5 months after the 2018 Race to Alaska, I am finally getting a video published of Russell’s second leg to Ketchikan. I won’t deny that some of us were freaking out watching this race in the first 3 days as Russell pulled ahead of the leaders every day in spite of sleeping every night while the boats with multiple crew were underway non stop. It shows just how fast the Gougeon 32 catamaran can be in the right hands.
After that third day in Johnstone Straights, passing the lead boat, Team Sail it Like a Girl, Russell debated the sanity of what he was doing. That day had presented frustratingly light winds to sudden micro blasts that threatened serious harm, and after waking up Day 4 to total calm and contrary current, he waited for a favorable current and made the consious decision to focus on finishing without destroying the boat rather than trying to continue leap frogging to the lead.
There was a lot of pedaling done during this race; a lot of drifting, a lot of getting roasted in the sun. The multitude of drift logs, kelp rafts, and breaching humpback whales demanded that crews remain seriously alert. It was not until the 7th day of Russell’s race, that he had consistent wind all day. That was his 130 mile run from Aristazabal to Dundas Island where he kept his promise to himself not to sail in the dark. He regrets that choice only a little, mainly because he got badly bitten by black flies and in retrospect, he would have enjoyed wind had he just kept going.
His crossing of Dixon entrance was fair enough but the wind died as he entered Alaskan waters and that last stretch was grueling and wet with rain. Russell did not know who was nearby until he figured out that the high powered trimaran, Team Wright, was very close. That gave him the gumption to push harder, wanting to finish ahead of the bigger multi-hull. He succeeded but he was tuckered out from pedaling for hours by the time he stepped onto the dock. He spent his next few days nursing waterlogged feet...or, trench foot being another name.
He finished in the evening of his 8th day, counting from a noon start in Victoria to noon + 4 in Ketchikan and thus broke his own solo record from 2017 by a day. Happy to have made it, he remained humble and shy of the spotlight but I was pretty tickled he had done so well. The real joy of the R2AK for us, is the trip home and you can trust with me ever grabbing the camera, that there will be more photos and videos to sort though.
I hope to follow this video with some of those clips soon. Follow the link below to see a video of Russell's 2018 race from Victoria to Ketchikan.
Tracker screen shots highlight his daily progress.
This was the last tracker shot I could save before racing myself to Seattle to catch a plane to Ketchikan. I had to be there for the finish!\