FULL RACE- Port Townsend to Ketchikan
Team name: Team Discovery
Team captain: Roger Mann
Total crew: 1
Race vessel: homebuilt tri
R2AK cred: First solo finisher (like, ever), Fastest solo finish (13d 10h 7m), Universally regarded by fellow racers as impressive
The least important thing about Roger Mann is that he didn’t win the R2AK.
Roger didn’t win the inaugural race, but that’s only because he was doing something more impressive than grabbing the fastest boat and going for time fastest time. After setting a record or three in the east coast’s various Watertribe Challenges, he cocked his head to the north, launched his boat and soloed the whole way to Ketchikan on a Hobie Adventure Island- 17 feet of red, rotomolded glory. Through unprecedented physical exertion and sheer force of will he bested the elements, passed larger and faster teams and finished mid-pack as the first and fastest solo finish in R2AK’s short history.
Roger didn’t win the first R2AK- he owned it.
Tales of his campaign fast became legend. The capsize, being swept from his boat in 8-foot waves in Seymour Narrows, cutting the legs off of his water-filled drysuit to free himself from the surf that pinned him under wave after near drowning wave, the other capsize, the sheer grit.
“I was so cold everyday, so cold that my eyes hurt.”
Most would have kissed the beach at the finish line, listened to their loved ones, and walked away from it all with enough memories and pride to last them through the creamed corn and adult diapers of their declining years. Not Roger. 60 seconds after the registration went live for 2016, he was the first to sign up, with a smaller boat, no sails- because Roger Mann vs Alaska just wasn’t a fair fight and an F-27 doesn’t fit into the overhead bins.
UPDATE: Perhaps the hallucinogens have worn off, because Roger has decided not to forsake the wind gods and upgraded his ride to a trimaran that reminds us of a planned collision between a catamaran and a member of the residential J pod orcas.
Then he went to the Swagger Wall and declared himself the presumptive winner of the 2016 steak knives.
The meek might inherit the earth, but only after Roger is done with it.
Welcome back Team Discovery, please leave some glory for everyone else