Team Texada

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Team members: Paul Nilsen
Hometown: Van Anda, BC, Canada
Race vessel: Young 6m
LOA: 21.5′
Human propulsion: Oars & paddle
Connect: facebook, website

What happens after a mutiny? From history’s A-list celebrity mutinies we know the libretto: people are killed, mutineers make a run for it, but inevitably their luck runs out. The lucky outliers get to copulate with Tahitians until they die of infighting or syphilis, but the vast majority tend to find themselves cannibalized, drowned, or at the business end of a noose.

But what happens one level of detail below that? What happens to the families of friends who go over the horizon as shipmates, and then news comes back that one of them put the other one into a rowboat in the middle of the ocean and 3,000 miles from the nearest place without cannibals? That’s probably an awkward potluck.

Year two of the R2AK was legendary. The record for fastest time was set after Team MAD Dog and the rest of the internet spent a little shy of four sleepless days charging the full length of the R2AK. It was also the year of the tightest chase pack—8 multihulls finished within hours of each other for second through 9th place—and the year Team Allula’s quadriplegic greatness inspired us all. It was also the year of R2AK’s only mutiny. Given the Canadian nature of its location and participants, it was appropriately polite and bloodless.

Team Squamish was the second R2AK team fielded by the small Canadian town known for adventure and ground zero for the hellacious winds of Howe Sound. Paul and Cam were friends with a Young 6M—an Australian small craft design, hell for stout with only minor modifications to the boat: the water ballast was replaced with cans of Labatt’s Blue. Team Squamish was never a contender for the crown, but their race was the stuff of low-key legends: beaching the boat to re-rig, increasing winds and a human-sized leak in their water Labatt’s ballast causing full body efforts to keep the boat from capsizing, and the mutiny…or whatever it was. Witnesses said he just walked off near the midway point. Up the dock without saying a word, shoes in hand, and never came back. Like we said: a bloodless, polite, Canadian mutiny. Paul continued on and finished solo, only minutes behind Team Bunny Whaler. Rock on.

So after the drive home, what happens when truck and trailer pulls into the driveway and the divergent half of the crew looks out the window and then pulls his blinds? We weren’t there, and we didn’t ask, but we’re fairly confident that Paul came home, looked at the prospects of the awkward potluck, and moved. In the most subtle form of dominance that supplicates from the moral high ground, Paul moved.

Now hailing from Texada Island; he put 60 miles and the natural moat of Georgia Strait between him and the Fletcher Christian parts of his life. Clever stratagem that he is, he head faked and renamed his team. Team Squamish no more: Team Texada: who would suspect it? Team Texada is rolling forth in R2AK 2019 in the same boat, and the same crew that finished (just Paul). This time, any mutiny will be all of his own making.

Welcome back to the R2AK, Team Texada, we salute your choice to solo. Potlucks are awkward enough.