We bring a remarkable story about ‘Ziska’, a yacht built by Crossfields of Arnside, England in 1903. She’s just completed the Race to Alaska (R2AK) in 2019, 116 years after she was built!
The rules: “no motor, no support, 750 cold water miles of the Canadian Inner Passage from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan, Alaska”. Designed to showcase the latest technology for human and wind powered boats, R2AK attracts entries from a wide range of craft, from modern foiling trimarans, finishing in just over four days, to a two-man rowing boat, ‘Backwards AF’, still racing at 4 knots with 21 miles to go.
‘Ziska’ crossed the line after 16 days, reported in a post on Facebook. She survived early gales unharmed, whilst many of her modern competitors suffered damage. Race Boss Daniel Evans said, “It has been great to see ‘Ziska’ sailing better than most people thought she would. For something weighing over 12.5 tonnes. She has performed really well.”
‘Ziska’ was built in Arnside, on the west coast of England in 1903 at Crossfield Brothers’ Boatyard on Church Hill. Little did anyone know all those years ago that ‘Ziska’ would one day take part in the gruelling Race to Alaska on the other side of the world. She spent most of her early life in the Irish Sea, being registered in Dublin. Bought by a 19-year old in 1997, ‘Ziska’ was sailed across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. In 2006 she was transported across America by road to Port Townsend on the West Coast. In 2017 ‘Ziska’ was purchased by shipwright Stanford Siver who has spent the last two years restoring the boat before entering her in the R2AK.
Day 16 Race report from Ketchikan
You might have noticed a certain smell in the air this morning; plumes of smoke wafted skyward as luddites worldwide lit their whale oil and coal-fueled boilers to build up enough pressure in their internet machines so they could tune in to see their standard bearer, Team Ziska, finish their marathon run whose latest starting line was 16 days to the stern. From the race to rebuild, to seemingly spending 18 of their 16 days upwind in light air in Hecate Strait, Team Ziska’s race is impressive stuff. In keeping with their pace and nature, their story will be told after the telegraph dit-dahs the info to the home office and we can line up typeset and start cranking this story out by hand. We’re sharpening our quills and twirling our mustaches in anticipation.