Four days and 700 miles after departing from Victoria, British Columbia, Team Pure and Wild Freeburd sailed into Ketchikan, making them the winners of the 2017 Race to Alaska.
Amidst light rain, with fog eclipsing the tops of the surrounding mountains, brothers Tripp, Chris and Trevor Burd guided their trimaran, “Mama Tried,” into Thomas Basin Harbor. They were met with a booming gunshot, cheers and whistles.
Around 30 people gathered at the to welcome the winners to Ketchikan. Many had been watching the race closely using the online tracker. It was an exciting finish, because Pure and Wild was neck and neck most of the last few hours with Team Big Broderna. This was the closest finish for first place in Race To Alaska’s short history.
The Burd brothers stepped off of the boat onto the slippery dock, groaning as only men who have spent four days whipped by the sea and wind can.
Tripp nudged Trevor, the youngest brother, to ring the bell stationed on the edge of the dock – marking their Race to Alaska finish.
Tripp and Chris had both braved the Race to Alaska before – Chris in 2015, and Tripp both years– but this was Trevor’s first experience in the West Coast challenge.
“They’ve done the race before, and I don’t think they told me what it was all about, you know?” Trevor said. “I thought I was signing up for a sailboat race! But, no, it was definitely cool to do it with them and there’s no one I’d rather do it with. Even if they did, you know, trick me into it.”
Despite his years of sailing experience, he says conditions just after they broke away from the protection of the islands were fairly extreme.
“We got some big waves and some really nasty stuff that, kind of, all you’re doing is nursing the boat through and trying not to break yourself or anything like that, really. I sail full time and those were the biggest waves I’ve ever seen, so… Pretty nasty,” Trevor said.
When asked if he was considering racing again next year, Trevor groaned.
“Oh, man, it’s too early to ask that question, man. Way too early for that,” Trevor said. “Yeah, we’ll see what schedule’s like next year, with that. See if I can finally dry out before then.”
Minutes after Pure and Wild arrived, Big Broderna sailed past the finish line.
The Burd brothers will walk away with the first place prize of $10,000, and Big Broderna’s crew will receive a set of steak knives.
In third place is Team Bad Kitty. That boat has not yet reached Prince Rupert, so it’s at least a day away from the finish line.