Edmonds a pit stop for motorless boat racers

On a calm, gray Friday morning, two men on stand-up paddleboards approached the beach at Edmonds Marina. After the introductions, the two – Scott Baste of the Florida Keys and Tom Micek of Miami – shared their stories. They are part of a group of people who have joined an adventure race called WA360a nautical counter-clockwise loop around Puget Sound from Port Townsend to Port Townsend, with stopping points along the way.

Participants must reach all points on their chosen mode of transport without using motors. Baste mentioned that he and Micek — competing as Team Freedom — are the only participant in stand-up paddleboarding. Other entries include sailboats, kayaks, canoes, and even a Viking-looking wooden rowboat. Participants have two weeks to complete the course to be considered graduates. The race started Monday morning at 6 a.m. in Port Townsend. Since Monday, Baste and Micek have traveled to Olympia Shoal – their first southernmost crossing point. They spent last night at Bainbridge after heading north, resting about every 15 miles. While en route on Friday morning, Baste said: “We spotted a whale (they didn’t know if it was a gray whale or a humpback whale) about a hundred yards away. but close enough to hear the hiss as she blew her beak.”

Their stop at Edmonds was for a quick break to eat an energy snack. They still have waypoints at Goat Island, Bellingham and Point Roberts to reach before returning to Port Townsend.

Another participant, the Barely Heumann team, spent the night in Edmonds Marina in a Nauticraft Escapade pedal boat.

A third participant, the wooden rowboat mentioned earlier, was Team Time and Tides, skippered by the Hammer brothers – Jens and Jake. Jens lives in Manning, Oregon, but is originally from Petersburg, Alaska, where his brother Jake still lives. Their boat was hand built by JSmith in Anacortes. It’s made of Alaskan yellow cedar and is known as the Geit Bat (Goat Boat) “because it scales waves like a goat scales mountains,” Jake said.

Incidentally, the wolf’s head on the Hammers’ boat is from a legal kill – which occurred when the two brothers were surrounded by a pack of wolves on their way to their cabin in Alaska.

— Story and photos by Julia Wiese

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