FULL RACE- Port Townsend to Ketchikan
Team name: Team Coastal Express
Team members: Heather Drugge and Dan Campbell
Race vessel: 16? Mirror Dinghy
Auxiliary propulsion: oars
R2AK cred: R2AK 2015 (Link to a short video they took here)
Web: On Facebook
While we are more than a little bit proud about our innovative idea to start a race to get people into small boats up the Inside Passage, here’s a secret: other than a starting gun, $10,000 nailed to a tree, and a set of ambiguous “rules”, this is not an original idea– like, at all. Engineless boats have been plying these waters since time began, and every year people get to Alaska on boats that make you say- “What?” like you were Lil John (try it, it’s pretty fun.)
After decades of self-supported sailing up and down BC’s Northern coast in 11 foot mirror dinghies (What?), Team Coastal Express heard the clarion call of the 2015 R2AK. They grabbed the big boat (16 feet), hit the starting line, and then threw themselves into the teeth of the strongest prolonged storm system that the region had seen in 78 years. Blew a gale on the nose for damned near two weeks. It was almost insulting.
Team Coastal Express bashed across the lower portion of the course under double reefed sails, holed-up in coastal towns for fish and chips and the Stanley Cup. Tagged up near the Seymour Narrows checkpoint, and while other boats chose to push on, snapping rudders and breaking masts in a glory bound and ambition blind pursuit of Alaska, these two decided it would be way more fun to just go sailing and took off for a couple weeks on their own unscripted adventure.
We got a post card, they had a great time.
After a race like that, most would say one of two things:
- “Next time we’re effing winning.” and use their experience to change tactics, change boats, and maximize chances of winning the next time.
- “No effing way.” Just go sailing because honestly, who really needs to race. Saying this out loud probably gets us kicked out of the Society for Race Organizers but really, think about it, it’s kind of pointless.
With the type of innovation that surrounds the R2AK, Team Coastal Express invented option three: “Eff it, we’re doing the exact same thing”. Because the race is more than winning, it’s a false choice to race to Alaska or go sailing, and it turns out that pointless things are really worth doing…especially when you get a t-shirt.
Welcome aboard Team Coastal Express, thanks for innovating along with us.