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R2ak 2016

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  • R2ak 2016

    We are just a week away from the start of the 2nd annual Race 2 Alaska and already the attrition has begun. John Sangmeister's heavily modified Orma 60' had been recently
    undergoing a major foil refit, (think $$$) and had hastily gathered a crew for delivery from Long Beach to Seattle, and had made it to Point Conception when the 12' sprit decided to part ways with the main hull. The boat and crew are safe but the dream of participating in this years R2AK has been shelved. Or have they?

    Tritiums Track

    June 17: It’s happening. We can feel it.

    If there was a seismograph that measured ambient levels of eager nervousness in the week before the second running of the R2AK, rather than a scrolling readout that spooled off the end of the machine into a gathering pile like a dot matrix printer gone wild, its readout would sketchadoodle an inward spiraling circle with the epicenter on Port Townsend—ground zero for R2AK 2016 and Vortex of the Week for nervous energy. With every stroke of midnight, R2AK’s inevitability draws nearer—the slurry of excitement and exuberant doom that fills our veins is making it hard to sleep.

    Already teams are gathering and disintegrating. Everyday a new team rolls into town and begins the act of unpacking, untangling, and trying something for the first time that they swore they’d have figured out months ago. Port Townsend is the only place where on any given day you’ll see multiple sailboats rowing around the waterfront. Rowing. At least this week, at least today.

    The social media scroll betrays their last minute preparations: food vacuum sealed, packed and repacked, lists double checked, batteries taped together, the nervous purchases of another multitool or spool of spectra, a trick new headlamp, another warm hat and hand warmers. “What if I need that?” The world is ready and the racers are keyed up and living that knife edge of infinity, that singular threshold of experience where possible surrenders to real. Hope surrenders to resolve.

    Two years running, the week before R2AK has proven itself a time of dramatic attrition. In 2015, thanks to a tree falling on a guy and a boat falling off a trailer, our phone rang with two high profile exits a full week before the starting gun was even slipped from its holster. This year is no different. As of yesterday morning, the biggest boat to attempt this cold water folly scratched itself from the race. Before they were out of sight of their LA home, Team Tritium Racing hard charged its hurried repairs into a 30 knot head wind. Nature won. Dunzo.

    While the full details are known only to those who were onboard and are now blankly staring their “what ifs” at the horizon, we know that sometime in the night Team Tritium Racing experienced multiple failures: foiling daggerboards, rudders, maybe more, then limped their way into cell range to call off their 73-foot campaign for the $10K. No one hurt, the boat will live to fight another day, but with a different crew and a different race.


    Before you and your Everyman tendencies break out into a Bernie Sanders maypole celebration, shoot your guns in the air and rear up your horses to warble-wail celebratory victory over your Goliath, there are rumors that Team Tritium Racing is scrambling to regroup on another boat and enter the race anyway. Broken boat and hopes dashed? Seven days out and no towel thrown? We don’t care what tax bracket you live in, that’s tenacity. That’s R2AK. Tip of the hat and best of luck that they make it to the starting line. The clock is ticking and logistics don’t get easier with less time. If they pull this off, it’s a feat to remember. They want this, bad.

    Full Race Particpants
    Last edited by Photoboy; 06-26-2016, 03:10 PM.
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2
    The Tritium needs an exorcism.


    • #3
      Plan B

      What do you do when Plan A goes into the crapper and you already have reservations in Port Townsend for the start
      of the R2AK? You roll with plan B if you are Team Tritium! A Ferrier 32' is now the mothership!

      " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


      • #4
        Bay Area Based R2AK Teams

        2016 R2AK: Team Mad Dog And Team It Aint Brain Surgery

        We caught up with Mark Eastham as he was shuttling his trailer from Port Townsend and Seattle in preparation for the 2016 Race To Alaska
        Mark has sailed his Corsair 31' Ma's Rover extensively offshore in the East Coast and in most BAMA races here on the West Coast. From the Double Handed Farallones to the Ditch Run and bundle of long distance races inside the bay, the cold and the damp of winter, it dont matter its all good.

        Mark followed the inaugural R2AK with great interest and says to join in the fun, " It was a no brainer". He has family in Port Townsend, the boat that won last year was a small Corsair, and it just looks damn fun.

        Team Sisterships captain Michelle Boroski had asked Mark to help get their boat program together last Christmas, so he joined them for a couple distance races in the PNW winter, and the beauty of the area sealed the deal.

        The logistics of pulling off such an adventure is a bit daunting. 1st all the electrical including new batteries needed an upgrade. Solar panels needed to be installed to power the batteries, and then alternative human power needed to be obtained. In his quest for crew willing and capable to embark on the trip, he sent out queries to BAMA members and in the end Stephane Lesaffre and Jeremey Boyette were chosen to join "Team It Aint Brain Surgery" for the 750nm, 2 stage race to Ketchikan Alaska. They built rowing towers for the boat and purchased some 8' carbon fiber oars .

        Getting the boat up to Port Townsend means a road trip. A long one. Splash the boat in PT, then dive the trailer to Seattle where it will be placed on a ferry to Ketchikan. Now back to the boat for provisioning.

        Mark has been saving up meals for months now, cooking up extra portions and saving them in freezer bags. " Were not gonna eat bad, that's for sure" he indicates "We added a gimbaled stove in the galley. We should have enough fresh frozen food for a week, than we shift to freeze dried. Hopefully we are done by then". The rations of water will be about a liter and a half day, some of the water bottles frozen in advance to keep the food cool. " If we get low, there should be plenty of streams along the way, and one of the crew , that is a triathlete has volunteered to swim to shore and fill some bottles so we don't have to anchor....

        Pre race, they held a charity event for and
        proceeds from that event will be matched, dollar for dollar if they take the $ 10,000 purse!


        Another Bay Area entry, Team Mad Dog Racing is sailing on what now must be considered the scratch boat, the sunset orange Marstrom 32 that has been hard to beat in distance and buoy races in the Bay for the past few seasons. It owner Randy Miller competed in the PNW on a couple distance events over the past couple seasons and feels they have a real good chance, if they have the right conditions. "We should average 6 knots and be finished in 4-5 days, if conditions are average, 3 days if we get more consistent winds." Randy says.

        If you are thinking that there is little protection on the M-32, you are right. The boys, Randy and crew Colin Dunphy and Ian Andrewes will be wearing dry suits the whole way and have a bivouac sack on the trampoline that one of the crew can climb into at a time to get some shut eye. " Its not the most ideal situation, but we tried it out and it's doable. Randy adds."
        With a meal plan that includes freeze dried meals, one obstacle that needs to be addressed is cooking. With no wind or rain protection, the lads will depend on a Jet Boil camp stove. " We tried it on a couple of the distance races, and it works. The stoves cook even in the wind and can boil water in 3 minutes. We have to pick the right windows of opportunity, but it's doable.

        One serious obstacle for a catamaran is the Narrows. " We really don't want to attempt those in the dark" Randy notes "But there are just 5 hours of dark up there this time of year, so we are optimistic". With current speeds that can reach 15 knots or better, arriving when the currents are flowing in the right direction will also be advantageous. Waiting in the dark with adverse flows would not be desirable.

        For alternative power, Randy commissioned local craftsman Greg Nelsen to build a pedal powered prop shaft that will strap to the trampoline and provide up to 5 knots of forward momentum " In bursts" Randy's calculations estimate. With double sets of mt bike clips, two crewmembers can pedal simultaneously to keep things going in the right direction. The entire unit weighs just 26 pounds and by strapping through the trampoline, no major hull modifications are required and the boat can return to class legal status with minimal effort.
        Good luck guys, we will be watching with great interest!
        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          Heh Heh.. Randy Miller is in Victoria already...

          A lifetime memory is watching those guys fly a hull in < 5 knots of wind at the start of Northern Century last year .. They will be fun to watch..
          1987 Canadian Sailcraft 36 Merlin
          Edmonds, Washington
          Salish Sea


          • #6
            Stage 1: Uncontrolled Clarity

            Starting on the awkward almost midpoint between Juneteenth and Canada Day, the R2AK growled forth its second declaration of independence into the open arms of a stiff southerly breeze. Not enough wind to merit an official first name, but plenty strong to disrupt the last good sleep they might get for weeks, clanging loose halyard and forcing keyed up sailors to headlamp check their alarm clocks hours before the ungodly time they had planned—a nervous tick that betrayed the inevitable. That uncontrolled clarity that can only come from the months of planning and anticipation slamming itself into the first iteration of unbridled real. This was it. This was the day. It all starts now.

            In the daylight hours that came a day before, the teeming throngs of a couple thousand plus spent the day swarming Port Townsend to give action to their own months of anticipation. This was their race too, even if they never left the shore. They came from near and far to ogle the boats and connect with the teams they’ve been obsessing over for months. How will you sleep? How fast can it go? How can you possibly do this on a paddle board?

            One band, eight cases of rum, and six R2AK tattoos later, race day began with a marina full of high vis orange and micro fleece doing one last pack of the dry bag, one last adjustment of the dry suit, and casting off lines to claw their way against the wind and out the narrow entrance rowing, pedaling, drifting, colliding, drifting again all on propulsion systems that had been imagined for times of calm, not 15 knots on the nose. In its best moments it was pellmell, and for a solid hour pit “goat rodeo” against “shit show” for most popular term of the day. The linguistic competition deepened and added new four letter players as teams emerged from the fray to position themselves on the simplest of starting lines (boat, beach) that had devolved into its own chaos. Boats anchored overnight on its midpoint, 50 boats in the race and another 50 flitting about around the course spectating Tour de France style, a thousand shore bound cameras taking pictures, national media coverage, paddle board Samaritans serving up hot oatmeal, and a low flying helicopter whose propwash inspired conspiracy theories believing it to be the killjoy retribution of Larry Ellison himself. Noise, joy, confusion, helicopters, elation, adrenaline—go.

            The smoke from the starting gun had barely crawled out the barrel and Team MAD Dog Racing’s twin hulled rocket greased a perfect start then accelerated into a near earth orbit with a speed rarely seen in these waters, deftly dodging slower boats (all of them), working the wind shift seemingly caused by the collective gasp from everyone onshore. The last thing the fleet saw of their red hulled bullet was their drysuited crew ripping off the rear view mirror as they rounded Point Wilson—for all of it’s power the M32 is weight sensitive—ounces mattered and they weren’t planning on looking back. Three hours and 50 minutes later they rang the bell and set the new record for stage one a full fifteen minutes and change faster than the best of 2015. The reward for such a feat? Awed looks, a hearty handshake, and the right to start in Victoria at noon on Sunday, just like everyone else who finished one to fifteen hours later.

            Even the five teams that never started (breakdown in Denver, too much boat, not enough crew, not quite ready, not quite ready) and the three teams that exited the race midway (concepts needing another look, abilities needing another year, abilities needing another year) wrenched out success from the Proving Grounds of the Strait of Juan de Fuca—not a single rescue, everyone left on their own terms. The R2AK was made to inspire people to greatness, and our hats are off to the intrepid teams who found their own edge of possible and finding themselves on the other side walked away from the year of preparation thanks to the better part of valor.

            The seas of stage one raged, calmed completely, then raged again. After Neptune culled the herd into those who should and those who shouldn’t, teams began to set their sights on the competition, the fleet already dividing itself into teams who are in it for the win, and those who are in it for the glory of finishing—regardless of what the category they imagined for themselves when they threw their hat in the ring. A clot of tris were shocked and awed by the speed of some cats, solo teams set their sights on each other whenever they had time to look around, rowboats stuck to their pact and hung with each other until the sprint at the end. Team Madrona and Team Skiff Foundation Jungle Kitty touched gloves and duked it out monohull on monohull. The judges gave this round to the kittens who throttled up on their twin screw tandem drive that churned up the Inner Harbor on the final approach. This ain’t a bike race, and the inner harbor ain’t Alaska, but we bet it felt pretty good.

            For those who made it, ringing the bell at the finish gave way to stories and elation, nervous shrugs and oh my gods before they trundled off for whatever sized celebration seemed significant enough. And as glasses emptied their contents and the racers filled theirs, their stories of R2AK’s first leg poured forth in a black and tan of humility of teams working out the kinks floating on top of a base layer of bare knuckled competition. Teams laid bare their learning curves (“It’s incredible, if stay forward of here I picked up three knots downwind, three knots!”), owned their folly (“I was almost to the harbor entrance and dog tired. I took a bearing on a white light, which seemed to keep moving. It was. The cruise ship was backing out.) and celebrated each other’s self-declared victories in the spirit of the R2AK (Guy number one: “We beat Tritium!” Guy number two: “Big deal so did like eight other teams…” Audacious laughter ensues).

            Whether the arrival of Team Hot Mess wearing nothing but underwear (“We were hot!”), or the exasperated flippancy of racers too exhausted to filter out a level of decorum, the very stately harbor where the Queen once stayed was given a different kind of royal treatment as the teams arrived. Our favorite:

            Customs: “What state was the boat built in?”
            Tim from Team Can’t Anchor Us: “What, I’m Canadian?”
            Customs: “What state was the boat built in?”
            Tim: “Sober?”
            We Laughed as hard as the agent didn’t, and Tim was eventually allowed entry into his native province, raring to continue on to Alaska in the little boat he pulled from the blackberry bushes. In case it mattered, we learned that the bushes were built in British Columbia too.

            Sunburned and bruised, elated, defeated, bored and enthralled. Less than a day after it began all were in and accounted for, setting to the tweaks and repairs. Sunday’s high noon start will come too soon and not soon enough. Will you be ready?

            Final Stage One Standings:

            1. Team MAD Dog Racing
            2. Team Bad Kitty
            3. Team Big Broderna
            4. Team Pure & Wild
            5. Team Mail Order Bride
            6. Team Un-Cruise Adventures
            7. Team Ain’t Brain Surgery
            8. Team Turn Point Design
            9. Team Jungle Kitty
            10. Team Tritium Racing
            11. Team Madrona
            12. Team Traffic
            13. Team Fly
            14. Team Ghost Rider
            15. Team Hot Mess
            16. Team Shadowfax (First boat under 20’!)
            17. Team Angus Rowboats
            18. Team LOST Boys
            19. Team Ketchikan
            20. Team Salish Express
            21. Team Green Kulshan
            22. Team A Pirate Looks at 30
            23. Team Sistership
            24. Team Sea Runners
            25. Team Sparrowhawk
            26. Team Jomon
            27. Team Whitehall Border Patrol
            28. Team Alula
            29. Team Supernauts
            30. Team Onism
            31. Team Vantucky
            32. Team Whitehall Yukon River
            33. Team Mike’s Kayak
            34. Team KELP
            35. Team Why Not?
            36. Team Coastal Express
            37. Team Squamish
            38. Team Bunny Whaler
            39. Team Excellent Adventure
            40. Team LITEBOAT
            41. Team Heart of Gold
            42. Team The Windsurfer
            43. Team Nordica
            44. Team Foggy Sailing
            45. Team Noddy’s Noggin
            46. Team Roving Renton Ranger
            47. Team One Wooden Boat, Five Sore Butts
            48. Team Bus Bailey
            49. Team Whitehalls & Whiskey
            50. Team Gold Rush
            51. Team Super Friends
            52. Team Can’t Anchor Us
            53. Team Hodge
            54. Team Kraken Up
            55. Team Wabi Sabi

            DNS: Team Mad Agnes, Team Archimedes, Team Later Dudes, Team Discovery, Team Focsle Refugees

            DNF: Team Take me to the Volcano, Team TBD, Team Navocean
            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

   Photo Gallery


            • #7
              Bruce's Weather Forecast

              Bruce’s R2AK Weather Brief
              Bruce Hedrick Bruce's Briefs, Weather
              June 25, 2016R2AK

              A lot of us were surprised at just how fast some of the boats got to Victoria on Thursday in just about perfect conditions. Sunday’s 1200 start will be distinctly different as the wind will be light in the starting area and then build lightly from the west until you turn the corner at Trial Island and or duck inside to avoid the ebb tide. Max ebb at Trial Island will be about 1400 hours at 1.1 knots. Slack will occur around 1630 hours so for the rowers and paddlers it will be a simple matter of working the beach to stay out of the tide and travel the shortest possible distance up through the Islands and then depending upon the tide going through Dodd or False Narrows. The Flood will last until almost midnight so you should make good progress going at least to Nanaimo.

              For the sailors, it will be how to get to the breeze in the northern part of the Strait of Georgia the fastest way possible which won’t be easy. It will be an on-the-water call however if you can sail up the inside and get into Trincomali Channel and then catch the flood tide to exit out through Porlier Pass and into the Strait of Georgia, that looks like a real possibility. From there you’ll be dealing with a light to moderate northwesterly and of course the tidal gate at Seymour Narrows. If you’re watching the wind in Johnstone Strait remember that the anemometer readings from Fanny Island at the west end of Hardwicke Island are intermittent and reading about twice the real wind speed. At this point it certainly looks like there won’t be a repeat of the thrash up Johnstone Strait that occurred last year.

              The rest of the week doesn’t look too bad as the high off the coast is still not setting up in a very stable shape and there is a weak low pressure system associated with a cutoff upper level low that will make its way towards the BC coast late in the week which should give sailors a great ride north to Ketchikan. Maybe just in time to give sailors a southerly to get through the channel at Bella Bella.

              Regardless, it’s going to be interesting to watch the tracker as they get to Campbell River and Seymour Narrows.

              Good luck and stay safe.

              Ed. Note: The R2AK certainly is not under any radars this year. But it’s great to see that the spirit of the event is still alive and well with many it it clearly for the adventure and not the steak knives. Last year’s thrash was one kind of R2AK while this year’s race promises something completely different. Makes me wonder what the Bieker proa Pure and Wild would do this year. You have to hand it to the Buchans, who reportedly pulled their inboard to make Madrona legal. Not surprising, the first leg was won handily by Mad Dog Racing, the super fast M32 cat. But if last year showed us anything, the best stories are likely to come from the other end of the fleet as they persevere to the north.

              Fair winds, all. And I second Bruce’s thoughts on staying safe. –Kurt Hoehne

              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

     Photo Gallery


              • #8
                The Race Is ON!!!

                " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

       Photo Gallery


                • #9
                  Mad Dog's off to a hefty lead!

                  Team Tritium is bring up the rear?


                  • #10

                    Tritium has withdrawn....
                    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

           Photo Gallery


                    • #11
                      After all that effort, no golden goose, just a handful of feathers.

                      Being stuck in Victoria, BC isn't a bad consolation prize.


                      • #12
                        They got the Bad Luck Sheprock cloud hovering above, apparently.................


                        • #13
                          best wind projected for next 24 hours, boats that can get to the narrows will be blessed


                          • #14
                            Looks like Mad Dog has a great shot to catch the tidal gate at Seymour Narrows..
                            1987 Canadian Sailcraft 36 Merlin
                            Edmonds, Washington
                            Salish Sea


                            • #15
                              Found the current table, but not sure what direction the flood vs ebb is?

                              Seymour Narrows, British Columbia Current
                              50.1333° N, 125.3500° W

                              2016-06-27 Mon 11:20 AM PDT Last Quarter
                              2016-06-27 Mon 11:44 AM PDT -0.0 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
                              2016-06-27 Mon 2:45 PM PDT -7.4 knots Max Ebb
                              2016-06-27 Mon 5:40 PM PDT 0.0 knots Slack, Flood Begins
                              2016-06-27 Mon 8:47 PM PDT 8.6 knots Max Flood
                              2016-06-27 Mon 9:35 PM PDT Sunset
                              2016-06-27 Mon 11:50 PM PDT -0.0 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
                              2016-06-28 Tue 3:18 AM PDT -10.3 knots Max Ebb
                              2016-06-28 Tue 5:14 AM PDT Sunrise
                              2016-06-28 Tue 6:39 AM PDT 0.0 knots Slack, Flood Begins
                              2016-06-28 Tue 9:41 AM PDT 9.0 knots Max Flood
                              2016-06-28 Tue 12:58 PM PDT -0.0 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
                              2016-06-28 Tue 3:57 PM PDT -7.4 knots Max Ebb
                              2016-06-28 Tue 6:53 PM PDT 0.0 knots Slack, Flood Begins
                              2016-06-28 Tue 9:35 PM PDT Sunset
                              2016-06-28 Tue 9:51 PM PDT 7.9 knots Max Flood
                              2016-06-29 Wed 12:45 AM PDT -0.0 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
                              2016-06-29 Wed 4:18 AM PDT -10.6 knots Max Ebb
                              2016-06-29 Wed 5:14 AM PDT Sunrise
                              2016-06-29 Wed 7:35 AM PDT 0.0 knots Slack, Flood Begins
                              2016-06-29 Wed 10:44 AM PDT 10.3 knots Max Flood
                              2016-06-29 Wed 2:09 PM PDT -0.0 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
                              2016-06-29 Wed 5:09 PM PDT -8.0 knots Max Ebb
                              2016-06-29 Wed 8:07 PM PDT 0.0 knots Slack, Flood Begins
                              2016-06-29 Wed 9:34 PM PDT Sunset
                              2016-06-29 Wed 10:54 PM PDT 7.6 knots Max Flood
                              2016-06-30 Thu 1:42 AM PDT -0.0 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
                              2016-06-30 Thu 5:15 AM PDT Sunrise
                              2016-06-30 Thu 5:17 AM PDT -11.1 knots Max Ebb
                              2016-06-30 Thu 8:29 AM PDT 0.0 knots Slack, Flood Begins
                              2016-06-30 Thu 11:42 AM PDT 11.7 knots Max Flood
                              2016-06-30 Thu 3:13 PM PDT -0.0 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
                              2016-06-30 Thu 6:14 PM PDT -9.1 knots Max Ebb
                              2016-06-30 Thu 9:14 PM PDT 0.0 knots Slack, Flood Begins
                              2016-06-30 Thu 9:34 PM PDT Sunset
                              2016-06-30 Thu 11:54 PM PDT 7.7 knots Max Flood
                              2016-07-01 Fri 2:39 AM PDT -0.0 knots Slack, Ebb Begins
                              2016-07-01 Fri 5:16 AM PDT Sunrise
                              2016-07-01 Fri 6:14 AM PDT -11.8 knots Max Ebb
                              2016-07-01 Fri 9:20 AM PDT 0.0 knots Slack, Flood Begins