Team members: Vytenis Karaitis, Aras Karaitis, Matt Declercq, John Olson, Henry Chesnutt, Eliot Lee
Hometown: Seattle, WA, USA
Race vessel: Dash 34
LOA: 34′ 4″
Human propulsion: Paddle
For all of us here in the R2AK Command Bunker, the story about who Team Dacron & Denim is starts with who they aren’t. Let the needle skip across the grooves on that for a bit; we meant it. It starts here:
Team D&D isn’t Team Fashionably Late.
Team Fashionably Late was a multi-R2AK veteran crew who consistently won the race, not on final time or finish position, but on vibes alone. Watch the documentary. Their race was a tea party in motion, stop for dolphins, matching outfits, and a “Let’s just learn how to sail as we Race to Alaska” program. It was fun, great for ratings, and accidentally came in third in 2022 after they upgraded to a faster boat and channeled their vibes and Moses to part last year’s driftwood sea out of the way. 15+ boats left the race due to driftwood kills. Team Fashionably Late ended up finishing on the early side in third place.
Third. The team with bone china tea service, matching outfits, and a signature cocktail and playlist. They showed up in Ketchikan as happy as they were shocked as they were third. There’s no prize for third, but it’s pretty goddamn respectable, especially considering their social media post to sail change ratio was maybe 2:1.
Then they bowed out. If you ask us, they shocked themselves into retirement, then handed over their steed to talent, who were ready to replicate and advance.
Enter Team Dacron & Denim, the real-world talent hitting cleanup and building on the success of the accidental genius. T D&D are real deal sailors. They’ve raced in races from here to Newport to Mackinaw. Medals, podiums, national credentials, and the whiff of the competitive. Exact same hotshit boat (SV Fighting Trousers), less tea parties, more certifications, wins, training, experience, and sailing cred.
While Team Dacron & Denim might have been too busy training to make good on our request for an interview, in R2AK traditional fashion we have volunteered our own. They are too busy. We’re here to help.
What’s below is what we imagined they would have said to our questions:
What are the necessary components of a good adventure?
Honestly, we’re homebodies. Give me a zero-star plate of Trader Joe’s Pad Thai and a rerun of Friends. Absolute weeknight heaven. How’s that related to adventure? That Chandler, who knows what he’ll say next—am I right?!?
What’s a lesson you learned the hard way?
Non-lick envelopes. Just don’t trust ‘em.
What’s your favorite kind of bracket?
I like the Final Four brackets, but the ones that the grocery store does. You know, like, right after the Monopoly thing? Right after Monopoly squares, and right before the Jello-only food drive, they run that Final Four Challenge and it’s like scratch tickets, plus pull tabs, but about basketball and the chance to get 20% off tater tots if Villanova wins. (Spoiler: they didn’t. Full price tots this year. #OhWell #finalfour #fullpricetots2023)
What’s your claim to fame?
I once ate through all my salad privileges at the Tukwila Olive Garden. I didn’t know that “All you can eat” had a limit for salad, but apparently in the fine print there’s a time limit? Who knew! (PS: Same thing for breadsticks)
It’s drizzling, freezing cold, and you’ve missed the tide. The cabin is leaky and the stove won’t light. How do you keep the good vibes going?
Call me old fashioned, but I like a toes-on consensual backrub, James Taylor’s greatest hits on shuffle, a Seasmoke or Vanilla Jubilee scented candle, braided leather bite ring, and a seedy bread avocado toast face mask. (Avocado down, clearly. I’m not a monster.)
Forget the 10k or the steak knives. What does success look like for you and your team?
Defend your vessel. What makes it worthy?
Third place – tea party = your mom
Blank space, baby. Write some things:
Are we done here?
Welcome to the R2AK, Team Dacron & Denim. While we don’t want to be prescriptive, we clearly will be.