Race to Alaska: North

Kelsey Breseman
2 min readJun 25, 2022

The first time you could really feel the growing cold was the exit of Johnstone Strait into Queen Charlotte. The sun was out, and warm, but there was a noticeable bite in the wind.

The further north we go, the more we feel it. On the night watch at solstice, 2am saw me and Ert doing calisthenics in the darkness: him doing step-ups on the lazaret, me doing ankle circles, flutter kicks, Y-T-W arm configurations to loosen my shoulders.

Cold burns a lot of calories, and more so when you have to work out to be warm. Morning is always a relief, now even more so.

We’re past the year’s longest day, but we’re moving northward faster than the days shorten: two last night was the beginning of dawn.

I’m in all my layers every shift: full thermals, two more base layers, fleece, down coat, waterproof outers. My feet are in wool socks in waterproof socks in 16" rubber boots, and I’m wearing a beanie plus two hoods up.

There’s no heater, no campfire. All we have is our sleeping bags and clothes, maybe Jetboil tea.

That outfit held me cozy for the first two hours of shift last night. We’re sailing on fine seas, perfect conditions: chop and swells less than a meter, winds five to fifteen knots, enough to fill our sails but not enough to dip the toe rails. Ert and I sat in the cockpit singing…