Team Unfinished Business

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Team members: Steve Rogak, Kevin Noel, Mederic Fermi, Joshua Chan, Brian Muir, Vojta Zarsky
Hometown: Vancouver, British Columbia, CA
Race vessel: Jboats J/29 FROB
LOA: 29’6″
Human propulsion: Pedal (prop)
Connect: facebook


You know those TV shows that are fine that first season, but then they replace a couple of those original roles with a rockstar or two and the show goes from absolute dog to running the tables at the Emmys almost overnight? 

Us either. 

Team Unfinished Business is attempting to do just that as they shake off their Covid canceled race in 2020, their mast snapping mid-race departure as Team ShearWater Madness in 2022, by swapping a team member and a boat and toeing the line again in 2023. Their boat this time? Sayonara custom weirdo cool-cat ketch with snapping masts as a stock option. Say hello to the 80’s racer phenom, the hallowed J-29. Fast, standard, more standing rigging, less people named John, more people named Vojta: Team Unfinished Business is retooled, rebranded, and ready to rumble. 

We sat down with Kevin, Steve, and Vojta over a bowl of pimento loaf in lime jello to talk about fresh starts, the significance of the John/Vojta downshift, and why we are eating either pimento loaf or lime jello (let alone at the same time).

What are the necessary components of a good adventure?

Steve: Unpredictability, enough danger that you need to be alert, and enough control that your decisions matter.  And teammates that have somewhat similar views on this.

Vojta: Bit of hardship and a fair dose of junk food afterwards.

What’s a lesson you learned the hard way?

Kevin: Never underestimate the soul-sucking effect of cold, wet feet on the high seas. 

Steve: You need to take your own responsibility for the structure of your boat (eg., carbon fiber masts on a cat ketch).

What’s your favorite kind of bracket?

Steve: {}  but [] have their place in defining vectors, and () are good for everyday use.

What’s your claim to fame?

Steve: My scientific work on facemasks was cited in Good Housekeeping magazine.

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?

Vojta: No need if you’re afloat.

Kevin: Sing: “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”

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

Steve: We all make it to Ketchikan on Elusive, more or less healthy, and only a little eager to spend time with our spouses and family rather than the other team members.  Well, more than that.  I am hoping that at each stage we make good decisions about currents and weather that just keep us moving to the target, keep the crew health and the boat out of trouble.

Vojta: Sail well. Don’t sink.

Kevin: Not being dismasted before Ketchikan. 

Defend your vessel. What makes it worthy?

Steve: Elusive is a J29 Fractional rig, one of the most popular one design racers from the ‘80s because it was designed to be fast rather than beat rating rules. At PHRF114, she should be in the same ballpark as an Olson 30 and just a bit slower than a Dash 34.  More importantly, the J/29 is a much better looking boat!

Many J29s are pretty beat up by now, but thankfully Elusive was owned by a loving non-racing owner for 25 years, and it does not look like a 1983 racer.   By the way, she was originally named “Violation, “but was renamed “Evasive,” and now she is being reborn as “Elusive.”  Good things are elusive.  Love, happiness, completing the R2AK.

For the pedal drive, we are borrowing some components from Shear Water Madness, including the concept of twin side mounted drives, but the drives are much further back to stay clear of spinnaker and jib systems.


Welcome back to the Race to Alaska, Team Unfinished Business. If our experience with not being able to finish our “business” can be of help, we’d suggest more paper, and two ply.