R2AK is on!

Follow John Guider in the Guider 2.0 in the Race to Alaska. The boat's name is "You Either Do Stuff Or You Don't". Website is https://r2ak.com/

George K

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RE: R2AK is on!

John Guider's nearly to Victoria as of 1500EST, 1200 local.

The Guider

Not to forget Team "Wee Free Men," sailing a more or less stock CLC Faering Cruiser built from plans. They got to Victoria this morning.

CLC Faering Cruiser

RE: R2AK is on!

Photos of John Guider finishing the qualifying leg in Victoria, BC:

Ringing the bell in Victoria:

RE: R2AK is on!

Just gobsmacked at what John Guider is attempting in such challenging conditons. And what a wonderful single-handed open boat!

RE: R2AK is on!

Really sorry to learn that John Guider has retired from R2AK after capsize in icy waters. .

Really happy he is safe and well after being in the icy drink close to too long.

You either do stuff or you don't.

Congrats John on doing stuff!   

RE: R2AK is on!

Solveig & Wee Free Men are still in the running. Solveig is 63% done, Wee Free Men 58%. They're actually following each other, no one inbetween them. Faerings rule!

RE: R2AK is on!

I've been in touch; John Guider and the boat are fine. He's out but definitely not down!

The Johnstone Strait is a truly evil place for small boats, and especially unforgiving to solo sailors. He needed a perfect weather window and just never got it.

He's en route with the boat's trailer to pick her up. When I get a full debrief I'll report back here.

Looking hale and cheerful shortly after he withdrew:

RE: R2AK is on!

John Guider's got himself a new mobile phone and yesterday I talked to him for about an hour as he was driving up Vancouver Island to retrieve his eponymous expedition boat.  Apologies to John in advance if I fumble any of the details here. Once he's back in civilization he can set me straight.

John had rowed and sailed up the Strait of Georgia and Discovery Passage, about 190 miles from Victoria, BC. But Johnstone Strait, with its wicked tide races and headwinds, was his Waterloo.

Johnstone Strait is about 3 miles wide, runs roughly east and west for 68 miles, and is the channel you take if you're headed from the south to points north, such as Alaska.  You need a fair tide and the right wind conditions, however, and John had been waiting at the east end of Johnstone Strait without much luck.

Finally, on June 16th, he had a fair tide and light winds. The breeze was only 5 knots or so, but the tide would shoot him through in a rush. At least that was the plan. Not long after he'd poked his nose into the Strait, a 30-knot gale came up out of the northwest. Wind-against-tide meant a really nasty sea. He told me it was like having buckets of water thrown at you every few seconds. 

NO small boat can make way in those conditions, and John ran off eastwards, looking to find shelter in the vicinity of the Walkem Islands. It was rough, but he said he was "dealing with things pretty well."

Somewhere southeast of Edith Point, he got caught up in a tidal eddy---a whirlpool---which threw him towards rocks. He had a real fight fending the boat off the rocks but after about a half-hour he was able to row clear. 

Just as he got back to open water, a big gust knocked the boat over. "I was busy fending off, rowing, and getting clear of the whirlpool. I could handle that much, but when you threw a huge gust into the mix it was just one thing too many," he said. At this point, John had managed the boat in 30+ knots of wind for days at a time without incident.

He wasn't dressed for immersion, he said, because the day had started so mildly, with warm temperatures and light air. Capsized, the boat floated calmly at 90 degrees and didn't show any inclination to turtle. Yet it resisted his efforts at righting, for reasons that aren't entirely clear. It's possible that John was simply exhausted from tangling with a whirlpool and getting soaked.

Hypothermic, he issued a mayday with his VHF radio. He was able to give the Victoria Coast Guard an accurate position. A private fishing vessel responded to the call and took him aboard after about 35 minutes in the water. They got him warm and into dry clothes. Two Coast Guard boats arrived, one of which checked to make sure John was okay. The other tended to the boat. It was too rough for a tow, so they anchored the boat in the lee of Edith Point. The next day it was righted and towed down to Rock Bay Marine Provincial Park, where John is meeting it with his trailer. He says that other than some cosmetic scratches from the rocks, the boat seems to be unscathed.

That's the Race to Alaska, for you. It's always been brutal, this year especially so. The solo sailors in small boats have had the toughest race of all. They have to stop and rest, which means sometimes missing narrow windows of tide and wind.These things happen when you go adventuring.

RE: R2AK is on!

Wow. Three days ago the race web page posted only:

On Sunday evening, Team You Either Do Stuff or You Don’t was pulled from the water [by] nearby boaters following a capsize and a call for help in Johnstone Strait. The one crew member onboard was ok, and taken to a nearby resort.

as well as the picture of John G. happily eating his muffin. They left out all the complications and just how fortunate John was to get away unhurt and with only a scratched boat. It made it sound like going over at the local regatta, not like A Descent into the Maelström. They made a lot more fuss about Team Holopuni, even though John's situation seems to have been worse (Holopuni was floating upright, albeit swamped, had 40 miles of sea room, multiple crew and they had their drysuits on).

Very glad to hear that he's OK. Glad that they're all OK.



RE: R2AK is on!

Yikes!  Just looking at the chart for the area:


...gives me the willies.  Half a gale or more from anything west, west-setting tide, bottom coming up from over 100 fathoms to...well...nothing at Ivanhoe Rock right there where Johnstone makes an elbow, rock soup to leeward, all adds up to a definition of a "hard chance" for sure!

Okay, I think R2AK just went on my Bucket List...that is...my Do Not Kick the Bucket list.  Mercy.  John's guardian angel is going to want some comp time, for sure.  Glad he is okay.


RE: R2AK is on!

Team Wee Free Men, as of now 79% complete and gaining on Solveig.




RE: R2AK is on!

   Team Wee Free Men now 99% complete!

RE: R2AK is on!

Wee Free Men have completed the race. Well done!

George K

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