Haytor’s Redemption – The Inshore Swiftsure

Pacific Yachting, a longtime Swiftsure sponsor, granted permission to Swiftsure to share this article from their July 2023 edition written by Alex Fox in his ‘The Favoured Tack’ column.

A story of the little boat that did. From trials and tribulations to triumph read about the Hotfoot 27 Haytor that was destined for destruction until a few members of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, host of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race, decided to recover her broken body and not only restored Haytor to racing trim but improved her to become a winner.

Swiftsure 2023: Six Races, Two Records, A Gazelle, A Dragon & Thunder

Swiftsure 2023 is in the books but not before two competitors set new records for elapsed time.

Blow ye winds in the morning, blow ye winds Hi Ho.

Boats were well prepared for the predicted winds of the Pacific Northwest. Swiftsure race day dawned dry, and calm with 116 boats raring to go. Race yachts eased away from the docks, mustering off Clover Point. Spectators enjoyed a warm morning with the yachts testing their sails and checking currents. The photographs and videos are breathtaking as Swiftsure’s photography team began to share race day images.

A spectacular array of boats graced the 6 race starts. The longest was 84’ stays’l schooner ‘Martha’, the shortest was 17’ Cape Code Cat ‘Catlin’. Fast race yachts such as 3 TP52s took on Hein Bank race. The true stalwarts, racing the namesake Swiftsure Lightship Classic (SLC), were here for Swiftsure’s legendary challenge – and got it in spades this year.

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Korina Korina is home – this concludes 2023 Swiftsure

At some minutes before 1900, well before tonight’s midnight race cutoff, korina korina crossed the finish line. This makes her the last boat of 2023 to finish the race. Congratulations to her and to every  competitor this year.

Let’s all give a big thanks to the organizing committee for this year’s Swiftsure International Yacht Race. And particularly we extend our gratitude to Randy Diamond, the Race Event Chair – you’ve been a fine leader and have risen to many challenges. To the over 100 volunteers it has taken to put on this race – well done team, you should be proud of your contribution of your time, creativity, and ingenuity.

We hope to see all the competitors back for Swiftsure 2024 for an even better race event.



Dragon Burns Up Another Record

Another Swiftsure race record has fallen – Juan de Fuca Race for Multihulls has a new course record (confirmation pending).

Duncan Gladman’s Custom Multihull, Dragon, racing for the Northwest Multihull Association – Canada, crossed the line not only ‘before the bar closed’ as was the refrain for decades, but finished Saturday before afternoon tea was over. And in so doing, took Line Honours, setting an unofficial  Elapsed Time for First to Finish record of 7 hours 37 minutes and 58 seconds. Preliminary Results: https://www.swiftsure.org/live-race-results/

This is in addition to Duncan’s Dragon having set the previous record in 2022 of 10 hours 31 minutes and 45 seconds.


R2AK 2019








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Answer is… Yes, Unofficially

What a day, what a night, what a race! Westerly gales pressed 40 knots and the racers kept on racing. Some gear was broken but it didn’t stop everyone.

Terramoto ready to race Swiftsure 2023

Terramoto was racing Cape Flattery Race in Division 1 of the Light Class.



William (Bill) Weinstein’s RT35 was fully crewed and racing for CYC Seattle. And they’ve done their club proud.

The previous Elapsed Time for First to Finish was set in 2007 by Flash with an elapsed time of 12 hours 51 minutes and 13 seconds.

Terramoto has an unofficial elapsed time of 12 hours 07 minutes and 55 seconds. We await confirmation about her time and, should it stand, she’ll have shaved 45 minutes off the previous record.

Preliminary Live Results here (scroll down to Cape Flattery Race).

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Will Race Records Be Broken?

Photo: Charlotte Gann

On everyone’s mind is the question – will there be records broken this year?

Swiftsure has the previous records here for Monohull Fastest Times back through the years:

  • Swiftsure Lightship Classic; Fastest Elapsed Time for First to Finish
    • 2007 Braveheart 15:08:02
  • Cape Flattery; Fastest Elapsed Time for First to Finish
    • 2007 Flash 12:51:13
  • Juan de Fuca; Fastest Elapsed Time for First to Finish
    • 2005 Yummy 9:18:53

Race day is here!

Today is the start of the 2023 Swiftsure International Yacht Race and it looks like it will be a good one! The forecast is for a fresh breeze at the start, increasing to a full gale this afternoon setting the stage for a quick race.

The Swiftsure Race Tracker goes live at 07:00 so you can watch the boats proceeding to the start at 09:00. If you’re in Victoria, you can head down to Clover Point to watch the start in person. Be sure to come down early for the Central Saanich Lions Club Pancake Breakfast starting at 08:00

Swiftsure’s 2023 Tidal Currents

Swiftsure racers should check this out and get ahead of the fleet by knowing what’s coming for tidal currents during the race weekend.

Since 2014, Dr. Richard Dewey, of Ocean Networks Canada with the University of Victoria, has graciously provided insights to Swiftsure racers about the tidal currents during the race weekend. And he’s done it again for 2023. Richard has an enduring interest in coastal flows, mixing, turbulence, waves, and tides. He has conducted research throughout the Pacific from Japan to California, and along the B.C., Alaskan, and Arctic coasts. He has used a variety of profilers and ROVs, and deployed more than 150 moorings on over 100 oceanographic expeditions. Richard is the author of the Mooring Design and Dynamics MATLAB package, and specializes in time series analysis.

Dr. Mike Foreman will brief skippers at the Swiftsure Skipper’s Meeting on Friday, May 26th at the Strathcona Hotel in their new Wicket Hall.


New GOLD Sponsor – WCMRC Western Canada Marine Response Corp

Swiftsure International Yacht Race welcomes WCMRC Western Canada Marine Response Corporation as a new GOLD sponsor. WCRMR is providing the Swiftsure Start Line signal boat and will be the Neah Bay rounding mark boat.

Thank you and welcome!

WCMRC is the Transport Canada-certified marine spill response organization for Canada’s West Coast. The mandate, under the Canada Shipping Act, is to be prepared to respond to marine oil spills along all 27,000 km of British Columbia’s coastline and to mitigate the impact when a spill occurs. This includes the protection of wildlife, economic and environmental sensitivities, and the safety of both the responders and the public.


Invitation to Volunteer for the 2023 Swiftsure International Yacht Race

Have you wanted to volunteer for Swiftsure but didn’t know how to reach out? Or you have ROC-M certification and wondered if it was needed (it is!) for some positions? There are many positions requiring limited knowledge but a great attitude, your team lead will teach you, and Swiftsure’s handbook gives you good background. You can Check-in the racers. Or serve them HOT soup after their long and cold race. And many interesting opportunities like Finish Line which requires ROC-M. Swiftsure International Yacht Race takes place May 27 and 28 this year.

This is your front row experience to discovering the longest-running race on Canada’s West Coast and contributing to its success. You’re invited, you’ll receive a Swiftsure t-shirt, be right in the centre of the race action, and if you commit 6 hours of your time you’ll be hosted, thanked and recognized at a barbecue at the race host’s Royal Victoria Yacht Club after the race event.

Register here and we’ll see you at Swiftsure!


Swiftsure Participants Can Book at The Strath

If you’re looking to stay near the Swiftsure action, the Strathcona Hotel is perfect! It has a variety of room types, multiple restaurants and cafes, and entertainment. For decades, the Strath has been a local favourite destination in the heart of Victoria near the Inner Harbour and Swiftsure’s pre-race action. The Strathcona Hotel, a sponsor of Swiftsure, extends to Swiftsure participants 25% off their best available rate discount (the rate itself depends on which room type is booked). Rooms aren’t ‘blocked’ for Swiftsure so participants are encouraged to book as soon as possible. Please email Hotel Manager Ether Stella for a quote or to reserve your room: reservations@strathconahotel.com or phone 250.383.7137 or toll free 1.800.663.7476 and ask to speak with Ether. They look forward to hearing from you.

Swiftsure’s Crew Bank & Volunteer Registration are OPEN!

Swiftsure’s Crew Bank is Open

We’re excited to announce the opening of Swiftsure’s Crew Bank. If you’d like to race Swiftsure but don’t have a ride, select the ‘Register Now’ field and add your name, contact info, skills & experience. Skippers seek additional crew through this list. Swiftsure is an exciting race with a long Pacific Northwest maritime history – we hope all crew registered here will get the experience.

Swiftsure Volunteer Registration is Open

For those wishing to experience Swiftsure from the ‘inside’, volunteering is the best way to be part of the Swiftsure team! Volunteer Registration is now also open and our Volunteer Coordinator, Bernadette Allen, is ready for you. Tell us your name and how to reach you, your t-shirt size, how many years you’ve volunteered for Swiftsure, and Bernadette will be in touch. For those returning to volunteer for Swiftsure (over 40 years! for some) – THANK YOU. You’ll hear from your team lead fairly soon – you’ll still need to register to get the t-shirt. You are valued, you truly help make Swiftsure the success it is.

WooHoo, let’s make this the BEST Swiftsure yet!

Swiftsure 2023 Registration is NOW OPEN

Registration is now open for Swiftsure 2023 Four Long Courses and the Inshore Classic.
Online registration can be accessed by clicking the “Register Now” button or the Register Now page.
Swiftsure Notices of Race are located on the Race Info > Notices of Race page.
We look forward to welcoming 2023 competitors to the 78th running of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race which takes place May 27 – 28.  
Swiftsure, Always A Challenge!

Swiftsure 2023

Welcome to Swiftsure 2023. Planning is well underway for the 78th running of this marquee race. The Notices of Race for the four long courses; Swiftsure Lightship Classic, Hein Bank, Cape Flattery and Juan de Fuca as well as the three Inshore Classic Races; Inshore Flying Sails, Inshore Non-flying Sails and Cruising Race will be posted shortly. Registration will commence on March 1, 2023.

The volunteer sign up will also be active very soon.

Some 2023 key dates are:

March 1 – Registration opens
April 28 – Early bird registration deadline
May 19 – Registration and rating changes deadline
May 25 @ 13:00 – Inner Harbour moorage & Check-in commences
May 26 @ 14:00 – Skippers Meeting, 2022 Awards presentation, weather & currents briefing
May 26 @18:00 – Check-in closes
May 26 @19:30 – Dock party begins
May 27 @ 08:51 – Warning flag for first race off Clover Pt

Please check back periodically for additional information.

Thank you for your interest in Swiftsure 2023.
Randy Diamond, Swiftsure Event Chair

Swiftsure Registration Open

Hike Harder!

We are pleased to announce the issue with our systems have been resolved and registration for the 2022 Swiftsure International Yacht Race is now open!

If your registration was impacted by the bug when we first opened, the Registrar will contact you resolve any issues. If you have concerns about your registration please email the Registrar or Technical Support.

Registration for Swiftsure 2022 Temporarily Suspended

Due to some unexpected bugs in the Swiftsure Registration program not seen during system testing, the Registration system has been temporarily suspended. It will be re-opened once the issues are resolved. Registrations received to this point are being tracked and skippers will be notified if their registration has been received and it’s current status. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience.

Sincerely, Andrew McBride, Co-Chair, Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

Swiftsure 2022 Notices of Race Published

The Swiftsure Committee of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club is pleased to announce that the 2022 Notices of Race for the Four Long Courses and for the Inshore Classic have now been published on this website. While Covid-19 and the related public health restrictions continue to create a significant level of uncertainty the Committee is moving forward organizing the 2022 races and related events. Due to the caution required at this time some activities and dissemination of information have been delayed or postponed. Most significantly race registration will not commence until March 1 2022 when we will hopefully have a higher level of certainty that the event will go forward as planned. Please review the Notices of Race at you’re earliest convenience and check this website occasionally for more additional information. We’re hoping to see as many keen racers as possible for Swiftsure in it’s 77th running in it’s 92nd year!

Swiftsure, always a challenge!

Swiftsure 2021 Cancelled

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.

For Immediate Release – Swiftsure 2020 Cancelled


Swiftsure International Yacht Race                             
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!


An Evening with Alex Fox

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.

An Evening with Richard Clarke

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

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.
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Swiftsure 2019 is in the Books!

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.

Swiftsure 2019 Starts this morning

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.

Swiftsure 2019 is here!

Swiftsure 2019 is finally here! Boats are starting to collect in Victoria’s Inner Harbour and the Swiftsure Race Centre opens today. Come down and take a look!

New Swiftsure Committee Up and Running

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

Swiftsure 2019 Registration Open!

Registration for the 76th Swiftsure International Yacht Race began with a bang!

Keith Climenhaga’s Dilligaf registered moments after the system opened. Keith has raced a number of Swiftsure’s double-handed and extends an invitation for others to join in racing Juan de Fuca Monohulls for 2019.

Next to register was Mata Hari. Current owner Jeff Blyth and previous owner Paul Walchenbach have raced Mata Hari in numerous Swiftsure races through the years and has won in the Cape Flattery Race.

Chuck Stephens’ Panic leads the pack of J105 boats, where they arrange to register and race at least 5 of the J105 fleet, establishing their own division in Cape Flattery, it’s a great way to race together and is possible for any design. There’s a very active racing schedule throughout the year in the J105 Pacific Northwest Fleet.

Darkside, the previously named and successfully campaigned Schock Therapy, will race her second Swiftsure in Cape Flattery Race. She is actively raced throughout the year under skipper Nicholas Leede.

Gusto, a Swan 441 will race Cape Flattery with Swiftsure’s first female skipper to register – Beth Miller. Gusto also raced Swiftsure, Pac Cup & RTC in 2018 as well as Seattle races.

Mephisto, Peter Mill’s C&C 29, is the first Royal Victoria Yacht Club boat to register to race Swiftsure. She will race the Inshore Flying Sails race with all-original equipment.

Register Now and join the adventure. Swiftsure – Always a Challenge

Swiftsure 2018 Report to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Each year, as a standing committee of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, Swiftsure International Yacht Race is required to provide a report to the club’s board of directors. In the report, much is acknowledged.

Racers from throughout the Pacific Northwest and beyond reconnect with each other at Swiftsure. Being the largest race on North America’s West Coast, Swiftsure may be the one race each year when racers see each other and get great competition. About half of the yachts racing in Swiftsure are from the United States of America.

So much goes into making Swiftsure successful. Several levels of government, including U.S. Department of Homeland Security & the U.S. Coast Guard, Canada’s Royal Canadian Navy, Royal Canadian Air Force, Canadian Coast Guard, Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria. Plus the City of Victoria, Greater Victoria Harbour Authority. Volunteers from the Royal Canadian Marine Search & Rescue auxiliary crews of units 33, 35, and 37.

Sponsors help us in so many ways, from donating funds to assist with the race costs, through allowing us the use of their assets such as UK Sailmakers Northwest RHIB and Prince of Whales Whale Watching’s Ocean Magic II plus a RHIB. Also contributing to Swiftsure’s Silent Auction. Through sponsors’ support, plus registration fees the racers pay and a few other sources, Swiftsure is financially self-funded each and every year.

Volunteers – almost 200 of them – help put the race together like a giant jigsaw with not a single piece missing. From the Event Chair right on through to the Soup Servers, every single one is a volunteer.

And yet, it’s nothing without racers and their yachts. The decision to race is made in the dark of winter. Skippers and crew work through the cold and bluster to ensure the boat is ready and meets the rather rigorous race requirements. Safety is top of mind for them, just as it is for the race organizers. Swiftsure can be anything – from light zephyrs, to ripping gales, and sometime during the race will be the perfect conditions for each boat to find her groove.

Here’s Vern Burkhardt’s final report to the RVYC Board of Directors – 2018 was his last year as Swiftsure’s Event Chair. Enjoy the read. 


Swiftsure…. Always a Challenge 


First-Ever Swiftsure For Ron Rosenberg

Ron Rosenberg raced his first-ever Swiftsure aboard Le Reve. Far from his first racing experience, Ron has raced since he was 9 – starting with a Sabot (gosh, how many of us have) through 5 world titles on Solings, Etchells, J-24s, 5.5 metres, and the ISAF Youth Worlds. Deep, deep, deep yacht racing. 

Ron found himself doing the landmark 75th Swiftsure International Yacht Race when he was invited aboard Le Reve, Michael Breivik’s Oceanis 45 from Seattle Yacht Club. Take a look at Ron’s “My Rookie Swiftsure Experience” insights in the May 30th Scuttlebutt News. Le Reve went on to win First Overall, First in Class (Heavy), and First in Division 1 of the 2018 Cape Flattery Race. Continue reading

When Everything Goes Right

It’s now in the books, winds have subsided, and we’re on to summer adventures with the sweet taste of the 75th Swiftsure lingering.

This year of firsts was as close to perfection as one can get. Dry skies, from sunshine blasting down on the Thursday Racers’ Social at Prince of Whales Whale Watching’s Ocean Magic II, where the new Spinnakers Swiftsure Amber Ale and Mount Gay Rum Dark & Stormy cocktails flowed freely, through the last race boat to finish on Monday at 04:49:03, the all-women Geminis Dream. In between, Mike Turner presented the Swiftsure 2018 Race Start seminar in the Distrikt to a large crowd with great questions, with big plastic sailboats ready to sail around the dance pit, giving visuals some impact. The fast-paced Awards went smoothly, leading into the Skippers’ Meeting, where the combination of predicted strong westerly winds and flood tides had skippers strategizing their route toward and beyond Race Passage, considering starting with a reef. That evening, all the stops were pulled out as the first-ever Dock Party was held, Spinnakers beer sold and The Midnights performed well beyond their planned 9 PM.
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Swiftsure Through The Years

Marianne Scott has written numerous and varied articles for Pacific Yachting through the years. This May 2018 article shines a light on Swiftsure’s origins, going back to the first race in 1930, where the commodores of the Seattle and Royal Vancouver Yacht Clubs were sharing a drink at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club with the commodore. The conversation wandered toward racing, a few drinks and chats later, they’d decided a race challenge should be held.

This was the birth of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

Enjoy Marianne’s article.

Take in the 75th Swiftsure International Yacht Race

For the public, there are many opportunities to experience the historic 75th running of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race – and it’s all free!

On Thursday, May 24th, at the Causeway Docks of Victoria’s Inner Harbour, watch as yachts begin to arrive in the afternoon, and chat with the racers on the docks.

Friday, May 25th until 6 PM, walk the docks and, later in the afternoon, have your picture taken with Captain Jack Sparrow & Scarlett as they swash buckles. Make this the year you participate, celebrate and purchase historic 75th Swiftsure memorabilia and clothing at the tent at the top of the Causeway Docks.

Alastair Chesson AC Design photo

On Saturday, make your way to Clover Point for 8 AM. There will be a pancake breakfast available from the Central Saanich Lions Club, while Swiftsure Commentators Michael Nusbaum and Daphne Goode share race information with the public over a PA system.

At 9 AM, a large gun blast and puff of smoke from the bow of HMCS Nanaimo will signal the first of six race starts. Each 10 minutes, a new race start is announced in the same way.

Once all races are underway, a Royal Canadian Air Force 442 Squadron will deploy a Cormorant helicopter for an over-the-water Search and Rescue demonstration in coordination with the Canadian Coast Guard. This is an actual demonstration of their expertise in executing a recovery of a body in the water – though for this exercise, a 180-lb OSCAR water training rescue dummy will be used. The Cormorant helicopter’s pilot and, from the bridge of HMCS Nanaimo, RCAF Major Justin Olsen will be speaking with Mike & Daphne over a VHF radio, which will be publicly broadcast during the SAR exercise. Continue reading

Shaw TV South Vancouver Island Makes Swiftsure History

Today, Shaw TV South Vancouver Island released the video they created and produced over the past year with a devoted group from Shaw TV’s production crew and Swiftsure International Yacht Race volunteers.

We are very excited to present this historic video.










The Swiftsure show will air on Shaw TV and Blue Sky the following times starting May 7th – May 27th.

Mondays 8 am & 6 pm

Tuesdays 11 am

Wednesdays 8:30 am & 8 pm

Thursdays 7 pm

Fridays 12 pm

Saturdays 2 pm

Sundays 2:30 pm

If you want to know the key people from Shaw TV that made this happen, you can look to Daphne Goode and Orlando Carillo. Without their dedication and persistance, this video would not be what it is. A wonderful chronicle of the proud history of the Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

The Legendary Katie Ford

by owners Barry Goss and Donna Silverson

Katie Ford was designed and built by Mr. Heine Dole at Astoria Marine Construction in 1946. During the Second World War, Astoria Marine was given the right to accumulate all the old growth timber they could get to build ships for the US Navy. When the war ended, there was a lot of timber left, so Heine decided to use some of it to build Katie Ford.

He was a brilliant Engineer/Designer, earning a scholarship to Stanford and graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1929. He designed Katie Ford in every detail, and fabricated all of the original bronze fittings on the boat himself. The highfield levers used for the running backstays are good examples of these. In fact, all of the original bronze fittings are still in use today. Continue reading

Exclusive – Swiftsure’s 75th from Marianne Scott

Writer and mariner Marianne Scott has created this informative article about Swiftsure through the years.

Marianne brings to life the Swiftsure race of days gone by, contrasted with the experience of yacht racing today.

Technology has changed, Victoria’s Inner Harbour has changed, the boats and sails have changed. What has not changed is the challenge of racing Swiftsure. Currents, winds, tides still bedevil the most experienced yacht racers. They return again and again, testing their mettle against the elements, competing for coveted trophies and creating a lifetime of memories.

Vern Burkhardt Photo















Pacific Yachting’s 50th is Swiftsure’s 75th

Two significant celebrations in the same year. Amazing to share a common thread.

Pacific Yachting began its life in July 1968 by reporting about Swiftsure. Editor Dale Miller shared his perspective in his May column “The View From Here“. Fifty years of Pacific Yachting magazine and ever prominent.

And from page 46, Marianne Scott takes readers from 1930 and the first Swiftsure race, through the decades to now, where so much has changed, and yet so little. True, the technology has grown by leaps, as has the gear, the clothing, the hull shapes.

What has not changed – the many challenges of the winds, the twisting currents, the incredible competitive spirits that bring racers back for years, decades, and in a few cases, over half a century! 

Not just a local annual race, Swiftsure’s reputation remains “Always A Challenge” with the 75th race ahead.

Thank you, Pacific Yachting, for being with Swiftsure each and every year. You’ve reached middle age as Swiftsure moves into deep maturity and we’re still together.

Swiftsure Technical Night held March 28th at Royal Victoria Yacht Club










On a blustery March night, the 4th annual Swiftsure Technical Night was presented by 4 Canoe Cove Marine Community companies; Vector Yacht Services, Raven Marine, Blackline Marine, and Canoe Cove Marina & Boatyard opened the evening’s speakers.

Don Prittie, Canoe Cove Marina’s General Manager, shared remarks about the unique nature of the Canoe Cove Marine Community, where any marine problem can be addressed by the over 20 businesses that work cooperatively. The setting is well worth the drive – the ‘secret’ is becoming rather well known. This night instructed on various aspects of boat maintenance and organization for sailors and racers, and even boaters would learn something they didn’t know.

Swiftsure wholeheartedly recommends the four companies – Swiftsure’s Platinum Sponsors:

  • Canoe Cove Marina and Boatyard – Don Prittie, General Manager
  • Blackline Marine Inc. – Brent Jacobi, Co-owner and Rigging & Metal Fabrication Manager
  • Raven Marine – Gavin Johnstone, Electrical/Electronics Technician
  • Vector Yacht Services – Todd Koroll, General Manager












This year, Gavin Johnstone, Electrical/Electronics Technician with Raven Marine, spoke about NMEA 2000 systems. This approach to setting ones’ boat electronics so they each communicate relatively seamlessly, even though they may not have a direct link to each other, was enthusiastically received. After Gavin finished his presentation, the questions continued for some time. Gavin, who has had a lifelong fascination with electronics, is a remarkably young man to have developed such deep expertise in his field. It was a privilege to have him present this timely topic. Continue reading

Prevailing Westerly

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 Victoria Inner Harbour dock or on the Swiftsure racecourse. A displacement of only 24,000 pounds enables the experienced crew to sail fast and smart.

Stuart Dahlgren Photo













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.

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Shaw TV South Vancouver Island’s Swiftsure 2018 Volunteer Promo

Each spring for many years, the team at Shaw TV South Vancouver Island have created a video promoting Swiftsure to locals. This year they include a new perspective – Swiftsure Volunteers; it takes over 200 volunteers to put on Swiftsure, the largest international yacht race on North America’s West Coast.

Swiftsure is excited to share the  Shaw TV SVI’s Swiftsure 2018 YouTube video. If this intrigues you, come join the thrill of Swiftsure. Go to Swiftsure’s Volunteer Contact web page and sign up to be a part of history.










Key production arrangments were lead by Daphne Goode and Orlando Carillo of Shaw TV SVI, shown here setting up Event Chair Vern Burkhardt and Finish Line Lead Dave Trace for their closeup in the Main Lounge of Swiftsure’s host, the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. Thank you to Shaw TV SVI for again creating a polished video showcasing Victoria in her glory during Swiftsure. Thank you Daphne – you were awarded the Humphrey Golby/James McVie trophy in 2012 for your over 25 years of outstanding contribution in building connectivity and communication for Swiftsure, and here we are 6 years later and you’re still among the strongest of Swiftsure’s race promoters. 

The Shaw TV SVI video about Swiftsure will also air on the Access Point programming through May 5th. Here’s the Access Point schedule:

Shaw TV South Vancouver Island’s Access Point Program through May 5, 2018
AM Monday PM
6:30 Tuesday 1:00
8:00 Wednesday 9:00
9:00 Thursday 12:30
12:01 Friday
10:30 Saturday 12:30