Each June, the nascent Race to Alaska pits everything from catamarans and trimarans to monohulls and stand-up paddleboards—motors of any kind are no bueno—on an organized race from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan, Alaska.
This year, a few hardy souls celebrated the finish after Sail Like a Girl, a Melges 32 racing sloop, took line honors just after midnight after sailing for 157 hours non-stop. With the victory, Sail’s crew set some records of their own: for the first time in the race’s brief history, the winning boat sported an all-female crew. And the Melges fared pretty well, too, as the first monohull to beat the typically faster cats and tris.
Sail Like a Girl’s crew of both experienced and inexperienced sailors hailed from Bainbridge Island, Washington; the boat was skippered by Capt. Jeanne Assael Gousseve. Like any boat trip, though, it was not without its dangers. Around 2 a.m. near Bella Bella, British Columbia, Sail Like a Girl struck a 15-foot, 18-inch-diameter log. The impact from the log stopped the boat in its tracks, but fortunately for all aboard, no damage was done.
Out of cell phone range, the crew had no idea that, despite the setback, they would still be in first place when they were finally in range of cell towers.
The team is donating winnings above expenses to the September 8 Pink Boat Regatta in support of Breast Cancer Research. www.pinkboatregatta.org
For more on the Race to Alaska: www.r2ak.com