R2AK 2017 Team Oaracle

Team Oaracle

Team Name: Oaracle
Team Members: Janice Mason, Ian Graeme
Hometown: Victoria, British Columbia, CA
Race vessel: Merry Sea II
LOA: 22′
Human propulsion: Concept2 rowing sculls, two sliding seat rowing stations (and nothing else)
R2AK cred: 2016 finishers (Team Sistership, Team Fly), 2015 finisher (Team Blackfish)
Connect: Website, Facebook


When you get past the much welcomed Larry Ellison baiting in their chosen team name, the story of Team Oaracle is a little like that guy who climbed Everest and then said “Too easy”, grabbed a pogo stick, blindfolded his sherpa and headed back up.

That guy we just made up and Team Oaracle seem to share that dangling hardship gene that leaves them untouched by soft food and soft beds that have transformed the rest of us into the lap dogs of our former selves. Enough canned food and chew toys and we don’t even want to drive in the car when it rains, let alone go outside, or to Alaska, and especially don’t row there. The inner wolf of Team Oaracle is resilient, and shedding the relative comfort of boats with cabins propelled by wind for the open boat of horrible; Team Oaracle took their combined three runs in this race and thought one thing: harder. Let’s make this harder.

Pogo sticks don’t float, so they did the only thing they could and ditched any possibility of sailing and decided to row to Alaska. To be clear, they’ve rowed before, like in the Olympics and fancy races apparently named after Don Henley  so they seem to know what they are signing up for, but Jesus – 750 miles of repetitive motion injury and hypothermia, sitting in the rain, facing backwards while sailboats cruise by on free energy harnessed from the sky. Hurricanes, tornados- the power of wind instills fear because of its potential power. Rowboats? Inspires singing in rounds.

Imagine yourself rowing to Alaska. Imagine living on the rowing machine for two weeks if you were at a gym with indoor rain and no shower room. Imagine that moment when the wind pipes up behind you and you’re on your fourth day of glaring silent and angry at the stupid neck of the stupid person who convinced you it was a good idea to ditch the sails when at that very moment you’d be making free miles without adding to the growing blister collection on your hands and the growing raw spot on your backside created from two weeks of rocking back and forth in a slurry of day old salt water and the leftovers of top-end exertion and back country hygiene.

Fun times, bureau of tourism stuff.

Part of the reason we created this thing was to get people out of their comfort zones, off the couch and into adventure, but boat butt is real and there’s not a bottle of Gold Bond big enough to convince us that rowing sounds a good idea. Still, it is impressive that Team Oaracle is attempting to be the first team to finish under human power alone. Impressive as it is unenviable.

If they should know better, so should their boat. This very rowboat made the trip from Ketchikan to Bellingham in 2007. Different crew, but it seems that even the inanimate objects are making poor choices. The pogo stick could have said no.

Welcome to the R2AK Team Oaracle, after this hardship bender we’ll work on your treatment for Catharsis Addiction. It works if you work it.