All but one team reach Victoria for phase 2 of R2AK

Racers leave at noon Thursday

PORT TOWNSEND — On the second day of the annual Race to Alaska, all but one of the race teams have entered Canadian waters and are awaiting the start of the second stage from Victoria on Thursday.

Team Flow State Wingfoil, a wing foil board piloted by Satchel Douglas, became the first team to drop out of the race after failing to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the first leg of the 750-mile journey, the 40 miles between Port Townsend and Victoria dubbed The Proving Ground.

Race Boss Jesse Wigel said in a text message the wing foil boarder — a wind-powered board similar to kite surfing — had determined there was not enough wind to make the crossing and reach Victoria by the 5 p.m. Tuesday deadline.

Racers left Port Townsend at 5 a.m. Monday and had 36 hours to reach Victoria where they’ll wait until Thursday before beginning phase two, the main part of the race which ends in Ketchikan, Alaska.

Forty teams registered for the race, but four of them didn’t make it to the starting line, and with the wing foil boarder having dropped out, 35 teams remain.

Racers will leave Victoria at noon Thursday and though the journey to Ketchikan can be made in a few days, the race doesn’t close until July 1.

Organizers have said several of the teams are likely to drop out along the way, but the first to arrive will walk away with a $10,000 cash prize. The second-place team will receive a set of engraved steak knives but for most of the racers it’s the experience of the no-engine, 750-mile journey to Alaska that draws both competitors and spectators.

The only rules of the race are that no engines can be used and no pre-arranged help along the way.

Most of the teams are some kind of sailing vessel, but there are several kayakers, rowboats and one stand-up paddle boarder who made it to Victoria.

Teams can be followed in real-time at the Race to Alaska website,, and there are several social media accounts posting regular updates.

The handle @RacetoAlaska can be followed on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and videos can be found at the Northwest Maritime Center’s YouTube page.

Several of the race teams have their own social media accounts, which can be found on the race’s live tracker page.


Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at

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