FULL RACE Port Townsend to Ketchikan

Team name: Team Mau

Team captains: Phil Wampold and Joanna Ludlow

Race vessel: Nacra 570

Team website:

If the Race to Alaska is a round hole, the Nacra 570 is a really fast square peg. Production beach cats are great at skittering across the surface and then heading back to shore so their crew can peel off their dry suits and head for a pint, but they largely unproven as voyaging vessels. Why?

A 17’ Grumman canoe carries more payload than the Narca.

One of the R2AK creators recently sailed down the coast of Baja on an overloaded beach cat. Their approach: never sail a beach cat, buy one sight unseen, in Mexico, over the internet. Fly down with a bunch of epoxy, fix it up, nearly sink, fix it again, balance the need to carry drinking water with the need not to be submerged, repeat for 3 weeks, walk away from the boat as if it is about to explode.

At first glance, Team Mau’s plan appears drastically different from our own. It began with being competent Nacra sailors to start with, then modifying the boat for the rigors of the inside passage; solar charging systems, gear storage, water storage. Intrepid pioneers that they are, we hear they are even practicing on the actual boat they plan to sail north. Solid plan.

Their adventure resume is solid as well: Cold water surfing the Pacific Northwest, crossing oceans, navigating inland seas, even a solo motorcycle tour of Vietnam. Beyond preparation and resume, they bring an unmatched dedication to the race. How dedicated? In a single email exchange these folks quit jobs, sold boats, changed continents and signed up.

In the tide rip between caprice and dedication, that’s where you’ll find the R2AK

Weight seems to be their chief concern as well, and they are calculating their gear pack to the last ounce all the while chanting “light as a feather, stiff as a board” to keep this submarine on the sailing side of the water. When you see them on race day- with their titanium sporks and sawed off toothbrushes, pumping helium into their hulls- wish them luck and light thoughts.