Tuesday, June 27, 2023

R2AK 2023


Team Bella Bella and Beyond (Stuart Sugden) and Team Sporting Chance (Scott Macdonald) just finished the race at 10:09am. They could have made it to the finish line late last night but chose instead to camp one more time. These 2 paddlers have been paddling together since day 3 of the race, they did not know each other before the race. I like the fact in the finishing video they called them the Final Winners as anyone that finishes this race is a winner, actually anyone that makes it to Victoria and beyond is a winner.

It has been incredible to watch these racers via the tracker and the few videos that came out. Doing this has certainly made me more excited to do the race next year as Team FunToSAIL.com . I will start a new post thread showing my friend and I preparation for this race. So stay tuned.

Also, I will add to this R2AK post thread with videos and others news about the racers when the R2AK officials do so.

UPDATE 6-27-23

Team Toybox finished the race at 11:pm on 6-26-23 (last night while most of us were asleep). 2 solo paddlers remain and barring any incidents will arrive today. Let's cheer them on by going to the R2AK Facebook page.

UPDATE 6-26-23

All remaining boats in the race are now in Alaskan waters. Sea Smoke will finish today with the other 3 finishing likely tomorrow. The 3 remain boats are now clustered together.

UPDATE 6-25-23

I am back and a lot has happened in the R2AK since the last post. All but 4 boats remain. Team Sea Smoke aboard an solo 18' sea kayak (no sail) is just a few miles from the finish and the other three boats are not far from Alaskan waters.

Something I did not note previously as noted on the R2AK Facebook page "Ken Deem, aka Wave Forager, becomes the first solo rower finisher of Race To Alaska - (rowboat) rowing 22 hours straight his final day. AND he took home both of the Side Bets: The Oaracle Blister Prize for human-power teams and the Duckworks Under 20’ for small boats. Even worse, he seems like a genuinely nice person." He finished in 11th place, super impressive.

Team Solveig aboard their double rowboat with small sail that I have been following closely finished on 6-23-23, in 23th place. The other 3 boats Team Bella Bella & Beyond aboard a solo surf ski kayak and Team Sporting Chance aboard a solo sea kayak are in opens waters so no sleep tonight as it seems they are dedicated to finishing. They are sticking together, looking to finish together. Toybox aboard their Hobie Mirage Tandem Island/18' sail yak with pedal system is the furthest away from the finish but close to the other boats soon to enter Alaskan waters, also in open waters.

Out of the 29 boats that made it to Victoria CAN it looks like 18 will finish, I say looks like because in particular the 3 boats still have to make it to Alaskan waters, and anything can happen. I am rooting for them to have a safe remaining voyage into Ketchikan.

Sadly, the only Paddle Board in the race, Peter Allen from Vancouver CAN, Team Sup N Irish chose to exit the race a day after leaving Bella Bella CAN. Very impressive attempt.

The event officials have not posted much on their YouTube channel as so far almost all videos are on their Facebook page. When all the boats have finished and they have posted more videos we will post them here, so stay tuned.

UPDATE 6-18-23

Sorry to say we will not be able to do an update after today on the R2AK until this Sunday (6/25). Currently all the boats are progressing toward Alaska at a nice pace All except Lillians Vacation has made it to the Bella Bella check point. Team Toybox seemed to not be moving at all over the last 2 days but found out their tracker was not working, but now is. 2 sailboats remain to enter Alaskan waters, the rest of the boats behind these 2 sailboats are row/paddle only with a few including small sails.

Watch all the teams progress via the tracker 
https://r2ak2023.maprogress.com/ and/or visit Race to Alaska (r2ak.com) website or visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/racetoalaska/ . Again we will write an update this Sunday.

UPDATE 6-18-23

Just a quick update Solveig has moved up to 15th place out of 20 boats left in the race (who have finished or not) and Team Toybox aboard their Hobie Tandem Island seems to not be moving and is lagging way behind, and team Unsalted Nuts is now entering Alaskan waters. Team Wave Forager is still in first place in the muscle only watercraft category. So far no videos are being posted on YouTube, it's all being done live on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/racetoalaska/

UPDATE 6-18-23

6 More boats finished the race, with team Budgie Smugglers taking the much-

coveted Stake Knives (2nd place). Boats that have finished and are still in the race total 20 out of 29 boats. 2 boats currently are nearing Alaskan waters. Team Wave Forager, a solo kayaker just left the one check point of Bella Bella Canada. Impressive how well he is doing and in front of 2 sailboats. He is in first place of the muscle only powered craft.
Team Solveig from Boise Idaho is in 18th place and team Toybox 19th place aboard their Hobie Mirage Tandem Island. They are both now working their way to Bella Bella, likely getting their tomorrow (6/19/23). Team Lillian's Adventure (20th place, last place) a female rower who got a late start is impressively working who way north, is way behind but is steady working her way to Alaska.

Team Dogsmile members are now by home in Idaho, but their boat is still in Canada waiting to be transported and then fixed in Idaho. It was great that they are all arrived safe and sound. No word if they will try again next year.

See video and racing updates at Race 2 Alaska Facebook page at this link https://www.facebook.com/racetoalaska/

And to all the men who have children from their loins or adopted, Happy Father's Day!

UPDATE 6-12-23

Just a quick update... All the boats in the race are now all moving north. The storm has finally passed. Team Budgie Smugglers is now in open waters nearing Alaska with a large lead over the 3rd place boat. Teams Toybox (Hobie Tandem Island) and Solveig (two-person rowboat with small sail) are finally on the move after a 2 day lay over waiting for the storm to pass. Check out the live tracker at this link... https://r2ak2023.maprogress.com/

UPDATE 6-12-23
I am saddened to report that Team Dogsmile had structural issues with their boat as they neared Alaska. They had to turn back to Bella Bella CAN. Sounds like they will not be re-entering the race. They were in 2nd place. I will give an update as soon as I get word how things are going for them.
Team We Break for Whales has won with a finish this morning in Ketchikan AK around 7:am, took them 5 days, 18 hours, 59 minutes. They had no break downs and actually baked to make some cookies, while others ate all kinds of condensed food. Seemed they had a pretty enjoyable journey but like all the teams they had to deal with very strong currents, strong wind, etc. Fabulous job Team We Break for Whales. See Team We Break for Whales finish video on Facebook at this link https://fb.watch/ladPwvXM_x/

Many of the teams have been anchored or on shore in various locations waiting out a storm with 40-50 knot winds. Snow was predicated, yes in June. The human only powered teams are still less than halfway to Alaska, most have been parked for 2 days. Team Budgie Smugglers from British Columbia, CAN aboard a Shaw 34 catamaran is now in 2nd place. There are 24 teams still in the race. The sole Idaho team from Boise is in 2nd to last place. More updates coming soon.

UPDATE 6-12-23

It's now the 6th day of the Race 2 Alaska and a lot has happened. Some teams have dropped out but others preserver on. This is a race of endurance on the body and mind, and boat. 

During the race there seemed to be 3 clusters of boats, a lead group, a mid-stretched out group, and a rear group primarily made up of human/muscle powered watercrafts. This seems to be the pattern throughout the race and continues today. The race started with 40 boats and is now down to 25, with sadly a few more I expect to drop out. I am following all the boats in the race but as noted on 6-6-23, I am particularly interested in the Idaho teams and the one team using a Hobie Tandem Island. Team Dogsmile from Idaho has been in first place then down to 6th place and is now at 2nd place. Team Solveig from Idaho has pretty much stayed in 20th place through much of the race.

The key of any endurance race is to stay consistent, just push on through whatever challenge comes your way. All the remaining teams have been examples of this. Some boats have had to stop for repairs, some with single or few crew members have had to stop to rest due to fatigue, and so on. The big challenge through most of the race have been dealing with vary strong currents.

With Dogsmile, when they were in 6th place I thought just stay on task as some boats may drop out in front of you or simply sail into no wind areas, etc. One team in 2nd place dropped out due to breakage, and several others anchored for a while to get much needed rest resulting in team Dogsmile moving up to 3rd place. Now that they are in more open water, they passed a monohull that had an advantage in the narrows, they could sail closer to the wind and tack quicker, but thpse advantage is gone and now Dogsmile can stretch their legs and hit higher speeds.

Team We Brake For Whales aboard a 40 foot custom built Lyman Morse monohull has been in the lead pack for the whole race and once they hit the narrows it was obvious, they had the advantage over the other boats with great overall performance and speed. They are the longest boat in the race and with length typically comes higher speeds. Not only do they have the performance, but all reports indicate they are very comfortable, with a note that they baked cookies versus the other teams living off of freeze-dried food. The more comfortable you are, the more enjoyable the trip, the more one's mind can handle the length of the trip/mental fatigue.

My prediction for the rest of the race is that team We Brake For Whales is going to win as they have an insurmountable lead and team Dogsmile will get those much-covenanted 2nd place prize, steak knives, as they have a pretty good lead over the boats behind them. Both of these teams have left the required and only check point at Bella Bella Canada. Two other teams have made it there around 7:am this morning. The human powered boats of Solveig (22nd) and Toybox (19th) are several DAYS away.

You can follow this race at r2ak.com and on Facebook at m.facebook.com/racetoalaska

UPDATE 6-6-23

The Race 2 Alaska (R2AK) 2023 started on June 5th at 5:00am. The first leg of this approximate 750-mile race starts from Port Townsend WA to Victoria BC (on Vancouver Island) is called the proving grounds, this approximate 35 miles San Juan Straits crossing is key to being in the race. If one does not finish this crossing in the allotted time, then one cannot continue on for the rest of the race ending in Ketchikan Alaska (the second leg... there on only two legs).

There are 40 teams in this year's race, well kind of as two did not start the race and one did not make it across the straights to Victoria. 32 teams made it to Victoria and the real good news is that team Dogsmile finished first aboard their fast F27 trimaran. I am particularly interested in the Idaho teams because I am from Idaho, there are two teams from Idaho. Our home Inland NW team of Dogsmile from Coeur d'Alene Idaho is doing amazing. They have a good chance of winning it. Team Solveig from Boise Idaho aboard a custom Faering rowboat with small sail was the 23rd boat to make it to Victoria. I am also interested in team Toybox Express (from Hamilton, Ontario, CA USA) because they are doing the trip aboard a Hobie Mirage Tandem Island, a boat I use a lot and one I have thought of doing the race on. It was great to see all these teams make it to Victoria.

Watch for updates in this article and visit Race 2 Alaska site at r2ak.com to track daily the racers progress. Videos coming soon.

In the 2024 R2AK myself and a friend (team FunToSAIL.com) will be racing aboard our Malbec18 sportboat.

Click on pics to enlarge

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