Team Madame Oaracle & the Prairie Porch Pirates

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Team members: Dave Robertson, Annalise Van Ham, Janice Mason, Ian Graeme, Shannon Stimson
Hometown: Calgary, Alberta, CA
Race vessel: 1985 Laser 28
LOA: 27′
Human propulsion: Pedal (prop)
Connect: Facebook, Instagram

First of all, No. 

No, we are not going to refer to you by your team name ever, or ever again. It’s too long and reads like the indulgent name of a Jefferson Starship (née Airplane) cover band whose main purpose is to provide a reason for the lead vocalist to wear a paisley headscarf and play the tambourine, badly, as an opening act down at the VFW. 

We’re not doing it; you’re better than that. 

The guts of your team is Team Oaracle, battle-hardened legends whose names have rung out since Race 1 as the only team to have collectively entered every one. In a sea of R2AK-associated divorces, Janice and Ian was the one story of this race bringing people together for something beyond the first rutting season. Ian learned to row in 2016, Janice said yes, Team Oaracle was born, and the two of them have been in every one ever since. With this year’s entry on a monohull, they will also become the only individuals to collectively do the race on all types of boats: monohull sailboat, multihull sailboat, rowboat, and kayak. (For those of you who are sticklers for details, no, the record holds because paddleboards are not vessels. Why? Same reasons you don’t carpool on a skateboard.) Consider that bingo card stamped. 

Back to your name. Yes you have more people, and yes you have a new boat, but your headwaters don’t change because there’s more ducks on the pond. You’re Team Oaracle, end of story. We don’t care how many Amazon deliveries were stolen by your newfound teammates. 

Second of all, Whenever R2AK central finds itself as arbiter of factual accuracy, everyone is in trouble. They claim their boat is a Laser 28 formerly owned by PNW sailing legend Dick Rose. While a boat by any other name would smell arguably sweeter, our biggest problem with that story is there is no way that: 

In a sentence that can be summarized by: “fact check me once, shame on me,” it appears that both of those statements are wrong. In good news, the factual balance of the world is restored. Which brings us to #3: 

Third of all, still no (see #1.)

We sat down with all the members of Team Oaracle and the Prairie Porch Pirates over a bowl of Jefferson Granola (née Starship) to talk about their R2AK dynasty, their new boat, their new crop of talent, and their favorite way to steal unopened Amazon packages.

What are the necessary components of a good adventure?

Dave: Yvon Chouinard once said, “It’s not an adventure until something goes wrong.” I sure hope *he’s* wrong. Oh, and tarot cards.

Shannon: Oh definitely the same components of a good story. Nonstop events, laughter despite how ridiculous the situation keeps being, positive & can-do attitude. Bonus: good food & friends to share the memories with. 

What’s a lesson you learned the hard way?

Annalise: Schedule and remain disciplined to your caloric and water intake!

Dave: Never pirate a porch when there’s a Harley parked at the curb.

Ian: Don’t question the wisdom of Madame Oaracle.

Janice: Assuming that R2AK would be one and done.

Shannon: Sometimes it’s best to ask dumb questions.

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?

Ian: Keep the boat moving towards the finish line.

Janice: That’s why we have the tarot cards.  And we could always just keep pedaling to stay warm while eating chocolate and drinking our thermos or 5 of hot tea, ‘cause we knew that this would happen. It is called being prepared for everything

Shannon: Get my hands warm & tummy full then I’ll join the song singing. 

Forget the 10k or the steak knives. What does success look like for you and your team?

Annalise: We finish in good time, good form and continue as good friends all.

Dave: Our mantra is “Safe, fun, fast” In that order.  Well, unless, of course, we’re having fun going fast …

Defend your vessel. What makes it worthy?

Annalise: The crew!  SDJ is a pretty fast and fun vessel but it is the heart, brains and spirit of those inside that will make her sing.

Dave: This boat is like many of the things that made the 1980’s great – New Wave, Molly Ringwald, the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The only thing more fun than sailing this boat might be listening to New Wave with Molly Ringwald in a Volkswagen Golf GTI. But don’t tell Dick Rose that we’re entering his old boat in a race without rules. He’s going to have a curse placed on us …”

Blank space, baby. Share some things:

Janice: Mystical, awesome, peace-numbing silence, salty warm sandy ocean spray, moss that is 10 cm thick.

Ian: Where are the oars?


Welcome back to the R2AK, Team Oaracle. Word to the wise: You be you, but sea shanties don’t have tambourines, pirates don’t wear paisley, and unless you want to start the apocalypse, no matter how bad it gets don’t play poker with tarot cards. You’re welcome.