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R2AK 2021 Morphs into WA360

Last week the Northwest Maritime Center in Port Townsend, Washington, announced that they would cancel the Race to Alaska for the second year in a row. The announcement reads, in part: “In 2020 we witnessed the Canadian border drop like a guillotine on the neck of Race to Alaska.” The race had been scheduled to start from Port Townsend in June, proceed to Victoria, BC, and then traverse Canadian waters en route to Ketchikan in Southeast Alaska. “Since our imprisonment, we at high command have watched the world tear itself apart in an effort to put itself back together more COVID-resilient. However, the border is still closed and the communities along the race route remain fragile and do not want us anywhere near their shores.”

Envolee, San Francisco
Based on San Francisco Bay, Team Shut Up and Drive, aka the Figaro 2 Envolée, aka Nat and the Seven Dudes, was among the competitors in the 2019 R2AK.
© 2021 Race to Alaska

“What do you do when you are dumped by Canada? Have fun just in sight. Toss your hair back and head to Point Roberts. Make out with San Juan Island while Vancouver is watching. We’re running a race in 2021, and it’s called WA360.” (Pronounced Washington 360.) “It’s the longest race of its kind in Washington and — much like its Alaskan counterpart — engineless, unsupported, and 360 miles through the best and worst conditions Washington waters have to offer. It’s like R2AK with less bears and more hospitals.”

Unlike in the R2AK, WA360 racers may carry engines; however, if they use them they will be dropping out of the race. The rules allow stops, though none are scheduled as part of the event. The route will take racers from Port Townsend to Port Ludlow to Olympia to Tacoma to Seattle to Oak Harbor to Anacortes to Bellingham to Point Roberts and back to Port Townsend.

The first finisher in each class will win an award (but not the R2AK $10,000). The classes are:

  • Go Fast. The fastest of the fast, racing sleds and catamarans with a sail-to-cupholder ratio that exceeds 1:1.
  • Go Hard. Others might call this “Cruising Class.” We’re not those people. Racing a cruiser is inherently slower, which is harder.
  • Human-Powered. Kayaks, rowboats, SUPs; for muscle-laden heroes who for whatever reason forgo the wind.

The starting gun will fire on June 7. Organizers will begin accepting applications on January 15. For more info, see

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