KETCHIKAN, Alaska (AP) — The rules are simple. Get a boat without an engine. And be the first to reach Alaska.
Those are the rules for the Race to Alaska, a 750-mile marine sprint from Washington’s north coast to southern Southeast Alaska.
The race isn’t designed as a luxury cruise. Instead, it’s a bare-knuckle, wild event characterized by some who have signed up already: a chin-up champion, a Canadian kilt manufacturer and a stand-up paddle boarder. So far, there aren’t any women or Alaska residents who signed up.
The website for the race describes it as the Iditarod on a boat, with a chance of drowning: “We’ll guarantee blisters, mild hypothermia, and the cathartic elation that comes from accomplishing something others would call impossible.”
It starts June 4 in Port Townsend, Washington, with the finish line at Thomas Basin Boat Harbor in Ketchikan, KRBD (http://is.gd/WilMfH) reported.
Registrations with entry fees are still being accepted. First prize is $10,000. The second-place winner will get steak knives.
“Really we just wanted to keep it as simple as possible,” race co-founder Jake Beattie said. “We wanted to strip it down to its bare minimum so the race was as pure as the root itself.”
Organizers are speculating about what type of boat will finish first.
“There are at least four new boat designs that have been developed for this route for this race,” Beattie said. “Everything from Polynesian design — but done in carbon fiber — down to the more accessible marine plywood epoxy sort of construction.”
Beattie said he made his first trip to Ketchikan recently to figure out logistics and introduce the race to residents.
“I don’t know what it’s like to live in Ketchikan,” he said. “But I know what it’s like to live in a tourist town, and it’s nice to have something that isn’t for tourists.”