Team members: Duane Emnott, Chuck Emnott
Hometown: Stanwood, Washington, USA
Race vessel: Nacra Inter 20
Human propulsion: pedal drive propeller
Despite our credit report and our tendency to push all the chips to the middle just about every opportunity we get, the R2AK High Command doesn’t gamble all that much. Sure, we like the feel of scratch ticket dust and the way a new deck of cards sounds when it’s shuffled onto felt for the first time. We prefer a prop bet to an over/under, and proudly display our “Make book, not war” bumper sticker on the Cadillac we drive in the Vegas fantasy we live out in our heads, but we never go to the track all that much. A big part of that is that we just can’t get over the names of the horses. They make no damned sense, and led to a game we like to call, “Interior paint color or horse in the Kentucky Derby?” (five bucks you can’t get more than two):
a) Classic Empire
b) Proper Etiquette
c) California Chrome
d) Silver Charm
The only thing that might come close to the bizzare Nom de Derby tradition is the odd practice of diving to the rock bottom of puns to name boats. If we had a nickel for every Nauti Girl, Why Knot?, Knotty Girl, or Screamin’ Seaman we’ve seen splashed across the stern of otherwise respectable vessels, we’d be able to hit the slots whenever we wanted for the rest of our lives. It’s literally like your Uncle Wally was chosen for his “wit” to name every third thing made by an entire industry.
While nowhere near the depth of “Cirrosis of the River” or “Filthy Oars,” Team Mknotkrazee is definitely part of this Wallyfied tradition. Given the audacity of their bid for the north, our guess is that the name is a ploy, a Columbo-like distraction to throw the dogs of competition off of the scent. Don’t be fooled by the pun-and-a-shrug name; these guys are all business.
Let’s start with their boat. A Nacra Inter 20 was the boat that was used for decades on the east coast’s Worrell 1000 that launched these beach cats at 1,000 miles of east coast, 1980s-fueled ambition. This particular boat came in 4th in last year’s R2AK, setting a record for fastest beach cat and the first and last boat to win the Buyback program—we put up 10k for the first finisher that would sell us their boat for 10k. These guys bought a boat for $7k so they could make money on this thing, making them likely the only ones to do so, including us. Once you get past the legends, the Nacra Inter 20 isn’t much more than a couple of hulls joined by a mesh seemingly designed to filter out the chunks from all the water that constantly hits you in the face. Fast, cold, wet, perfect, miserable, awesome.
The crew who signed up to take this splash-fest/hypothermia-bait through the rough and rugged Canadian west coast are both ready and tested… just not on this boat. Let’s get one thing straight: their decades of PNW racing experience goes back to the birth of Ben Seaborn’s Thunderbird. They’ve raced that particular plywood marvel since the American Plywood Association anointed it the winner of their 1958 design contest. These guys are T-Bird OGs from when Plywood was fancy, who decided to ditch the cabin for another hull and more discomfort. Who are we to argue?
Given the depth of their experience, the fact that they bought this boat from us to race it back to Ketchikan wasn’t enough for us to tell them no. We don’t know what’s going to happen, but “open boat to Alaska” is the kind of idea that made us give up gambling in the first place. Somewhere around here is a meeting…
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Mknotkrazee. Our response: R2
(Quiz answers: a: horse, b: paint, c: horse, d: both)