New race to Alaska offers $10,000 prize

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Long-distance rowers, paddlers and sailors will compete next summer in a first-ever Race to Alaska that offers a $10,000 prize, and no fuel bill.

The Northwest Maritime Center, based in Port Townsend, Wash., has begun accepting applicants for the unique, non-motorized, 750-mile marathon scheduled to begin next June in Port Townsend.

The cash prize of $10,000 will go to the first competitor to reach Ketchikan without the aid of an engine, according to Maritime Center executive director Jake Beattie.

“It’s kind of a Gold Rush thing,” Beattie said. “If you get there first, you win 10 grand.”

The Race to Alaska is scheduled to begin June 4, 2015, on Port Townsend Bay, with a 40-mile first leg to Victoria, British Columbia.

Any paddler, rower or sailor is invited to participate in that leg without committing to the full race to Ketchikan. Racers who complete the first leg without assistance will qualify for the full race, which is scheduled to begin the following day.

Contestants will not be allowed to have any kind of motor on board, Beattie said.

There is no limit on the number of crew, but no substitutions will be allowed. To qualify for the prize, racers must be on board for the entire race.

“People do this trip in engineless boats every year, but there’s never been a race,” Beattie said. “Our goal is to do something cool that inspires people to adventure, that pays for itself and which helps raise awareness about accessibility to the water.”

Successful race applicants should be proficient in navigation, first aid, radio use and logistics and should be able to demonstrate that they have the physical ability and equipment to make the voyage.

Information is available at www.racetoalaska.com or by contacting Jake Beattie at jake@racetoalaska.com or (360) 385-3628, Ext. 105.

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