The 145 mile Race Around Revilla will take place in Summer 2022 and includes divisions for human-powered, wind-powered and engine-powered watercraft
Presented by the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and the Ketchikan Visitors Bureau, the Race Around Revilla is already attracting interest throughout Southeast Alaska and beyond.
“We’ve already got sponsors such as Alaska Airlines and more big names to be announced,” says Michelle O’Brien, Director of the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce. “And local Ketchikan businesses are jumping at the chance to showcase what our town has to offer.”
With a second cruise ship season in jeopardy and the Race to Alaska sailboat race cancelled due to the lingering effects of COVID-19, the town of Ketchikan was growing restless. When local business leaders Terry and Mary Wanzer proposed the idea to colleagues, the idea immediately caught on.
“Ketchikan has always been a place where we roll up our sleeves and find a way to make things happen,” Terry relates. “We’ve figured out how to thrive after the end of logging, fluctuations in the fishing industry, and now uncertainties in the cruise industry.”
“And why not have a little fun while we’re at it?” Mary adds.
The course will take competitors clockwise around Revillagigedo (“Revilla”) Island. From downtown Ketchikan, racers will proceed north up Tongass Narrows past Ward Cove, and the northernmost stretches of Ketchikan’s road system near Knudson Cove. From there, they enter Behm (pronounced “Beam”) Canal, the channel separating the remote regions of the island from mainland Canada. They’ll pass landmarks like Bell Island Hot Springs, the Coastal Range of the Canadian Rockies, New Eddystone Rock, and the majestic Misty Fjords National Monument.
While the winners of the engine-powered division will likely complete the 145-mile Race Around Revilla within one day, the other groups will finish over the course of several. Festivities in Ketchikan will continue throughout the duration of the event.
As sponsors continue to jump aboard the event, prizes are still to be announced. While winnings will no doubt be impressive, they will perhaps pale in comparison to the bragging rights that the winners of Race Around Revilla will carry with them wherever they go.
“It’s 145 miles through remote wilderness with nothing but you, your watercraft, and something to prove,” says race co-planner Jeremy Yoder, “If you’ve got the guts, you deserve the glory.”