March 20, 2020

To our SEVENTY48 community,

I imagine in this day and age our news feed looks very similar and is awash in COVID updates. The answer you won’t find there is, “What about the races, R2AK and SEVENTY48?” They are still on.

The Northwest Maritime Center, proud non-profit of both races, has made some strategic and dramatic shifts to stay ahead of the pitfalls other companies who, if they deny the impact of COVID-19, may succumb to in the ensuing weeks. While restricting other Maritime Center activities, we have decided to focus on our magazine, 48º North, and three events: Race to Alaska, SEVENTY48, and our fall event, The Wooden Boat Festival.

Our races were created to celebrate the improbable hero in us all and recognize the power of togetherness in overcoming adversity. The Northwest Maritime Center has chosen to reflect that culture and those precepts. Even now, as Canada and the US agreed to further restrict travel across our shared border, we adapt. Can we run R2AK around Canada? Could we have separate starts? Better yet, can we bring in our more economical American cheese to Canada, exchange it for toilet paper, and reclassify R2AK as a trade partner? Year one of Race to Alaska was a success against all odds, so why not year six? Hurdles involving SEVENTY48, for now, appear less dramatic. We will continue.

We choose not to be held hostage by this global fear and are proceeding full steam ahead with pre-race social media campaigns, racer bios, features, and exploring a video blog or podcast to enhance the storytelling. The reality is that, by far, the largest viewing numbers we experience for both races are online. Ironically, the viewing of our races is made for this pandemic and people will be starving for something reflecting the human determination, hope, and courage we all seek to lead us out of this plight. I plan to offer just that. A successful year must mean success for us all. The aphorism, “A rising tide lifts all boats,” has never been more true or important. I will strive for our races to continue to be a beacon of innovation, hope and strength.

I ask you to continue posting on your own social feeds and sites. Train, help, and unite. Tell us and the world about it. Let’s be that rising tide together. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. I will be putting out more information as we learn more. I am glad you are along for the ride.

Daniel Evans, Race Boss