Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 11 Old 10-03-2019 Thread Starter
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Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

For folks who follow the Race to Alaska (R2AK), this news is likely a few weeks old, but there has been a rule change that has been causing me to think. The rule change basically allows the fleet, or parts of the fleet to travel in the open pacific to the West of Vancouver Island.

Basically, for those not familiar, the race is for mostly smaller boats, wind and human power only, although some pretty big boats up to about 40 feet compete. Kind of intriguing, kayaks and 40 foot boats on the same race course, no handicaps. The race is non stop and unsupported.

The old race, required boats to depart from Port Townsend across the Salish Sea into Victoria Harbor on a qualifying leg. It then departed Victoria and travelled another 710 miles, non stop up the BC/Alaska inside passage to Ketchikan Alaska via the Seymour Narrows, best known for its 15 knot tides. There is a second way point routing boats into confined waters at Bella Bella.

The new rules, are pretty much the same, but the Seymour narrows waypoint has been eliminated and teams are free to travel to Ketchikan via any route, including up the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

Here is the rule change. https://r2ak.com/onelessrule/

This race is on my to do list, but not for a few years yet.

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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

The first leg across the Straight of Juan Fuca is often the most brutal. The west coast of Vancouver Island can be brutal, or flat.
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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

The 40 leg across the Straight of Juan De Fuca was pretty wild this past summer. 13 boats dnf'd including every kayak and SUP. Only 12 boats dnf'd over the next 710 miles.
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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

Sounds like a game-changer. Boats that can get out and away from the currents in the inside passage may be able to really jump ahead - especially if there’s any wind.
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post #5 of 11 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

Seems like an unfortunate change in my mind. It will really change the character of the race, since fighting the current for 6 out of every 12 hours for the first 1/3 of the race really drove the character of the race.
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Last edited by TimMarks; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:39 PM.
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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arcb View Post

This race is on my to do list, but not for a few years yet.

R2AK 2018 - WOULD I GO? - YouTube
Do it!
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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

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Originally Posted by cherylchecheryl View Post
Do it!
I think I will. Its a big time and money commitment. I am doing at least 1, maybe 2 more Everglades Challenges. Plus, one of my brothers is trying to get me to do a kayak circumnavigation of Cape Breton.

Probably going to be several+ years down the line before I get my current backlog of trips/races out of the way.

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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

You're nuts Arcb, but I've enjoyed hearing the tales. I'd never heard of these races before.

Think of the nuts you have for company. Someone dnf'd on an SUP they were using to compete in a 700nm non-stop, unsupported race. I wonder what it was like to be home with their family, if that sounded like a better idea.
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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

Those expedition SUP racers are hard core. I am freindly with one I met on my first EC. He is maybe about 60. Carrys the kind of load you might carry on a motorcycle. Maybe about a 20 or 30 liter dry bag bungeed on to his bow. Strategy is simple. Shovel water for about 40-50 miles a day. Sleep. Do it again. He stops when he reaches the finish line.

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Re: Race to Alaska: Pacific in a Small Boat?

I saw a SUP transiting the New England coast, about 2 miles offshore, with just the kind of baggage you describe. He was going downwind, for sure. Sea state was 3ft, maybe 5 seconds apart. Watched him fall repeatedly. Absolutely crazy.
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