To start up a new business and turn it into a success is challenging and usually requires a person with lots of energy, determination, resilience and guts. Jack Gallagher founder of award winning independent letting agents Western Lettings in Glasgow will be relying on these very traits to help him succeed in his latest adventure, the R2AK boat race from Washington State to Alaska starting on 14th June 2018
What is the Race to Alaska (R2AK)
This is a North America’s longest wind powered race following a centuries old route first paddled by native canoes and later by endless prospectors wanting to make their fortune during the Klondike gold rush. The R2AK race is open to any type of boat without an engine e.g. sails, oars or paddles. The rules of the race are that it is to be completely self- supported which means that pre-arranged services or supply drops along the route are not allowed. The route itself is particularly brutal with killer whales, 20 miles an hour tidal currents as well as freighters and grizzly bears to be avoided. With no official safety net to help boats who get into difficulty good planning and preparation are essential skills. With this in mind it is not surprising that not all teams on the start line manage to complete the route. In fact last year 41 boats started and only 27 finished!
Although there is no official course, the following waypoints must be reached
Part 1: Start 14th June – Port Townsend to Victoria BC (40 miles)
Part 2: Starts 17th June – Victoria to Ketchikan (Alaska) (710 miles)
Jack is one of a team of 4 experienced sailors forming team Ptarmigan. All of the team members with the exception of Jack are from Colorado. They will be sailing in a Trimaran F28. This type of sailboat has 3 hulls and can move incredibly fast across the water. If you would like to follow Ptarmigan, each boat carries a satellite tracker and interactive maps are updated every 15 minutes – (tracker.r2ak.com). You can also follow team Ptarmigan on Instagram.
Letting Agent and Experienced Sailor
As well as running a very successful letting agents in Glasgow, Jack is an experienced sailor with over 30 years under his belt. During the summer months he loves to sail every weekend and if possible at least one evening a week. He also tries to fit in one big trip per year, usually somewhere in Scotland. Competing is not new to Jack and his boat on the river Clyde regularly wins major regattas and as well as the UK class championships in 2016. However the R2AK is a race like no other so even with decades of sailing experience between them, the Ptarmigan team have put in some serious preparation work including a month long training trip to California in April.
Jack says “I am really looking forward to this latest Alaskan challenge. I’m sure that it will test all our sailing skills to the absolute max. Hopefully we will have done enough training for team Ptarmigan to perform well. We are also really looking forward to a more relaxed week long trip home on a 60 foot sailboat with plenty of time to enjoy the fantastic wildlife and stunning scenery that Alaska has to offer.”