Going for the R2AK Gold

Scott and I have been doing HTFU training with the help of our buddy Kevin as I posted about a few days ago.  While we were trying to survive the cold waters of Puget Sound, it happened that Emily Riedel of The Discovery Channel’s Bering Sea Gold fame wandered down the beach to see what was up with the swimmers.   She then proceeded to join us in the water as the countdown timer hit 6 minutes to go.  She was pretty casual about it all, laughing and clearly enjoying herself.

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 3.29.39 PMToday I had coffee with her to talk to her about cold water, the spirit of Alaska and going for the gold.  In her words:

It only hurts until you go numb,  I saw you out in the water and thought “kindred  spirits” and getting the gold is never easy, it can be a disaster!

When I suggested she join the race, her eyes lit up and she said “I’m fascinated by this race and will consider it in the future.”

Jake Beattie and the Northwest Maritime Center, you better start planning R2AK 2016!

Opinion about race speeds and what team will win.

Colin Angus has written a great entry on his blog at Angus Rowboats about who he thinks might win the R2AK.  Totally worth reading if you are wondering!  Better yet, buy one of his row cruisers and enter the race to win!



R2AK Talk – Center for Wooden Boats

Jake Beattie, Director of the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend and mad man founder of the R2AK will be speaking about the race at the Center for Wooden Boats, South Lake Union 47 37.661 N, 122 20.105 W in Seattle this Friday, January 16th at 6 7-10 pm.  Go!  He mentioned something about beer afterwards.  As one Alaskan said to me the other day about Alaska “It only hurts until you go numb!”

My Review of NRS HydroLock Dry Bag

Originally submitted at NRS

Make double sure your stuff stays dry with NRS HydroLock Dry Bags. Our proven StormStrip roll-down closure is backed up by our waterproof HydroLock seal for 200% peace of mind. 70-denier urethane-coated nylon keeps the weight of this bag to a minimum, and the rugged material slides easily in and ou…

Tough drybag for the Race to Alaska

By Team Searunners from Seattle WA on 1/13/2015


5out of 5

Pros: Tight Closure, Waterproof, Strong Material

Best Uses: Organization, Water Protection

Was this a gift?: No

These dry bags are tough, light weight, durable and repairable. They will be used to organize and protect gear for the Race to Alaska. I have used these drybags for a variety of activities for several years without experiencing punctures or tears while sailing, kayaking overland travels and other adventure sports challenges.



On Saturday, our friend and survival trainer put us through what he calls a Flickian Challenge.  It’s all part of getting us ready – known by the acronym HTFU.  Kevin took us to Golden Gardens Park in Seattle and put us to the test.  We had incredulous onlookers huddling in parkas, a few lone beach walkers cheering us on, and one wild Alaskan who joined us in the water for a bit (more on that later).

Challenge One was: No eating for 10 hours prior to the challenge.  Then a 15 minute swim in Puget Sound wearing only swim trunks while having to solve math problems (mental acuity testing).  That was the warm up, or in our case cool down to shivering.  The real test came after we exited the water: use teamwork to find wood, make tinder and fire starter, light a fire, keep it together and rewarm yourself with only the pocket knives and flint we had on lanyards around our necks with us on the swim.  We also had a “jump bag” of other emergency supplies we plan to take on the Race.  We resisted the bag for a long time, but eventually Flick ordered us to open it up.

For 1 hour 4 minutes — from entering the water until Kevin stopped the clock — we were wet, cold, shivering, exposed, dirty, struggling and then huddling very close to our fire to rewarm.  We did rewarm and our body temperatures came back up but it was pretty ugly.  We survived and the Red Mill Burgers we scarfed down afterwards never tasted so good.

Screen Shoot from Flickian Challenge #1 video.
Screen Shot Capture from Flickian Challenge #1 video.

After the challenge we spent the next 20 plus hours living on the boat.  More on what we learned from that (also wet) experience, soon…


Weather Forecasting

Weather will play an important role in this race.  Big picture weather forecasting like the kind you can get from the below link will only help you so far (and only be available to most of us before the race and at a stop in a town with wifi or computer access.)  Local weather will look very different because you can get in microclimates of a particular point of land or inlet.  We will rely on radio weather broadcasts, weather guides and local knowledge.  Things can change fast.  Look out for the black line on the horizon to the northwest.


Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 6.19.42 AM

Finding Alaska – More Testing

Scott and I spent the weekend testing stuff for the R2AK and boy do we have stories.  There be some video editing though before we are ready to show you the main activity of Saturday.  Meanwhile we spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning camped on the boat “Finding Alaska”

Which Is the better compass to steer by when trying to get to Alaska?







Cooking Breakfast.







Reading A VOYAGE LONG AND STRANGE by Tony Horwitz.


HTFU Taking on the waters in January

It was a cold, cold 15 minutes of attempting to stay in Lake Washington.  No dry suit; just swim suit.