KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Rough weather on Tuesday continued to hamper the Race to Alaska, which has been a treacherous ride for some of the teams — and a frustrating wait for other teams who chose to remain in safe harbor until the rough seas and 30-mile-per-hour gusts calmed down.
According to the National Weather Service forecast, winds were slightly calmer on Tuesday than they had been on Monday, peaking at 25 miles per hour, with gusts lessening to 15 miles per hour at their peak after midnight. Wednesday’s forecast calls for winds of 10 to 15 miles per hour.
The first leg of the race — “The Proving Ground” — is a 40-mile stretch across the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Port Townsend, Washington, to Victoria, British Columbia.
On Monday, three teams capsized. A fourth vessel snapped its mast.
At about 11 a.m. Tuesday Ketchikan time, an R2AK social media post stated that: “Heavy weather today is meaning no boats are crossing until the early hours of Wednesday. The only team crossing today is the big ocean-going trimaran, Malolo. Everyone else is staying back on the advice of Coast Guard and R2AK High Command.”
By 4:15 p.m. Tuesday, 16 boats had reached Victoria, and nine had scratched. There were 38 teams signed up for the full race this year, and 11 teams signed up for the first leg only. Of the nine teams that quit, five of those were signed up for the first leg only.
The original deadline for teams to reach Victoria was 4 p.m. Tuesday. However, a Monday message from race organizers on the event’s website r2ak.com, announced that the deadline was extended to 4 p.m. Wednesday because weather was rougher than anticipated.
The 710-mile second leg of the race is set to start at noon, Pacific Standard Time, Thursday. There are 11 teams that were pre-approved to travel the outside route along the west coast of Vancouver Island. According to Race Boss Daniel Evans, those teams are expected to make the decision of whether to take that route or to take the traditional Inside Passage route while they pause in Victoria.