Team members: Eric Pesty
Hometown: Victoria, BC, Canada
Race vessel: Corsair 24
Human propulsion: Pedal drive
Maybe we’re losing our edge.
Since the time we launched this thing until whatever version of right now that you’re reading this, the secret weapon of the R2AK has been our singular ability to goad otherwise responsible people into the questionable act of taking engines out of boats and going to Alaska. People have learned to sail, bought boats, moved cross country, quit drinking, ended marriages, all because we offered up some version of: This is dangerous, we’re not helping, you should probably stay home, give us money.
We can’t tell if we’re that bad or his white knuckles are that good, but either way, we’re shocked that Team Pestou has resisted the Race to Alaska for this long. He was born for this.
Usually there is at least something out of place when a team applies. There’s some boat detail that doesn’t fit, they don’t have all their crew or all the skills, they lack the experience. Sometimes it’s all of the above—there was a kite boarder who wanted to do it but had yet to learn to kiteboard. Hard no. Team Pestou is the opposite; examining his life from conception to now, there seem to be few things that he has done that weren’t unknowingly linked, optimized, and aligned to doing the R2AK, solo, in a trimaran.
Skills, experience, nothing out of place—Team Pestou is the weatherman hairdo of R2AK 2020.
He was born to a father who solo sailed across the Atlantic in the ’72 OSTAR race back in its scrappy, wild-west glory days when multihulls were starting to dominate, someone tried rolling solo on a 128’ three-masted schooner, and half the fleet didn’t make it. The 55’ trimaran finished, mid pack, and would become the younger Pesty’s childhood home and training academy. Starting early Eric started winning races on Hobies; in his first race he grabbed his first win by out-sailing the fleet of older sailors and brought home the win on his Hobie 14. He was 14, and already four years into his gig as watch officer for the family charter business, running deliveries between Caribbean islands on the big tri—island hopping he also did solo on his Hobie when he had a day off from his day job and homeschool declared it a holiday.
For the record, we’d like to retroactively transfer into his homeschool.
Fast forward twenty some years and Eric is still sailing by himself, still winning races solo against boats with more crew and experience. In this year’s Cowichan Bay Regatta, he won more than he didn’t, and in his off races he came in second, but only twice. In doing so, he beat the two sets of steak knives on Teams Pear Shaped Racing (2019) and Mail Order Bride (2015)…and he did it solo on his F-24 trimaran.
About the only thing we do solo is, well, private. We’re fine at it, been doing it for years, but we’re nowhere near top tier talent. Not so for Eric. At least the sailing portion of his solo exploits are on point, marquee worthy. Until either coffee gets a lot stronger or Benzedrine is officially downgraded to a health food, it’s long odds for a solo team to beat a boat with a crew—eventually you have to sleep. So while he might not have a money shot, given the boat he’s got he might just have a shot at R2AK’s solo record: 8 days 4 hours 16 minutes.
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Pestou. You might be by yourself, but you’re going all the way.