Brothers Tackle Treacherous Race To Alaska In 28-Foot Sailboat

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Meet the Burd brothers: 32-year-old Tripp, 30-year-old Chris and 28-year-old Trevor. They'll launch their 28-foot sailboat from Port Townsend, Washington, on Thursday as part of the Race to Alaska.

Here & Now's Robin Young talks with Tripp and Chris about preparation for this year's race.

Interview Highlights

On why they're making the trip again

Tripp: "There's nothing else like it — although all of us are very experienced in the ocean, we do a lot of sailboat racing, and there's no other challenge we've found that can connect all the levels of, you know, competitiveness, but also adventure and exploring new areas.

"This year we've got something a little bit bigger and it has some downstairs. We've got a little double-wide coffin with a stove set-up, and being able to tuck in and out of the wind and waves is gonna be convenient."

On whether they're following the advice of a tribal shaman along the journey

Chris: "I think we are. I think we have our smudge sticks ready to go, and I think there really is a connection with the boat and with the conditions, and you kind of have to play the cards that you're given, it's really how you adapt to those. It does come down to kind of what the boat wants to do. Yes, we definitely talk to the boat ... It's definitely, I would say, common to talk to the boat a little bit, specifically in tougher areas on the course."

"It was never a consideration that we weren't gonna go. It makes it extra special."

Tripp Burd, on deciding to take part in the race just after their father's death

On the sights along the way

Tripp: "The most spectacular thing, there was a couple of times that we were just — after several days of really, really challenging conditions, crazy wind and waves that were hammering back every time they hit, and then a moment would come along where everything sort of fell in your favor and you were cranking along making good pace toward the finish and everything just sort of balanced out and was working well. That was the best moment.

"And other times where you'd come across whales or bioluminescence in the water and just, everything was pretty magical."

On sailing with video cameras and other technology, and whether or not they've considered stripping everything away

Tripp: "Absolutely. The lighter you are, the faster you are, so getting rid of all that removes a lot of weight and also a lot of hassle. But at the same time, being able to share the story with friends, family, whatever, and also to remember it by, is a pretty cool tool to have onboard that's worth the small penalty."

On the dangers of the race

Tripp: "The Canadian coast guard comes in and gives a warning the day before the start and makes it pretty clear, you know, it's not so much you call the cops and they come get you. It's several days before a rescue boat can make it to your position. So it does put things in perspective a little bit."

On taking part in the race after losing their father, Charles Burd, recently

Tripp: "It's been a tough month for the Burd family, Burd brothers, but it's something that he got a lot of pride out of seeing us do what we loved, and seeing us all sort of get along and bond together as a family. So, it was never a consideration that we weren't gonna go. It makes it extra special."

This article was originally published on June 07, 2017.

This segment aired on June 7, 2017.



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