There’s a fleet of sailboats racing from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan, Alaska right now called the Race to Alaska that set out June 30. First prize: $10,000. Second prize: A set of steak knives. There is no third prize.

The race, organized by the Northwest Maritime Center, saw its inaugural run last year, when 35 jaunty mariners set out for the 750-mile passage north, each gunning for the prize. But after the first 24 hours, 13 of them had dropped out. Finally, a three man team in a sailboat called the Elsie Piddock from Seattle, took the $10,000. It took them eight days. 

Realistically, for the rank and file racers, it’s the steak knives that make the genuine prize, because there will always be a hotshot crew that will best the fleet. But really as Plato taught us, isn’t the trip the thing?

The rules are simple: No motors; one stopover in Victoria, BC (not a bad destination), and a secondary means of propulsion, such as oars, in order to dock properly.

This year, 65 teams are crashing upwind to Ketchikan. The boats range from 26-foot sloops to 16-foot catamarans, and even some sailing canoes. As races go, this one really is the Gumball Rally of nautical contests.

For more on the race visit R2ak.com