Race course

START: Port Townsend

A town that loves boats and crazy people

Port Townsend is known for its Victorian buildings, maritime trades, and the largest Wooden Boat Festival in North America. It’s the jump-off for boats heading to Alaska or making the big left turn down the coast. We’re a maritime village that cruise ship companies haven’t screwed up yet, and as a result attract a talented set. The bookends of our citizenry: the hearty handshake of adventurer Jim Whittaker, first American to summit Everest, and the guy who plays the spoons so well that he inspired Soundgarden to write a song about him.

Bold spirit in proximity of folks impressive enough at irrelevant things they transcend to muse-like status for a pre-eminent grunge band; 9 months later R2AK was born.

…and they can throw a party.

r2ak.com/ruckus/(opens in a new tab)

Come join and welcome racers to town at the R2AK Ruckus!

The best send-off a race has ever had.

Sunday, June 4th, 2023

(More Ruckus info here.)

Monday, June 5th, 2023

5:00 AM – Official race start and associated unofficial goings-on. Here is a shot of the start line location.

(allegedly there’s a community skinny dip…)

If you are interested in coming to town for the start- here’s some info on where to stay. 


Canada unleashed.

Victoria is a bit of the old Empire in that pinkies up, stiff upper lip, tweed and a Gin and Tonic sort of way combined with that frontier spirit of beaver pelts, red serge of the Mounties, and socialized medicine. In short: Canada at its best.

As the Canadian stop on the R2AK tour, Victoria’s Inner Harbor will welcome racers as they finish the first stage of the race.

…and they can throw a party.

Join us as we welcome racers to Canada on June 5th and 6th, celebrate with them individually and stay for the party to celebrate with them as a group.

Victoria launches the race into the second stage to Alaska at noon on the 8th. At the sound of a bell racers will run to their vessels and get underway for the long haul north.

June 5th

The race is entirely weather dependent, so we have no idea when the first racers will arrive, but it could be as soon as early afternoon.

June 6th

We’re throwing a racer party and entry is free to racers, but you can bribe us to come too. Learn about all Victoria events.

1700 – Official cutoff for finishing the Proving Grounds stage.

June 8th

1200 – Race start for Full Race.

Leaving Victoria: One Less Waypoint

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.

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.)

FINISH: Ketchikan

Welcome to done.

In Ketchikan they measure rainfall in feet, tourists by cruise ships loads, and parties by how many people dance. By all accounts the town is looking to have a bit of a hoe down when the racers nose over the finish line.

Ketchikan is really rolling out the welcome wagon to make sure the racers have a soft spot to land and bask in their accomplishment. 750 hard earned miles deserves a bit of a fanfare.

Whenever the first boat finishes we will be there with Champagne, the $10,000 grand prize, and a US Customs official to get them back into the good old US of A in a legal type of way. After that we’re going to have a big party, invite the whole town, and kick up our heels.

We’ll be throwing this party at the Alaska Fish House – the home of the R2AK Finish Line, and the best place for fried up cod and salmon since the invention of breaded food.