PORT TOWNSEND — Competitors in next summer’s Race to Alaska will have more than one chance to gain $10,000.
Race to Alaska staff will buy one of the boats that reaches Ketchikan, Alaska, for $10,000.
It will be first-come, first-served, with competitors given five minutes after they dock in Ketchikan to sell the boat that brought them there over 750 miles from Port Townsend.
“There are only a few reasons we think you’d sell your boat to us,” said Jake Beattie, executive director of the Northwest Maritime Center.
“One, you’re really charitable. Two, it was so much of a hate mission, you want to walk away from your boat like it’s on fire.”
The new twist on the race, which finished its second installment in July, was announced at Friday’s Race to Alaska Blazer Party where winners and record-breakers of the race were honored.
The party is named for the thrift store blazers that were issued to racers. Racers who completed both stages of the race were given blazers with both sleeves. Volunteers removed a sleeve for every stage left incomplete.
Beattie and Daniel Evans, race boss, announced at the Blazer Party that the 2017 race will launch from Port Townsend on June 6 for the first leg to Victoria. The second leg — from Victoria to Ketchikan — will set off June 12.
The same rules still will apply and prizes remain the same — $10,000 for first place and a set of steak knives for second place.
The only change is the chance to sell a boat for $10,000.
Beattie and Evans showed a new video, “R2AK 2017 — Shut up. Go,” featuring a Maori haka playing over footage of the 2016 racers on their way from Port Townsend to Ketchikan and including comments from races, such as “It’s like the America’s Cup for dirtbags,” attributed to Team Three Sheets Northwest.
The video can be seen at www.r2ak.com.
Beattie and Evans also announced the new R2AK Yacht Club, an online community for R2AK fans and racers.
“Everyone is a vice commodore,” Beattie said.
The party kicked off with awards for the summer’s race and a slew of world records.
Team MAD Dog Racing now has the time to beat, finishing in 3 days, 20 hours and 13 minutes.
“People liked to say they bought the race with an expensive boat,” Beattie said. “But the story from these guys is that they were cold.
“They were one capsize away from calling it quits and going home. They slept for 20 minutes at a time in a body bag, with their arms crossed and a knife in case they needed to ditch.
“That’s not buying the race; that’s racing.”
The last boat in was Team Can’t Anchor Us, the 26th winner, according to the R2AK blog.
Canadian Tim Penhallow was the sole competitor aboard Team Can’t Anchor Us. It was his second finish in the race and the first by himself.
Other records set in the 2016 race were the fastest mono-hull, which was awarded to Team Excellent Adventure; fastest all-female crew, Team Sistership; and the Small Craft Advisor award, which came with a $1,000 prize, to Colin Angus.
Team Super Friends was awarded “team most in need of a stiff drink” after they made it to Alaska despite many setbacks.
Team Superfriends had the most recorded repairs, most miles in the wrong direction, was the first boat in anchor inside Seymour Narrows and the first boat described by the Canadian Coast Guard as “hostile to aid,” according to Beattie.
“With an ever-emerging pile of sawdust, soggy charts and whether or not the Coast Guard is afraid of you, they still made it,” said Beattie. “We think these guys really embody the spirit of the people we thought would race.”
This summer, 58 teams began the race, with 55 successfully completing the first leg to Vancouver, while 32 participated in the competitive portion from Victoria to Ketchikan.
Registration for the 2017 R2AK opened Friday night after the Blazer Party. The application can be found at www.r2ak.com.