In the article below, published in July’s edition of 48 Degrees North, Doug Fryer writes of his 47 Swiftsure races.
Doug always races to the Bank because “The Swiftsure Race, there’s only one of those.” Why go to the Bank? In my view, because it is a 25 mile round trip on the ocean, arguably the most difficult and challenging leg. Certainly the race of the longest tradition. by Doug Fryer
Doug Fryer stands alone. He has raced more Swiftsure races than some of us are old. He’s seen the race grow from being small and little known beyond racing circles (75 entrants in 1963) to the heydays of the 80’s when over 400 race boats clogged Victoria’s Inner Harbour. Doug said “If I do it often enough, I might win.” And went on to do just that; Night Runner was the 2013 Swiftsure Lightship Classic Overall Winner.
Doug’s beautiful Night Runner, a 42 foot one off Perry design, is an illusion. She looks, for all the world, like a classic sailboat with all the comforts and warmth of times past. But she is slippery. And Doug makes her dance. You learn this through many, many Swiftsure races.
Q1: Name Doug Fryer
Q2: How many Swiftsure races have you done? 46
Q3: What year was your first Swiftsure? 1963
Q4: What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you or your crew when racing in Swiftsure? Catching salmon on Swiftsure Bank back in the days when a fishing license was not required
Q5: What was the most exciting or interesting thing that occurred while you were racing in Swiftsure?
1976 Swiftsure; a southerly wind of maybe 30+ knots created a real sea on the ocean. On Ragtime, a 62 foot sled, it took us one hour from Cape Flattery to the Lightship and one hour back,. This was a distance of 25 miles reaching with #4 jib and 3 reefs in main.
1979; Dorade collided with Zuben Ubi IV just ahead and sank her in minutes. Her crew took to the life raft and we picked them up. The sinking was like a scene from Moby Dick.
Q6: What advice would you give someone who’s thinking of racing Swiftsure for the first time?
Get rest and stay sober the night before as the race can be won or lost when the winds lessen at night, and the ocean rollers come into the strait entrance.