In 2022, R2AK posed a new riddle: the West Coast Route. That riddle was poked full of log-sized holes, and Race High Command still hankers to see the solution. And so once again: Seymour Narrows is optional for 2023.

There’s still a qualifying stage from Port Townsend to Victoria, but when you leave from Victoria your next thing is to make it engineless to Bella Bella by any means necessary.

You can still go via Seymour Narrows, you just don’t have to. Consider it an open relationship.

Are you a tidal Jedi who’s found a current hack to shoot through some back channel like it was a log ride?

Have at it.

Feel like bashing into the full force of the Pacific Ocean and clawing off 200 miles of a rocky lee shore?

Be our guest.

Are you going to skip the complicated part and just portage your kayak the length of Vancouver Island before heading north?

You’ll find your reservation under ‘Crazy person, party of one.’

There is still one race, still one prize (plus steak knives), and we still finish in Ketchikan. Now you can get there by going outside, inside, or inside-er; just make sure to pass through Bella Bella at some point and you’re good.

The Fine Print

With open ocean wave trains that start building strength in Japan, a rocky coast, and absolutely no people or rescue personnel, the west coast of Vancouver Island is even less of a joke than the bear-infested cold waters of the Inside Passage. While we like audacity, we also consider ourselves Darwin’s bouncers and try not to encourage bad judgment. Teams wishing to have the option for an outside route will be vetted under an additional layer of scrutiny and will need to comply with our modified US Sailing’s Safety Equipment Requirements for a Coastal race (other than the having an engine part.)

The even finer print is here.

In other words, a hard no for SUPs, Hobie Ocean Islands, and the rest of the rowboat navy.

If you are applying and want to be considered for an outside route, you’ll need to indicate that on your application.

The other thing is that now all teams, even the ones on the inside routes, are required to have a PLB or an EPIRB onboard. Because Canada said so.

Ready to apply? Click here.