Team Pestou

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Team members: Eric Pesty
Hometown: Victoria, British Columbia, CA
Race vessel: Corsair F-24 MKII
LOA: 24′
Human propulsion: Pedal (prop)
Connect: facebook

If 2023’s Race To Alaska had an unofficial theme, it would be “Unfinished Business”—and Eric Pesty of Team Pestou has been unfinishing his business for 4 years. Had he gone to school, he could have a Bachelor’s in Edging by now—or whatever is the Canadian equivalent—but instead he decided to waste his life actually living it.

Eric Pesty’s adventure resume starts when he was just 7 months old—to which we remind everyone: you can coast on your parents through life, but probably not to Alaska. While coattails may be human-powered, they are definitely not unsupported. Despite Nepo Baby Pesty’s headstart—like Paris Hilton—post-infancy he has put in the work to earn his notable accomplishments:

  • Spending 17 years sailing in the general area of Brittany-Cape Verde-French Guyana-Guatemala-Newfoundland, but mostly in the Caribbean and Central America
  • Learning to ride a bicycle and roller-skate in a cockpit
  • Building an improvised breakwater to stop coast erosion from bringing down a house in Belize
  • Hosting film crews for 30+day stays on the Silver Bank (in the middle of nowhere North of the Dominican Republic) filming documentaries on humpback whales
  • Acquiring retired 40ft lifeboats (of the liner “Norway”) in Miami and delivering them to Haiti to be used as safer coastal transport in the “Les Cayes” area

Oh wait—those all happened before he was 18. But not to be overshadowed by Child Eric, Adult Eric has racked up an impressive list of solo-sailing adventures, including:

  • Participating in most editions of The Vendee Saltspring Race
  • Winning the Cowichan Bay Regatta
  • Completing the inaugural Desolation 300 race
  • Racing in 2022’s Race To Alaska until he delaminated his bulkhead on a floating log that told him to “check his privilege.”

We sat down with Eric Pesty over a bowl of World Book Atlases to talk about stories with too much exposition, his excessive use of “quotation marks”, and what it’s like to not have student debt.

What are the necessary components of a good adventure?
A healthy dose of uncertainty and being reasonably well prepared for it!

What’s a lesson you learned the hard way?
I was going to say something about logs but other than packing an extra bundle of luck (anyone know anywhere I can buy some of that? It seems to be back-ordered pretty much everywhere!) I’m not sure what the actual lesson is!
More recently; if you are wondering if it’s too gusty to put the spinnaker up, just don’t do it (it definitely was)!

What’s your favorite kind of bracket?
Part of my day job includes designing various brackets so I know a thing or two about these. I like them strong, light and cheap, and you can usually get two of these!
But I’m thinking you are asking about sports and I’m a lot less well versed in these. I can only think of one I’ve followed recently and that would be (I’m not even kidding) the “Too Tall Toby 3D CAD Speed Modeling World Championship Tournament”. You might have to look it up as there is a slight chance you might not have heard about it yet!

What’s your claim to fame?
I would have to go with winning the Pacific Northwest Multihull championship while sailing single-handed against fully crewed boats.
However it’s not the only time I’ve ended up somewhere I had no business being: from winning the first race I ever participated in to getting to the finish line before the committee boat (twice!), there is a bit of a pattern of sneakiness!

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?
That seems like a pretty accurate description of what to expect! By using this as a baseline anything better than that is just gravy!
Kidding aside, that seems like a good time to have an extended nap: find a spot to anchor, set an alarm for when the tide turns, put on everything you’ve got and lie down!

Forget the 10k or the steak knives. What does success look like for you and your team?
Aiming low enough, assuming I made it all the way to the Victoria start, lasting more than 24h is the first objective! Other than that, ideally I would make it to Ketchikan mostly in one piece!

Defend your vessel. What makes it worthy?
Firstly, it’s the one I’ve got!
It’s also a tough (as long as you don’t fall off from a big wave on top of a giant log), seaworthy boat that is about as big as I’d want to manage solo. It’s fast enough to keep moving as long as there is “some” wind while still being forgiving. I’ve also had her for long enough to be able to sail her in my sleep (ahah, sorry, had to go there), which should come in handy!

Blank space, baby. Write some things:
Would be the scientific purpose of killing the Jaguar shark, as Steve Zissou so eloquently put it. There may not be any physical Jaguar shark in this story, but I think of it as a metaphor for all the things that could force someone to drop out of the race! So I hope I don’t actually run into my Jaguar shark but if I do, I will vanquish it!

Yeah ok, I didn’t really think the analogy all the way through, sue me! In my defense I’m late submitting this, I might also have huffed a bit too much of that sweet polyurethane caulk remover while replacing my foredeck hatch earlier.


Welcome back to Race To Alaska, Eric—we look forward to seeing how this thing finally ends.