Race to Alaska: Ketch Us if You Kan

Kelsey Breseman
2 min readJun 26, 2022

All that stuff I said about us not really being competitive? Tear it up, throw it out; clearly I was kidding myself.

We’re in the home stretch, just over seven miles to the finish line, and Louistic SuperSonic has been visible at a near exact five miles behind us for the last thirteen. I’m supposed to be sleeping, resting for what might be a long finish, but good luck. We’ve been fully amped up all day.

Just because Louistic has passed us every day, doesn’t mean they’re going to this time. Sure, their boat is lighter and faster; sure, they have a nearly inhuman capacity to find a way to always have their spinnaker sail flying. Sure, the only way we’ve passed them in the past is when they’re sleeping. But we’re in front right now. And that five mile gap means more and more the closer we get to the finish line.

We don’t have to hold out forever, just for seven more miles.

Their team, a French guy and gal we met while waiting out the bad weather on the proving grounds, is legendary within our team. Their boat literally separated deck from hull on day one, swamping them, and they still sailed it in and glued it back together. That, on the same day we managed to briefly ground our two-ton vessel attempting to get into the same harbor, and ended up getting towed to safety by the Coast Guard.

Our team remains patient, steady. In the midst of eking out every knot of speed, I got a patient and practical lesson on how to fly a spinnaker. Ert used the levelness of a downwind run to make mac and cheese with spicy tomatoes and real crab. It’s on brand.

The mood is antsy, sails filled, four knots, little to do. We’re anticipating a wind drop that might come at any moment, all hands on deck to try for two knots, pedal stations, paddles. But maybe the wind will hold.

6 miles to go, Louistic 6.5 miles behind, faster than us I think if the wind dies.

We’ll find out. See you in Ketchikan.

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