Using only their wits, the wind and lots of muscle power, more than 100 of people in more than 50 crafts set off early Thursday on Stage 1 of a 750-mile ocean-going race that weaves its way up the Inside Passage, a treacherous coastal waterway through a spackling of islands known for its dramatic tidal changes and spectacular scenery.
The inaugural Race to Alaska has drawn rowers, sailors, canoers and kayakers from across the country to compete in a contest that only has a few rules - no motors allowed and no help once you start.
The first to reach Ketchikan, Alaska, will take home $10,000. Second place gets a set of steak knives. Everyone who enters gets a T-shirt and bragging rights.