October 3rd Friday: “Tales from R2AK”

October_Kruger imageOctober image_Team KELP

(left photo) CWB’s own Elena Losey (left) and Kristin Pederson competed in the 2017 Race to Alaska as Team KELP. Karl Kruger (right) became the first to complete the entire 750-mile Port Townsend to Ketchikan race on a stand-up paddleboard.

For more than four decades, each month CWB has presented a speaker of wit and experience to talk about his or her special knowledge. It is also an opportunity for CWB members to meet one another and the staff. The program is held in the Boathouse Gallery and runs from 7pm to 9pm, with opportunities to ask questions. Light refreshments are available (donations to cover costs are appreciated). October’s 3rd Friday presentation will be held on October 20th.

The Race to Alaska – or R2AK – has been described as the “Iditarod on a boat, with a chance of drowning, being run down by a freighter or eaten by a grizzly bear.” While none of those events have happened there are plenty of tales, both harrowing and hilarious, to be told about R2AK.

Three of the 2017 competitors will be here to give us an inside look at the race: Team KELP is composed of two of CWB’S own: Kristin Pederson, current Programs Manager, and Elena Losey, former Livery Manager, sailing their 20’ Santana. They will be joined by Karl Kruger, the first stand-up paddleboarder to complete the full 750-mile race from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan, Alaska, paddling as Team Heart of Gold.

It was the second race but the first full-length race for both teams. R2AK is actually two races and participants may choose to compete in just the first leg, which ends in Victoria, B.C., or in the full race to Ketchikan. Kristin and Elena tested themselves and their boat in the first leg of the 2016 race. An issue with his paddleboard forced Karl out of the 2016 race after just 100 miles.

Team KELP (the name is a melding of Kristina and Elena’s initials) was known for its meticulous preparation for the race. They developed some unique equipment for the 2017 race and they’ll bring it along on Friday. They’ll also give us insights on their “extracurricular” activity during the race: water quality testing.

Karl developed a whole new 19’ custom board for 2017 and it will be on display. As remarkable as his performance in the race was his training regimen which took him from the 50’ sailboat he shares with his wife and daughter at Orcas Island to the 19’ board that was his “home” for the race.

Both teams will answer all the usual questions – such as why did you want to do this race? – and more: Will you do it again?

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