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Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Thu Oct 22, 2015 7:34 pm
by Dirk Visser 166
This month's " Outside " magazine has an excellent comprehensive review of this summer's race. There are some en-route photos of the boats, teams, and organizers. Also a full page, "curve of the earth" map showing routes and key events in the passage for select teams that were profiled.

Backstories are delved into as well , in ways competitors and followers may not have yet heard about.

Abe Streep, the author, waxes poetic, invoking gallows humor, and the romance of men against sea, by turns, seeming to capture the character and intent behind the competition, right up there with Jake's prepaid invitation for Larry Ellison this next year.

The qualifying leg which we had not heard about for some time also came in for some detailed coverage.

Reading through the 10 page article I was reminded again how elusive actual history is, and how much of it is captured in words and images, which of course are nothing more than documents in a record of interpretation...

And that might well be the best we can do after the dynamic event runs its course..

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Fri Oct 23, 2015 6:28 am
by wdscobie
Dirk Visser 166 wrote:This month's " Outside " magazine has an excellent comprehensive review of this summer's race.
link to the online article by Outside - ... over-beers

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Mon Nov 02, 2015 9:28 pm
by Dirk Visser 166
How does a Perfect Race pay the bills?

Fundraising, In kind, and cash Donations, Kickstarter priviledges, Entry fees, Sponsorships, Logo placements, Media exposure, how far is too far? How much is enough?

I saw the San Francisco America's Cup. Hmmm.. Not really our goal here, I'd venture , and yet, race organizers got the City to spring for a nice portion of the expenses...something about civic pride and boosterism..

Economic returns actually, tourist dollars, marketing, you know- revenue! If you care to cut to the chase....they say it makes the world go round...
We still have some sea room before we pile up on the reefs of overcommerciality !...Plenty of mystery and soul still to go around in year 2...Ha ha!

People: the honey-money bees!
..Anyway, maybe a good theory to start from...

Even if just two additional stage finishes were set up, one in Campbell river, the other in say, Bella Bella or Prince Rupert, that would serve to add tremendous accessibility and publicity to everything the race represents: Boats, crews , sails, stories, services and products...All manner of gear and equipment innovations stand to benefit.
And if this commercial part is up and working, the ideas have a chance to fly too. Ideas that free the everyman from his life of humdrum get circulated and " the possible " gets a chance to expand. Concepts that elevate our respect for nature and culture gain attention . Celebrations of non-polluting appropriate technology, the ultimate limits of human power, world class art and sculpture, showcases of breakthrough design, and intact historical roots all gain currency from a more public exposure.

Too much for a mere boat race to accomplish you say?
Well, I hate to break the news: this ain't just any old boat race!

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:03 pm
by TeamHangingOn
You ask a good question - the R2AK is expensive. When I first started with the idea of racing, I received a 1978 Laser from family and spent what little money I could save on getting her both seaworthy and sailable for me - I have limited use of both hands and therefore needed to rig her differently than a "Class Legal Laser". The good news is that many of the blocks and other items fitted to the Laser are transferrable to my new (to me) boat - an Etchells. The other good news is that other than a larger flywheel I could employ most of my human-powered propulsion system from the Laser to the Etchells (a treadle-powered 17x7 RC airplane propeller). The bad news is that the Etchells presents numerous other issues with regard to safety and they're more expensive than with the Laser. i.e. a new mainsail for the Laser could be had for less than $200. I just got a quote from Port Townsend Sails to make needed repairs to my Etchells' main and add two reef points and it was over $1200. I'm participating in the R2AK because after enduring four years of surgeries, I need to feel like I'm back among the living again and while I anticipate enduring pain unimaginable by most (9+ out of ten) during the race I'm committed to making the entire voyage from Hood Canal to Ketchikan and back via the West Coast of Vancouver Island.
Now for how to fund oneself:
1. I've been asking for help with raw materials and have received line, blocks, etc. from friends and family. I make all my own parts as I'm able - slow but I know that they'll meet my needs. I've had to purchase some aluminum and epoxy resin but that was to fix some serious structural issues and get the boat sailing as quickly as possible.
2. I'm considering a movie deal with a film-maker friend. If this pans out they'll take care of funding my bigger ticket items. Regardless, I'll have footage of the entire trip to share with friends and supporters.
3. I'm trying to negotiate deals with suppliers that can either lend me equipment or give it to me outright to feature their wares. i.e. the Etchells doesn't have an electrical system nor running lights - therefore, I'm looking for a solar panel manufacturer, charge controller manufacturer, and navigation light manufacturer who are willing to help in exchange for flying their logos. As I live off the grid, I'm fairly particular about the relationships and quality of the equipment provided - it won't be just any solar panel or electronics provider considered.
4. I'll borrow or build what I need to be safe.
5. If I find my self in June of 2016 without the necessary safety gear - I'll fall back on my standby boat - the 1978 Laser - she's beachable and is limited to a 20 kg carrying capacity beyond myself. The limited capacity actually makes things easier and I've been sailing Lasers since I was a kid...

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:51 pm
by Dirk Visser 166
Hi Michael-
Your plans demonstrate one of the very attractive features of this race, namely, the open endedness of ideas and strategies for accomplishing the goddamn thing!

I looked at the Etchells 22, a very sleek racing design of limited accommodation. It looks safe and fast for the course, at that time of year, but the lack of shelter gives me pause..

One lesson of last year's admittedly atypical weather was how empowering even basic protection can be on these vessels, when conditions stray from seasonal ideals, as they always do.
Another aspect of a fully exposed configuration is the mind-body problem, that is simply, the threat to crew morale.

I would say make a little doghouse, or at least a "veranda" , or dodger a priority and you've got the makings of an entry you could really feel proud of, and enjoy the contest with..!!

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 8:34 am
by TeamHangingOn
The Etchells, while an open day racer is nearly a perfect boat to sail. In full race trim, as she is now, she's overpowered for what I expect or hope to find in the 2016 R2AK; therefore, I'll be fitting the main with reefs and adding a storm jib that can be deployed and the jib lowered from the safety of the cockpit. I'll have jacklines installed and will be tethered to the boat at all times. I'm considering adding a small hard house over the forward controls aft of the boom vang to give me some added protection from green water but the boat is so fine with good flare forward that she shed's water extremely well. Mine rode out three gales that blew through our region last week on her hook without issue while other boats didn't fare so well. (see for details).
I'll be doing the race solo so crew morale will be mine. As I'm figuring out where my new limits are, I've been experimenting with taking eight hour sails and to my surprise, my hand pain magically disappears while on the water (a fact confirmed by my friend Piper who participated in the 2015 R2AK on a 20' Hobie Cat). Granted the pain returns fairly quickly once I return to shore and I end up taking it easy for a day or two while the pain comes back down. I'll be taking a T.E.N.S. unit with me if it gets really bad. The balance for me will be to sail, rest, replenish & repeat. I have almost a month to get to Ketchikan so if I need to take a day or two on the hook to recover I can.
I have a little over six months to get the boat ready and am going through everything. I'm replacing all standing and running rigging and have gone through the boat from stem to stern. She has some structural issues but I've been able to resolve the serious ones and keep her sailable this winter. The advantage has been that all repairs have been made on the hook so I've figured out how to de-rig and rig her at sea solo with limited hands and will be taking a gin pole and spares with me should they be necessary.
For shelter, I'll have a pipe berth forward that will keep me out of the rain and elements and my cousin gave me a MSR pocket rocket stove that will allow me to safely prepare warm meals at sea. It is all coming along...
The planning and preparation are what make this a perfect race... Thanks for following along!

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:29 am
by Dirk Visser 166
Wow , Michael,
Some good reportage there . It really might be a great fit .
Your light air capability could be a profoundly satisfying factor for the trip up.
Queen Charlotte's on the back haul itinerary?
Speaking of which, what is driving the plan to go outside on the trip down?
Barkley ?

Cheers, D.

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:58 am
by TeamHangingOn
Going outside on way back for the experience, lack of development (hopefully) and just because I've always wanted to make that voyage but never found the time...

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:17 pm
by Dirk Visser 166
Good to hear there is room up forward for a pipe berth and that the warm beverage is also an option. As long as the vessel is secure on the hook, or hove to with sea room.. What's not to like?

I mean that's really what a lot of this is all about anyway right.?
The rugged individual thing , taking the risk, making the statement, leaving the maddening crowd behind?

Lack of development? A journey of 10,000 years in the past would be doable in places along that stretch of coast. A noble goal indeed if one's eyes can actually let go enough of 2016 to really begin to see raw nature and recognize the beauty, truth, and intent in its timeless Face.

And then to hold a kernel of this vision intact, upon your return to society and civilization, that is yet another level of appreciation and power.

The beginning of wisdom perhaps..

Re: The "Perfect" Race

Posted: Wed Dec 23, 2015 4:24 pm
by TeamHangingOn
I'm very fortunate in that I live in one of those near-wild areas where the car is parked two kilometers from the house and if you want to go anywhere it involves either a ride in a boat or a long beach walk. I can still get my food from the sea (three crabs this afternoon) or the woods and my closest neighbors are a nesting pair of bald eagles... For me, Port Townsend is the, "Big City," where we go when necessary and I feel lucky to be able to live off the grid and semi-removed from society. While not an easy way to live, we're definitely connected to our environment.
For me, there's not a lot of risk with the Race to Alaska. Having served previously in Emergency Management, there's not a lot I leave to chance - everything is planned for in advance and potential risks are identified, evaluated and available resources allocated to mitigate them as best as possible. I know the sea finds your weaknesses; however, I've been connected to her most of my life and feel more comfortable on the water than ashore. My R2AK plan is to finish safely & return home with an excellent story to tell. I plan to document the whole trip with photos, audio and video to share with others. With plenty of time available, I'll be able to slow down, explore, document and enjoy the return trip.
So far for me the R2AK has been about getting to know others, sharing common interests and following a dream. If nothing else, it has helped me to put my chronic pain aside temporarily and live again. Granted, I pay for it (deep bone pain) when I push too hard, but it has been worth it. Too bad wisdom comes after many hard knocks...
Have a safe and happy holiday season! If you're interested, I'll be posting my progress online at