Stay the course!

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!

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Snakes, Ladders, and Apps

The 79th running of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race got off with a bang. Skies were overcast but bright and dry. Winds were present in a big way – a fine start to the day. So many numbers have been tossed about in various media but when the dust settled, and the race boats headed for the course, there were 126 boats registered and prepared to race:

  • 7 in Swiftsure Lightship Classic
  • 23 Cape Flattery PHRF
  • 41 Cape Flattery ORC
  • 5 Juan de Fuca Multihulls
  • 32 Juan de Fuca Monohulls
  • 9 Inshore Racing
  • 9 Inshore Cruising

The Swiftsure Lightship Classic had a clean start bang on 1000 PT on Saturday, May 25th. The following start, in which Cape Flattery PHRF and ORC boats started together, 64 boats massed near the committee boat and, with no clear view of the handful of ‘Over Early’ boats in the largest fleet, Principal Race Officer Dugald Smith made the call – General Recall of the fleet. The Cape Flattery boats reassembled, got into their desired ‘slot’ and at 1029 their race began with an ‘All Clear’. No need to seek clear air – a term used for finding unimpeded wind for each boat – there was lots for all. This was an upwind start under white sails, though many boats now sport dark grey 3Di sails, a three dimension membrane fabric with 5 layers fused to become the specific desired sail shape. Next up, Juan de Fuca Multihulls had a clean start at 1040. Juan de Fuca Monohulls were next out, and got away cleanly at 1100, followed, after a slight delay, by the Inshore Racing division at 1123 and Inshore Cruising division at 1134.

Not long after all races were started, some boats experienced challenges. A dramatic shredded mainsail sent one boat back to the docks. Of the 5 starting multihulls, 3 soon found the conditions overwhelming and withdrew from racing. The smallest boat in the Long Courses, No Dress Code, had hit something unknown just before the start but kept racing until they discovered water below decks and had to be assisted back to Fisherman’s Wharf by the RCM-SAR 35. In all cases, crew were safe. Clearly the safety protocols were pressed into service; crew, craft, mission.

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Kwindoo Infotainment Functioning Normally

Kwindoo Infotainment has notified Swiftsure that they have resolved their server issue.

Kwindoo LiveView should now function normally. Kwindoo organization is based in Budapest, Hungary. The company states the Kwindoo server was attacked yesterday by a foreign country.

Swiftsure thanks all for your patience.

Kwindoo Bad Gateway Error

Swiftsure is aware of the Kwindoo application malfunction. Appears the Kwindoo host has a gateway server error. This is not a Swiftsure error, it’s a Kwindoo issue. One possibility is Kwindoo server overload. Until Kwindoo resolves, monitor Swiftsure’s website front page for status of boats.

For boats with AIS, monitor through one of the AIS Tracking sites:

UPDATE 1456 PT Saturday, May 25: Kwindoo is looking into the issue with their servers.

UPDATE 0500 PT Sunday, May 26: Kwindoo’s gateway server error appears to be resolved.

Swiftsure Division Splits & Kwindoo LiveView

NEW for 2024 – Kwindoo LiveView race tracker.

Download the app or access via PC, and following each of the FOUR race courses. The public have a number of ways of taking in Swiftsure, a long-standing part of Victoria’s maritime history, including CHEK doing a live stream from 09:55 on Saturday.

Registration for Swiftsure 2024 is now complete and division splits are available in ‘Registered Yachts’. With 128 boats registered, the Swiftsure Lightship Classic has 7 boats competing, the new Cape Flattery ORC currently has 42 (2023 had 9), PHRF Cape Flattery has 23, Juan de Fuca Monohulls has 32 while the Multihulls have 6. In the Inshore Race, 18 boats are evenly split between racing and cruising divisions. Compared to 2023, the big growth is in Swifture Lightship Classic and Cape Flattery ORC boats. A little over 1/2 of the boats are from the USA, typical of most years, this being the Memorial Day weekend. Preparation for skippers and crew is nearly done, and race boats began arriving in Victoria’s Inner Harbour on Thursday.

Celebrate Swiftsure – CHEK Promo

On Saturday, May 25th, if you can’t make it to Clover Point to experience the race start in person, watch the live broadcast starting at 9:55 AM hosted by CHEK anchor Tess van Straaten and Swiftsure commentator Dale Gann from the race host Royal Victoria Yacht Club. Enjoy the CHEK promo of Swiftsure 2024 here.

2024 Swiftsure Sailing Instructions are up

Swiftsure 2024 Sailing Instructions are now up!

Exciting to see almost 120 yachts as of today raring take up the challenge – you’ll find your favourites to follow on the Registered Yachts page. With the race registration deadline of Friday, May 17 approaching, there’s still time to register for Swiftsure 2024.

Swiftsure Lightship Classic has more boats than we’ve seen in years. And a wonder is about to happen – a lighted rounding mark will soon be placed on Swiftsure Bank just for SLC racers. Rounding an actual mark on Swiftsure Bank will be phenomenal and, with NINE boats heading to the Bank, proof it makes a difference.

The new Cape Flattery ORC race is drawing much attention – with over 35 already registered (replacing Hein Bank ORCs 9 entries in 2023), this new race is clearly a winner. Juan de Fuca Multihulls and Monohulls are showing strongly. There’s a good number of boats for the Inshore Races, too.

Crew: it happens, someone can’t make the race and the skipper needs talent. If you have the skills, good personal safety gear, and want the challenge, register in Swiftsure’s Crew Bank and then skippers can directly reach out to crew.

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Swiftsure 2024 Registration’s Open

Registration for the 79th running of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race is OPEN! With already 20 boats registered, there’s great enthusiasm including the race host Royal Victoria Yacht Club’s Commodore Marc Owen-Flood’s Discernment, and the 2023 Swiftsure Lightship Classic winner, Zvi racing for Seattle Yacht Club. Check the ‘Registered Yachts’ page often to see who your competition will be or your favourite boat to follow.

With a race for almost everyone; Swiftsure Lightship Classic through Inshore Races you can

register here

It takes many folks pulling together to create the race environment – from the Inner Harbour’s Victoria Causeway, to Clover Point and the Finish Line. We invite volunteers to help sustain Swiftsure, a Victoria maritime tradition. Swiftsure’s Volunteer Coordinator Gillian Manson has created a great Swiftsure Handbook to familiarize us with the variety of volunteer options, whether setting up the race sites or serving soup to cold & hungry sailors. When ready, you may register at any time to ‘Become a Volunteer’ and join Swiftsure’s excitement. If you have questions about volunteering, Gillian would love to hear from you and find a fun position.

We’re glad to have ‘Platinum’ sponsor ‘The Butchart Gardens – a National Historic Site’ join the suite of fine Swiftsure sponsors.

Swiftsure – Always A Challenge

Swiftsure 2024 Notices of Race are now posted!

In response to Swiftsure racers, we have exciting information:

  • Hein Bank Race has been retired – yachts may choose the original legendary Swiftsure Lightship Classic (PHRF) or Cape Flattery Race where an ORC class has been added along with PHRF
  • Start time for Swiftsure 2024 is 10 AM – a better alignment with arrival of winds
  • No longer SPOT transponders for the Three Long Courses; the Kwindoo Race Tracking application for Racers will be employed on a designated smartphone
  • Three Long Courses distances: Swiftsure Lightship Classic = 138.2 nm (PHRF NW rating 100 or faster), Cape Flattery Races = 101.9 nm (ORC/PHRF NW), Juan de Fuca Races = 75.2 nm (PHRF NW 60 and slower)
  • Updated World Sailing Category 3 Offshore Special Regulations(OSR) and specific 2024 Swiftsure Amendments to the OSRs for the Three Long Courses are posted in Swiftsure’s Notices of Race and Official Notice Board
  • Here’s the link to the 2024 Swiftsure Notices of Race