At press time, the Iditarod, Alaska's famed dogsled race, is happening as we speak. But can you imagine a race, run straight through our backyard, that may come to rival Alaska's "last great race on earth" for epic stories of endurance and stunning visuals from this theatre of competition?
Enter the "Race to Alaska", a 750 mile "no motors" boat race from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska (via Victoria) which could easily claim the status of "the next great race on water".
Most folks in our sea faring community are familiar with area sail racing in one form or another, whether it's something like Saltspring Island Sailing Club's 'round Saltspring (May 15th this year), Victoria's Swiftsure, or something a little less focused on performance and more focused on costumes and oratory, like the Gulf Islands Pirate Regatta (June 6th this year).
The Race to Alaska, however, has all the elements, even in its first running, to capture imaginations far and wide. The 750 mile race course is a truly daunting challenge, even more so for those that finish well behind the leaders. The complex tides and currents through these islands and straits are going to test the areas best of the best, or craziest of the crazy, or both.
The set of entries so far are impressive, including an entry from someone who aims to do the race on a paddle board!
The most exciting thing for us is that the Gulf Islands has a team to cheer for! Quill Goldman, of Gabriola Island's Barefoot Wooden Boats is entering, with a boat designed and built specifically for this race. The three strong lads aboard aim to row, sail and claw their way all the way to Alaska right through our backyard, passing by a home town crowd.
Some key dates coming up for them... Saturday April 4th is the deadline of their Kickstarter, raising funds for a set of racing sails. April 11th is their official launch day, corresponding to the traditional launch weekend for the Gabriola boat building school.
Follow along and watch their progress as they get ready for this first running of an event that has the potential to go become a regional signpost in the world of adventure!
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