Race to Alaska competitors pass first checkpoint

Weather good, says race boss

Twelve Race to Alaska teams were through the Seymour Narrows by mid-afternoon Saturday, according to organizers of the annual race from Port Townsend to Ketchikan, Alaska.

Team Angry Beaver and Givin’ the Horns were neck-and-neck by 3:30 p.m. Saturday, according to the leader board on the Race to Alaska website at r2ak.com.

They were closely followed by Team Sail Like a Girl, which won the 750-mile race in 2018, and Team Trickster.

Some boats had long waits to get through the narrow tidal gate midway up the inside of Vanisla, the first checkpoint on the second stage of the race, which is the 710 miles from Victoria, B.C. to Ketchikan.

Those competing in the race, which prohibits the use of motors, left Port Townsend on Monday and Victoria on Thursday.

Battling through

The earliest others have said they expect a boat to cross the Alaskan finish line is Monday, said Race Boss Daniel Evans late Saturday morning, speaking from the boat Ocean Watch as it headed north.

“Seymour Narrows is more or less the battleground where rising tides from the northern Queen Charlotte Sound collide with the waters of the Strait of Georgia,” according to the update on the Race to Alaska website at r2ak.com.

The website describes the Narrows as more than “100 miles of water in each direction pulled by the cosmic force, gravity of the sun and moon, and forced through a channel slightly less than 750 meters wide. … Seymour is a force to be reckoned with.”

It’s a gate that closes when the water flows the wrong way and that causes waits for boats in a hurry to get to the Ketchikan finish line.

This is the fifth annual Race to Alaska, sponsored by the Northwest Maritime Center of Port Townsend. Several boats — especially those that were human-powered — dropped out during the first leg of the race from Port Townsend to Victoria because of steady winds.

Since then any issues have been personal rather than weather-related, Evans said.

Weather cooperating

“The weather’s been great,” Evans said. “That first night coming out of Victoria, we encountered strong winds in the Strait of Georgia” but since then “it’s been pretty calm.”

AlphaWolf dropped out because of family issues, leaving 34 boats still in the contest.

The team aboard Ziska, a 116-year-old, 12-ton Lancashire Nobby that was recently restored, have done “remarkable well,” Evans said.

If Ziska finishes the race, Port Townsend High School sophomore Odin Smith will be the youngest competitor to do so.

“Ziska had a 180 wind change all of a sudden,” which caused confusion, Evans said.

Other teams are operating sleep-deprived because of conditions that would not allow them to anchor, Evans added.

GPS trackers are located on every vessel, and their location can be viewed live at tracker.r2ak.com. For more information on the teams and for results, visit r2ak.com or look for the Race to Alaska by Northwest Maritime Center on Facebook.

________

Executive Editor Leah Leach can be reached at 360-417-3530 or at [email protected].

Reporter Jesse Major contributed to this story.

More in News

Peninsula virus cases hit plateau

Health officers still urge caution

Coast Guard exercise set for tonight

Tuesday evening’s maritime security practice to involve several agencies

“Silent Moment” is one of the photo stories Sequim artist and educator Marina Shipova has created through her work. She was chosen as the Art Fellow for the City of Sequim’s “Sequim Understory” project to help convey Sequim’s story to residents. It coincides with a potential project at the northeast corner of the Sequim Avenue/Washington Street intersection. (Photo courtesy of Marina Shipova)
Sequim live for feedback on downtown Sequim corner

Artist chosen to share photo stories

Rachel and Daniel Shyles were among nearly 30 people to attend a COVID-19 popup clinic at Barhop Brewing and Taproom for a free beer to go along with a free vaccine. Rachel got her second shot of Moderna vaccine on Saturday. Daniel said he already had two inoculations. The service was provided by the Clallam County Health and Human Services department. (Dave Logan/for Peninsula Daily News)
Free beer with vaccine

Rachel and Daniel Shyles were among nearly 30 people to attend a… Continue reading

For the first time in a year, the Tuff as Nails rowing team took the Blue Streak for a sun-splashed spin in Port Townsend Bay on Monday morning. Coming back in are Nikki Russell, facing front at left, Barb Hager and Christine Edwards; on the other side of the boat are Mari Friend and Zoe Ann Dudley. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)
Back on the water

For the first time in a year, the Tuff as Nails rowing… Continue reading

Port Townsend Police Chief Thomas Olson started work last week. Some of his goals include getting the department more involved with the community and increasing the diversity among officers. (Zach Jablonski/Peninsula Daily News)
Police chief starts position

Olson working on community connections

Clallam County eyes equity agenda

Broadband one area identified

Most Read