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Victoria sailor clocks fastest solo time in history of Race to Alaska

Eric Pesty brought his multihull sailing ship, the Pestou, into Ketchikan Harbour on Friday morning.
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Race to Alaska competitor Eric Pesty. VIA FACEBOOK

A Victoria sailor finished third overall in the gruelling Race to Alaska, but clocked the best solo time in the history of the competition where participants can use only wind and human power to propel their vessels.

Eric Pesty brought his multi­hull sailing ship, the Pestou, into Ketchikan Harbour on Friday morning, completing the 1,200-kilometre race from Port Townsend, Washington in seven days, 22 hours and 44 minutes. Pesty uses sails and a pedal-to-prop mechanism on his vessel.

It was the fastest time for a solo sailor in the eight-year history of the race and considered an impressive feat against teams who have multiple sailors to share duties.

Pesty handily beat the previous record set in 2018 by Russell Brown who had a time of eight days, four hours and 16 minutes.

“What a week it’s been … hard to believe I actually made [it] here, but it’s starting to feel real,” Pesty said in a social media post Saturday, before getting some well-deserved sleep.

Another Victoria entry, Team Ship of Fools, finished seventh overall after arriving in Ketchikan early Saturday. The monohull sailboat was crewed by Kevin Greenwood, Nigel Greenwood, Richard Greenwood, Dave Blake, Ian Greenwood and Tony Greenwood and finished in eight days, 18 hours and 50 minutes.

A sailboat team called We Brake for Whales won the Race to Alaska. The 40-foot mono hull sailboat Gray Wolf, skippered by Jeanne Goussev of Port Townsend and eight crew arrived in Ketchikan early on Wednesday morning, finishing the race in five days, 18 hours and 59 minutes.

The team, which won in 2018 as Sail Like a Girl, is the first two-time winner of the Race to Alaska.

The annual race is North America’s longest human- and wind-powered race, and has the largest cash prize at $10,000 for the winner, and a set of steak knives for the second-place finisher.

The second-place entry was catamaran Team Budgie Smugglers, which finished in seven days 10 hours and four minutes with a five-person crew.

Team Dacron & Denim from Seattle was fourth overall in seven days 23 hours, Team Unfinished Business from Vancouver was fifth at seven days 23 hours and 25 minutes, followed by Team Ruff Duck of Seattle at eight days, 18 hours and 30 minutes.

The race takes place in two stages. The Proving Ground is a 25-kilometre race from Port Townsend to Victoria and acts as a qualifier. The second stage continues on to Alaska. Twenty-nine teams started the second leg from Victoria.

dkloster@timescolonist.com

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