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Duel For Steak Knives Adds Drama To Race To Alaska

Leila Kheiry
The happy Race to Alaska winners hold their $10,000 nailed to a hunk of wood Friday. From left, Al Hughes and Matt Steverson, two of the three crew members from Seattle.

A steak-knife fight on the high seas has captivated Northwest yachting fans for the past day.

More precisely, it’s about a set of steak knives which the second-place finisher earned in the inaugural Race to Alaska for non-motorized boats.

A trimaran named Mail Order Bride overtook another Canadian crew in a Hobie 33 named Por Favor to win the set of steak knives. This happened just hours ago in the wee hours of Monday morning.

The $10,000 first prize in the race from Port Townsend, Washington, to Ketchikan was already claimed on Friday. Sailor Matt Steverson of the first place crew from Seattle said he's not sure what will happen to the prize money.

"We didn't do it for the money, bottom line. I don't think we've talked about it,” Steverson said with a chuckle.

Steverson and his adventure-seeking crewmates from the trimaran Elsie Piddock waited in Ketchikan for more than two days to welcome the runner-ups.

The Port Townsend-based Northwest Maritime Center organized the 750-mile race up the Inside Passage. The nonprofit’s director told public radio last week that he’ll evaluate whether or not to repeat the event after all the racers are safely home.

Twenty-eight teams cast off for the full race to Ketchikan. Howling winds and equipment failures forced nine boats out of the race last week. Sixteen teams continue to sail or paddle northward.

Now semi-retired, Tom Banse covered national news, business, science, public policy, Olympic sports and human interest stories from across the Northwest. He reported from well known and out–of–the–way places in the region where important, amusing, touching, or outrageous events unfolded. Tom's stories can be found online and were heard on-air during "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered" on NPR stations in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.