Please select your home edition
Edition
RS Sailing 2019 - Leaderboard

Reimagining the Race to Alaska - Sail-World.com USA Newsletter

16/09/2019


Reimagining the Race to Alaska

RS Sailing 2019 - Leaderboard

Melges IC37 2019 Leaderboard

Angry Beaver during the Race to Alaska 2019 - photo © Drew Malcolm


Dear Recipient Name

Life sometimes finds interesting ways of making people rethink what they previously accepted as the gospel truth. For example, wisdom has long held that the key to winning the Race to Alaska (R2AK), which runs 750 nautical miles from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan, Alaska, and which is open to any vessel so long as it does not carry an auxiliary engine, involves being the first boat to clear Seymour Narrows, a tight spot between the British Columbian mainland and Vancouver Island where the current can run up to 15 knots. Clearing this hurdle first, and ideally as the changing tide slams shut the door on fellow competitors, has spelled victory for the fortunate few while shattering the dreams of myriad other racers.

But what if Seymour Narrows wasn't a required waypoint?

This is precisely the bombshell that the R2AK race bosses recently dropped, and which has been commanding dockside conversations up and down the West Coast - and beyond - ever since.

 
North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - 600x500   Marskeel 2019 600x500
 

Pear Shaped Racing during the Race to Alaska 2019 - photo © Drew Malcolm
Pear Shaped Racing during the Race to Alaska 2019 - photo © Drew Malcolm

A small rewind. Traditionally, R2AK racers have begun their journey in Port Townsend and then sailed a 40 nautical-mile qualifying leg that takes them to the seaside city of Victoria, British Columbia. Once recovered, teams then restart in Victoria and head north, passing two additional waypoints, namely Seymour Narrows and a point off of Bella Bella, B.C., before punching it to the finishing line off of Ketchikan, Alaska. The first team to arrive collects $10,000, while the second-place team takes home a set of steak knives; for everyone else, there's the memory and the t-shirt.

While racers will still tussle over the grand-prize loot and the consolation cutlery en route to Alaska, starting in June of 2020 the R2AK will only have three mandatory waypoints, namely Port Townsend, Victoria and Bella Bella, en route to the Ketchikan finishing line.

This of course means that racers are welcome to try and skip Seymour Narrows and instead attempt to negotiate Vancouver Island's wet and often-woolly West Coast, a place that's typically marked by long-fetch waves slamming onto a massive lee shore, and by the often storm-battered Brooks Peninsula. And that's not to mention the lack of onshore lights come nightfall, or the fact that the last bit of terra firma that some of the waves touched was in Japan.

 
Melges 14 2019 MPU   Selden CX & GX Furling Systems 600x500
 

R2AK racers competing aboard SUPs and other oar-powered craft must take the inside routing and pass through Seymour Narrows
R2AK racers competing aboard SUPs and other oar-powered craft must take the inside routing and pass through Seymour Narrows - photo: Liv von Oelreich / racetoalaska.com

Mind you, the R2AK race bosses are only mildly crazy (not full-boat... yet) and are wisely requiring teams interested in taking on the West Coast routing option to indicate this on their race application, pass additional layers of vetting, and adhere to US Sailing's Category 1 Offshore crew and vessel requirements (read: no stand-up paddleboards, beach cats or oar-only vessels; teams wishing to contest the R2AK using these kinds of craft must stick to the inside passage and Seymour Narrows), minus the bits about an auxiliary engine, of course.

But, for anyone who thought they had the R2AK's strategy playbook dialed, there's no question that this calls almost everything back into question. Just like any great news bombshell should.

 
Zhik 2018 Kollition 300x250   Hyde Sails 2017 March 300x250
 

Sail Like A Girl - Race to Alaska 2018 - photo © Katrina Zoe Norbom / racetoalaska.com
Sail Like A Girl - Race to Alaska 2018 - photo © Katrina Zoe Norbom / racetoalaska.com

Here in Seattle, some 31 nautical miles from the R2AK race headquarters in beautiful Port Townsend, it was almost possible to feel the aftershock of this announcement. Previous race winners and other t-shirt holders are already returning to the conversation with refreshed eyes and attitudes, while first-timers can feel less hemmed-in by the rules and regulations (and, quite possibly, a bit more intimidated by the possibilities that this new-found freedom affords).

And, for everyone else who is addicted to the R2AK's race tracker (your editor's hand is proudly raised), this also means serious question marks, tougher dockside wagers, and straight-up daydreaming.

 
Allen ROA 300x250   Vaikobi 2019AUG - MPU 3
 

Team Kairos - Race to Alaska 2018 - photo © Katrina Zoe Norbom / racetoalaska.com
Team Kairos - Race to Alaska 2018 - photo © Katrina Zoe Norbom / racetoalaska.com

Which, of course, is exactly the magic that the R2AK was founded on, and which continuously helps to keep this run-what-ya-brung adventure race alive, breathing, and commanding attention, even some nine months before its June 8, 2020 start.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt
Sail-World.com North American Editor

 
P&B 2019 - MPU   RS Sailing 2019 - MPU
 


The Clipper Race Leg 1 - Day 1: The Atlantic Trade Winds
After the bold, fast start to Race 2, the Commodore's Cup, a 5,200nm race from Portimão, Portugal, to Punta del Este, Uruguay, a sharp drop in wind speed has left the fleet with a testing first 24 hours of racing as they head south.

2019 Pacasmayo Classic - Overall
The Pacasmayo Classic saw the strongest Youth field in the history of the event take to the waves this year, as the strongest Youth field in a generation continues to emerge around the world.

2019 Rolex Big Boat Series at St. Francis Yacht Club - Overall
Cool onshore temperatures, ebbing fog, flooding waters and a gathering sea breeze greeted the 79 teams gathered on San Francisco Bay to contest the final day of racing at the 55th edition of the St. Francis Yacht Club's annual Rolex Big Boat Series

 
upffront 2018 Cousin Constrictors 20% Off 300x250   Rooster GETSEASMART 300x250
 
Do jump on board
Two weeks ago in All aboard the bandwagon! we looked at the new Offshore event that will be part of the 2024 Paris (Marseilles) Olympics. Nick from Hobart was one who expressed his own opinion, and allows me to share his sentiments here.

Clipper Round the World Yacht Race: Non-professional crews to cross their first ocean in global race
The first big test of the 40,000 nautical mile Clipper Round the World Yacht Race awaits, with around 220 everyday people setting sail from Portimão, Portugal, to race across the Atlantic Ocean to Punta del Este in Uruguay.

2019 GC32 Riva Cup - Overall: Alinghi claims the title
While Alinghi has led at the end of every day of racing at the 2019 GC32 Riva Cup, the Swiss team was on the ropes this afternoon when their arch-rivals Oman Air, in seemingly unbeatable form

 
YRF2019 - MYRI Submit your image   Gul 2019 CZ LONGJOHN MPU
 
2019 Wetsuit Outlet UK Moth Nationals at Castle Cove SC Overall
The forecast was dire for the final day, and calm conditions across Portland Harbour in the morning did little to dispel the pessimism of either the sailors or the race team.

America's Cup: New York's Defiant officially named and launched
After an estimated 76,000 combined hours of fabrication and finishing work by the production and shore teams of American Magic, the U.S. Challenger's first AC75 racing boat was officially named and launched on Saturday morning.

America's Cup: The first week - two very different AC75's compared
The two AC75's launched to date have little in common other than they are 75ft long, are sloop rigged, and have the same distance between their Foil Arm Pivot points. The basics are all markedly different.

 
Predictwind - Iridium 250   Barton Marine 2019 600x500
 
TF10 on display at Newport International Boat Show
Newport, Rhode Island is the home of the TF10 and it's all set to go on show for a second year in a row at the Newport International Boat Show (NIBS) (12-15 September).

PredictWind release Streamline graphics on all platforms
PredictWind have been refining new Streamline maps and after a considerable amount of development work we are happy to announce the Streamlines release on all platforms. The PredictWind Streamlines are now the most advanced weather graphics available

Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup - Overall
It all came down to the final race, as it should. Two teams of accomplished and motivated amateur sailors from opposite corners of the globe battling on a lumpy, windy Narragansett Bay for one of Corinthian sailing's most-prized trophies

 
C-Tech 250   Mackay 250
 
Treasure Island Sailing Center, DC Sail, Columbia Sailing School selected as Primary Siebel Centers
The purpose of this ground-breaking Siebel Sailors Program is to increase diversity and opportunity in the sport of sailing by providing resources and support to youth sailors at public access sailing centers across the country.

Spectacular YJA MS Amlin Awards Gala Dinner
The YJA MS Amlin Yachtsman of the Year and the YJA MS Amlin Young Sailor of the Year Awards were presented during a Gala Dinner at the Grand Café Southampton on the 13th September, following on from Press Day at the Southampton International Boat Show.

America's Cup: Images and video reveal American Magic's novel design approach
The first AC75 to sail, American Magic gave media a fly past sailing fast in a 12-14kt breeze and flat water. The foiling monohull appeared to be very stable in two videos in this story which also contains images of American Magic at her base

 
Naiad 300x250px_Tourist   KZRaceFurlers
 
North Sails Weekly Debrief: Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup, Speed Reading, Using the right tools
Seven division wins, four podium sweeps, and our highly-skilled Italian regatta repair team who kept sailors race-ready in Porto Cervo.

Selection system for 2020 Youth Sailing World Championships
US Sailing has released details of the athlete selection system for the 2020 Youth Sailing World Championships, held in Salvador, Brazil in December 2020.

Make 2019 count - Beach clean
It might seem like an impossible task, but cleaning up our beaches is one way all sailors can all make a difference, and it can be fun too, as increasing numbers of our community are realising.

 
AOWBS MPU 2019   WindBot-PRO-300x250
 
Black Jack 100 – Emerges from the McConaghy Shed with hull modifications
Black Jack 100 emerged from the McConaghy Boats shed in Gosford showing her modified hull and new features. It was a millimetre perfect exercise with very tight tolerances and in windy conditions.

America's Cup: TSI joins American Magic as team partner
TSI Incorporated, an industry leader in the design and production of precision measurement instruments and solutions, has joined the campaign as a Team Partner.

Zhik team up with the Brain Waves Challenge
Zhik is delighted to announce their support of Monkey Fist Adventures 2020 Brain Waves Challenge, an ocean rowing attempt to achieve two incredible world firsts. In 2020 the team of four will row unsupported and non-stop across two oceans.

 
SOUTHERNSPARS_MAST-&-BOOMS_SW_300X250-melges   Protector - 300x250
 
An interview with Dawn Shumway and Jenn Olney about the 2019 Sonar World Championship
I checked in with Dawn Shumway and Jennifer Olney, regatta co-chairs of the 2019 Sonar World Championship, via email, to learn more about this exciting regatta.

2019 Etchells Worlds: Insights into a magic campaign
Rupert Holmes looks at the key factors behind Iain Murray and Graeme 'GT' Taylor's stunning first and second places at the 2019 Etchells World Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas.

America's Cup: Fascinating brinksmanship over the first week
"The race within the race for the America's Cup is well and truly under way and the brinkmanship over the first week has been fascinating" writes Duncan Johnstone, Senior Sports Writer for major NZ mainstream website stuff.co.nz

SailGP Season 2 set to kick off in Sydney
Sydney was today announced as the season opener for SailGP in 2020. Following a hugely successful event earlier this year SailGP will return to the iconic Australian harbor on February 28 and 29 for the first event of SailGP Season 2.

World Sailing's Council confirms Laser as Paris 2024 Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy
At World Sailing's 2019 Mid-Year Meeting in London, Great Britain, World Sailing's Council voted to retain the Equipment for the Men's and Women's One Person Dinghy for the Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Clipper 2019-20 Race: Punta del Este crowned winners of first race at sunset prizegiving
The first Prizegiving of the Clipper 2019-20 Race took place at the stunning Host Port of Marina de Portimão. Crew gathered to celebrate their achievements against an incredible backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and a golden sunset.

America's Cup: Emirates Team New Zealand continue testing
America's Cup Defender, Emirates Team New Zealand continued their "softly, softly" work up of their first AC75 on the Waitemata Harbour, off the team's base, on Wednesday morning, with a spy boat in attendance.

America's Cup: NYYC American Magic is first AC75 to sail
NYYC American Magic has become the first team to foil an AC75 soon after raising their sails for the first time. With Dean Barker (NZL/USA) on the helm they were able to get foiling on the first day on Narragansett Bay near Newport, Rhode Island.

Rooster Rope
It's not always clear what the best kind of rope for the job always is, you might need a strong core, no core at all, 8 plait, 4mm, easy to splice, needs to run easily through a block, there is a lot to consider.

Vaikobi 2019AUG - Footer 1

North Sails 2019 - NSVictoryList - Footer

This email was sent to the.recipients@email.address by YY Online Services Ltd.
Towngate House, 2-8 Parkstone Road, Poole, BH15 2PW
Registered in England No. 7895890

Our records show that you signed up to receive news from us on 1 January 2000

Please do not reply to this message as this address cannot receive replies.

You can unsubscribe at any time or email us here if you encounter any difficulties
Marine Resources 2019 - FooterKZRaceFurlersRS Sailing 2019 - Footer