Due to the uncertainty resulting from the high level of COVID 19 cases and the ongoing Public Health restrictions the Swiftsure committee has determined that a “Definitely Not Swiftsure” race and the related Silent Auction are not feasible for 2021. Thank you to all who worked to try to make them happen. We will now begin preparations for Swiftsure 2022 scheduled for May 28 – 30 2022. We hope to see you then. Please look for updates on this webpage beginning in late September 2021.
Swiftsure International Yacht Race
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 03/24/2020
3475 Ripon Rd.
Swiftsure 2020 International Yacht Race Cancelled
It is with the deepest regret that we have decided that, for the first time since 1946, the Swiftsure International Yacht Race will not be run this year.
After careful consideration by members of the Swiftsure Committee and the Board of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, it was determined that it was in everyone’s best interest to cancel this year’s event due to the increasing threat of the COVID-19 virus. The risks associated with transmission of the virus to participants, to our many supporters, and to our volunteers is just too great, given the serious attention of our governments and health authorities.
Thank you to all our supporters, sponsors and volunteers who have been working in preparation for the 2020 event. Your time will not go to waste as the RVYC Swiftsure Committee will now immediately turn its attention to the 77th running in 2021.
Swiftsure, always a challenge!
It’s always a big decision to commit to a big race like Swiftsure each year. Alex Fox of The Sailing Shop at Trotac Marine is an amazing resource for information on how to have your boat race ready for Swiftsure Yacht Race. Join him in the next Swiftsure Speaker Series. More information can be found on our Facebook page by clicking here.
Presenting an Evening with Richard Clarke, the recent winner of the Fastnet Challenge Cup, the overall prize for the 2019 Rolex Fastnet Race. Everyone Welcome! More info on our Facebook page, by clicking here
Swiftsure 2019 certainly lived up to its tagline of ‘Always a Challenge’. With light and variable winds, pouring rain and lumpy seas beyond Race Passage, it was a test of sailors’ skill and perseverance. Though the challenges in 2019 were substantial for both sailors and organizers we consider the event a great accomplishment for the Club and an addition to the legacy that is Swiftsure. Swiftsure continues to be the largest sailing race on the west coast of North America with over 1,000 sailors and a total of 164 entered the combined races in 2019; 131 in the 4 Long Courses and 33 in the Inshore Races. Of these there were 13 Royal Victoria YC boats registered in the 4 Long Courses. None of our boats finished the Long Course Races but 9 of the 10 registered in the Inshore Races finished successfully.
The Swiftsure Lightship Classic was won by David Raney’s Rage of Corinthian YC of Portland. Rage was the only boat of 14 starters to complete the course.
The Hein Bank Race was won by Marda Phelps of Seattle Yacht Club in Maverick. Eight boats started though only 4 finished.
The Cape Flattery Race for Monohulls (Heavy) was won by Alan Luber of Seattle Yacht Club in Maya who was also 1st in Division 1. Joe Downing of Olympia Yacht Club won Division 2 in Balder 2. Of 24 boats entered only 2 finished.
The Cape Flattery Race for Monohulls (Light) was won by Chuck Stephens of Seattle Yacht Club in Panic who also won Division 3. Division 1 was won by Nathalie Criou of Richmond Yacht Club in Envolee and Division 2 was won by Kirk Fraser of Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle in Eclipse. Of 37 boats entered in this race only 7 finished.
The 76th edition of Swiftsure lived up to its billing of “Always a Challenge”. Light air, some residual flood tide and several large logs during the start sequences created some slow speed chaos at times. The Cape Flattery start in particular saw several boats having to fend off in the close quarters. Helped by the ebb tide and some light breeze, the fleets eventually got away and headed up the strait. Unfortunately, the wind never filled in and when the ebb ended in the late afternoon, many boats were pushed back or at best holding even, with occasional gains. The hours of rain and a swell did not add to the enjoyment. By Saturday evening, many boats made the difficult decision to withdraw (also known as “doing the math”).
This year’s race featured the largest number of withdrawals in recent memory, surpassing even 2013. It’s enough to make us long for a 30-knot gear-buster. Fortunately, and contrary to urban myth, these light air “Driftsures” don’t happen very often.
Bravo Zulu to those boats and crews who stuck it out and either rounded their marks (allowing for scoring a shortened course) and those hardy souls who actually managed to cross the finish line back in Victoria.
Good morning! It’s a grey morning in Victoria and the winds are light, but the racers are busy in Victoria’s Inner Harbour preparing for the start. Over 160 boats are registered in this year’s race and you’ll be able to watch them live on the Swiftsure Race Tracker, and follow their progress on our Leader Board.
Come down to Clover Point for a Pancake Breakfast served by the Lions Club at 8:00am and catch the yachts crossing the starting line, scheduled for 9:00am.
See Live Harbour Video courtesy the Royal BC Museum Webcam.
The 2019 Sailing Instructions are now available on the website. Please click here to view them.
DH – In July 2018, after 9 years at the helm Vern Burkhardt stepped down as Event Chair of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race. It was a great time to go as Vern was offered the opportunity to spend 5 months cruising from the Caribbean through the Panama Canal and eventually back to Victoria. Being of sound mind, and an ocean sailing fanatic, he took it.
As is often the case, one change led to another and a number of the 2018 Committee members chose to move along as well. While the same crew remains on the Race Management part of the organization, many of the ‘shore-side’ members turned over.
While Vern is staying on as ‘Special Advisor’, Past RVYC Commodore (and former Swiftsure Principal Race Officer) Andrew McBride has taken on the role of Event Chair. Mike Cowley remains as Race Director, John Abel as Principal Race Officer and Dennis McMillan as Technology Coordinator. New members include Brian Shorter as Logistics Coordinator, Deb Tolman leading Sponsorship, Louise Alepin with Media Relations, Peter Testemale as Volunteer Coordinator, Ann Steele as Registrar and Guy Tyrwhitt-Drake with Trophies and Awards.
While things have been a bit slow getting off the ground for 2019, they are well under way. The ‘new blood’ on the Committee is working hard to introduce a number of changes to the ‘shore-side’ activities to streamline processes with the objective of increasing the positive experience for racers.
Register Now and join the Adventure! Swiftsure… Always a Challenge