Ketchikan is kicking off a new event this summer. Motor boats, sailboats, kayaks and other watercraft will compete in four categories for cash, prizes and glory.  Organizers are hoping competitors throughout the state will enter.28RevillaRace_web

For the second year in a row, the Race to Alaska is off. The 750-mile non-motorized boat race from Port Townsend, Washington to Ketchikan was canceled because of pandemic restrictions.

So Ketchikan’s Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau are teaming up for an all-Alaska regatta: The Race Around Revilla.

The 126.5-nautical mile course starts in downtown Ketchikan and takes participants clockwise around Revillagigedo Island.

Jai Mahtani is one of the race organizers.

“Those of you who are athletes that kayak, those of you who have sailboats or wind-powered boats, register and have fun. Make it a great community event.”

The race is split into four divisions. There are classes for human-powered watercraft, like canoes and kayaks, both for solo racers and relay teams. Sailboats are eligible for another division, and the last class is for small powerboats: no more than 18 feet long, and no more than 50 horsepower.

The registration fee is $126.50 per participant, one dollar for each nautical mile raced.

Chamber executive director Michelle O’Brien says all of the money raised through sponsorships and registration fees will be used to pay for costs and prizes. Winners in each of the four divisions will receive at least $2,500, but possibly more, depending on the number of sponsors and entrants.

“We’re not looking to make any money on this event. This is not a money-making event. That’s why you might see the prizes go up.”

While stressing they want everyone to have fun, Mahtani also says safety is a priority.

“We’ll have (SPOT) beacons. We’ll have spotters all over the place. This is the first year, trial and error. However, this is going to be an iconic event in Ketchikan’s history.”

O’Brien says they’ve also rented two cabins along the route.

“So if there’s inclement weather or people are just extremely exhausted or anything like that, they can easily pull into the cabins. We’re going to have those manned with teams. They’ll be kind of like waypoints, if you will, with teams.”

The Race Around Revilla kicks off with a community celebration on Ketchikan’s cruise ship docks August 12 with the race starting the next morning. And like any good regatta, O’Brien says there will also be a celebration at the finish.

“We’re going to do a block party at the finish line to make the awards and everything else. It should be great. So even if you’re not willing to get out there on a boat and torture yourself for 126.5 miles you can still come out and join in the fun.”

O’Brien and Mahtani say they’re still looking for volunteers to help out on the docks, along with boat owners willing to follow along to cheer teams on and make sure no one ends up stranded in the Misty Fjords. They say they’re hoping to make “Race Around Revilla” an annual event.


Those interested in volunteering should contact O’Brien at the Chamber. Registration and additional information is available at the Race Around Revilla website. We’ve posted links with this story on our website – 

In the interest of full disclosure, Jai Mahtani is a KRBD board member.