Team members: Mackenzie Dahl, Mike Firari, Brian Lieb
Hometown: Ketchikan, Alaska, USA
Race vessel: Santa Cruz 27
Human propulsion: Pedals and oars
R2AK Cred:Two finishers on board
Connect: website, facebook
Do you ever get that feeling like there’s too much filter between you and the real world? That the women two and three stalls down talking too loud about their Insta feed and latest Tinder-fail just feel like gauze between you and what you imagine must be the real world? Our advice: go to Alaska. Tinder in Alaska is really tinder: little sticks you can start a fire with (and potentially date if you are desperate enough… winters are long up there).
Other than needing the name to make sense, there’s a reason we picked an Alaska finish line for the R2AK. Real is realer there. Our rep from the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau summed it up nicely: as she whipped a knife out of her purse and popped off the tops of a couple longnecks, we marveled aloud that she was the only one with a knife in this group of sailors. Of course she had a knife—she also had a flashlight and matches. Her words: “Alaskan girls are a tarp and a six pack short of a camping trip.”
Ketchikan isn’t just the end of the race as much as it is the goal—become Alaska, get over yourself and get real. Self-sufficient, friendly as hell, unpretentious as the Alaskan summer day is long; while the state stretches the equivalent of Florida to California, the Alaskan spirit stretches way further… past even the Russia you can see from their house.
Team KYC has all of that native son, can-do shrug of the shoulder gett’er done you’d expect from people who choose to live where it rains 13 feet (FEET!) a year. Collectively their crew has raced home to cross the R2AK finish line twice. The boat, once. Plus they are the only team we know with a crewmember that is both a ranked MMA fighter and a former yacht club commodore.
Let’s pause there. Imagine the blue blazer, bowtie, brunch in a captain’s hat commodores of the New York, or Newport yacht clubs. In an unsanctioned throw-down we didn’t clear with anyone, on behalf of the Team Ketchikan Yacht Club we challenge yacht clubs worldwide to a commodore cage match. We’re pretty sure Commodore Cage Match (TM) is not a thing, but if you’re game we’ll find you a cage and a medic and let you name your odds: Mike’s just two Pabsts and a cage away from owning 99% of your 1% ass. Team KYC will eat your epaulets for breakfast and then invite you back for the BBQ. Bring an ice pack for your face and a hot dish for the potluck, it will be a fine time.
Welcome back to the R2AK, Team Ketchikan Yacht Club. We’ll see you Friday for burger night.