Team members: Todd Miller, Lillian Kuehl, Paul Miller
Hometown: Quilcene, Washington, USA
Race vessel: Miller 27
Human propulsion: Pedal drive
In the beginning, every religion we’ve ever heard of has a creation story.
Before the begetting, before posthumously punishing bad people by making them swallow molten iron balls/burning them for eternity/recycling them into beetles. Before posthumously rewarding good people with an eternal Viking frat party/giving them harps and/or virgins—before all of that there’s a somewhat universal version of a ‘darkness to light…and, ta-da! There we were’ story that is ubiquitous regardless of continent or holy costume. It must have been a banger for the kowtow and genuflect set when it first found voice around a prehistoric dinner table. Given the trope it’s become in a few short millennia as a narrative thread in the protosapien self-story, it must have dropped fire like, well, the discovery of actual fire; we came from nothing, and now we’re the chosen people slaying Saber Tooth Tigers, eating God’s apples, getting tricked by Raven, reading His golden plates, or whatever Scientologists believe. Simply being alive is an invitation for any belief system to figure out how it all started.
Team Quilbillian’s creation story has the quality of a top ten ‘Here we are’ holy story: gravitas, sense of wonder, confident circular logic compressed into a ball, pulled from the sea in an egg, and hatched into being after the sun breathed on it.
Team Quilbillians application had that mystical and self-referential je ne se quoi of all good genesis storylines. Starting with ‘Born in a log cabin I built myself,’ Team Quilbillian’s story begins with the emergence of a prodigal son who won ‘Edmonds Boy of the Year,’ goes to sea up and down the coast, and then goes on to beget Seattle’s Miller and Miller Boatyard with another Miller, who is likely the other brother onboard. The second Miller’s demigod-like experience on the Inside Passage starts seemingly before he was born, going up and down the Inside on everything from 17’ dinghies to commercial fishing vessels.
In the Cain and Abel fashion they never mention the woman who made it possible, but one of them begat a daughter who rounds out Team Quilbillian’s immortal-prone crew. The Miller’s daughter spins boats into gold working in the same Miller and Miller Boatyard Omniverse created by her father and/or uncle, who describe her in ways that fall somewhere between fear and awe. A hard biking, fast hiking, horse-logging, wooden boat live-aboard who can wax on with equal fervor about repairing boats, abalone larva, or the “I’ve Had it With Pants” nudist club she created in college—at 33 her litany of accomplishments and obvious thunder make it sound like you should just get out of her way before she goes Old Testament on your ass.
Everything Team Quilbillians does seems to harness materializing things out of nothing (or in the case of collegiate nudism, into nothing): a boatyard, knives they made from iron ore they sifted from dirt and smelted themselves, designing and building the boat they’ve entered into the R2AK. Seemingly trying to outdo their own creation, Team Quilbillians big-banged out a 27’ custom, ballasted dagger board sloop that they’ve trailer sailed around the R2AK coast for five years, increasingly engineless to get ready for/annoyed at the R2AK. You might have seen them and their pedal drive in the May/June issue of Wooden Boat Magazine. These world creators are famous, all powerful, and ready for their Noah’s ark moment of R2AK glory.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Quilbillians. Hopefully on the seventh day you can rest a bit.