Invitation to Legends of Swiftsure

The 75th Running of Swiftsure                                                     

How many major, annual, North American sporting events have been contested at least seventy-five times? Let’s see there’s Lord Stanley’s Cup, the World Series of Baseball, US Open Golf Championships, the Boston Marathon,..after that the list gets a bit thinner. 2018 is a milestone year for the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club would like to extend a heartfelt invitation to all the racers, volunteers, fans, followers and supporters of this iconic race to join in a celebration of sailing, with the 75th running of Swiftsure!  






As part of this years’ Inshore Classic Race, there will be a Legends of Swiftsure division. The idea here is to welcome back past generations of competitors, showcasing boat types and design, both on the docks and on the water, all representing Swiftsures’ storied history. Any sailboat built before 1967 will be eligible for this division, plus any modern legends that have raced in any of the Swiftsure long courses prior to 2010…and you thought you were done with your racing?! Pass the good word, let’s make this an event to remember!    
– Check out the NOR, and we’ll see you all there!

Alex Fox

Swiftsure Multihull Racers – A Choice of Long Course Races

Through vigorous expressions of interest from the multihull racing community in the Pacific Northwest and diligent efforts by Swiftsure’s Multihull representatives John Green and Tim Knight, plus others, there is now a choice of Swiftsure Multihull races.

Cape Flattery Race for Multihulls (PHRF handicapped boats), the longer course at 101.9 nautical miles, turns at Neah Bay before heading to the finish line at Victoria.

Juan de Fuca Race for Multihulls (PHRF handicapped boats) is a 78.7 nautical mile course which turns at Clallam Bay and heads back to the finish line at Victoria.

Both multihull races are set as fully crewed and both offer good competition with, if conditions are right, the possibility of finishing before last call in Victoria.

All multihulls will be in the same start.

Here’s Amendment #1 to the Notice of Race for the Four Long Courses on this addition.

Register Now.

Pacific Yachting Coastal Characters – Trotac’s Campbell Thomson with Marianne Scott

Trotac Marine, the name combines Trolling and Tackle, has a deep and storied marine history on Vancouver Island. And owner Campbell Thomson, a well-known character on these salty shores, is ever smiling, deeply respected and with a prodigious memory.


Pacific Yachting’s February issue has writer Marianne Scott interview Campbell, learning more about him than any of us knew. Starting fresh from high school, Campbell worked alongside his father Pete, who started the family business in 1972. Now the third generation is taking the lines, with Jessalyn and Ben doing as their father has done.

Two faces familiar in the fraternity of racing work with Trotac; Alex Fox as the sailing and rigging specialist and Liane Kern leading the company’s marketing and promotion.

Trotac has continuously sponsored Swiftsure International Yacht Race through the decades.  

Swiftsure 2018 Registration is now OPEN

The Royal Victoria Yacht Club has presented Swiftsure since 1951. Prior to that, hosting was shared by the Seattle Yacht Club, the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and Royal Victoria Yacht Club under the aegis of the Pacific International Yachting Association, right back the race’s origin in 1930.

Did you know Swiftsure International Yacht Race is the biggest yacht race on the West Coast of North America? And among the longest-standing in the world? Be proud to compete in a yacht race with such deep roots.

Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2018 race registration opened right on schedule on January 2nd and the Notice of Race for the Four Long Courses and the Swiftsure Inshore Classic is available online.

MARTHA 2015 Transpac

In preparation for opening registration for the 75th Swiftsure Race, some final effort was put into beta-testing the process. Swiftsure stalwarts worked on the evening of January 1 to ensure a smooth and successful launch the next morning. As we watched, an unexpected record showed up that had not been created by the team! What the heck? Turns out the schooner Martha was super-keen to register and found the wormhole created by the development team. After a quick phone call to Robert d’Arcy, skipper of Martha, a chuckle was shared and he confirmed that the Swiftsure registration process was indeed smooth and robust. Martha became the de facto 1st to register for this historic running of Swiftsure. Robert wished to share: “It’s great to have MARTHA race in the 75th edition of Swiftsure and appreciate the history and heritage of such a fine event, we wouldn’t miss it for the world! Kind regards and a thanks to the Swiftsure Race Crew for such good work!” 

What’s new with Swiftsure 2018? Three additions to the Swiftsure Inshore Classic races, focused on attracting some racing history:

  • Legends of Swiftsure race; No current PHRF rating? No problem, one will be assigned
    • a) Boats that have previously competed in a Swiftsure long course race (Swiftsure Lightship Classic, Cape Flattery, Juan de Fuca), but have not competed since 2010; and
    • b) Boats built prior to 1967.
  • Six Metre Class race; these will race as a One Design
  • Cruising race; there will be a Flying Sails and Non-Flying Sails class and again, No current PHRF rating? No problem, one will be assigned
  • For the Legends of Swiftsure, Six Metre Class and Cruising races, the safety equipment requirements of the regulatory authority of their country of residence (e.g.; US Coast Guard, Transport Canada) will apply

Continue reading

Dorade – racing Rolex Sydney-Hobart

Why is Swiftsure writing about a boat racing in the 2017 Rolex Sydney – Hobart race?

Shes a fine yawl with classic lines, built in the early 30’s and has competed all over the world.

Including in Swiftsure! 1947-57, Dorade competed and finished typically in the leaders pack, though never a winner.

Read about Dorade from ‘Swiftsure –  the First 50 Years. Then check her out on the Sydney-Hobart Race Tracker.

A Swiftsure Legend


Pacific Yachting’s Coastal Characters by Marianne Scott – Ron MacKenzie

There’s a well-known racer of some repute that has many, many Swiftsure’s under his PFD.

Marianne Scott, a regular contributor to Pacific Yachting articles, ran Ron MacKenzie to ground and captured some of his Swiftsure race adventures aboard his Future Primitive.

A good read, shared with permission from December’s issue of Pacific Yachting; Ron MacKenzie Future Primitive, PY Dec 2017.  Editor Dale Miller had neat personal stories to share in his ‘View From Here’ editorial – you’ll need to get the December issue but it’s well worth the effort.

Pardon My French but that was SPECTAC!

Pardon My French epitomises the Swiftsure Spirit. This video captures their first ever Swiftsure and they’ll be back!

Hunger, Sleep Deprivation and Chill could not dull the thrill.

Skipper and crew of Pardon My French, Frederick Savoye’s Hunter-Legend 40.5 from Sloop Tavern Yacht Club, decided to make Swiftsure their first big race and they have the heart, the spirit and the stamina to go the distance. When others pulled out, they dropped their hook in Race Passage for 8 hours, determined to stay the course. Everything they did was spot on for preparation of the boat and crew with a focus on safety. Swiftsure is pleaseed to have Pardon My French and her crew show us commitment gets results. Fifth in her division – a fine result for a first-ever Swiftsure. And 12-year old Alec on the helm – a proud moment.

Skipper: Frederick Savoye
Crew: Eric Maffre, Antoni Kew, Toby Willis, Alec Savoye, Antoine Deux, Shannon Dean

See you in 2018, PMF – until then, bonne chance.

1961 Swiftsure; A Fine Year

In 1961, Winsome III from Royal Vancouver Yacht Club became the first Canadian boat to win the Swiftsure Lightship Race since 1931. Bonar Davis was skipper as owner Ches Rickard was away. In this year, 62 race yachts were registered for the Swiftsure Lightship Classic, and this was the last year Jack Gann was the Swiftsure Race Chair. The following year saw the creation of the Juan de Fuca Race but in 1961 there was only the single course – to the Swiftsure Lightship.

In the spring of 2017, from the annals of Swiftsure history, a reel of 16 mm film was discovered by Charlotte Gann. The retrieved canister of cellulose film, marked ‘1961 Swiftsure’ had survived well and, after consulting with Swiftsure Chair Vern Burkhardt, a skillful studio was sought to take on conversion of the 16 mm film reel; the film was reviewed, quality confirmed and conversion completed.

What follows is the result of this discovery.

Just in time to celebrate the 75th running of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, a piece of history is presented.

From A Racer’s View

What follows is a photo essay from Stephanie Campbell Schwenk as she raced aboard Denny Vaughn’s Bravo Zulu.

Takes you from the start to the thrill of the hunt, into the dark, the fog, the morning sun and happy faces, and to the finish, including that ever-welcome bowl of soup – using the Swiftsure poster as a coaster. Continue reading