A year of great contrasts, from a pile of wind to pretty much breathless. Broken gear but no broken people. Spirits were up in the stratosphere – and sometimes that’s what keeps you going when others have run out of steam. Until the last moment on Sunday, inching toward midnight, four boats just kept going and going, ghosting right to the end. It paid off for North Star who crossed the finish line at 23:37:00 with moments to spare and, in doing so, took first place in Cape Flattery PHRF Division 1 while also officially being the Last to Finish! The three other boats that raced right to the end are worth noting; Jugo in Cape Flattery ORC, Moonglow in Cape Flattery PHRF, and Bardo in Juan de Fuca Race. They exhibited the spirit it takes to race Swiftsure – Bravo Zulu all.

Swiftsure Lightship Classic race has many stories of victories and challenges. This 2024 race was no different – seven yachts began in a big blow and finished in a whisper. By the time the clock was winding down it became apparent, as Adam Serediuk of Planet Express wrote, “the math is mathing” and finishing within the time limit wouldn’t happen. Two boats did finish in fine form. Mach 2, Dan Sinclair’s newly-acquired Andrews 77 came across the finish line at 13:16:20, taking Line Honours for 2024.  Will-O’-The Wisp, Jeff Eckard’s venerable Petersen 41, crossed at 18:07:36, correcting ahead and taking First Place Overall. Jeff, a 1992 Olympic competitor in the men’s two-person dinghy category, has a fine touch on the tiller of his modified-IOR racer. Will-O’-The Wisp crew included Ross Jespersen-navigator, Eric Jespersen-former Olympic medalist in the Star Class, Brent Jacobi, Matt Schinbein, Hugh Owen, Emma Maynard, and Stephanie Bacon – mighty deep talent here. Only the second time in the 79-year history of Swiftsure Lightship Classic that a Royal Victoria Yacht Club entry has been the Overall Winner!

The new Cape Flattery ORC race is clearly a great draw. The race replaces the Hein Bank race and, with 41 boats at the start compared to 9 last year, shows interest is high. Line Honours went to Zvi, Alan Lubner’s Reichel Pugh 55 – the 2023 SLC winner. Correcting into First Place in Division 1 and First Place Overall was Mist, Steve Johnson’s TP52. 

Mark Insley, also representing race host Royal Victoria Yacht Club, sailed his Jespersen 42 Zulu to First to Finish and First Overall in the Juan de Fuca Monohulls, claiming the “double crown”.

Swiftsure’s race host Royal Victoria Yacht Club has reason to be proud of the 2024 race results – FIVE first place results between the Long Course and Inshore Races! Following are the First Place, First to Finish (Line Honours), and First Overalls. The Swiftsure website has the full results.

Swiftsure Lightship Classic

First to Finish Mach 2

First in Race Will O The WispOverall Winner

Cape Flattery ORC

First to Finish Zvi

First in Division 1 MistOverall Winner

First in Division 2 Tachyon

First in Division 3 Longboard

First in Division 4 The Kodiak Express

Cape Flattery PHRF

First to Finish Moose UnknownOverall Winner

First in Division 1 North Star

First in Division 2 Moose Unknown

First in Division 3 Ratfish

Juan de Fuca Multihulls

First to Finish MakikaOverall Winner

First in Division 1 Makika

Juan de Fuca Monohulls

First to Finish ZuluOverall Winner

First in Division 1 Zulu

First in Division 2 Sir Isaac

First in Division 3 Noflyk

Inshore Racing Division

First to Finish Caliente

First in Division C mooreOverall Winner

Inshore Cruising Division

First to Finish White Squall

First in Division White SquallOverall Winner

Green denotes Royal Victoria Yacht Club Winner

Thanks to Swiftsure Photographer Jill Fitz Photography for this Will O The Wisp photo.