An informative Swiftsure Technical Night was held Wednesday, March 30 at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. With presentations from knowledgeable and entertaining fellows from Blackline Marine and Raven Marine Services, and Vern Burkhardt, Swiftsure Event Chair, Don Prittie of Canoe Cove Marina & Boatyard kicked off the evening, telling the assembled crowd of a secret spot beyond Sidney with protected moorage, a sailing club, complete marine services and 2 restaurants. Don also reminded us of the upcoming Maritime Museum of BC Massive Marine Sale on Saturday, May 23rd at Ogden Point.

Don Prittie with Vern Burkhardt and Charlotte Gann

Matt Schinbein, of Blackline Marine, spoke about keel maintenance and repair with compelling examples and hair-raising stories of keels that apparently ‘just fell off’ according to owners. Did you know a best practise for keels is to have them inspected periodically – say, every two years. You can do this when you pull your boat out for bottom-painting. Wash the bottom down and let it dry. If there’s any weeping down the face of the keel, it’s something to follow up on. Matt can help. Did you know Matt has been an instructor at Quadrant Marine Institute for over 7 years; they teach technical marine repairs, raising the standard of recreational boat marine repairs. Campbell Black, founder of Blackline is also the founder of the Quadrant Marine Institute. You can thank Blackline Marine & Quadrant Marine Institute for raising the standard of marine repair in coastal BC.Brent Jacobi, (l) & Matt Schinbein

Brent Jacobi, Blackline Marine












Brent Jacobi, also of Blackline Marine, shared insights about lines – which may sound odd but holy moly there is much to know. Spectra, Dacron, Dyneema – all have specific ‘best’ applications. Brent shared with the crowd that lines should be smaller than the leads through which they run. Some new, cost-effective leads were passed around. Brent engaged the crowd while he focused his attention on running rigging. Brent is Blackline Marine’s ‘go to’ guy for all their rigging. Brent spoke about a Swiftsure Safety Equipment Requirement around HMPE (high-molecular weight polyethylene) line for lifelines. It’s certainly up to the job, strength-wise but it can flex where braided stainless won’t. What’s the answer – it’s different for every boat but the point of lifelines is to keep folks on the boat.

Brian Huse, of Raven Marine, had a presentation about getting your boat and crew race-ready. Brian is well positioned to speak on this – he has untold nautical miles of offshore racing under his belt and is now a Sail Canada Offshore Personal Survival (previously Safety at Sea) instructor. In the category of ‘What Could Go Wrong?’ the clearest message is if you didn’t prepare for the key possibilities of racing Swiftsure which range from snarling gales to sheer boredom of no wind for hours on end – all in the same race – then, by gum, that’s the thing that will happen. Too many stories we’ve all experienced and shared while learning about the mercurial nature of our sea. Brian’s take-away message ‘The Separation is in the Preparation’.

Brian Huse (l) & Vern Burkhardt

Vern Burkhardt, Swiftsure Event Chair, completed the evening’s technical information by speaking of key weather facts. And sharing some fantastic sources for ‘seeing’ the weather forecasts. At the 2016 Swiftsure Skipper’s Meeting, Dr. Richard Dewey of the University of Victoria’s Centre for Earth and Ocean Research will again present – but you can see his models on Swiftsure’s website now – on the Currents During Race page.

The night was well-attended by racers keen to discover how to prepare for Swiftsure and had every one of their questions fully answered. From the night, we heard many would register for Swiftsure and now had solid knowledge of how to begin organising for the race.

Swiftsure wishes to thank Canoe Cove Marina & Boatyard, Blackline Marine and Raven Marine Services for supporting the Swiftsure Technical Night through the participation of deeply knowledgeable employees. Thanks also to Jill Fitz Hirschbold of Artbox Event Photography for her professional services during the evening, capturing the event ‘on the fly’.

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Canoe Cove Marine Community – Platinum Swiftsure Sponsors