PORT TOWNSEND, WA— Race to Alaska is back for year seven, with 39 teams registered to depart from the Northwest Maritime Center on June 5. No motors or support allowed—the Race to Alaska (R2AK) is about the physical endurance, saltwater know-how, and bulldog tenacity it takes to navigate the 750 cold water miles from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan, Alaska.
First place wins $10K; second place, a set of actual steak knives. Teams embark on Stage 1, “The Proving Ground,” from Port Townsend, WA, on June 5 at 5:00 a.m.; they have 36 hours to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca and visit Victoria, BC. June 8 at noon marks the start of Stage 2, “To the Bitter End,” the 710-mile trek from Victoria to Alaska.
This year’s racers include recreational boaters to world-class professional ocean sailors, including a former Rolex Yachtsman of the Year; vessels range from home-built rowing boats to brand-new, purpose-built racing sleds. Human-powered teams in kayaks and rowboats will be jockeying for position with go-fast boats, solo racers, and even those attempting to drag the equivalent of engineless houseboats up the Inside Passage.
“For some, Race to Alaska is about getting the cash,” said Race Boss Jesse Weigel. “But for the majority, whether they end up with a broken boat on a beach or basking in the afterglow in Ketchikan – it’s all about what happens between the start and the end.”
The 2022 removal of one of only two waypoints between Victoria and Ketchikan, Seymour Narrows, gives racers the choice of going up the inside of Vancouver Island or going out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca into the Pacific Ocean—opening up different possibilities as teams endeavor to solve the R2AK puzzle.
The public is invited to come to the Northwest Maritime Center on June 4 to meet the teams and celebrate their impending adventure at the Ruckus—a free block party—and again for the race start at 5 a.m. on June 5 to cheer on the teams, and they embark on Stage 1.
Follow the teams’ progress on our 24-hour tracker, social media streams, and daily content from our media team on R2AK.com.