Cinderella Makes Her Finish

Ballad, a Cal 43 from Anacortes Yacht Club, finished at 2:24 AM.

And Cinderella, an Ericson 35-2 from Sloop Tavern Yacht Club, found her way home, slipping across the finish line at Ogden Point at 3:05 AM, making Cinderella the final boat of the 2017 Swiftsure International Yacht Race to finish within the time line of 6 AM Monday morning.

The crew were met with smiles and hugs from Swiftsure Race Chair Vern Burkhardt while soup from Volunteer Coordinator Judie Abel was presented. The Principal Race Officer John Abel congratulated the crew on a fine finish. For one of the crew, Catherine Terrana of Bayville, NY, this was not only her first race but also her first time ever sailing. 

In the wee hours, Cinderella’s crew talked about the fog. This was heard of a lot during the Swiftsure race.

Congratulations to Cinderella and crew on finishing within the 6 AM Monday deadline and becoming the 2017 recipient of the Lanterne Rouge.

Charlotte Gann 

A Beautiful Challenge

Racers heard last Friday evening at the Skipper’s Meeting that currents, as forecast by Dr Richard Dewey, would not favour them and the winds, with a large and stationary high foretold by Bruce Hedrick, may not be a positive. Hallmarks for a light airs competition seemed evident.

What really transpired? Wind. Consistent enough to keep moving if you didn’t seek out holes. Dolphins, a pod of about 30 male sealions, a grey whale, orcas. An Aurora Borealis on Saturday night. And fog which helped create the wind. Lots of sun, starlight reflected on the water’s surface. Ditch diving away from cruise ships and tow boats. A bit of busted gear, ropes tangled in props.

And for all this, a beautiful race.

So many stories, competitions big and small. 

And smiles. Ladies and gentlemen of the yacht racing community, Swiftsure thanks you for creating the most wonderful race in this corner of the planet.

Swiftsure –  Always A Challenge 

Charlotte Gann 


Perseverance – Hallmark of Yacht Racing

90% of life’s adventures are about showing up. The other 10% is sticking with things, no matter how challenging. Yacht racing epitomises this and Swiftsure 2017 is no exception.

Most yachts finished the race in the last 12 hours. At 5:30 PM on Saturday, there are still about 20 boats racing. About half are the Cape Flattery Race, 5 in Swiftsure Lightship Classic (course length 138.2 nm),  and about 5 in Juan de Fuca Race.

The question is who will be the last to finish within the time limit of 6 AM on Monday, May 29. The Swiftsure Race Committee will remain on the job until the last possible moment. The last to finish boat will be awarded the Lanterne Rouge.

Charlotte Gann

All Rounded

The 3 rounding vessels, HMCS Brandon at Swiftsure Bank, Cougar 61 at Neah Bay, and SV Unprincipl’d at Clallam Bay, have now been stood down. 

Clallam Bay boats finished their rounding by 6 AM, Neah Bay race boats by 8 AM, and the final rounding boat at Swiftsure Bank was stood down by 1 PM. 

Thank you to the Royal Canadian Navy and the owner of SV Unprincipl’d.



Swiftsure Soup – It’s A Tradition

Middle of the night or in the blaze of day, racers that finish and arrive at the Swiftsure Inspection Dock are tired, cold and hungry. They endured intense tides this year, manoeuvring for the best position in their respective Four Long Courses. The light winds built to over 20 knots at times and now, on Sunday morning, they’re greeted at the dock with hot cups of cheese and broccoli soup.

This is possible through the grace of SYSCO Victoria. The racer’s now say ‘Swiftsure Soup – It’s a Tradition’. Swiftsure works hard to make this possible but it really comes down to SYSCO Victoria being an incredible corporate group. Thank you Leigh and Wendy – each year, your wonderful company keeps the tradition going.

Come down to Ship Point, peek over the railing while you take in the Harbour Days Market. You’ll see the racers being inspected for safety gear and returning their SPOT transponders, then head into the Inner Harbour to tidy up the boat and catch some ZZZ’s 

Charlotte Gann

Dragonfly Has Landed

Swiftsure’s first boat to finish in the Four Long Courses is Dragonfly. At 1:57:55 AM on Sunday, May 28, Dragonfly crossed the line at Ogden Point. Dragonfly raced the Cape Flattery Race for Multihulls which rounds Neah Bay then returns to Victoria. Course length is 101.9 NM.

The crew of 5 were greeted shortly after at the inspection dock by Vern Burkhardt and servers with HOT SOUP. The soup from SYSCO Victoria was declared the “Best Soup Ever” by Pat McGarry. Richard Ackrill was thrilled to be presented a bottle of Mount Gay Rum and promptly shared a swig with all.

Enjoy these photos…

Charlotte Gann

Through Race Passage

All race starts got away cleanly and on time. Conditions, though light, showed consistent winds and the starts for the Four Long Courses were gently swept toward Race Passage. There were some spinnakers at the start line, but most chose to begin on whites and shift to assymetricals as they approached Race Passage. ‘Absolute’ was the first through the Race, soon followed by Crossfire, Dragonfly, Neptune’s Car and Westerly. The Swiftsure Inshore Classic also had a fine start.

This is a tactical race that will likely test the very limits of knowledge, endurance and correct interpretation of the conditions. The race yachts will have settled into their watches; typical is 6, 6, 4, 4, 4 hour watch rotations, ensuring that all watches will take up the late night ‘dog watch’. But it’s clear, dry and warm today. And there is wind, albeit.

Cheer the racers on, follow them on Swiftsure’s Race Tracker. This will be a long day into a long night.

At this writing, 25 Swiftsure Inshore Classic race boats have finished and are heading for their celebration and barbecue at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

Swiftsure Race Tracker is Live

The Race Tracker for the 2017 Swiftsure International Yacht Race is live. The Race Tracker uses GPS transponders to show you the real-time positions of the yachts participating in the 4 Long Course races.

Watch the yachts head out to the start line now!

2017 Race Tracker

Race Day is here!

The 74th Swiftsure International Yacht Race is finally here! The action gets underway around 8:30 with the first start at 9:00am. The forecast is calling for Easterly winds at the starting area, which could mean a rare downwind, spinnaker start – a challenging moment for the racers with exciting action to watch from shore.

If you’re in Victoria, come down to Clover Point to watch the start and enjoy the Central Saanich Lions Club Pancake breakfast starting at 8am. If you’re farther away, be sure to follow the race live on the Swiftsure Race Tracker.