June 23 Race to Alaska Sails and Oars
The race is over and Team Squamish made it to Ketchikan !
Look for the race report under Pages
Team Squamish are Canadian's Paul Nilsen and Cam Campbell, sailing a 20 foot sailboat 750 miles from Port Townsend, Washington State through British Columbia, to Ketchikan, Alaska, with way points at Victoria, Campbell River and Bella Bella.
Paul sails about 1200 miles a year singlehanded in his Hunter 35.5 and club races spring and fall at Squamish Yacht Club. He did a self imposed pre R2AK test in 2015, the same as the Chicago Mac Pre-qualifier, which is 100 miles and 24 hrs solo. He is also a whitewater kayaker and held an instructor certificate for 3 years.
Paul, 54 years old, learned at 11 to sail an El Toro his dad built, followed by a Bombardier 3.8 which is like a Laser. The family sailed a CL16 and then a Northern 25 sloop. He has completed a CYA Basic and Advanced Coastal cruising courses as well as a Basic Coastal Navigation in 1982.
Cam is a long time water man with hundreds of whitewater kayak trips with me. He is a kayak surfer and travels to Skookumchuck, Long Beach and Westport to ride waves. He has crewed for a couple years and is looking for a special challenge for his 50 th birthday year. On his 40th birthday it was skydiving !! You can see him in the video section including the link to the 700 foot concrete slide in a kayak. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqyVeTM58VA
Cam has been my adventure partner since 1998 and rescued me from a really bad swim above a canyon once and I am alive to tell about it.
He has taken a coastal navigation course and just came back from a 5 day February sailing trip with me. Cam does things like the West Coast Trail and has sea kayaked all over BC
We both look forward to the challenge of this race.
There are no motors allowed in this race, so rowing or paddling is the alternative. All the teams face challenges such as cold water north of Vancouver Island, tidal gates, strong currents, shipping, logs, deadheads, kelp, whales, gale force headwinds in Johnstone Strait, open ocean waves at Cape Caution and Dixon Entrance and the emptiness of the Great Bear Rainforest. As well, teams will have bears, cougars, wolverines, moose and wolves to share a campsite with.
The boat we are competing in, the Young 6M sailboat is an every-man's boat as it was designed to be built by the average guy using plywood in his garage
. The designer is Jim Young of New Zealand and the builder of this hull is Ken Sislonski. The boat was built for his young family in the Yukon, Canada and was completed in 1996. It was sailed on many lakes up there and even used for fishing trips.
The boat uses a water ballast system to keep the weight down for towing, so even a 4 cyl car can tow and launch it. It has 700 lbs of water ballast and a beam of 8 ft. it is capable of 15 knots top speed. Some other Jim Young racing designs will hit 20 knots.