PORT TOWNSEND — Friday afternoon teams in the 2023 Race to Alaska were pushing north, with leading vessels reaching the northern end of the Strait of Georgia between Vancouver Island and mainland Canada.
Teams left Victoria, British Columbia at noon Thursday under clear skies but light rain moved in overnight and is expected to continue across the region through Saturday, according to weather reports.
According to the Canadian government weather service, temperatures near Campbell River, British Columbia were 61 degrees Fahrenheit, mostly cloudy with winds of 5 miles-per-hour out of the southwest but increasing later in the afternoon.
Race statistics showed team Ruf Duck in first place; Tres Equis in second and We Brake for Whales in third. Ruf Duck and Tres Equis are sailing trimarans and We Brake for Whales is a monohull sailing vessel.
Teams can be tracked in real-time on the race’s website, R2AK.com, and many of the teams have social media pages were they post updates.
Racers have until July 1 to complete the 750-mile journey to Ketchikan, Alaska, the only stop required along the way being a check-in in Bella Bella, British Columbia.
The first team to arrive will receive a $10,000 cash prize, second place a set of engraved steak knives, but organizers have said many racers and spectators are drawn to the race by its uniqueness.
On Instagram Thursday, fourth-placed team Mojo said the race started out well.
“The first day has been a beautiful glide on the water, we’re really happy with our race so far, but it’s just the first few hours, the road is long and unpacked,” the team said.
Team Tres Equis said on Facebook the team had to stop in Roche Harbor for a quick repair to their rudder but were back underway.
Teams are not allowed to pre-arrange help along the way, but can take advantage of whatever services may be available along the route.
Many of the human-powered boats; kayaks, rowboats and a stand-up paddleboarder, were much farther south and sticking much closer to the island’s shore.
The race is organized by Port Townsend’s Northwest Maritime Center, and the handle @RacetoAlaska can be followed on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, and videos can be found at the center’s YouTube page.
Reporter Peter Segall can be reached at peter.segall@ peninsuladailynews.com.