FULL RACE- Port Townsend to Ketchikan
Team name: Team Squamish
Team members: Chuck Gardner, Paul Nilsen, Cam “Hollywood” Campbell
Race vessel: Young 6M
BIO: Sitting at the head of Howe Sound and the foot of Mt Whistler, the town of Squamish claims to be “hardwired for adventure” and boasts a lineage that traces back to its Coast Salish name meaning “mother of the winds.” While we can’t personally vouch for the matriarchal lineage (she’s got a child in every state…), the steep sided Howe Sound is well known as a notorious blow hole, a wind canal that pushes one small craft advisory after another out of its narrow opening. Trees grow tortured and sideways there, balloons and loose leaf paper are short lived commodities, long time citizens can be identified by their natural forward lean and well earned skepticism of umbrellas. Out of that fjordy wind hole birthed forth Team Squamish to pick up their town’s banner and race to Alaska for the greater glory their wind-motherland..
This crew of heroes arrive at the R2AK with experience to match the extreme environs of their locality: white water kayaking, sailing throughout the BC coast, sailing in and around Vancouver Island, surf kayaking trough the wild BC rapids and down a concrete chute to reach speeds of 60 kph before splash down- one team member is joining the R2AK to create a milestone for his 50th year as skydiving was for his 40th. Our take away: the R2AK is a decade easier than jumping out of a plane.
These Squamishians are not the first of their wind brethren to make a go at the R2AK, and learning from their forefathers’ near tragic exit from the 2015 race (account from 2015 race here), Team Squamish abandoned the vessel choice of their predecesors, a rotomolded Acalpulco beach toyentered by Team SeaWolf in 2015, for a Kiwi designed monohull; a Young 6M with a big sail and a wicked small cabin. Out of habit we’ve already dialed 9-1… and have our finger poised to complete the act.
Welcome to the R2AK Team Squamish, be careful- if the wind is like it was last year it going to be a mother.