Malolo becomes the first Canadian R2AK winner

Custom trimaran sails into Ketchikan, Alaska

KETCHIKAN — The four-person trimaran Team Malolo sailed into Ketchikan to win the 2024 Race to Alaska.

Malolo made the 710-mile trip from Victoria to Ketchikan in five days and three hours with the four-person team of Duncan Gladman, Paul Gibson, Becky Kelly and Matthew Macatee, who will walk away with $10,000.

“Our crew, Paul, Becky and Matt, were amazing,” Gladman said in a phone interview Tuesday. “The amount of pedaling they all did, their work ethic was top notch and just always a positive energy and attitude.”

This was Gladman’s fifth Race to Alaska but his first win. In 2019, his team came in second and in 2022, using the same boat, Gladman’s team was knocked out of the race after hitting a rogue log.

Malolo — sailing a custom-made trimaran — at one point had a 90-mile lead over the second-place team. This year’s race has been lacking on wind, so at one point, Malolo spent 15 straight hours using pedal power to push north.

In addition to the first-place prize money, Malolo earned the distinction of being the first all-Canadian team to win the race when it finished Monday afternoon.

“It does feel good to be the first Canadian team to do it,” Gladman said. “We’re quietly proud of that fact.”

Gladman said his three teammates will fly back to Victoria soon to return to work, while he and another friend will sail the boat south.

R2AK’s second-place prize — a set of engraved steak knives — was won by Team Brio, which pulled into Ketchikan just after 5 a.m. Tuesday with a total race time of five days and 18 hours.

So far, three teams have reached Ketchikan — Malolo, Brio and Team Hullabaloo — while the rest were still making their way along Canada’s west coast.

“They’re all chugging along. They’ve settled into a lower gear at this point,” said Jesse Wiegel, race boss for Northwest Maritime, which hosts the race. “They’ve been doing a lot of pedaling, rowing, sailing and sail changing, so they’re now in marathon mode. Spirits are high and nothing has broken.”

While R2AK has only two official prizes, there are others, known as side bets, offered by outside parties. One prize, $1,000, will be offered to the first team with a boat under 20 feet, and a “blister prize” of $1,000 entirely in $1 Canadian “loonie” coins will go to the first human-powered team to finish.

As of Tuesday, all but one of the human-powered teams had dropped out of the race, and the one remaining, the solo kayaker Martin Rother of team Let’s Wing It, was in last place and feeling ill, trying to convalesce in the Vancouver Island community of Courtenay, Wiegel said.


Reporter Peter Segall can be reached by email at

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