Team Oaracle

More teams

Team members: Ian Graeme, Janice Mason
Hometown: Victoria, BC, Canada
Race vessel: Seaward Passat Tandem Kayak
LOA: 22′
Human propulsion: bent shaft kayak paddles
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 we especially don’t paddle there. Last year, the inner wolf of Team Oaracle shed the relative comfort of boats with cabins propelled by wind, for a rowboat of horrible. They ditched any possibility of sailing and decided to row to Alaska. And, 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, paddling while sailboats cruise by on free energy harnessed from the sky.

Hurricanes, tornadoes—wind instills fear because of its potential power. Kayaks? Inspire singing in rounds. And why this rapid decline into more and more grotesque boat choices.  Their answer was chilling truth; they adopted the R2AK byline: sail, row, paddle.  And they had done the first two.

…and apparently first dates. Janice and Ian used last year’s R2AK when a cup of coffee would have probably done fine. It was their 3-week, self-supported first date. But sure, rowing to Alaska works.

How did it go? They were still smiling when they rowed into Ketchikan 23 days or so after they left, and just hours before the sweeper boat caught up to disqualify them.

Ian and Janice skipped a few steps in the whole process.

It should be obvious, but rowing to Alaska is like living on the rowing machine for two weeks if you were at a gym with indoor rain, no shower room, and you had to sleep in the driveway. Imagine your fourth day of rowing downwind, 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, if you had argued harder, you’d be making free miles, taking a break from adding to your blister collection, that raw spot on your backside you’ve nurtured from two weeks of rocking back and forth in a slurry of day-old salt water and the leftovers of physical exertion and backcountry hygiene. Now imagine doing that as step two of swiping right. And now imagine doing it again and in a kayak.

Fun times, bureau of tourism stuff.

They did it once, they are doing it again? They should know better, so should their boat, but even inanimate objects make poor choices when they hear the siren song of the R2AK.

Welcome back to the R2AK, Team Oaracle. For your sake we hope you come back next year. The third date is statistically the fun one.