Skipper Jim Mahan and his boat, Loaa Nalu, captured the 2007 Spirit of Adventure sailboat race on Saturday.
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Buoyed by a blazing start, Mahan and his crew beat two other boats in the 23rd annual race around Admiralty Island.
"It was a three-boat race and we had what I'd call a dream reach from Icy Strait to Baranof Hot Springs," Mahan said. "We were averaging four to five knots the whole way. You couldn't ask for more. My first leg was 18 hours and 33 minutes. For a slow boat like mine, it was exceptional."
In the second leg back, Mahan, first mate Fred Fisher and crew members Ron Kreher and Bob Bartholomew negotiated the fog and cruise ships in the final stretches.
With little wind, the Loaa Nalu drifted toward the finish line.
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"We were just drifting at a knot at best toward the finish line," Mahan said. "Your steerage is minimal, so we stayed out of the way. The cruise ships are really good. They radio you if there is any question. There was no issues. I couldn't see them, but I knew it was coming because they hailed. When they did go by it was like a ghost in the fog."
Skipper Brock Weidner's Spindrift placed second while Dave Dierdorf's Toison Dor withdrew in the final leg.
The Spirit of Adventure is always the high point of the competitive sailing calendar.
The stopover at Baranof Hot Springs after the leg serves as the ideal time for sailors, fishermen and crabbers to get together and relax.
"Hot Springs was great," Mahan said. "The docks were pretty full. Crabbing was just starting out there, and there were trollers. It's a wonderful place to lay over."
The race around Admiralty Island is a big event, but a number of Juneau Cup Challenge races remain.
The Admiralty Cove Rendezvous, the fourth round of the Juneau Cup Challenge, will take place July 14-15. The race goes up and back from Juneau and Admiralty Cove.
Round five will take place July 28-29. The Funter Bay Rendezvous goes from Auke Bay to Funter Bay and back.
Anyone interested in racing or joining a crew, regardless of experience, can contact the Juneau Yacht Club for more information.
"Anyone who can join the Rendezvous is free to," Mahan said. "Whether they're sailors or not."
Tim Nichols, sports editor, can be reached at email@example.com.
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