Team members: Sean Grealish, William-Patrick Blouin-Comeau, Maisie Bryant, Grant Gridley, Jack Holbrook
Hometown: Portland, Oregon, USA
Race vessel: J88
Human propulsion: Pedal drive
Connect: facebook, instagram
The Race to Alaska was started by sailors, and not the blue blazer, top shelf cocktail, valet park and a golf clap kind. We’re the kind of sailor that is usually preceded by “Swears like a…”—which was good practice for the race, because from the moment the applications come in to the moment the last racer finishes is a blue streak of epithets whose meaning is only understandable by the context, looks on our faces, and the pitch and cadence of “WTFs” we insert like tracer rounds just to keep track of the action. Slow and low with a shake of the head: disappointment. High and tight staccato: excitement. Wide eyed, open-throated on the inhale, with hang time on the last syllable: marveled disbelief.
We keep it PG for the public, but F-bomb for effect behind closed and heavily soundproofed doors. We’re not talking surgical strikes here—this is old school, Nixon-era “more is more,” scorched-earth obscenity deployment; we let them cascade out of the F-bomb bay doors like the things have an expiration date.
We swear at team’s race applications all the time, but usually in that decrescendo between disappointment and sad disbelief. If there was ever a team that had us swearing with enthusiasm as we read their bona-effing-fides, it was Team BlueFlash. We are so hooting excited about these motherflippers that it’s hard to calm down enough to type it out rationally and not just howl out the barbaric unprintable while we punch the keyboard until the buttons come off on our bloodied knuckles.
Let’s start with their boat. Team BlueFlash might have maxed the open source monohull supply chain with their choice of a J88, not just any J88, but as they describe it, “The most successful offshore racing J88 in the whole world.” The whole frictastic world. Over the last four years, the boat has campaigned 8 major offshore races and won 5. We read that and the skies opened: the H in Jesus H Christ stands for How in the Hell did they do tHat? This boat is slippery, pegged their GPS at 19.2 knots before the spinnaker carried away and they stuffed it. 19 knots on a 30-footer—fudging shoot!
Beyond choosing a race vessel that, to our knowledge, is the only unannounced contender for Space X that flies horizontal, it’s Team BlueFlash’s sailors that brought our obscenities to a level of volume and duration that, to this day, is peeling paint off of churches throughout the Midwest.
Let’s start with their age and experience. That all of them are more qualified than us to win this R2AFudgemuffin is one inspiring, annoying, and swearable offense. Navigator on ocean races, skipper on national dinghy campaigns, medical training, collegiate racing, etc. That all but one of them would need a fake ID to legally accept the beer we’d give them when they do win is another. 19,19,19,20 (but 21 at time of race) is insult to our ever-aging injury. When they party like it’s 1999, they blow out 1-2 candles, then smash cake on their face.
The most pants-impregnating truth of their entry is what they offered in their self-censored words:
“The Race to Alaska is something I have been dreaming about doing since I followed the first edition back in 2015. As someone who has been racing sailboats for his whole life, I’ve become disenfranchised with the money and snobbish protesting that takes place at regattas that are supposed to showcase the pinnacle of our sport. Race to Alaska represents everything that I wish sailing had more of: comradery, community, all-around badass people—even off the racecourse. I have raced across the Pacific Ocean, but as a teenage boy, there is nothing I can think of as a better use of my time than the 2018 R2AK. Our boat is solid, our team is the most knowledgeable group of young sailors put together for the R2AK, and we have what it takes to make it to Ketchikan as the youngest team to finish the race.”
Pound keyboard, pick a fight with internet, call a random number and unleash the unholy compendium from A-word to the yet-to-be-invented Z-word: this team is the schmidt.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team BlueFlash. At the request of your parents, your Ketchikan arrival will be heavily monitored by CPS, Liquor Control and the FCC.