Alaska Bound - West Wind Hardwood

Andrew Akehurst Recounts His R2AK Race Journey

The race was way more than I imagined it would be.  I foresaw struggle and beauty and learning, but not at what intensity those things would occur. I dropped my phone overboard on day three (it took us 20 days) so I became effectively removed from my normal life completely.  Rowing and constant stressful decision making led to mental and physical exhaustion so I would pass out every night with no thoughts in my head. 

The flowing seascape and skyline mountain misty views, combined with complete disconnection turned the trip into an extremely meditative experience, leaving me unsure as to whether it had all been a dream by the time we reached Ketchikan.  The hardest parts were dealing with expectations that would constantly get stacked against weather conditions and currents, often leaving us helpless with no way to make headway.  Fear was a constant daily companion, unsure of what we would meet and how we could handle it, having had at least 6 “close calls”, that left us both rattled.   

Best parts were the thrill of sailing strongly on good wind days, the calm of rowing in a glass sea, unknown beautiful destination each day, camaraderie and freedom with stars to watch in the night.  After having pushed so hard to finish the boat on time and get to Ketchikan, the feeling upon finishing was of great release, peace and of having no needs, but the need to rest and enjoy.  


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