Welcome to Part II of our series on those courageous teams who achieved the most difficult feat of R2AK, calling it quits. As we highlight the next team, we are going to avoid fixating on the obvious trope of the ominous team name, warning of things to come, and lean into their indomitable spirit. Here’s to Team Harbinger!
Team Harbinger took the “No Motor” rule to the next level on their way back home. Last we heard, June was ending, their Trimaran was abandoned by the railroad tracks, and the transmission of their car was sitting on a table in the repair shop of Cle Elum, Washington. I looked up “Things to Do in Cle Elum,” which included something called The Whimsical Wheelbarrow Tower or staring at rock formations. The town sheriff rode up on an electric bike (he gets a motor!) to investigate why a trimaran is hanging out by the tracks for a week, shoot the shit, vowed to keep her safe and motored away.
How did this team end up on land? Well, several days into the race, they had fallen a bit behind in the pack and pushed their boat hard to make up some time. While crossing the active pass in the Straights of Georgia, they were about to be run over by a ferry and made an emergency jibe to ditch out of its way…right into the back of a wave, running in 25 knot winds. In true Michael Bay fashion, the forward most chain plate ripped out, pulling the bowsprit, sail and 3 feet of deck up with it. But Team Harbinger didn’t quit! This is the moment when Freddy would foolishly refuse to give up. Like the Black Knight from Monty Python, they hobbled with no legs screaming, “It’s just a flesh wound!” and managed to sail the boat in this condition in to shore and go to the hardware store for a bit of plywood.
It’s the reaction of people facing a decision they really don’t want to make. Plywood in hand, and staring at the wreckage, they took a deep breathe of salt air, swallowed down the vomit reaching up through their throat and on June 14 at 2:00pm, they called the race boss to abandon R2AK.
Smart move Harbinger. We respect you, and we hope you finally made it home, or at least got to see that sweet, whimsical tower!