Race to Alaska 2016 – Meet Team Bunny Whaler

June 27, 2016

Team Bunny Whaler: Two young guys in an open Boston Whaler sailboat facing a 750 mile sail to Alaska. They have the skills, the challenge, their favorite beer and a great attitude- the race awaits!

Navigate Further...

Race To Alaska Website

Team Bunny Whaler's Facebook Page

Get Free Videos Start Free Trial Members Sign In


– I’m Cooper Rooks, this is my brother Nate Rooks, and we are Team Bunny Whaler. This is a Boston Whaler that was made between ’78 and ’81 during the oil crisis when they wanted to branch out, so it’s kind of an obscure boat, and Bunny Wailer was the third member of Bob Marley and the Wailers, and most people don’t know that.

– Our uncle named it, it’s the third Bunny Whaler that he’s had, all sailboats made by Boston Whaler.

– [Interviewer] Can you guys give me a little tour of the boat?

– Yeah, it’s back to front.

– Yeah, let’s start at the stern since we’re down here so we’ll go through all 17 feet of it, 5.2 meters, as it says it’s a Harpoon 5.2. This is our solar panel set up, two 17 watt panels that lead into batteries under our seats. A lot of our things on the boat, we’ve tried to have two purposes at least for everything. And one of our other boats used to have a baseball bat as our tiller, and then he was like, oh, wouldn’t it be cool if it was an ax handle? And then he was like, well if it was an ax handle, why wouldn’t it just be a whole ax? So, it’s an ax. It can actually come out of the rudder so it can be used. We have a kitchen bucket and a poop bucket. And we have auto balers which is great, so, pee bucket. This was fashioned last night out of beach wood, our boom holder. This is the rail and foot board assembly, those are Rainier cans. So this is off a rowing machine, so it’s an aluminum thing made by Concept Two, a rowing company. These are snowboard bindings that I found in a newspaper bin.

– And the center board lines go through the trunk, so they’re controlled from the back, and there’s a bungee on that in case of collision. Jib sheets come through the track, two goose necks on the boom, one for the whole entire sail and then we can take half a reef in and move it up to the upper goose neck for higher head room while rowing. Lazy jacks to make it easier to stow a full batten main.

– [Nate] These are the oar locks that-

– [Cooper] We had a friend make ’em out of stainless, custom made oars by Concept Two.

– So all of our stuff goes in the doghouse, we sleep out here, we have a boom tent we can put over, we have bivy sacks.

– Reefable jib, instead of roller furling we went with fisherman’s reef, so you can reduce the jib and then we have three reefs in the main, so you can take it down to pretty much towels. We added a bowsprit, and we run a huge asymmetrical from the bowsprit all the way back made with mostly found parts.

– We wanted a boat that could sail and row. We grew up with lots of boats in our family, lot of navy and merchant marine history, both of our parents were high level water skiers. Coop got into sailing when he was nine, and kinda became part of the Port Madison yacht club. Then from there I followed him into sailing, he ended up doing a whole bunch of sailing, I ended up doing a whole bunch of rowing, he did rowing too, and yeah. We try to be on boats as many days a year as possible.

– [Interviewer] So why this race?

– Because we can.

– Yeah, because we can, like originally Coop kayaked the inside passage 15 years ago and we knew that whenever we got back together we would some kinda trip like this. It had always been a dream and then when this race came up and I left California it just seemed like all the timing was right.

– No sponsorship, we’ve been trying diligently.

– Thus far we’re just sponsors of Rainier the company, not them for us.

– [Cooper] Our grandfather always wore a Rainier ball cap when he was younger and doing lots of fishing and boating, and so it’s kind of a nod to him.

– People are always asking, how long is it gonna take? How much are you, when are you gonna sleep? How are you guys gonna do this? And it’s like, well we don’t know, like each day is gonna be a little bit different as far as that. We hope it takes us two to three weeks.

– [Cooper] Pretty much every boat we don’t consider our competition which is easy for us to say because of the boat that we’re in, but like we’re competitive with ourselves. And I think that the idea of not having classes and everybody doing their best, it’s pretty similar to a lot of other things if you wanna make parallels, like a marathon, like how many people going in to the marathon planning on winning it? That’s not why we’re doing it, obviously. But it’s to have fun.

One Response to “Race to Alaska 2016 – Meet Team Bunny Whaler”

  1. Avatar Kevin MacNeil says:

    This is what sailing and adventure is all about. Improvisation, ingenuity, and spirit. Irie team Bunny Wailer!!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Get Immediate Access, Plus
10 More of Our Best Videos

Your email is safe with us.
We'll NEVER share it, and we DON'T spam.

or …


Start Free Trial

Get Instant Access as a Member to the Entire Site

  • Access all 1000 videos/articles
  • No risk! Cancel anytime
  • Get a nice discount if you join