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james mcmullen

Race to Alaska--R2AK 2015

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Jake Beattie at the Northwest Maritime center has come up with this crazy stunt, probably just to get attention or something. . .but I figure some of y'all might actually be mental enough to consider participating in it.

 

The rules are pretty simple: 750 miles from Port Townsend to Ketchikan up the inside. Starting gun 8am on June 4. Self-contained with no support and no motors--to weed out the sissies, obviously. Pretty much everything else is up to you. Choice of boat, choice of timing, choice of route, beyond passing through a couple of mandatory waypoints. Winner gets $10k. Second place gets a set of steak knives.

 

Even if you have no interest in participating in this foolhardy suicide pact, at least check out this sweet, sweet promotional video, starring a certain dashing sailor and his remarkably photogenic sail & oar boat. :D

 

 

 

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hmmmmmm

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There are more than a few Water Tribe members who would do this. Heck a few of them have done the Yukon 1000 and the Ultimate Florida (granted FL is warmer and more populated). I would consider it but not in my Nomad. There is a lot of logistical issues with that course. A lot of prep would need to be done.

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No motor and up the inside?

 

I wanna set up a grandstand at seymour narrows and sell tickets. The carnage will be epic. Popcorn will be complimentary.

 

Has anyone told him about the currents there?

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No motors and up the inside has been done for hundreds of years. It merely takes the kind of judgement and seamanship that some of you decadent modern sailors have never bothered to develop. It's far easier to sit on your fat ass and twist a throttle than to figure it out or learn how to row.

 

But of course, some of those guys who have been racing in the warm and placid waters of Florida with one sixth the tidal range are gonna leave some square-cornered turds floating in that 10-14kt flood current through Seymour. That might very well be fun to watch.

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Is this for small boats or can I go and just not run the engine?

 

The rules say you have to remove the engine if it has one.

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I'm not sure I understand. This race seems to be geared toward small row/sail boats and it makes some sense to have the ability to row up some areas of the inside where there is often little to no wind. But the rules say nothing about the course. I've been up and down from Ketchikan several times on fishing boats both inside and outside and I recall June is often a fairly mild month for weather. How can the small boats averaging 2-4 knots compete with, for example, fully crewed 60' yacht running up the outside averaging maybe 6-8 knots? Of course getting to the dock without a motor could be a problem with a larger boat but is carrying a dingy aboard your yacht to help get in and out of port against the rules? It's nice they made the rules real simple but perhaps some clarification is required when 10 grand is on the line.

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Well that would be a few hours wasted getting it loose and carting it off somewhere, but for $10,000 I could do it and run 24/7 with a crew, food, water, hot food, hot water, and a dry place to sleep. Not that sailing like 9,000 miles to get to the start would be worth the $10K, but if I was there...........

 

OK - I actually went and read the rules.

Are you a kayaker extraordinaire? An ocean rower? A paddler on a First Nation racing canoe? Do you feel like yanking the engine out of your yacht and rolling the dice? We’re ok with all of these -and most other wingnut ideas you might have. Just no engines- not even “just in case”. Size of boat doesn’t matter and you can bring as many crew as you want as long as all of them are on for the whole race- no switching out. Route choice and boat selection are key strategies of R2AK. But remember:

Apparently they ARE cool with anything up to a square rigged ship going as long as there is no engine. I think the only way the "small boats" have a chance is if there is either no wind or no one wants to go through the PITA of taking their engine out. In my case it is a couple hours work but many boats are much harder.

 

 

Is this for small boats or can I go and just not run the engine?

 

The rules say you have to remove the engine if it has one.

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Apaprently it would be hard to go on the outside "

Other than two waypoints at Seymour Narrows and Bella Bella there is no official course."

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and anyone doing this one in a sailboat, should stick around and do the Spirit of Adventure race if they still do it.

CIrcumnavigate Admiralty Island with a stopover at Baranoff Hot Springs... fun trip.

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. . .with a crew, food, water, hot food, hot water, and a dry place to sleep.

Good god! What a fucking pussy! Don't you have any sense of adventure at all? Are you also gonna bring your mommy to tuck you in at night? A real sea dog wouldn't bother with any of that shit. You can get water by rowing with your mouth open during the incessant rain storms, and pluck limpets off the rocks for food while waiting for the tide to change through the pinches. Why don't you sack up, "sailor"?

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And is anyone going to offer the traditional newbie greeting to Mr. Hamhocks here? Or do I have to do everything, including starting this awesome thread? For Pete's sake!

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Don't be such a wuss James, you limpet eating master marriner you! Welcome Hamhocks yourself.

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Well I know one triber who is highly interested in going and I think will be there. I'll pass on more info later but if anyone can, he can.

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If I do that who will make my hot cocoa and how will I watch movies :wacko:

 

. . .with a crew, food, water, hot food, hot water, and a dry place to sleep.


Good god! What a fucking pussy! Don't you have any sense of adventure at all? Are you also gonna bring your mommy to tuck you in at night? A real sea dog wouldn't bother with any of that shit. You can get water by rowing with your mouth open during the incessant rain storms, and pluck limpets off the rocks for food while waiting for the tide to change through the pinches. Why don't you sack up, "sailor"?

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Joe, no info till I hear the full intent. Plus no outing!!!!!! But this is a triber who can get it done. I won't lie, this has my keen interest as well. However a move, new house, and job hunting has me looking at it from afar.

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The Flyin' Hawaiian never installed those outboard motors yet, did it? If so, that means that Hot Rod is totally eligible to enter. Bet he could use $10 grand about now. And he's probably still got plenty of lil'murray steaks and roasts in the freezer, so he wouldn't have to stock up too much on provisions for the race.

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Yeah, Zero, my bad, but it turns out to be the one I suspected...plus that link explained why I couldn't see a list of the participants any earlier than now!

 

Go, Team Discovery!!

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Interesting race. If I hadn't sold the Kruger to get the Tartan I would ponder it.

 

Wonder if Mark from Kruger canoes is going to do it. Assuming the inside passage has reasonable (GOM size) waves, a Kruger with a Balogh rig in the right hands would be competitive. Definitely want a shit load of pocket heaters and a boat that will keep you dry up there!

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I'm not sure I understand. This race seems to be geared toward small row/sail boats and it makes some sense to have the ability to row up some areas of the inside where there is often little to no wind. But the rules say nothing about the course.

 

I had the same thought, but checked with Nate and you do need to go through Seymour Narrows and Bella Bella. That eliminates the outside course as an option.

 

I spent most of Monday day dreaming about this race.

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If this is for real, then the organizers should get started now asking the many first nations governments on the route for permission and support when passing through their traditional waters.

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If this is for real, then the organizers should get started now asking the many first nations governments on the route for permission and support when passing through their traditional waters.

 

???

?

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If this is for real, then the organizers should get started now asking the many first nations governments on the route for permission and support when passing through their traditional waters.

They've actually already worked with their local tribe to draft and send a letter to inform and invite participation for all of the first nations along the route.

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Well I'm in. I told KYC about the race and they promptly elected me as official rep for when the racers get to Ketchikan.

 

I'm seriously considering running it as well. I have access to an sc27 in town. No way in fuck I'd want to use the 9.1.

 

Mac

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Something like the SC 27 that's narrow and low enough to use a set of sweeps, could be pretty fast. And you'd get to sleep inside, which would be pretty nice vs. a rowboat.

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How are you going to row something that weighs 3000 lbs? 4000lbs+ with all the food and water you'd need.

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We paddle the 6M's around at a few knots with stubby little canoe paddles. Surely you could row a 24-28' keelboat at 3 knots in calm conditions, and sail as soon as there is a breeze.

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Yeah, you wouldn't want to row the SC for any extended period of time, but it's possible. No way in heck would I want to attempt that run without an alternate method of mobility.

I think a doublehanded sc27 or Olson 30 would really do well on the race. I sent a message to an acquaintance in Seattle and it doesn't sound like he's too interested, but I guess he did notify the rest of the sc27 down there.

 

I think doing that run in a rowboat would be hell.

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I wonder what would be the perfect craft to win the race.

 

I think you need maximum light air performance if you sail, and the ability to propel the boat without an engine in adverse wind conditions (tide stronger than wind). It's defintely an endurance job

 

It seems to me it's very challenging for boat designs, as lightweight is important if you need to row or paddle but you want to have a shell that allows you to rest and eat, and to carry enough water/provision for at least 2weeks.

 

I am very curious about this race because it's open to so many classes of boats and designs. For sure it will push people to invent some new design or make interesting hybrids.

 

Here some examples of possible boat design entrants for the race:

 

1. Sailing trimaran?

 

78266d1359364321-heeling-angles-small-tr

Fast overall sailing speed, fast in light airs but difficult to paddle/row and subjected to drifting in non favourable wind condition.

 

2. Sailing Tri-canoe?

 

canoepage17full.jpg

 

Possible to build shelter, double handed, paddling and sailing available

 

3. Yawl-canoe?

 

yawl-photo2.jpg

 

Nice design,a lot of them ready available on the market, can be rowed and sailed, shelter can be built... And you look damned classic on it.

 

4. Kayak? (Freya will laugh about this race-bullshit for what she has done so far)

 

20.-Packing-the-long-awaited-custom-Epic

 

Slower but virtually unstoppable, and daily average of 50-90 nms per day can make it a possible winner if sailing crafts encounter tough conditions.

 

5. Viking longship?

 

VIKING+SHIP.jpg

 

Big crew, shelter (and shields!), sail and rows. Bear coats foulweather gear included

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6.Row boat/canoe?

 

3_for_portrait.jpg

 

 

As for kayakers these crafts may be slower but virtually unstoppable, and designs offer lightweight boats with shelters. I wonder what might be the best balance between number/crew overall weight.


7. Traditional Native Canoe

 

canoe_costume_kwakiutl.jpg

 

They definetely know the race course and can survive those conditions. They're hungry, they fish.

 

8.Mod70 Oman?

 

120608%20Oman%20Sail%20MOD70-6799_620.jp

Probably the fastest racing boat on earth (ocean), especially in rough conditions. With 24hrs of favourable winds can cover more than half the total distance. The cost of participation is probably 750 times the winning prize.

 

 

I favor the sail tri-canoe only because Oman sail won't participate :P . Which one would you pick?

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Off hand, I'd pick #1, minus all fiberglass parts, standing and running rigging. (I'd only keep the tramps.)

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Something between a Moore24 and an Olson 30 seems like the ticket to me. Both can be double (or single ) handed. If you can't row the boat in adverse conditions you can anchor and wait out the flood. Then again, I know nothing of those waters so I could be completely wrong.

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Jayavarman, Those two boats have some nice lines to them (if you got it for modern boats, that is) but, MYGOD!, they look like they'd be hell to row for any distance, at all, even with no current involved, don't you think? The freeboard alone would do you in if there's a breeze not cooperative enough for sailing.

 

Someone earlier noted the flood currents can be pretty fast, faster than nearly every keelboat ever - so I guess local knowledge of these tides will be a formidable "filter", of sorts.

 

I lnow nothing enough to say these are exactly the wrong boats, mind you, but maybe some locals could offer some real advice on these choices.

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Yes, these are not row boats. These are sail boats that can handle narrow channels and move well in light breeze. This would be the sail all the way strategy. The race organizers are predicting finishing times around 3 weeks. You gotta sleep - this is a long endurance race. These boats can be reasonably comfortable to sleep on. Again, I said I don't know these narrow water ways. If the breeze is inconsistent than the row/sail boat is probably the winner. For me, I would rather try my hand at sailing the whole way.

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Might give this a shot if I haven't moved up to a bigger boat by then.

 

Edited to add: They should have a single-handed division

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I made a little blog post expanindgsome of the themes from this thread. It's a really fascinating boat design matter, even though people in Wooden Boat Forum are totally convinced a multihull will take the prize. I'd like to think the competition is more open, even though multihulls have for sure an advantage.

 

Here is the post.

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I think it's going to be about tide more than wind- and therefore more human power than pure sail. It's often flat calm, so the key is to make a few of those gates (like Seymour) with the tide in your favor. If you miss it, you end up losing 10 hours while you wait on the hook for the tide to change.

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I think you could rock a Santa Cruz 27 faster than you could row one....and for much longer distance.

 

WWing

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So on the Woodenboat forum the guys are talking like Bad Kitty (35' racing catamaran) is likely to participate. BUT I think the race date lines up with the Van Isle 360 also?

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I think the viking longship could be a winner. Don't know where to get one on the west coast though.

There is one in Vancouver already. There is a Chinese junk here too.

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No motor and up the inside? I wanna set up a grandstand at seymour narrows and sell tickets. The carnage will be epic. Popcorn will be complimentary. Has anyone told him about the currents there?

 

Bring a camera, unless you've been through there you just can't believe it..

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No motor and up the inside? I wanna set up a grandstand at seymour narrows and sell tickets. The carnage will be epic. Popcorn will be complimentary. Has anyone told him about the currents there?

 

Bring a camera, unless you've been through there you just can't believe it..

Pretty much any one that sails in the Vancouver area has been there at least once. It's the deciding factor on the scheduling for the van isle 360. Need a most favourable current to allow the entire 40 odd boat fleet to motor thru it safely. Friends have done it many many times; i've been thru twice myself. #3 next year.

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Cool idea, if not a freaking cold idea: Rain, no wind for days, 100 meter+ depth (few anchorages) and lots of current with cruise ships, fishing boats and cruisers to keep things interesting as you drift backwards in the fog. I'd say it's critical to be able to sleep well on board and figure a way to hang off steep shores with a 10' tide swing. Rock climbing gear and a couple long poles?

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OK I have been lurking long enough. I am the founder of the Van Isle 360 and my wife and I ran it from 1999 until we sold the event in 2011. I think this event is totally cool and l love what the organizers are doing with it in keeping the rules to a minimum. It looks set to be a great adventure especially for those who participate in the first year. The R2AK squarely conflicts time-wise with the Van Isle 360 but with the exception of a few Multihulls there are not many boats in that fleet that will be impacted.

It's true that we designed the entire race schedule around the currents at Seymour Narrows and by doing so the current was not the enemy but our friend. Folks tend to get freaked out by the currents in our part of the world but given that the the tide changes four times each day, not ten hours as suggested by a previous poster, you can learn to work with them and really pile the miles on even in almost no wind. As well as organizing the Van Isle 360 I have raced in the event in a trimaran 4 times. My money would be (and may be) on a double handed multihull that can be rowed to take the prize in the R2AK. Fortunately I have such a boat. Small enough to be rowed efficiently and work the rock piles, but large enough to carry gear and afford shelter for the off watch. It's a fact that there is lots of talk amongst us multihull folk. Talk's cheap. We'll see what transpires.

Wayne Gorrie

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I think Jake underestimated the size of boat the people are willing to row or sail through Seymour Narrows and did expect most or all entrants to be on oar/sail type boats. I think it's going to a fun competition to see how it plays out. I might try and make it up for the first day just to see what the start line looks like.

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^ What Wayne said.

 

"Winner will take 3 weeks"!?! Are you kidding me? A real attempt at this would be 10 days.

 

Assuming average speed of only 3.5 mph the 750 miles is 214 paddling hours... No sails. Assuming "leisurely" 16 hour days that is around 13 days. Adjust that for a tandem team than catamarans two Krugers, add a Balogh sail rig and 10 days is very doable for a solid team than trains well.

 

A single Kruger with amas can be a liveaboard- trust me- catamaran two Dreamcatchers or Seawinds and the rig never needs to stop.

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Your not counting the miles you lose when sailing backwards, or paddling like mad just to stay in one place.

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I'm planning on putting oars on my Aquarius 23 and single-handing it. For me it will be all about timing the tides, and having 500 ft or so of anchor rhode for more anchoring options (to grab a little sleep when the tide is going the wrong way).

 

I have no illusions about winning, but if I simply manage to single hand to Ketchikan and back with no motor I will consider it a victory.

 

They say no motors, how a bout a generator to charge my house battery bank? (electronics, nav lights, ect)

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I am planning to do it too on some kind of double handed multi although I dont have a boat currently. Working on that....

 

Pretty (naively) excited by this race!

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I am planning to do it too on some kind of double handed multi although I dont have a boat currently. Working on that....

 

Pretty (naively) excited by this race!

 

Nige, buy my F18 and outfit it with oars! Dreaming of doing this I've already got a lot of the mods figured out! 7-10 days with any breeze at all.

 

And I've got the perfect person to sail with you, he's already paddled to Alaska multiple times and has the record for Anacortes to Ketchikan on a JetSki (something stupid like 30 hrs...)

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For a town as small as Ketchikan, there's 3 sc27's and an olson30.

I'm trying to get at least one, if not 2 to campaign. The old man with the etchells told me no. (Which is too bad, because he's a damn monster on the course and done the inside passage more than I can recall.)

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I'm building a couple two-piece sweeps for my old Pearson Electra...was gonna yank the motor mount that desecrates her pretty Alberg tail anyway. Planning on going single-handed with extra-long ground tackle. Sounds like fun and a good excuse for another run up the inside. Just a matter of proper planning, study the tables, and having some luck on the wind.

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I think something like a san juan 21. Lets 2 sleep down below while the other rows or sails, can sail to windward, hold plenty of supplies, keeps you out of the weather.

 

fit some type of oarlock in the winches and some kind of seat to put you in the proper spot to row.

 

I think the SC27 O30 or trimaran options will not provide the same option (or speed) to row you would get from a smaller sailboat.

 

-----

Wait is it solo or is there a limit to the team size? I think going 24x7 you could do it in a week with a team of three in a sailboat setup to row too.

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This is a bad ass race. If I was in the PNW I'd try to get on one of these boats. By the way, the viking long ship is the way to go.

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No limit on boat or crew. The only rule seems to be "no engine".

Yep, and only one prize but they are going to break it up in as many classes as they can. Since this will the first officially timed race to AK there will be a fuck ton of records set.

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Yeah, an SJ 21 would be a good option if conditions stay soft once you get outside. I've had a couple...one was solid and a bit heavier, the other light and oil-canned terrible. Get a beater that's solid and do a little glass work structurally. Sails smart and would row easy. Usable room below. "Disposable" too if it's picked up for little or nothing.

 

That being said if things kick up in Queen Charlotte Strait I'd rather be in the Electra...in fact I'd be counting on it...her ability to make way in wind and weather is her only saving grace in a run like this. :unsure:

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I think in this instance an m26x with the Honda 50 removed, and set up for oars could be ideal. Centerboard up for rowing, water ballast when you need it. And there's a ton of them in vancouver doing nothing.

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fit some type of oarlock in the winches and some kind of seat to put you in the proper spot to row.

 

My exact thoughts, I am thinking a sliding rowing seat that is removable, and use it in light airs or basically anytime your not doing hull speed.

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Looks like there's a Hobie 16 in the game now.. I think so, all those cats look the same to me.

 

Looks wet, looks cold. Can those thing point when needed?

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I see a some swimmers (! - joke?), a 15 ft mono dayboat thing and a trimaran/kayak type boat - dont see a hobie?

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Yeah, it's the swimmers. I guess they have a secret boat.

Their posted video shows a Hobie.

 

In preparation for a race I don't have a boat for, I am rowing 10k, 4 times a week at the posh Ketchikan Rec center.

The rowing machine in in the back of the room, behind honeys in transparent yoga pants on treadmills and bicycles. By that accord, I could already be winning.

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sorry, I was not trying to be dismissive of it, just could not remember what it was called without opening up the site again - Dayboat was the wrong term - I was just being lazy!

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There was an article on the news of another northern marathon race. This one envisioned by a sort of environmentalist. Race from new York City to victoria by way of the northwest passage. He hopes to have the race go off in 2017. The idea behind the race, besides racing, is to raise awareness of our northern environment.

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There was an article on the news of another northern marathon race. This one envisioned by a sort of environmentalist. Race from new York City to victoria by way of the northwest passage. He hopes to have the race go off in 2017. The idea behind the race, besides racing, is to raise awareness of our northern environment.

A friend of mine http://www.camerondueck.com/ did this route from Victoria to Halifax a couple years back. Read the book here: http://www.amazon.com/The-New-Northwest-Passage-Climate/dp/1926531361/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332323346&sr=8-1.

 

After speaking with him over beers, I am not sure that this would be a course one would want to "race"...

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Hey I was out with Cameron the other day! And I've raced against u ultraman on the other side of the planet. Small world

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I started training yesterday, I could use two extra crew on my wave piercing Gougeon/Gardiner trimaran with a Carbon rig. Nothing will outpoint her,sleeps 2 barely; see Cakewalk trimaran images

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G32 would be a contender, you could lower the mast for less windage in 5 min. Sweeps are fine in cockpit.

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Herreshoff Rocinante, 28'x6'4", designed by L.Francis to be rowed w/ sweeps, sails like a dream, comfortable interior and the gods would be with you.

the captain

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I think you could rock a Santa Cruz 27 faster than you could row one....and for much longer distance.

 

WWing

 

You might be on to something here. All those J24's at Leschi seem to have no problem getting back to the dock after a race by rocking. With some keel mods and maybe some sort of articulating platform for the crew, might be able to get a couple knots from rocking.

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I started training yesterday, I could use two extra crew on my wave piercing Gougeon/Gardiner trimaran with a Carbon rig. Nothing will outpoint her,sleeps 2 barely; see Cakewalk trimaran images

Cool looking boat, I might be able to be convinced to crew.

What is the split with the prize money?

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Never even thought of it, I just want to get there first! How many hours can you row?

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Yep. Here's Jake's post about the updated and improved rules:

 

"OK R2AK hopefuls and fans- after a great day working out details with our partners in Victoria, here are the final details of the First Stage of the race:

 

*NEW! Start time: 5am on June 4th. Should give you enough time and tides to get across given most weather and boat combinations.

 

*NEW! Finish Location- Victoria Inner Harbor (or more appropriately "Inner Harbour" if you are going to be locally appropriate) at the old Steamship dock, adjacent to where the Coho ferry lands.

 

*There is NO SAILING ALLOWED inside of Ogden Point breakwater (we're not sure, but it's potentially a direct order from the Queen) so you'll need to figure out another way to make it the last mile and a half.

 

*Sailing limits- The finish line is technically a bell that will be mounted at the top of the dock. Racers will need to dock, then run up and ring the bell. The last remaining detail is customs, but we're working with them to figure that out.

 

*NEW! Stage one time limit: To officially finish, racers must ring the bell by 5pm (1700 if you want to be maritime appropriate) on June 5th. Racer's wishing to continue on the next leg must finish stage one by the cutoff time and without getting rescued.

 

There's the info- now quit your dilly dallying. Ovary down/sack up, sign up and help us kill this Kickstarter Campaign- only 18 hours left!"

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By the way, I rowed the entire west side of Bainbridge from Blake all the way back to Shilshole last Saturday since the wind never filled in, about 22 miles. It took me all day, and I wasn't having all that much fun for the last third of it. Anyone who thinks they're sturdy enough to do this Alaska race better get out and do some concept testing first--that's all I'm gonna say.

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There is stages now?

I thought this was an all out race for line honors.

It has suddenly lost much of the charm for me.

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There was always this first and only stage to Victoria, it was there from the outset.

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