11 – Team Grasshopper: Nate Rooks aboard “Grasshopper” (Paparazzi steed)

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Grasshopper was built as a back-of-a-napkin efficiency experiment from leftover parts by Russell Brown. A custom plywood/composite pod rides atop Tornado hulls, braced by leftover carbon mast sections. With an extra-long-shaft 15hp Honda 4-stroke hanging out the aft end of the pod, Grasshopper will do 15 knots at a gallon an hour through just about any conditions. I made a platform to span the built-in bench seats and repurposed some old tent poles and a rainfly, creating one heck of a camp-cruiser.

In a past life I spent my time trying to get 60ft-long carbon shells to go as fast as possible. After 15 years of that, I quit cold turkey with just one thing in mind – sailing and rowing a small (but unsinkable!) dinghy up the Inside Passage with my brother, Cooper. Bunny Whaler changed my life. We were close to the last winners of R2AK 2016, and our adventure on that little polished foam-filled bathtub changed my life. We also did the inaugural Barefoot Raid in Bunny. Riding those coattails, I built a rowboat for Seventy48 and raced twice, both times finishing in about 14 hours and 11th place. After slightly overdosing on those physical endeavors, I roped a friend into buying an experimental motorboat called GRASSHOPPER, which will be my steed for this Raid as I try to capture some of the stories, fun, and boats on video. I hope to return to human- and sail-powered boats soon, but Grasshopper’s a little too fun to worry about that right now.


10 – Team Bunny Whaler: Cooper Rooks aboard “Bunny Whaler” (Boston Whaler Harpoon 5.2)

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Bunny Whaler: self bailing, sliding seat rowing, 3x reef full batten main, reefable jib, asymmetrical spinnaker. “Unsinkable” but usually wet.

I’m a middle school teacher. I have loved sailing since I bought an El Toro for $50 and a batch of homemade pasta from my neighbor at age 8. I raced lasers in high school, cruised and raced a Moore 24 during my 20’s, sailed from Seattle to sail land NZ in 2007,and have been dinghy cruising in my foam filled plastic tub named Bunny Whaler in my 30’s. Finished Race to Alaska in 2016, delivered boats back each summer since. Did the Barefoot Raid 2018, missed 2019 for a delivery, and can’t wait to race and hang with the gang in 2020. Probably bringing Bunny, but working on acquiring a secret wooden speed demon.


  • R2AK 2016 full race: 24th to Ketchikan (23 days 22 hours)
  • R2AK 2017 stage 1: 34th to Victoria
  • 2018 results: 8th place Bunny Whaler (Coop and Nate) — 54 points

9 – Team ACE: Daniel Ackermann (TriRaid 5.6) it

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Home-built TriRaid 560S trimaran designed by Klaus Metz. Readied for the R2AK with all safety gear and electronics. Square-topped fully battened main sail, working jib and Code 0. Using Hobie Mirage drive as auxiliary propulsion.

Adventurer by nature. Nothing spectacular like climbing Everest or crossing the North Pole solo. Parachutist, Open Water SCUBA, Bush Medic, amateur survivalist. Attempted 2019 R2AK, but broke boat rudder on first leg and pulled out.


8 – Team Sisters: Pamela Mickelwait and Michelle Trautwein (Jersey Skiff 17′)

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Pamela with her Jersey Skiff

Gig Harbor Boat Works 17’ Jersey Skiff built in 2015. Built for sailing and rowing.

Michelle: I’m the 60-year-old little sister of Pamela Mickelwait and will be her crew and a better companion to her than an experienced sailor. What I’m trying to say is I’m just good company for her and I’m going along with her for moral support and courage because she needs it and it’s what I do best. In other words, she can’t go without me.

Pamela: I enjoy being on the water with others. I wish I was 40. I have sailing experience. I’m easy going and somewhat adventurous. I’m not the bravest person on the planet but I am equipped with a dose of courage.

7 – Team Fib: Randy Wheating aboard Fib (Scamp 12′)

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Life long West Coast boy recently retired and now splitting my time between Vancouver and Gibsons. Always enjoyed a variety of outdoors activities on the water and in the hills and love spending time with like-minded folks. Leaving ashore my wife, two grown boys, and a terrier named Farley for a week of Raiding!

My Raid boat is a John Welsford designed 12′ SCAMP, self-built from a Duckworks CNC cut kit. Only launched in 2019 so still working things out… She is named ‘Fib’ due to her being a tiny ship with a bad case of small ship syndrome.

5 – Team Sea Runners: Cora Reese & Scott Veirs aboard “Manuoku” (Wharram Hitia 17′)

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The best team – confirmed by web designers

Scott is an oceanographer-father based in Seattle who learned to sail on the reservoirs of Colorado. He’s cruised Puget Sound and the San Juans aboard a Wharram Tiki 21 with occasional forays into the Gulf Islands and Desolation Sound. Cora is his favorite child and is always better than her brother at everything. She has strengths in everything and her weaknesses include nothing.

Scott built Manuoku (a modified Hitia 17) with Thomas Nielsen for the 2015 Race to Alaska in part to continue exploring the crab claw sailing rig and pedal-powered boats. After getting beaten up by the Qualicum winds of Nanaimo, Manuoku had a great voyage as far north as Telegraph Cove. Of all the R2AK adventures on that trip, though, the most ecstatic moments were the short, competitive sub-races that developed by luck occasionally between a few small boats with like-minded sailing friends. We’re ready for more of that kind of joy. Manuoku competed in the inaugural 2018 “Seventy 48” human-power-only race (32nd out of 101).


  • 2015 Race Towards Alaska (bowed out after 2 weeks at Telegraph Cove)
  • 2018 Seventy 48 (32nd out of 101 human-powered boats)
  • 2018 results: 4th Sea Runners (Scott and Cora) — 44 points
  • 2019 results: 3rd Sea Runners (Scott Veirs and Cora Reese) – 30 points

4 – Team Cheese Whizzz: Robin Slieker aboard “Cheese” (Tornado 20′)

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Cheese the Tornado.

My boat is a Tornado, the 20 foot, twin trapeze Olympic sailing catamaran. I’ve modified mine slightly by adding wing seats. This is the second Tornado I’ve owned because they’re such great crafts

Robin: I’m not a rower, I’m a sailor, as in actually sailing. I was fortunate to experience sailing at a young age thanks to my mother. My first sailboat was a tornado which I sailed from Sydney, Victoria to Port Hardy via Johnny Strait and everywhere in between for many summers. I love sailing, small boats, and adventure. I like to sail fast and then get real slow on the beach👻💛👣👀👽

Tim: i love boating about aswell as kicking back at the seashore

  • 2019 results: 4th place Cheese Balls (Robin Slieker and Tim Santon) – 35

3 – Team Ballpoint Buccaneers: Quill Goldman & crew aboard “Dick Smiley” (19’ Tad Roberts)

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Dick Smiley 2019

I like sailing. And boats. And I like people who like sailing and boats. I hope you will do boat sailing with me.

2 – Team Miss Moose: Suzanne Steele & Jeff Hillberry aboard “Miss Moose” (17′ Siren)

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We of Team ‘Miss Moose’ (motto: Servate nobis aliquam cenam [Save Us Dinner]) like to think we bring a whole new appreciation to the concept of ‘finalists’ to this wondrous competition of sleek, well-built, and beautiful little wooden boats, none of which describes our own little beauty. Miss Moose, a 17′ Siren, is a sturdy fibreglass Boler-of-a-boat who has served us well, notably, in 2015, on a 2200 km journey from the ice fields of the Rocky Mountains, the birthplace of the mighty river highway the historic North Saskatchewan, to the upper reaches (through Class 3 rapids), all the way to outfall at the heart of the continent at Lake Winnipeg. Miss Moose has provided us shelter and adventure for five years, allowing us to cruise sea lion colonies (that is until we saw that sea lions actually jump ONTO little boats like MM), explore islands, bob on Bain Sound in summer, and has acted as a fine ambassador for us, so non-threatening is she to this fine cadre of competitive sailors.

‘Skip’, a.k.a. ‘Captain Tinker,’ Jeff Hilberry, has spent his lifetime playing music, running reforestation crews, and now works in the film industry. Otherwise his time has been well-spent ‘messing about on boats,’ to quote Mole, from Wind In The Willows. Until recently, he has owned nothing smaller than a 30ft sailboat, having lived aboard a 36′ Atkin for many years while raising a family. With Miss Moose, however, he reports he can now sleep at night, especially during big storms knowing the boat is snug on her trailer back at his Denman Island ranch.

 ‘What do you mean I can only bring 10 books with me on the raid?’ Dr. Steele is reported to have said when informed by Skip that Miss Moose needed to lighten her load in order to race, and, interestingly, before a full set of Skip’s tools, including a cordless drill set, emerged from the hold after MM’s outboard motor broke during the race. When Suzanne, a doctor of the soul (PhD) and poet, isn’t busy writing operas  (premiere 2020), she dreams of being a contender on the water. Despite having grown up on the North Shore of Vancouver, Steele has never sailed, the BF Raid of 2018 being her first time on the ocean outside of little toodles around Denman Island. Regretting missing the 2019 Raid, Steele is said to be in training for the 2020 Raid, determined to see MM’s team become the ACTUAL FINALIST this year, having been ‘robbed’ of the position by an unnamed team!!!!

As diehard Detroit Tigers fans, Steele and Hilberry demonstrate our lifelong  commitment to the idea of being ‘finalists’!


  • 2018 results: placed #14 Miss Moose (Jeff and Suzanne) — 106 points