What’s New for Swiftsure 2015?

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  1. New Long Course – Hein Bank Race

This 118.1 nautical mile race is open to all PHRF and IRC handicapped monohull yachts.  It is a fourth “Long Course” option for racing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The course goes from a starting line at Clover Point, leaving a mark at Neah Bay to port, leaving to port the ODAS 46088 (located about 5 nautical miles bearing approximately 2380 M from Hein Bank), and crossing a finish line across the Victoria Harbour (at Ogden Point Breakwater).  See the Notice of Race for the Four Long Courses and the Safety Equipment Requirements for Monohulls on Swiftsure’s website under Race Info.

  1. New Location for Swiftsure Centre

In previous years Swiftsure Centre was located in a large tent on Ship Point in Victoria’s Inner Harbour. It is being re-located to the Steamship Grill and Bar located on the south side of the Victoria Inner Harbour (on Belleville Street across from the Parliament Buildings). This is the location for skippers to check in and pick up their skippers’ package, and where the Swiftsure party will occur on Thursday May 21 and Friday May 22. The Swiftsure party will be complete with beer, rum, wine, and bands playing from 2000 to 2300. At the new Swiftsure Centre racers, their friends and relatives, and the public will be able to escape from the music volume if they wish to have a more relaxed atmosphere.

  1. Combined Skippers’ Meeting

For the past several races there were separate skippers’ meeting for the Long Courses and for the Swiftsure Inshore Classic. They are being combined and will occur at The Distrikt (previously called Club 9ONE9) in the Strathcona Hotel starting at 1600 on May 22nd.  The Trophies presentation for the winners of the three Long Courses in 2014 will take place starting at 1500 at The Distrikt.

  1. Pre-ordering of Swiftsure Garments

Beginning in mid-April some beautiful Stormtech garments can be pre-ordered for pick up during Swiftsure week in Victoria or for shipment directly to an identified address. The Swiftsure logo can be embroidered on the left chest, and a beautiful design of the US and Canadian ensign can be embroidered on the sleeve – and your embroidered boat name can be added.

The choices will be available in men’s and women’s sizes and multiple colour choices. Garment options will include:

Piranha performance polo shirts IPS-4, IPS-4W

Phoenix fleece pullovers PL-2, PL-2W

Traverse microfleece vests VFV-1, VFV-1W

Hybrid fleece softshell jackets SFJ-2, SFJ-2W

Cruise Softshell Waterproof/Breathable jackets XSJ-1, XSJ-1W

  1. Swiftsure Lapel Pin

Cloisonné Domed Lapel Pins using black, gold, blue, and white colours will be available for purchase at the Concierge desk in Swiftsure Centre. The supply is limited.

  1. Swiftsure Race Tracker at Causeway Docks Shed

Swiftsure will have a tethered laptop in the Causeway Docks Shed for returning racers to check out the Swiftsure Race Tracker after they complete the post-race inspection and tie up at the Causeway Docks.  Available all day and night.

  1. Maui Jim Sunglasses for Sale at Swiftsure Centre

jimmy jrSeldom seen in western Canada – a full Maui Jim Sunglasses sales booth at a sailing regatta.
Swiftsure is proud to have IRIS The Visual Group as a sponsor with the widest selection of Maui Jim Sunglasses.

  1. Buffet Breakfast for Racers at Steamship Grill Saturday from 6:30 AM

Skippers may pre-purchase breakfast tickets online when registering to race, or racers and their family and friends may purchase tickets at Swiftsure’s Concierge Desk on May 21st and May 22nd.  The available food will be scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, fresh fruit and hash browns plus Starbucks Coffee.

  1. Battle Flag for 1st Overall in the 2014 Swiftsure Lightship Classic

UK Sails have produced a Swiftsure Battle Flag for presentation to the 1st Overall 2014 Winner of the Lightship Classic race, which will be presented at The Distrikt in Strathcona Hotel on Friday, May 23rd at the Trophy Presentation beginning at 1500. And a battle flag will be given to the winner of the 2015 Swiftsure Lightship Classic.

  1. Sperry Gold Cup shoes for women – and men, too

Sperry shoes, including a pair of men’s Gold Cup and a pair of the newly created Gold Cup for women will be included in Swiftsure’s Silent Auction on Friday May 22nd at the Swiftsure Centre and at the Silent Auction following the Swiftsure Inshore Classic on Saturday May 23rd at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

  1. Food served with Drinks at Swiftsure Centre

Great West Coast finger food and simple meals will be produced by Steamship Grill for racers, family, and friends while they share drinks and stories on May 21st and 22nd.

  1. Swiftsure Safety & Technical Night held March 18th

If you missed this presentation by 3 of the most talented sailors and racers around, some materials are available online.

  1. Tidal Currents during Swiftsure

Dr. Richard Dewey has provided updated currents analysis for the race period – study these to get a competitive edge. These charts show the projected currents for each hour and cover all of the race area in the Strait of Juan de Fuca plus the race area for the Swiftsure Inshore Classic course.

  1. Race Key Dates

A short summary of dates, times and locations of events race skippers need to know.



A Full House for the Swiftsure Safety & Technical Night

Swiftsure’s Safety and Technical Night on March 18th was held at race host’s Royal Victoria Yacht Club to a full house.Full House on March 18

The crowd heard from Swiftsure’s Chair, Vern Burkhardt about the culture of safety Swiftsure has enhanced year-over-year.  Vern spoke of the fundamentals of safety preparations, the key players – Racers, the Swiftsure Organising Authority and the many Agencies involved to keep the fleet safe.  Safety is a primary focus for Swiftsure and we are recognized among the local races as a leader in this field. Vern’s presentation is well worth checking out.

Brent Jacobi of Blackline (1)Brent Jacobi, manager of Blackline Marine’s Rigging Shop, covered many ‘gotchas’ of standing and running rigging, sharing samples of failures around the room.  Lots of gasps were expressed at the possible risk points on sail rigging – with the key message to check aloft regularly and get your rig pulled and inspected each 10 years.  BustedSeeing the busted bits and hearing how they failed was pretty shocking. Keeping your rigging sound through scheduled maintenance isn’t just a safety concern, your boat insurance may not fully compensate for a claim if you haven’t kept up maintenance – just ask Navis Marine Insurance, Swiftsure’s exclusive marine insurance provider.

Alex Fox, manager of The Sailing Shop at Trotac, walked us through the Swiftsure Race Start.  Alex Fox for The Sailing Shop at TrotacEverything from the principle of creating the start line length through to insights about racing with a furling jib (clue – in bigger winds, first reef the main not the furler). Check out Alex’s article on Swiftsure race starts.

The Q&A sessions were, um, vigorous.  Many questions were raised and all were addressed.

Vern Gary

Throughout the night, Gary Davis, Swiftsure’s Media & Promotions dude, tweeted the events live.  Charlotte Gann organised the evening.

Continue reading

Vic-Maui race yacht Kinetic is returning to Victoria

After successfully completing the Vic-Maui 2014 race, the yacht Kinetic left Kauai on August 4th for Vancouver Island – a delivery of some 2700 nautical miles by Vern Burkhardt, Rob Tape, Mike Cowley and Brian Dearden.  Their daily update of the voyage is shared here; many will find this fascinating, humourous and gripping. Continue reading

Frank Colistro’s Freshwater News Article

Freshwater News, a publication for Oregon and SW Washington state water-sport aficionados, has published an article by Frank Colistro of Wy’East, a Cascade 36 racing out of Corinthian Yacht Club of Portland. Frank has raced Swiftsure for a couple of decades and finally shared his musings about racing the consistently mercurial moods of Swiftsure.

This truly charming article describes the campaign by the group of Oregon race yachts that challenged both the Oregon Offshore Race and Swiftsure International Yacht Race 2014.  Of the at least 9 Oregon yachts that raced both races, 7 finished Swiftsure and Anam Cara, Riva, Wy’East and Ocelot took hardware.

Enjoy reading Freshwater News July 2014 publication – Frank’s article begins on Page 1.

Charlotte Gann

Swiftsure International Yacht Race