Race to Alaska
750 miles through the Inside Passage
Teams travel 750 cold water miles from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchican, Alaska through the Inside Passage.
- All vessels are wind or human power—no motors, and no support along the way.
- A collection of monohull, catamaran, trimarans, kayaks, rowboats and paddleboards (yes, you read that right) set off on this arduous journey on June 3, 2019.
- Our vessel of choice: 30’ Hawaiian outrigger sailing canoe. The long-standing Polynesian tradition of exploration of sea by outrigger canoe transported to the cold coastal waters of the Inside Passage.
- During our eleven day journey, we sailed and paddled through coves and straits, past cruise ships and stray logs. Humpback whales breeched and porpoises frolicked in the waters we shared. The challenge and excitement of this race was intoxicating.
- Our journey ended unexpectedly. Race Boss Daniel Evans summed it up: “Team Holopuni suffered a crippling and confused sea strong enough to rip off their hatch cover, flood the boat, and turn the race into a rescue.” Our team was safely rescued by the Canadian Coast Guard after we had completed 710 miles, just 40 miles short of Ketchikan.
“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.”
Team Holopuni consists of me (Chris), my husband Marty, and our long-time friend, Captain Danny, who brings an ocean of sailing experience to the endeavor. Collectively, we’ve climbed some of the highest mountains in the world, run 100-mile trail races, skied across Antarctica to the South Pole, and have cruised catamarans for years. Read a full description of our team that was crafted by the witty folks who put on the race.
Holopuni means “to sail everywhere” in Hawaiian. It’s the name Nick Beck gave to his small company that manufactures three-man outrigger sailing canoes, like the one he first designed 30 years ago. Nick builds outrigger sailing canoes capable of handling extremely difficult interisland travels, yet are easy to launch, sail and surf.
We named our team after Nick’s company, Holopuni Canoes, to recognize the living legend behind the company. His decades of knowledge and love for the sea are embedded in each carbon fiber of our sailing canoe.
Nick’s amazing story is featured on Patagonia’s blog, The Cleanest Line.