Day 19: Shining Statues on Math Day

Field Report | 24-Hour Fact Sheet
photo: Team Oaracle by Lynnette Oostmeyer

No Daily Update yesterday due to obvious reasons. Because of our shoddy work ethic, you may have missed the legends coming into Ketchikan. Janice and Ian of Team Oaracle (pausing a moment for genuflection) crossed the finish line on July 3rd to claim 17th place (16d 21h 32m), beating their old record by about 2 days.

Here comes an attempt to list all the records they now hold, but the list is getting long:

  • First Team to Ever Complete R2AK Under Oar
  • Most Days Racing Individually (Ian: 79d 21h 50m, Combined: 150d 14h 1m)
  • Most Races by the Same Team (3)
  • Only Team to Complete the Race by Both Sail and Human-Power
  • Most Combined Race Completions Individually (Ian: 5, Combined: 9)
  • Oldest to Complete by Human-Power (Janice: 62) – beating Team Mike’s Kayak (2015) by two months
  • Only Team to Run Through a Golf Course with Their Boat During the Race

We could go on, but really, that’s enough. Team Oaracle paddled 55 miles, their longest of the race, on the last day. Complaining apologetically about how bad they smelled, they were surrounded by cheers from both Teams Let’s Row Maybe? and Don’t Tell Mom, the only other muscles-only teams in the race.

Teams Don’t Tell Mom, Oaracle, and Let’s Row Maybe? at the finish line in Ketchikan. Photo by Lynnette Oostmeyer

As the 2022 R2AK slowly transforms from “it’s happening!” to a photo album of legendary moments and iconic scenes, one shot will undoubtedly take a whole page: the six of them standing together—all five women and one Ian—on the dock in Ketchikan. They represent a Race to Alaska wholly unique, whose progress is only made by the deliberate, repetitive, and exhausting use of their strength. They travel on boats that, without their energy, would still be bobbing along the docks of Victoria. But R2AK has many chapters and many characters. Each team finds strength in discovering their own weaknesses and overcoming them, and the long stretch of this race course still holds two teams striving to reach Ketchikan and avoid the Grim Sweeper. They work against the fatigue of being underway so long and the pressure of timing out of the race.

At the time of publication, the reliable GS is somewhere by Bella Bella and will be alongside Rennison Island 24 hours later. Since Bella Bella, Team Sockeye Voyages has put in two of their longest days of the race, covering almost 100 miles. They are now just ahead of Team Fix Oder Nix, who, struggling against adverse weather and currents in the often unkind Grenville Channel, has put in two of their shortest days of the race.

Here in Ketchikan, our eyes and hearts are turned to the south. For 20 days, these two teams have sailed, rowed, lived in drysuits, hid under tarps, hunted for water, and yet always made progress north. We can’t say whether their hardest days are ahead or behind them, but we can’t wait to see them in Ketchikan.


Team Oaracle at the finish line, by Lynnette Oostmeyer

24-Hour Fact Sheet

  • 2 – Teams still racing
  • Just over 100 – Miles left for each team to travel
  • 450 – Miles traveled by the Grim Sweeper by noon today
  • 0 – Rest days taken by Don’t Tell Mom before SUMMITING A NEARBY MOUNTAIN
  • 20 – Days that the remaining 5 racers have been on the course

Field Report: Fierce Competition

By Rebecca Ross, Field Reporter

For many racers, the goal of Race to Alaska is solely to make it across the 750 miles of ocean to the finish line. And for others, it’s twofold: making it to the finish line and beating their competition—now I know, it’s the latter for Team Don’t Tell Mom.

Following the team’s tracker these past 17 days, I suspected their proximity to Team Let’s Row Maybe? was somewhat intentional. They wouldn’t be the first teams to seek the security and company of traveling in tandem. I had been eagerly anticipating their arrival in Ketchikan, expecting another meeting full of coy nonchalance and subtle, unspoken understandings. It wasn’t until I finally reconnected with Team Don’t Tell Mom that I discovered that I had greatly underestimated their uncompromising competitiveness… Keep Reading