiring, a pedal drive (or likely two), a holding tank, enhanced documentation equipment, and some other bells and whistles. We had a couple of excellent training sessions with our 7-person team in the fall, and there are at least three more set for the spring and the lead-up to the race. We hope to compete in the Round Saltspring Race in May with the boat’s previous owner on board to help us learn the boat’s many quirks and preferences. We will be race-ready and raring to go come June 8!
So it turns out that posting while racing is a terrible idea. The phone interface doesn't work and staring in a focussed manner at a small screen while bobbing up and down is positively green-making. So we're shifting over to documentation through photos shared through Instagram and Facebook. Follow us there!
No trip should be without a soundtrack. And since you;re following along from home, you can immerse yourself even more in our adventure with our Sea Shanty playlist. Guaranteed to make you want to work with others and to ring in your ears for days. These addictive tracks will have you singing along regardless. Just try walking to work with them playing in your headphones!
It's quite likely that we won't be able to be too consistent with updates throughout the whole race. But that doesn't have to leave you hanging! We strongly recommend you sign up for the official daily race update emails to get a regular intake of excellent writing and gripping waterway drama in your inbox. Something fresh for the watercooler conversations!
Hey, even we signed up for the updates... cause we're only going to see what's happening on and near Giant Corn!
It was a stroke of genius to invest in 'Niblet', our little drone. This guy's already shown his mightiness on our Shakedown Sailing trip by capturing some truly stunning shots of Giant Corn cutting through the waves just off Victoria. You can see some of that footage in the video Colin made (included in the previous blog post). Here, just for fun, is a raw bit of footage of Niblet's first ocean take off.
On May 25-28 the crew got together for the Shakedown sail. After a lovely christening ceremony at Sidney Marina, where she is moored, 'Giant Corn' was ready for us to take her out for a spin... or a paddle. While we did have a motor with us, we were determined to practice our human propulsion. Which worked - much to the bemusement of the other boaters in our vicinity. many kind people came over to offer us a tow and then carried on laughing & shaking their heads.
We shook out the sails and had a great 2.5 days. We were blessed with great weather & nice winds. Fingers crossed that luck carries with us all in the race :) Below is a snippet of footage from the trip. Thanks to Colin for whipping this up!
These guys explain this event better than we can... because we've never done it before! Here's some choice bits for you to chew on :)
Windy.com is this nifty tool that allows us to visualize the wind speed, patterns & forecasts. Super handy!
Basic rule = green is good, orange is exciting, anything above that is hopefully short-lived.
Where to find us (sort of) and when (perhaps):
June 13 - Port Townsend, WA for the Pre-Race Ruckus
June 14 - Port Townsend, WA for the 5am race start. This is the 40mile 'Proving Ground' leg of the race. Must arrive at Victoria Harbour before 5pm on June 15th
June 15 - Victoria, BC for the Racer Party at 7pm
June 16 - Victoria, BC. Open Boat. Come visit us on Giant Corn at the docks from 3-6pm
June 17 - RACE DAY will begin on the Empress Hotel seawall at Inner Harbor in Victoria at high noon. It is a bell start with all participants positioned on the seawall. To quote: "Yes, you will be dashing to your boat to get that 2-minute head start on this 700 mile leg of the race… we are pretty sure this is called a Le Mans start."
Race route from Victoria’s Inner Harbor to Ketchikan’s Thomas Basin:
Hard to say. Any route between the two is apparently acceptable as long as we pass through Seymour Narrows and through Lama Passage, in front of Bella Bella.