Goleta resident Alex Potter and his team of three other SoCal watermen recently finished 11th in the Race to Alaska, sometimes known as R2AK. A 750-mile-long, wind- and human-powered race from Port Townsend, B.C., to Ketchikan, Alaska, is the longest of its kind in North America. This is the fifth year the race has taken place, and 30 brave teams took on the full 750-mile challenge. “I’ve had my eye on the race since the 2nd year it took place. I turned 40 last October, and my wife said, ‘So, what’re you gonna do for your 40th?’” This was it.
The race has only four rules:
(1) Get a Boat Without an Engine: Size or type doesn’t matter, but there can be no mechanical power, and you must remain on the same vessel throughout the race.
(2) Start in Port Townsend: The first 40 miles are through the infamously rough Strait of Juan de Fuca. After that, there are no specified stops or routes; go any way you want.
(3) Travel Unsupported: You may accept help from strangers, but no prearranged help is allowed, including no food drops or support boats.
(4) Finish One of Three Ways: Option One is to complete the “short” 40-mile course in Victoria. Option 2 is to finish the long course in Ketchikan. The third is finishing with the Sweep Boat. However, if it passes you, you are automatically disqualified.
Potter and his team, Givin’ the Horns, set sail on a Corsair Marine F-31R trimaran aptly called Triceratops, a name given to the boat by Potter’s kids. Despite running into some difficulty in the early stages of the race, including a broken rudder, Givin’ the Horns was able to pedal, row, and sail themselves to the finish line in just 10 days. “We have all really missed the race since we finished. It was an amazing experience. Seriously, amazing,” said Potter.
Givin’ the Horns has decided to participate in the race again next year and has created a Go Fund Me to help sponsor the endeavor. To donate to the team, visit gofundme.com/get-Triceratops-sailing-again.