In the early morning light, I had the honor of untying the bowline for Felix and Team Turn Point as they set off for the start of Race to Alaska 2016.
It was an unusual start with hardly a single boat looking prepared to cross the line at the gun. Even with a delayed start, a number of crews weren’t even out of the harbor before the horn sounded, including experienced racing teams like Tritium and Orange Crush. To be sure, there were a lot of last minute preparations and adjustments, some more frenetic than others.
Team Mad Dog on their Marstrom 32 was one of the few boats that looked like they were really prepared for the start, although they didn’t even have a headsail set when they crossed the line. It was an unusual downwind start, though, and with multiple boats anchored across the starting line, it was probably prudent to wait for clean water to pop the spinnaker.
With about 20 knots from the southeast everyone was off and running soon enough. A perfect start isn’t terribly necessary on a 750 mile race. The fleet spread out quickly. As I raced my bike from Point Hudson to the lighthouse at Point Wilson, I barely caught sight of the lead boats, meanwhile a few rigs were just barely eeking past point Hudson.
Amazingly the kayaker above along with a paddleboarder passed the lighthouse about the same time as Orange Crush, the favored to win hot shot crew on a F32 partial foiler. I’m sure they’ll crush it later on, but they must have had some trouble at the start.
About 3 hours after the start Team Mad dog is making 12 kts past the breakwater in Victoria and a fair number of boats are still struggling to pass Partridge bank, where the current divides.
This will be an interesting race.