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Elsie Piddock Smokes R2AK

Update: Team Elsie Piddock arrived in Ketchikan at 12:55 p.m. today to win the first R2AK, having sailed the 40 miles from Port Townsend, WA, to Victoria, BC, in 4 hours and 11 minutes, and the 710 miles from Victoria to Ketchikan, AK, in an amazing 5 days and 55 minutes.

Team Elsie Piddock has the $10,000 prize for first to finish the R2AK in sight.

© Race to Alaska

Big congratulations are due Al Hughes, Graeme Esarey, and Matt Steverson, the three-member Team Elsie Piddock. Their F-25c has absolutely smoked the Race to Alaska fleet. As of 11:00 this morning, they had only about 16 miles to go in the 750-mile race, with a lead of maybe 200+ miles on the next two boats, the well-sailed Hobie 33 Por Favor and the Farrier 38 trimaran MOB Mentality. The rest of the boats are strung out another 100 to 300 miles back. The Oakland-based Warrior 29 cat Kohara is in fourth place but stopped south of Bramham Island.

Team Elsie Piddock crashes through a wave.

© Race to Alaska

While reports have been spotty, this has not been a pleasure cruise for anyone. In fact, most if not all boats have had to battle very challenging conditions, and 19 out of the original 40 full race participants have been knocked out or decided to drop out.

Can they win the steak knives? Team Por Favor’s Hobie 33, deeply reefed and still overpowered in Johnstone Straits, is pictured here in a photo from yesterday that’s gone viral.

© 2015 Nick Reid

We’d also like to congratulate the founders and organizers of R2AK, Northwest Maritime Center of Port Townsend, for coming up with a simultaneously serious and wacky event that has caught the imagination of so many adventurers. That said, we wonder what they can do next time to maintain the wacky factor when it’s been demonstrated that the addition of human power has been a non-factor in who has done well. It’s good sailors in fast sailboats.

The positions of the top three boats this morning at 10:30. Team MOB Mentality is at the Bella Bella checkpoint.

© 2015 Race to Alaska

The Seattle-based Team Elsie Piddock should reach the finish line in Ketchikan, AK, this afternoon. To see what the destination city looks like, visit


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