Race to Alaska Explained
Stage 1 Race start: June 5, 2023, 5:00 AM, Port Townsend, Washington
Stage 2 Race start: June 8, 2023, High Noon, Victoria, BC
Application deadline: Tax Day baby! April 15th
The inside passage to Alaska has been paddled by native canoes since time immemorial, sailing craft for centuries, and after someone found gold in the Klondike the route was jammed with steamboats full of prospectors elbowing each other out of the way for the promise of fortune.
It’s in the spirit of tradition, exploration, and the lawless self-reliance of the gold rush that Race to Alaska was born. R2AK is the first of its kind and North America’s longest human and wind powered race, and currently the largest cash prize for a race of its kind.
This isn’t for everyone
It’s like the Iditarod, on a boat, with a chance of drowning, being run down by a freighter, or eaten by a grizzly bear. There are squalls, killer whales, tidal currents that run upwards of 20 miles an hour, and some of the most beautiful scenery on earth.
R2AK is based on the hardest kind of simplicity
You, a boat, a starting gun. $10,000 if you finish first, a set of steak knives if you’re second. Cathartic elation if you can simply complete the course. R2AK is a self-supported race with no supply drops and no safety net. Any boat without an engine can enter.
In 2022, 41 teams were accepted and 19 finished.
The race has two stages:
Stage 1: The Proving Ground
Port Townsend to Victoria BC (40 miles)
R2AK starts with an initial race across open water, two sets of shipping lanes, and an international border. The first stage is designed as a qualifier for the full race and as a stand-alone 40 mile sprint for people who just want to put their toe in.
If you want to be a part of R2AK but don’t have the time or inclination for the full race- join for a full day of all out racing across some of the biggest water in the course. Racers continuing on will clear Canadian customs in Victoria.
Stage one finishers get to bask in the glory for a full day and a half.
Stage 2: To the Bitter End
Victoria, BC to Ketchikan, AK (710 miles)
Racers start in Victoria at high noon on the Thursday after the Stage 1 start, and continue until they reach Ketchikan—or are tapped out by the sweep boat. Other than a waypoint at Bella Bella, there is no official course. To quote the bard, You can go your own way.
If this sounds like your brand of whiskey, R2AK is the race for you.
Want to go all in?
Become a sponsor and be a part of the next great adventure.
Want to race?
Read these and apply.
- Read the Participant Qualification.
- Read the Rules.