Race Starts June 14, 2018
Follow our prep & the adventure!
What is the Race to Alaska?
The Race to Alaska started in 2015 and took the sailing world by storm. Why? Because it's not anything like a normal sailing race, not even close. The Race to Alaska (R2AK) throws all normal sailing conventions to the wind in favour of pure, unadulterated adventure in the spirit of vaguely unhinged explorers from ages past. Taking competitors from Port Townsend, Washington to Victoria, BC and onwards to Ketchikan, Alaska, the race course runs the length of one of the most challenging waterways of the world.
In the R2AK's own eloquent words:
Why is this the race for us?
At Sea to Sky Sailing we focus on training our students to the very highest standard, precisely so they are prepared to embark on truly epic adventures worldwide. The Race to Alaska started the same year as we launched our training programs, and now provides an incredible opportunity for some of our most advanced students to test their metal against everything the entire coast of British Columbia has to throw at them.
By teaching a mix of cruising and racing skills, our students complete our programs with a solid foundation in every aspect of sailing from advanced sail trim, spinnaker handling, passage planning, race tactics, tidal calculations, and good ol' fashioned navigation. All of these skills will be put to full use as our team embarks on the R2AK.
We're thrilled to be receiving support from some really wonderful companies who share our thirst for adventure. We'll be testing their products in the harsh and unforgiving environment of the Pacific Northwest, and showcasing some pretty innovative items on board that will help us stay safe, a little bit more comfortable, lightweight and fast. Click the logos for more info on each sponsor.
Stay tuned for more information on the sponsors we already have on board, follow us on social media to see their products in action as we race to Alaska, or contact us to discuss opportunities to have your brand on board with the Sea to Sky team for the 2018 Race to Alaska.
Memorably called the 'America's Cup for dirtbags' the R2AK has the added bonus of letting us do literally whatever we want to our boat to make it as fast as possible, both under sail and not. We certainly weren't about to start a Frankenstein-like experiment with our beautiful flagship Paragon, so in early 2018, Sea to Sky Sailing added a new-to-us boat to our fleet, specifically to enter in the Race to Alaska. Meet Pau Hana:
Make: Hotfoot 27
Length: 27' (8.23m)
Beam: 9'4" (2.84m)
Draft: 5'6" (1.68m)
Displacement: 3,600lbs (1,633kgs)
Built in Victoria, Canada in 1983. Lightweight, fast and fierce upwind racer-cruiser with little-to-no creature comforts. Pau Hana is Hawaiian for 'work is done', a hilarious boat ownership joke that we instead take to mean 'let's get this party started'.
We can't tell you all of them, as that's throwing away any competitive advantage! Some boats are running on substantially bigger budgets than us and doing all sorts of crazy things. We're keeping it simple. Existing sail inventory. No major modifications to the boat with the exception of designing and building a custom pedal-power station so we can cycle smoothly through the calms. We'll also have rowing stations on board.
Meet the team
We have a semi-factual team bio on the R2AK website, but let's set the record straight here! We're racing with a team of 4 including Katy (Sea to Sky owner & race skipper), Will (Sea to Sky instructor and racing first mate), Bojan (Sea to Sky student and top notch race crew) and Eimear (new recruit and top notch race crew).
Three of us have the substantial advantage of having raced together for at least one full season already on Paragon including in the VanIsle 360 in 2017 where we had 5 podium finishes over 9 legs and finished 4th overall. Not only can we race well together, but we've covered almost half the coastline to Alaska already. We're intimately familiar with the tidal chaos of Seymour Narrows and the Johnstone Strait, the accursed wind holes of the Gulf Islands and Qualicums of mid-Vancouver Island.
In addition to our Pacific Northwest sailing experience, we each have pretty hefty adventure resumes both on and off the water. Cycling across Europe on a mountain bike because why not, a Fastnet campaign, single handed sailing up the BC coast to Bella Bella and back, sailing from the West Coast to the South Pacific, and mountaineering expeditions in Eastern Europe... We intend to put all that experience to good use to make our little Pau Hana as competitive as possible.