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Pair of Vancouver Island residents complete Road to Alaska Race

The crew completed the 750-mile race in a little less than 8 days
Crew members of Unfinished Business celebrate their completion of the 750-mile Race to Alaska in Ketchikan on June 16, 2023. (Photo from R2AK’s Facebook page)

A fleet of 40 vessels left the marina of Port Townsend, Wash., in the early morning of June 5, and set sail to Ketchikan, Alaska.

As of June 28, only 16 of those crews had completed this 750-mile race. Among those finishers is Unfinished Business, which ranked fifth, after spending seven days and 23 hours at sea.

The six-men crew included Comox Valley residents Brian Muir and Joshua Chan, along with Kevin Noel, Mederic Fermi, Steve Rogak of Vancouver, as well as Vojta Zarsky from Czechia.

Although completing this race is already a daunting task, competitors have to do it aboard a vessel that can solely be powered either manually (i.e. oars/paddles) or by the wind. Not for the faint of heart, competitors had to rely completely on themselves.

“We were on our own and the race is unsupported,” said Muir. “You’re not allowed to have shore support or anything prearranged along the way.

“The idea behind this race kind of harkens back to the days of ancient Mariners where they had no engine and could only rely on the winds and the tides.”

In 2022, the team had to abandon the race after their mast snapped in Johnson Straight, a few kilometres past Saward.

With the firm intention of finishing the race, the team re-enrolled the following year.

Onboard their 29-foot monohull sailboat, the crew embarked on North America’s longest human and wind-powered race with confidence.

Even though Muir mentioned that winds were particularly ruthless this year, the team performed well and finished the race unscathed.

“We sailed a very smart race,” explained Muir. “We were conservative in our approach and we kind of showed that it was a good strategy. Some boats that didn’t follow this strategy were knocked out of the race.”

A few kayakers, paddleboarders, and a rowboater took on the Salish Sea alongside catamarans and other high-performance vessels.

While being a competitive event, Muir highlighted that simply finishing the race is a victory in itself.

The first team to complete the race received $10,000. The second prize is a set of steak knives and there is no prize for third place.

Eric Pesty, who sailed solo, finished third and was awarded, by the first-place team, a butter knife with his name engraved on the back.

To know more about the race or see this year’s results visit

READ MORE: Race to Alaska a test of skill, endurance

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