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R2AK Start

First, a follow-up. I had a red tag on my truck for having a second vehicle in my space, and I owed $5. Team Sistership moved it this morning, but now were on their way to Ketchikan. I know the lady who runs the marina and all was cool. Team Sistership better do well…

I woke up at 0330 to steady rain. Port Townsend has very minimal lighting, so folk were running around with flashlights getting ready to go by 0500. It was dark and gloomy but I didn’t hear any crashes or profanity as the boats left for the start.

My guess is a few thousand people showed up to line the shore and piers, despite the downpour. Since position at the start means nothing in this event, the big techie trimarans went first for the crowd-pleasing effect. Then, I was surprised to see the paddle boarders and rowers catch and go past the big guys.

The crowd left immediately after the start, the sun had managed to light the clouds a bit and I had before me a completely vacant marina and not a sole to be seen. The rest of the day was heavy rain, then the wind came up. Ugly.

The participants go from here to Victoria, BC, and lay up for a couple of days. If you can’t make PT to Victoria in a couple of days, you are disqualified from continuing. They’ll then have another start for the trip to Ketchikan. About half of the starters this morning intend to go only to Victoria, likely to enjoy the world-famous parties that accompany events like this in Victoria.

The route from PT to Vic is a straight line over open water, almost visible from Port Townsend. The weather forecast was formidable, though. A kayaker and some paddle boards headed straight for Dungeness spit to wait out the storm, everyone else continued on. My friend Hodge with a home-built plywood boat capsized, but self-rescued. Another small boat required a rescue, so they’re out. A trimaran hit some driftwood and knocked out the rudder. They are building a shelter out of driftwood on an island to spend the night.

The first four to arrive in Vic (after about 7 hours) were paddle boards and rowers without sails. An excellent demonstration that this is not a sail boat race.

As soon as the fleet entered the shipping lanes I heard some whining from the monster container ships about the race. Pilots with local knowledge board and control the monsters, so they are familiar with the waters. Then, they are warned by Vessel Traffic. But they always register their annoyance with the Coast Guard. You can’t run over and kill people because you are bigger. And that canoe rower doesn’t want to be in front of you.

Since the marina was empty, several otters came up on dock and played around. The storm has passed where I am…

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