Joy and Stuart Dahlgren of UK Sailmakers in Sidney BC own the Santa Cruz 70, Westerly. With an overall length of 68 feet, beam of 15 feet, and draft of 10.5 feet Westerly is an eye catcher when at the dock in front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel or on the Swiftsure racecourse. A displacement of only 24,000 pounds enables the experienced crew to sail fast and smart.
Dahlgrens are the fifth owners of this boat, which was originally called Mongoose, built for Paul Simonsen of San Francisco. At the age of 10, Mongoose was acquired by Robert Saielli who campaigned her on the west coast and Great Lakes until about 2005. Dennis Conner owned the boat for about two years and subsequently sold it to a family team in Newport Beach, California. It appears this Santa Cruz 70 was a bit more boat than this family team could adequately campaign and maintenance waned. Joy and Stuart purchased the boat, now called Westerly, in 2011 and had it transported by truck to Victoria, unable to make the uphill trip under sail. This decision to ship rather than sail turned out to have been a wise decision as the mast collar and chain plates were severely damaged from corrosion and galvanic interaction with the deck.
Westerly is a racing machine. Under Paul Simonsen’s ownership, Westerly won the San Francisco Big Boat Series in 1987, 1989, and 1992, and she was the first to finish in the 1992 Pacific Cup with the famous Stan Honey aboard as navigator. In 1989 Westerly came 4th in the Transpac race, but that does not tell the whole story. There were only 37 minutes separating Westerly from the first place boat! While owned by Robert Saielli, the boat competed in numerous races, including contests in Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, a Transpac, and several Race to Mackinac races on Lake Huron. The “Mac”, which starts at the Chicago Lighthouse and continues to Mackinac Island, is the oldest annual freshwater distance race in the world. Dennis Conner campaigned Westerly primarily in Mexico and San Diego. The Hogan family competed in a couple of Cabo races and the Transpac in 2009, after which the boat fell into disuse until Dahlgren’s rescued and injected new life, energy, and enthusiasm into Westerly.
Stuart and Joy are active racers. Examples of Westerly’s wins include 1st and 2nd in the Patos Island Race, 1st in Van Isle 360, 1st in Lasqueti Island Race, 2nd in Southern Straits, 4th in Vic Maui Race, and 2nd in the Swiftsure Lightship Classic (in 2014). Westerly holds the monohull fastest time record for Round Saltspring, Van Isle 360, and Patos Island races.
After a major refit currently underway, Westerly will be primed for more races. She is getting a new mast and boom, deck topsides and hull repainting, redoing some prior repairs under previous owners which were not done to an adequate standard, removal of gear and fittings no longer needed (estimated removal of 1,000 pounds of weight), and addition of some new specialty reaching sails. Why all this work? Westerly will be competing in July in the 2018 Pacific Cup from San Francisco to Hawaii.
Look for Westerly moored alongside the Inner Harbour docks in front of the Fairmont Empress Hotel from May 24th until the start of Swiftsure on May 26th. And watch Westerly’s progress on Swiftsure’s Race Tracker System as Joy and Stuart Dahlgren represent the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in the 75th running of Swiftsure.