I looked at doing this, having raced around Vancouver Island three times I have experience with at least the first 1/3 of this course.
To say it isn't open water is a little disingenuous. There are some narrow passages going up to Port Hardy but even Georgia Straits are pretty big, and can be very crazy (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6R22JdoU1pI
). After the north end of Van Isle the ONLY way to win this race is outside. Bella Bella is only a 40 mile detour from completely open ocean sailing from VI to Ketchikan. The winner will NOT be rowing/paddling/sailing the inside passage, its simply too much extra distance and too variable of conditions.
Right now my money is on Dalton and Joe on their Beiker designed proa, and in second Nigel and Simon on their Turn Point catamaran. Both have the same problem that they are still building and not training, and whoever gets on the water first will have a big advantage. You know there are some teams out training right now and that will be a huge advantage when the race starts.
Can't count out Wayne and Janine on their F85SR either. Wayne lives on Van Isle and started the VI360 back in the 90's much in the same vain as R2AK so he knows his stuff.
IMO the best boat for this race is a small, beachable multihull that affords enough protection/comfort to sleep while underway. It MUST be able to be propelled by paddle/oar/human drive system, and I don't mean for an hour or so, but rather for a day or so. There will be times when paddling is the only option. Being able to beach the boat is a HUGE advantage with regards to fixing problems or stopping for weather (I experienced 35 knots against a 4 knot current in Johnstone Strait, I was glad I was on a 65' boat).
It will be an amazing adventure. Joy and I plan to be at the start, whether its with the CirrusR just to sail the first leg to Victoria, or on our powerboat to watch and see how it goes for the competitors. Historic. Wish I had the time and the balls to sail the whole race.