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Event History

It all began in 1969  -   The 51st running is in 2019 (our 50th Anniversary - yes because the 1st one was our 0 anniversary) !!

On January 22, 1969, the West Vancouver Yacht Club circulated a bulletin: “In an effort to develop a major middle-distance yachting fixture in the Strait of Georgia for Category I and II boats, the West Vancouver Yacht Club is sponsoring the Southern Strait of Georgia Race on Easter weekend. Covering a distance of 120 miles with three turning marks, the race will start at 11:00 hours on Friday, April 4th at the Point Grey Bellbuoy. First mark is Entrance Island, second is a lighted buoy 1½ miles south of Pt. Roberts and third mark is White Islets. All marks to Port. The race will finish at Passage Island. The course will be patrolled in daylight by members of the Seabee Flying Club. Owners or charterers of participating yachts must be members of recognized yacht clubs, and all entrants must have valid CCA certificates. For further information, contact race committee chair Jack Pinch or Gerry Kidd.”

  • History 1969 to 1975
    • Thanks to Barrie M. Gillmore (years 1969 Race #1-1976 Race #8 ) for these notes

      1969 Race #1

      In the inaugural race, when at 12:23 pm on Saturday, April 4, 1969 Ed Prescesky’s 47-footer SUMMER WINDS led the remaining 27 vessels across the finish line, the Club knew it had started a “Classic”. Of the 39 vessels starting, 21 were from WVYC.
      The first race (and those in 1970 and 1971) was sailed under the old CCA rules. WVYC won all three divisions (ALOHA III, SOLQUEST AND APHRODITE III). SOLQUEST was the overall winner. Many of the vessels in the Club entered several subsequent years’ events and did well (e.g., SOLQUEST, ALOHA III and TERNA). The sole U.S. entry was Dr. Bryan Archer’s 44’ TEMPTATION from Tacoma, finishing 3rd in Division 1. TEMPTATION participated in every race up to 1975. Archer returned in 1978 with CHIRON, a Frers 47. Another TEMPTATION, a 57-footer (also from Tacoma) owned by Brasier, Buchan and Nelson, entered in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

      1970 Race #2

      Jack Pinch was the instigator of a “race within the protected waters of Georgia Strait”. His Spencer 35, LE CORDON BLEU, however, was blown aground on Clements Reef (Sucia Island), 2 miles SW of Alden Bank in the 1970 Straits race in gale force winds. In this fierce, slam-bang boat-breaker, Canadian entries numbered 50 and U.S. entries numbered 18, although only 23 of the total finished. The longest vessel was the 50’ SIX PACK owned by Bruce Hedrick from the University of Washington. George Clarke was race chair.

      1st to finish: SUMMER WINDS - Ed Prescesky
      1st overall and Div. 3: EAGLE - Larry Shorett’s Cal 29 (Corinthian Yacht Club)
      Other Divisions: WHITE SQUALL – Govner Teats (Tacoma Yacht Club)
      JOLLY OLLY – Vern Ruskin (Royal Van)

      After experimenting with a Pt. Grey bell buoy start and a Passage Island finish in 1969, then a Dundarave Pier finish in 1970, the Dundarave Pier start was adopted in 1970 and the Pt. Atkinson finish was adopted in 1971. Only the intermediary marks have been changed in the ensuing years.

      1971  Race #3

      The 1971 start threatened to be a drifter, but minutes before the preparatory signal a 15-knot southeaster filled in and continued to build as the fleet ran to Ballenas. By 1400 hours, most vessels were forced to strike spinnakers. Robbie Brown and Art Hopping, on their first RHUBARB, were the last to blow their chute – they couldn’t get it down! Less than 17 hours after the starting gun, Art Way’s new Spencer 51 ANDANTE II out of Royal Van, racing for the first time, was first to finish with an average speed of 7 knots. There was one near tragedy when TEMPTATION’s skipper went over the side while trying to retrieve a torn spinnaker. He managed to hold on to a line and 4 crewmen hauled him back aboard.

      1st to finish: ANDANTE II – Art Way (Royal Van)
      1st overall: HYAK – Bonar Davis, skipper (Royal Van)

      Pacific Yachting said of the 1971 race that “the race organization was superb and the shore side functions went without a hitch. Another triumph for the men and women of the WVYC committee who are building a reputation as first class regatta hosts”. Race chair was Derek Cove. There were 74 entries. Financial management was good too, as the net profit was $357 on receipts of $1170.

      1972 Race #4

      The aforementioned bouquet was questioned by some in 1972. Twenty-two vessels sailed OUTSIDE the Pt. Atkinson finish mark because, to many skippers, coming in from windward in huge seas, the buoy appeared to be banging on the rocks. By actual measurement, however, the buoy was 800’ from shore – less than the 1440’ in the instructions, but far enough to ensure safe passage. It was back in position, however, after the storm abated. Protests against the race committee on the positioning of the line were disallowed. As a result of this controversy, race chair Ken Bruce developed a few more white hairs. He later congratulated all skippers and crews who participated in conditions “that were amongst the wildest that have ever been experienced in yacht racing in this area” and state that “The race was a magnificent display of endurance and racing skill and everyone who completed the distance, whether they passed inside or outside the finish mark, deserved only the utmost admiration”. The short course was introduced in 1972 but, for some inexplicable reason, was not repeated until it became a permanent alternative in 1977. The increasing number of PHRF vessels was also acknowledged by recognizing that category

      Long Course Winners (130 miles):
      1st to finish: SIX PACK - Bruce and Lang Hedrick (Rose City Corinthian Yacht Club)
      1st overall IOR and Div. 3: SOLQUEST (Alberg 37) – Fred Russell
      1st in Div. 2: HABITAT – Peter Richard
      1st overall PHRF and Div. A: ALOHA III – (“backyard built” Controversy 37) Gerry Reynolds

      Short Course Winner (104 miles):
      1st to finish: LIGERO – A. Campbell (Royal Victoria Yacht Club)

      1973 Race #5

      Jim Page took over as race chair in 1973 and continued to head this Easter sailing classic with distinction for 6 years.
      Appearing for the first time in 1973 were George O’Brien’s converted 120metre ENDLESS SUMMER and Dick Nelson’s Spencer 53 NAKNEK, both from Royal Van.

      PHRF 1st overall: ALOHA III – (“backyard built” Controversy 37) Gerry Reynolds
      IOR 1st to finish, overall and Div. 1: PACHENA (C&C 39) – John Newton
      Div. 3: HUCKLEBERRY (Ericson 35) – Ken Reid (1st time WVYC winner)
      Div. 4: ORAR (Scampi) – Vlad Plavsic (1st time WVYC winner)

      1974 Race #6

      By mid-afternoon on Thursday, April 12, 1974, the day preceding the sixth Easter Classic, the winds were gusting to 65 knots and the pre-race briefing predicted winds of 25 to 35 knots. The result of this overkill was the first “windless” Straits race, with the strongest puff a mere 10 knots during the entire cruise. Only 17 of 112 finished within the 50-hour time limit. None of the IOR Division 3 and 4 boats finished, nor did any PHRF entries. Lol Killam’s 73’ GREYBEARD from Royal Van was the largest vessel entered. She finished 5th, but with her huge handicap, placed 12th in Division 1.

      Near Entrance Island at dinnertime on the Saturday, the crew of SOLQUEST had been celebrating since early afternoon upon being told by their skipper that rations would be increased to 2 meals per day. The powerboat group of the Club continued to assist in the race organization with Sandy Megaw’s VIRAGO as the start vessel in 1974, and again in 1975 and 1976.

      IOR 1st to finish, overall and Div. 1: PACHENA (C&C 39) – John Newton
      Div. 2: LA BRISA (Viking 33) – Bill Van Leeuwen

      1975 Race #7

      All but 5 of the 118 starting vessels finished “the quietest and most pleasant Straits race to date”.

      1st to finish: WARRIOR (Britton Chance-designed 50’) – Bruce Hedrick, skipper (Rose City Corinthian Yacht Club)
      IOR overall: CUSTARD PIE (San Juan 24) – D. Purdie/G. Herbert (Kitsilano YachtClub) – smallest boat in the race
      PHRF overall: DYNASTY II (Martin 29) – John Fairley

  • History 1976 to 1990
    • Thanks to Barrie M. Gillmore (years 1976 Race #8 -1984 Race #16) and Jim Pine (years 1985 Race #17- 1990 Race #22) for these notes

      1976 Race #8

      At 800am on Saturday, April 17, 1976, on the reach from the TA buoy to the White Islets, Tom Braidwood had the misfortune to fall off the foredeck of MUTINEER III while helping with the spinnaker wrap. MUTINEER III sailed on because the sail problem prevented her from coming about and the engine couldn’t be started, as Tom presumably had the key in his floater jacket pocket. Club mate Jim Pine on MOODY TOO, however, was close behind, saw the mishap and hauled Tom aboard after only 4 minutes in the chuck. Tom then had the audacity to radio MUTINEER III with the opening line “THIS IS YOUR CAPTAIN SPEAKING…”.
      The 12 metre WEATHERLY, the successful defender of the America’s Cup in 1962 and then owned by Sommers/Buchan from Tacoma Yacht Club, was the first to finish in 1976, breaking all previous records at an average speed of 6.7 knots – taking slightly over 21 hours to complete the 143-mile long course. She and WARRIOR traded the first to finish honours in each of the next 4 years.

      1st to finish: WEATHERLY – Sommers/Buchan (Tacoma Yacht Club)
      IOR overall: PEARCE ARROW (Ganbere 35) – Ken Pearce (Royal Van)
      Div. 2: PACHENA – John Newton
      Div. B: SKY ONE HUNDRED (Fraser 42) – Patrick Hill
      Div. C: BRIGADOON (Irwin 30) – Vic Bishop

      1977 Race #9

      After 4 years of light-to-moderate winds, it had to happen. 1977 produced gale force winds and big seas, causing the withdrawal of 47 vessels, 6 of which were dismasted. One was the PEARCE ARROW, which was driven onto the rocks at Worlcombe Island. This mishap resulted in prolonged hearings and appeals regarding the rendering (or lack thereof) of assistance to disabled vessels.

      Long Course Winner:
      Div. 2: KANATA – Vlad Plavsic

      Short Course Winner (88 miles):
      1st to finish: THE MIKADO – Gruen/Rulka (Tiddly Cove)

      1978 Race #10

      Although not the gear buster of the previous year, winds up to 49 knots in 1978 dismasted 3 vessels. One was KANATA. Bob Harrison on INDIGO stood by for 2 hours near Ballenas until the Coast Guard arrived.

      Div. B: TANGENT II – Tony Loach (8th Straits Race)
      PHRF Div. C: SHANNON
      PHRF Div. E: BAD NEWS – Bob Lefeaux (Tiddly Cove)

      1979 Race #11

      The Friday the 13th start in 1979 was “loosely controlled mayhem”. Most vessels piled up at the committee boat end of the line “like so many herring at spawning time”, resulting in the first general recall in the race’s history. Race chair, Vic Bishop, was also in charge of the start and parted with a few more white hairs. Per Christoffersen, skippering his C&C 39 TERNA III, finally won his division after entering all 10 previous Straits races (except in 1978, because his engine would not start) and usually placing.

      PHRF Div. A: TERNA III (C&C 39) – Per Christoffersen
      PHRF Div. E: BAD NEWS – Bob Lefeaux (Tiddly Cove)

      1980 Race #12

      In 1980, the uncertainty as to when the first vessel may finish (and the fear of missing her) continued to plague the finish line committee. Chair Bob Hutchinson barely made it to Pt. Atkinson to fire the gun for WEATHERLY at 0854 hours on Saturday. By 1980, Fred Russell had won enough races, so he volunteered to be race chair – a job he capably filled again in 1981 and 1982.

      PHRF 1st overall and Div. A: TERNA III
      Div. 2: PACHENA
      Div. 3: BRIGADOON

      1981 Race #13

      After 6 years of supremacy by WARRIOR and WEATHERLY, John Buchan’s magnificent Chance 54 GLORY was 1st to finish in 1981. On corrected time, however, WVYC, BRIGADOON took the honours in what skipper Vic Bishop termed “an extremely pleasant race”. Also, after many years of scrapes to Ken Bruce’s C-ROMAR, the start line was fortified in this year by a 70’ Seaspan tug – a wise change, as the second start required 2 general recalls and the third start required one general recall - keeping Tom Eckford and his start line committee on their toes.

      Long Course Winners
      1st to finish: GLORY (Chance 54) – John Buchan
      1st place: BRIGADOON – Vic Bishop
      Div. 2: KANATA

      Short Course Winner
      1st to finish: THE MIKADO

      1982 Race #14

      1982 introduced 2 new Santa Cruz 50’s: Dave Ratner’s INCANTATION in IOR and Davidson/Bulford’s SYDEILSUMA in PHRF. The latter was 1st to finish and 1st overall PHRF, a feat never before equaled. Ajax Bank, of the northern end of Denman Island, was the most northerly mark to be used to this date. Despite the attempt to make it a navigational challenge, the mark was clearly visible 9 miles away and no one had difficulty finding it – due in no small part to Dodd Clippingdale’s CONTESSA, anchored nearby to provide radio information the Club. Another first in 1982, was the number of vessels starting – 140 in all.

      PHRF 1st to finish and overall: SYDEILSUMA – Davidson/Bulford

      1983 Race #15

      The 15th Easter Classic in 1983 was thought to be perhaps the most disastrous race yet, with 44 (or 35%) dropouts of the 124 starting vessels. Yet, due to strong winds, 66% failed to finish in 1970 and 38% in 1977. Statistics, however, are not much consolation. By the time the 1983 fleet reached Pt. Atkinson after a relatively light start on April Fool’s Day, 4 masts had fallen, 6 rudders had broken or jammed, several main and spinnaker booms were bent and an untold number of sails were in shreds. Fifty-knot winds with 8 to 12-foot short seas prevailed throughout most of the race, but that did not prevent the hairsplitting and spectacular finish between Bill Buchan’s Peterson 44 SACHEM (21.6687 hours) and his brother John’s Chance 54 GLORY (21.6784 hours).

      Long Course Winners:
      1st to finish: SACHEM (Peterson 44) – Bill Buchan
      PHRF Div. B: INDIGO (C&C 39) – Bob Harrison - participated in all 14 previous races,
      IOR Div. 2: PACHENA

      Short Course Winners:
      1st to finish and Div. G: BAD NEWS
      Div. H: TSONOQUA – Blann/Sinclair

      1984 Race #16

      John Fairley was race chair in 1983 and was succeeded by Len Kelsey in 1984. In both years, Cutty Sark was co-sponsor. The 1984 race was identical to 1983 (Long course: 131 miles to Ballenas, Active Pass mark, White Islets; Short course: 88 miles to Ballenas, Entrance, White Islets) but conditions were considerably milder. Only 7 vessels did not finish out of 137 starters.

      Long Course Winners
      1st to finish: TALINA (Swan 65) – Seattle, rating 45.8 IOR
      IOR overall and Div. 3: CANVASBACK (Kirby 36) – J. Anderson (Royal Victoria)
      IOR Div. 2: PACHENA III

      Short Course Winner
      Div. G: BAD NEWS

      SOUTHERN STRAITS 1985 – 2000
      By Jim Pine

      Following of Barrie Gillmore’s synopsis of Southern Straits Races 1969 – 1984, I was asked to continue the abridged synopsis from 1985 onwards. I have included extracts from MOODY TOO’s log.

      1985 Race #17

      The 17th Southern Straits Race started on Good Friday, April 5, 1985 with some general recalls. Pacific Yachting reported “A very classy and somewhat classical classic”. The sun was shining, the wind was NW 15 and the ebbing tide was assisting with 2 or 3 knots. The 131-mile long course took the fleet to Ballenas Islands with first roundings about 17.00. An astonishing 8 boats managed to hit the ‘uncharted’ rock off Ballenas and WISP suffered keel bolt damage. The Coast Guard hovercraft assisted in some of the groundings. The 88-mile short course took the fleet to Ballenas, Entrance, White Islets. In all, there were 123 entries and 108 finished.

      Long Course Winners
      1st overall and IOR Div.1: SACHEM – Bill Buchan
      Div. 2: PACHENA
      IOR Div. 2: NORTHAIR – J.D. Hilton
      PHRF Div. A: ZIPPORAH – J.D. Smiley
      PHRF Div. B: BOHEMIA – R.M. Helsell
      PHRF Div. C: TOPKAPI – Bill Say
      PHRF Div. D: ICARIAN – Telford/Diebel
      PHRF Div. E: POUDRE D’OR – Buddy Hulscher

      Short Course Winner
      1st: HAPPY SQUID – Helmut Ehlers

      1986 Race #18

      The 1986 Southern Straits Race started March 28th in light easterly winds with the 134-mile long course rounding North Ajax Bank in the south, then Ballenas Island in the north, finishing at Pt. Atkinson. The 90-mile short course went to a mark off Pt. Roberts, then to Entrance Island and also finished at Pt. Atkinson. There were 27 boats in the IOR divisions and 79 in the PHRF, giving 106 boats entered. The race was sponsored by Cutty Sark. This was one of the quieter races.

      Long Course Winners
      1st to finish: CLIMAX – Smith
      Div. 1: SACHEM – Bill Buchan
      Div. 2: FLYING MACHINE – C&M Walsh
      Div. 3: MOONDANCE – Ken Brown
      PHRF 1st overall and Div. A: ZIPPORAH – J. Smiley
      Div. B: KYDAKA – Sandy Huntingford
      Div. C: RUNAWAY IV – McIntyre/Thompson

      Short Course Winners
      1st to finish and Div. G: TROLLEY CAR – Stephen Hunter
      Overall and Div. H: ARGOSY – Alex Cregan

      1987 Race #19

      The 1987 Southern Straits Race started at 10.30 on April 17th in a good NW wind. The long course was 133 miles with Sisters Island as the first mark followed by TA buoy, Halibut Bank and finished at Pt. Atkinson. The winds soon built to 25 knots with sunny skies and held for most of the race, dropping to 14 knots later. On the short course the first 3 boats were M242s. There were 22 IOR boats entered, 50 PHRF on the long course and 26 PHRF on the short course for a total of 98 boats. MOODY TOO’s log recorded a 9.5-knot run from Sisters Island and a ”bumpy beat” after rounding TA. Halibut Bank was rounded at 10.00 on Saturday and the wind held to cross the finish line at 12.55, giving MOODY TOO 3rd place in Division D.

      Long Course Winners
      1st to finish: MERIDIAN – Tim Clark
      1st overall: DELICATE BALANCE – R. Gunsolus
      PHRF 1st overall: INUA – Stee Ryan
      Div. A: TALINA (Swan 65) – Bishop/Cahill
      Div. D: OMEGA – A. deKleer

      Short Course Winners
      1st to finish: TROLLEY CAR – S. Hunter
      Div. H: VANESSA – Clint Currie

      1988 Race #20

      The 20th Southern Straits Race started at 10.30 on Friday, April 1, 1988 in light easterly winds. The long course – 130 miles – went to Halibut Bank, Porlier Pass, Sisters Island and finished at Pt. Atkinson. The short course – 75 miles – turned at Entrance Island instead of Sisters, also finishing at Pt. Atkinson. The long course entries found winds up to 30 knots around Sisters Island with large and irregular seas. There were 20 boats in the IOR Class, 55 boats in the PHRF long course and 12 boats in the short course, for a total of 87. There were several equipment failures. MOODY TOO broke 2 jib halyards and 1 spinnaker halyard and finished at 17.10 on Saturday.

      Long Course Winners
      PHRF 1st to finish: MERIDIAN – Tim Clark
      1st overall and PHRF Div: WARRIOR – Richard O’Neal
      IOR 1st overall: GLORY – John Buchan

      Short Course Winners
      1st to finish: KLUANE – G. Hodgson
      1st overall and Div. G: VANESSA – Clint Currie

      1989 Race #21

      Easter was early in 1989 and the 21st Southern Straits Race started on March 24th in light winds after a 15-minute postponement. The long course went to Merry Island, T10, Entrance Island and finished at Pt. Atkinson for a total distance of 125 miles. The short course consisted of 2 day races, each about 20 miles long to a mark off Bowen Island. The M242s had a separate start with a 13 boat fleet. Winds were mainly very light, but by 1800 on Saturday had risen to 15 – 20 knots. MOODY TOO finished at 23.45 on Saturday.

      Long Course Winners
      IOR 1st to finish and overall: SACHEM – Bill Buchan
      PHRF 1st to finish: MERIDIAN – Tim Clark

      Short Course Winner:
      1st overall and in class: MOODY TOO – Jim Pine

      1990 Race #22

      The 1990 Southern Straits Race started on April 13th in light easterly winds after a 1 1/2 hour postponement. Winds changed to light NW by midday. The 129 mile long course went to Halibut Bank, Alden Bank, back to Halibut Bank and finished at Pt. Atkinson. The short course was 77 miles to Halibut Bank, T10, Halibut Bank and also finished at Pt. Atkinson. There were also inshore races for M242s and other smaller yachts as in 1989, one each on Friday and Saturday, both about 20 miles to Worlecombe Island and back to Pt. Atkinson. There 15 boats entered in IOR, 40 boats in PHRF, 27 boats for the inshore series and 13 M242s for a total of 95 boats.

      Long Course Winners
      IOR 1st to finish: LUCILLE – K. Stamper
      IOR 1st overall and in Div.: SACHEM – Bill Buchan
      PHRF 1st to finish, overall and in Div: PADDY WAGON – B. Lenihan
      Div. B: PILAR – J. MacMillan
      Div. D: MAGNUM – E. Herrmann
      Div. E: HIGH TENSION – S&M Miller

      Short Course Winners
      1st M242: SILVER BULLET – Kine/Day
      1st overall: FARFELU – D. Moore
  • History 1991 to 2000
    • Thanks to Jim Pine (years 1991 Race #23- 2000 Race #32) for these notes 

      1991 Race #23, march 29-31

      The 23rd Southern Straits Race started on March 29, 1991. The wind was 10 knots SW in drizzle and rose to over 30 knots apparent, giving a fast reach to Ballenas Island for the short course that returned to Pt. Atkinson after rounding for a total of 75 miles. The long course of 134 miles went to QA, TA, Ballenas, back to TA, White Islets and finished at Pt. Atkinson. Again there was a 2-day 2 race inshore series that attracted 23 M242s and 12 Division G boats. The total entry was 100 boats. MERIDIAN retired with gear failure.
      Long Course Winners
      IOR 1st to finish: LUCILLE (Frers 50) – from Seattle
      IOR 1st overall: PENDRAGON – Stu Watts
      PHRF 1st to finish: OAXACA
      PHRF Div. A: PADDY WAGON – Bill Lambay
      Div. B: VALHALLA – Ron McLean
      Div. C: OLYMPIAN – Peter Schmidt

      Short Course Winners
      1st to finish: MOODY TOO – Jim Pine
      Div. D: MERRY’ELL – Trevor Haywood
      Div. E: HAPPY SQUID – Helmut Ehlers

      Inshore Winner
      1st – M242: TO FOLLOW – Dan Martin

      Strong winds made this the fastest long course to date. There were many equipment failures and one M242 collision resulted in a lost outboard motor.

      1992 Race #24, april 17-19

      The 24th Southern Straits Race started on April 17, 1992 with a total of 89 boats. A 10-knot easterly gave the spectators a colourful spinnaker start. The long course of 120 miles went to Halibut Bank, Alden Bank and back around Halibut Bank buoy to the finish at Pt. Atkinson. The short course of 77 miles went to Halibut Bank, T10 and back to the finish line. The wind eased on Friday evening, and then turned to a strong northwesterly rising to 30 knots on Saturday morning. There were 12 boats in the IOR group on the long course. There were 8 IMS boats entered. Quite a few sail and equipment failures occurred, especially on the long course, but this was a good fast race.

      Long Course Winners
      IOR 1st overall PENDRAGON – Stu Watts
      Div. B: HARWAR – Hossack/Wong
      Div. C: OMEGA – A. deKleer
      IMS 1st: LEMON EXTRACT – W. Mulvey

      Short Course Winners
      Div. E: FORE – Mike Dale
      Div. F: POUDRE D’OR – Buddy Hulscher
      Div. J: ULTIMATUM – Jim Turnbull
      Div. K: MAJIC – Craig Lees

      M242 Class (12 boats)
      1st: BROOS-ROOS – MacClacherty

      1993 Race #25, april 9-11

      The 25th Southern Straits Race started on April 9, 1993. The quarter century was celebrated by a somewhat shorter long course of 120 miles and a 50-mile short course for a total of 73 boats. There were no inshore races. The long course was Halibut Bank, T10, Ballenas Island and finished at Pt. Atkinson with 35 boats competing.

      Long Course Winners
      IOR 1st to finish and overall: MAD MAX – Wink Vogel
      PHRF Div. A: EMILY CARR – Peter Sou
      Div. B: JAMOCA – Bob Warner
      Div. C and 1st to finish MERIDIAN – Ron Drane
      Div. D: TIGGER – Long/Jones

      Short Course Winners
      Div. F: BALLENAS – Doug Race
      Div. G: POUDRE D’OR – Buddy Hulscher
      Div. H: HAVOC – Richard Alban

      1994 Race #26, april 1-3

      The 26th Southern Straits Race began on April 1, 1994. Until this year, the buoy marking the finish line at Pt. Atkinson had been provided and set by the Canadian Coast Guard. In 1994, however, they were unable to continue this courtesy and instead donated a buoy that was refurbished and set by Allied Shipbuilders (Jim McLaren). Allied Shipbuilders have continued to provide this greatly appreciated service since then. The course remained unchanged from 1993, with the 120-mile long course around Ballenas and the 50-mile short course to T10. There were no IOR entries this year.

      Long Course Winners
      Overall and Div. C: HARWAR - Hassock/Wong
      1st to finish OBSESSION - Bennett/LaMarche
      Div. A OAXACA - Gene Twiner
      Div. B PENDRAGON - J. Glass
      Div. D CARPEDIEM - H. Schmeidl
      Div. E BEDLAM - Bernie Lueder

      Short Course Winners
      Div. F BALLENAS - Doug Race
      Div. G CREWS CONTROL - Hale/Liesman
      Div. H BELLA LAENDA - Oakley/Morrison

      There were 90 boats entered and mostly light winds prevailed.

      1995 Race #27, april 14-16

      The 27th Southern Straits Race began with 80 boats entered on April 14, 1995 under sunny skies and a good westerly wind. Unfortunately, a bad collision occurred between the 1994 winner HARWAR and the Davidson 72 CASSIOPEIA. HARWAR was disabled and did not start; CASSIOPEIA completed the course, but was disqualified at the subsequent protest meeting. The big boat fleet has 9 vessels measuring 50’ or bigger, mainly from the U.S. There were 46 boats in the 116-mile long race that sailed to Sisters Island, Halibut Bank, White Inlets, T10 and finished at Pt. Atkinson. The 62-mile short course went to Entrance Island, White Islets and the finish at Pt. Atkinson.

      Long Course Winners
      1st to finish: OBSESSION – Paul Marche
      Div. A and 1st overall: DELICATE BALANCE - Roy Gunsolus
      Div. B: NORTHERN GIRL - John Graham
      Div. C: JAMOCCA - Bob Warner
      Div. D: COUNTER BALANCE - Steve Johnson
      Div. E: IL PELLICANO - Gordon Stroquist

      Short Course Winners
      1st to finish: KISMET (Cal 40) - Charles Guidner
      1st overall and Div H: MAJIC - Craig Lees
      Div. F: MELTEMI - Sean Hulscher
      Div. G: CAJUN - John Leyland

      1996 Race #28, april 5-7

      The 28th Southern Straits Race began on April 5, 1996 with Barry Clark as chair. A total of 82 boats entered and 19 boats retired due to strong winds (to 40 knots) and rough seas. The 116-mile long course was to Sisters Island, Halibut Bank, White Islets, T10 and finished at Pt. Atkinson. The 62-mile short course was to Entrance Island, White Islets and finished at Pt. Atkinson.

      Long Course Winners
      1st to finish and Div. A: CASSIOPEIA - Charles Burnett
      1st overall and Div. C: BREAKING WIND - John Moore
      Div. B: MARDI GRAS - M. Phelps
      Div. D: BALLENAS - Doug Race
      Div. E: SHOWTIME - B. Mayfil
      Div. F: VALHALLAH - Don McLean
      Div. G: CHEERS - T. Weflan

      Short Course Winners
      1st to finish, overall and Div. H: KISMET - Charles Guidner
      Div. I MOCK DUCK - Rod Whitman
      Div. J MAJIC - Craig Lees

      1997 Race #29, march 28-30

      The 29th Southern Straits Race started on Friday, March 28, 1997, with moderate to strong winds causing some equipment damage. There were 76 boats entered, but only 63 completed the course. The courses were unchanged from 1996, with a 116-mile long course and a 62-mile short course.

      Long Course Winners
      1st to finish: LUNA BARBA - Tony Sessions
      1st overall and Div. A: CHINA CLOUD - Bill Buchan
      Div. B: GENERAL HOSPITAL - Sandy Huntingford
      Div. C: GREYHOUND - Bill Moore

      Short Course Winners
      1st to finish and Div. E: BETTY BOOP - Ben Power
      1st overall and Div. H: LONE RANGER - George Streadwick
      Div. F: SKYWALKER - Gordon Cooper
      Div. G: CAJUN

      1998 Race #30, april 10-12

      The 30th Southern Straits Race, on April 10, 1998, had a postponed start and eventually got away at 1200 with 74 boats entered. Of these, 18 boats of the 36 in the long course retired and 16 boats retired in the short course. After the calm start, winds picked up and some very high winds were recorded.

      Long Course Winners
      1st overall, in Div. A: CHINA CLOUD - Bill Buchan
      1st to finish: RENEGADE - Don Sinclair
      Div. B: SLY’D AWAY - Stu Watts
      Div. C: HARWAR - Wong/Hassock
      Div. D: VALHALLAH - Don McLean

      Short Course Winners (Entrance Island, White Islets, T10, QA and finish)
      1st overall and Div. G: IRISH COFFEE - Paul Killeen
      1st to finish and Div. F: MELTEMI - Sean Hulscher
      Div. E: JINX - M. Vander Dreiesche
      Div. H: ZEPHYR - Davis
      2nd in Div. F: MOODY TOO

      1999 Race #31

      The 31st Southern Straits Race started on April 2, 1999 with strong SE winds to 35 knots changing to light NW winds overnight, 58 boats and some equipment damage. The 126-mile long course with 28 boats was to Halibut Bank, T10, Ballenas, TA, QA and finished at Pt. Atkinson. The 70-mile short course with 30 boats was to Entrance Island, White Islets, T10, QA and Pt. Atkinson.

      Long Course Winners
      1st to finish and Div. A: CHINA CLOUD - Bill Buchan
      1st overall and Div. C: HARWAR - Wong/Hassock
      Div. B: STINGRAY - Bob Alfred

      Short Course Winners
      1st to finish: MOODY TOO - Jim Pine
      1st overall and Div. D: XS - Colin Nichols
      Div. E: IRISH COFFEE - Paul Killeen
      Div. F: POUDRE D’OR - Buddy Hulscher

      2000 Race #32, April 21-23

      By William Phillips and Jim Pine

      Southern Straits is now history and it was another WVYC success story. Only one boat did not finish, due to finding an uncharted rock called Ballenas. This year’s Straits was very good to West Van boats. We received line honors and took first overall in both Long and Short Courses.

      "There were 59 boats entered – one more than in 1999, but confirming a trend away from overnight racing. Winds were moderate, mainly SE 10-15 knots, with rain. The 145-mile long course of 31 boats went to Halibut Bank, T10, Ballenas, Porlier Pass, Halibut Bank, QA and finished at Pt. Atkinson. The 71-mile short course of 28 boats went to Entrance Island, Halibut Bank, TA, QA and finished at Pt. Atkinson. MOODY TOO was 2nd in Div. D – the third 2nd place in a row. At least we were consistent!" (to quote Jim Pine)


      Long Course
      Division A: Occam’s Razor Rick Reynolds WVYC 1st
      Ripple Johnathan McKee WYC 2nd
      Flash Gordon 2 Steve Travis CYC 3rd

      Division B: Karina Jorgen Bysse IYC 1st
      Turicum Warren Hale VRC 2nd
      Future Primitive Ron MacKenzie RVYC 3rd

      Division C: Spectre Lee Rogge SYC 1st
      Séance Richard Kyle WVYC 2nd
      Harwar Will Wong & Roy Hossack TCYC 3rd

      Short Course
      Division D: Meltemi Sean Hulscher WVYC 1st
      Moody Too Jim Pine WVYC 2nd
      Lady Dane Ted Lund Henriksen SLYC 3rd

      Division E: Irish Coffee Paul Killeen RVYC 1st
      Manana Trevor Salmon DCYC 2nd
      Poudre D’Or Buddy Hulscher WVYC 3rd

      Division F: Bravado Murray Good WVYC 1st
      Shaula II Tim Thompson IYC 2nd
      Dusty Mac Edward Karadontis VRC 3rd

  • History 2001 to 2010
    • Thanks to William Phillips and Fred Butler (2004 Race #36) for these notes.

      2000 Race #32, April 21-23

      Southern Straits is now history and it was another WVYC success story. Only one boat did not finish, due to finding an uncharted rock called Ballenas. This year’s Straits was very good to West Van boats. We received line honors and took first overall in both Long and Short Courses.

      "There were 59 boats entered – one more than in 1999, but confirming a trend away from overnight racing. Winds were moderate, mainly SE 10-15 knots, with rain. The 145-mile long course of 31 boats went to Halibut Bank, T10, Ballenas, Porlier Pass, Halibut Bank, QA and finished at Pt. Atkinson. The 71-mile short course of 28 boats went to Entrance Island, Halibut Bank, TA, QA and finished at Pt. Atkinson. MOODY TOO was 2nd in Div. D – the third 2nd place in a row. At least we were consistent!", (to quote Jim Pine).



      Long Course
      Division A: Occam’s Razor Rick Reynolds WVYC 1st
      Ripple Johnathan McKee WYC 2nd
      Flash Gordon 2 Steve Travis CYC 3rd

      Division B: Karina Jorgen Bysse IYC 1st
      Turicum Warren Hale VRC 2nd
      Future Primitive Ron MacKenzie RVYC 3rd

      Division C: Spectre Lee Rogge SYC 1st
      Séance Richard Kyle WVYC 2nd
      Harwar Will Wong & Roy Hossack TCYC 3rd

      Short Course
      Division D: Meltemi Sean Hulscher WVYC 1st
      Moody Too Jim Pine WVYC 2nd
      Lady Dane Ted Lund Henriksen SLYC 3rd

      Division E: Irish Coffee Paul Killeen RVYC 1st
      Manana Trevor Salmon DCYC 2nd
      Poudre D’Or Buddy Hulscher WVYC 3rd

      Division F: Bravado Murray Good WVYC 1st
      Shaula II Tim Thompson IYC 2nd
      Dusty Mac Edward Karadontis VRC 3rd

      2001 Race #33, april 13-15 

      By William Phillips

      This years Southern Straits Classic drew a total of 64 Yachts. Numbers were up from last year. This year we added a third course; an inshore course for those who didn’t want to sail overnight. The numbers were: 34 Long Course; 19 Short Course, and 11 Inshore Course.

      Mother Nature decided to be gentle with us this year, however, she proved to be too gentle as the winds were very light with many boats choosing to retire rather than spending another night out in the Straits in minus degree weather. Crews that finished were greeted at the docks at West Vancouver by what can be said as the Best and Hardest working Race Committee on the West Coast, with hot drinks, soup and sandwiches making those tired and cold sailors very welcome. A very heart-felt thanks to all of you. A special thanks to Darryl Stodolka and Barb Moi. Without your organization, the race would just be another race.

      On the Long course, the only Canadian boat in Division A was our own Occam’s Razor; with great determination, Rick and his crew fought off the US competition to finish 3rd overall to correct out to 2nd in their division.

      On the Short course, West Vancouver boats took 2 out of the top 3 spots. The first boats to finish this year on the Short course crossed the line at 0400 hours Saturday. On the Long course, the first boat finished at 1500 hours Saturday. The last boats on the Short course finished at 0700 hours Saturday, and in the Long course, 1300 hours Sunday.

      Another thanks to all the volunteers and staff who helped make these years Southern Straits another great success.

      2002 Race #34, march 29-31 

      Armed with an adequate supply of assorted doughnuts and muffins, the Start Line Committee members assembled at the Seaspan docks in North Vancouver to board the 65' tug CAVALIER at 8:00am. Rain threatened and it wasn’t that warm. However, it was nice and cosy aboard the CAVALIER.

      The Start Line was established soon after nine o’clock and very soon thereafter the contesting yachts began to assemble, as did a big crowd over on the Dundarave pier where Len Kelsey was set to run a commentary. The breeze was a touch to the North of East and it could have been stronger. However, starts for both the Long and Short Courses got off well and the 60 or so boats left English Bay under a colourful display of spinnakers, with the outgoing tide under them. A sight that I’m sure the shore side spectators enjoyed.

      Yachts made good progress for quite a while before the wind took time off (for about nine hours), which certainly put a damper on things and tested the patience of both the competitors and Race Committee. For example, ICON, who took Line Honours for the Long Course, reported rounding Light Buoy TA at 3:03am on Saturday. She wasn’t to cross the finish line until 4:15pm! There were reports of boats covering barely a mile over the ground in a four hour period.

      That being said, it was clear that all the skippers and crews enjoyed the race. Thanks go to them for competing and make this another successful milestone in WVYC history. Congratulations go to Race Chair, Graham Shivers for a job well done. Thanks go, too, to the small army of volunteers who worked long and hard to set up the event and make the whole thing work. In particular, I would like to thank the 38 people who volunteered for Finish Line duty. My ambition was to have named you all, but space has become a major constraint...maybe next month!

      The results have been posted on our web site at Darryl Stodalka has done a great job of this. There are a large number of photos as well. Rick Reynolds in OCCAM’S RAZOR won Division 1 on the Long Course by a corrected time of 46 seconds! Exciting stuff! The site is well worth a visit.

      2003 Race #35, april 13-20 

      A strong ebb tide and a light easterly breeze allowed the 58 competing boats to get out of English Bay. There were 28 boats from a wide variety of clubs entered in the Long Course, including one from England, and 30 in the Short Course. Once out in the Strait itself, the fleets enjoyed mostly very good winds and some very fast sailing.

      Line honors for the Long Course went to the 65' sled IKON followed less than twenty minutes later by NEPTUNE’S CAR, a Santa Cruz 70. Rick Reynolds in OCCAM’S RAZOR was third across the line.

      In the Short Course, three Dash 34's out of RVYC were first across the line with Sean Hulscher, crossing ninth, being the first WVYC boat.

      On corrected time, Rob Wissenz in VOYAGEUR was second overall and second in Division 2 in the Long Course and MELTEMI was second in the Short Course. OCCAM’S RAZOR came in second in Division 1. Division 3 was won by SUNSTONE from the Royal Ocean Racing Club with Horst Duess in ULLADULLA taking second.

      For complete information of results, check our web site at

      Thanks go to Race Chair, Darryl Stodalka, and the 100 other volunteers for a great event. Mark your calendars for 9th April, 2004 when the 36th Southern Straits will take place.

      2004 Race #36, april 9-11 

      By Fred Butler

      West Vancouver Yacht Club initiated the Annual Southern Straits Classic in 1969. The Dundarave Pier start was adopted in 1970 making the race a West Vancouver Easter Weekend institution. The race organization is superb and the shore side functions attract 100's of spectators. Because of the time of year, the weather can be particularly nasty leading to all sorts of mishaps and gear failure. The most boats ever entered was 140, the most boats finishing is another question!

      John Noble is chairing the Race this year. Past Commodore, Len Kelsey, has been the announcer and Shore Side Coordinator for the past twelve years and will be the voice of WVYC at Dundarave Pier again this March. One of three major annual sailing races of the Pacific Northwest, the Southern Straits Classic involves many West Vancouver Yacht Club members. The Good Friday start at Dundarave Pier provides the community with an exciting display of pre-start maneuvers.

      2005 Race #37, march 25-27 

      Only five of twenty-six boats managed to finish the long course of the 2005 Southern Straits Classic race. Fortunately, there was only one dismasting reported but there were a litany of woes, from blown main sails and jibs to broken forestays, foils and bent masts. Most competitors in the long course sought safe Harbour in Nanaimo, Schooner Cove and even Deep Bay.

      The short course fleet fared considerably better where 20 of the 28 boat fleet finished. However, their race was no picnic. The first boat to finish was in before midnight with many soon after. They were the lucky ones! The wind continued to build and most of the fleet felt the weight of the tremendous low-pressure system as the night progressed.

      The race started benignly enough with about 6 to 8 knots of breeze out of the east. The spectators on Dundarave Pier were treated to a bay full of colorful spinnakers popping out at the start line. As the two fleets headed out into the straits, the long course to Sisters Islands, the short course to Snake Island, the winds started to build to a nice steady 20 knots true from the southeast. Most skippers report a record crossing time as boat speeds reached 13 to 14 knots on the GPS as they surged on waves that were just beginning to show how big they were to become.

      At about midnight, the winds were reported to be consistently 40 knots plus on both sides of the Strait and at least 6 boats reported peaks of 53 to 57 knots. The seas were huge with white breaking crests. Visibility was virtually non-existent in the horizontal rain that guaranteed to soak crew members in any parts that the sea spray happened to miss.

      It was an awful night out there and most skippers and crew must have questioned their sanity at 2 or 3 in the morning. However, as daylight dawned, it became somewhat easier to say that it really wasn’t all that bad after all - and to look forward to next year.

      2006 Race #38, april 14-16

      The classic and beautiful 77 year old tug ST. EVAL acted as the start vessel this year. What a splendid sight for all the on-shore spectators and the racing crews! Word has it that start line personnel were very well looked after by the staff aboard ST. EVAL.

      A nice westerly of about 8 knots prevailed as 24 long course vessels got under way, tacking out of English Bay up to Cape Roger Curtis. The 35 short course boats weren’t quite as lucky as the wind eased off somewhat making it slow going out of the bay. The fleet was not expecting any dramatic, gear breaking conditions this year as there were no large low pressure areas in the weather forecast.

      However, this year’s Southern Straits Classic was rather unusual. In the first place, it was particularly cold when some of the weather cells went through. There were two hail storms and a lot of rain, the worst being on Saturday morning. There was some sun, but it was never very warm. The long course boats spent more time on the rhumbline than usual and there were few opportunities to fly the spinnaker. Close reaching and multiple sail changes were the order of the day. The cold and wet conditions notwithstanding, it was one of the easier races on the crew – quite comfortable most of the time.

      The first boat home in the 78 nautical mile short course took a little more than 14 hours, whilst the 133nm long course was completed in a little less than 17 hours. This wasn’t the fastest race in the 39 year history of Southern Straits, but it was one of the quicker ones. In the end, crews considered this a great race.

      2007 Race #39, april 6-8

      Where the 2006 Southern Straits Classic Race was fast, the 2007 Race was slow, one of the slowest on record. It was slow right from the start. In fact, the second and third starts had to be delayed a few minutes to get the line cleared from the first start whose boats finally crossed mostly propelled by the ebb tide. Many of the Long Course boats reported taking as much as 8 or 9 hours to make Halibut Banks, the first mark, a distance of 22 nautical miles. This was to be a long race.

      The North Galiano turning mark ended up being the Achilles heel for many of the Short Course boats as the wind died on the approach. They were completely at the mercy of the tides and had to retire. The Medium Course experienced perhaps the best winds on the final run back home from White Islets, where one boat was hit by a 25 knot Squamish across the mouth of Howe Sound.

      West Vancouver Yacht Club members, as usual, did the Club proud with a good showing at the finish line in the many divisions. The biggest change in the 2007 Southern Straits Classic was the addition of the 91 nautical mile Medium Course with a very broad ratings band. Its appeal was immediately obvious as it fielded the largest number of registrants. There are more and more lightweight sports-boats showing up, not only in our Club, but in the racing fleet generally. This new course appeals particularly well to them, and it also appeals to many large cruiser/racer boats that like the Southern Straits challenge but don’t want to race the full 135 mile course.

      As in every other year, the Southern Straits Classic is the premier event for our Club, requiring literally hundreds of hours of volunteer time from the members. 2007 was no different. Thank you for your enthusiastic participation.

      2007 also saw some important input from outside the club, particularly from John Horton and his crew onboard the Steveston Lifeboat, who provided us with the turning mark at North Galiano. Those involved in Straits course planning know there is a dearth of acceptable marks along the Gulf Islands. The Steveston Lifeboat provided a valuable addition. Thanks for giving up a long night in your warm beds to provide us with a beacon to head for. Thanks to the West Vancouver Sea Cadets for working our VHF radio room; very professional with their crisp clear radio responses; and to all the sailors, many of whom come all the way from Seattle, for whom all this is done. Light winds notwithstanding, most crews had a good time.

      2008 Race #40, march 21-23

      The start area at West Vancouver's Dundarave pier was busy for the 41st annual Southern Straits Classic Yacht Race. North Shore Lions Club provided a pancake and sausage breakfast, the Easter Bunny gave out treats, the West Vancouver Pops band provided lively music, Len Kelsey delivered a running commentary on the water activities for the spectators.

      The Seaspan Guardian was the signal boat for the start and the new Vancouver Police Boat provided pin end support. All three starts were on time and only two over early calls were made in the second start. A steady breeze with an ebb tide ensured that all race boats were in good form. The image of all the spinnakers with a backdrop of snowy North Shore Mountains was magnificent and truly West Coast.

      In the Long course (130 NM); line honors go to Neptune's Car with an elapsed time of 19:30:51.

      1st overall - Mad Max (Micah van der Heide of Comox Bay YC).
      2nd - Radical Departure (Andre Wojcieszek of Eagle Harbour YC).
      3rd - Harwar (Bill Wong & Roy Hossack of Tiddley Cove YC).

      In the Medium course (91 NM), line honors go to Mischief with an elapsed time of 14:52:01.

      1st overall - Mischief (Iain Morris of Royal Victoria YC).
      2nd overall - Bullitt (Craig Lees of West Vancouver YC).
      3rd overall - Escapade (Gavin Pearce of Royal Vancouver YC).

      Short course (65 NM), line honors go to Incisor with an elapsed time of 12:00:53.
      1st overall - Incisor (Clint Currie of West Vancouver YC).
      2nd overall - Rebel 2 (Richard Armour of Eagle Harbour YC).
      3rd overall - Moody Too (Jim Pine of West Vancouver YC).

      Paul Mendham and Stewart Jones co-chaired the race and over 80 volunteers were involved. The Steveston Lifeboat placed our temporary mark near the Flat Top Islands and stood by overnight. The Cadet League took care of race communications.

      2009 Race #41, april 10-12

      West Vancouver Yacht Club was proud to host the 41st annual Southern Straits Classic Yacht Race with title sponsors Hub TOS Insurance and Park Shore BMW on April 10-12, 2009. This year’s race had increased participation with 59 boats competing on three courses of 130 nm, 91 nm, and 65 nm.

      Good Friday festivities at the Dundarave pier start included a Pancake Breakfast by the Tiddly-Cove Lions, music by the West Vancouver Pops Band, commentary by Len Kelsey and even a visit by the Easter Bunny. Unfortunately for the sailors, wind was a missing element for the start, however a healthy ebb tide followed by building winds made for a great race. WVYC boats finished in fine form and in good standings with each of the three courses being won by a WVYC boat.

      Jason & Roberta Bowman were the proud co-chairs aided by Darryl Stodalka and Paul Mendham as well as an excellent committee and dedicated volunteers. Special thanks to all the club volunteers for their countless hours and working around the clock to make this annual event a success.


      Long Course (130 NM)
      1st overall – Occam’s Razor (Rick Reynolds, WVYC)
      2nd overall – Marda Gras (Marda Phelps, SYC)
      3rd overall – Mad Max (Micah van der Heide, Comox Bay SC)

      Medium Course (91 NM)
      1st overall – The Shadow (Peter McCarthy, WVYC)
      2nd overall – Mischief (Iain and Suzanne Morris, WVYC)
      3rd overall – Diva (Jim Prentice, RVYC)

      Short Course (65 NM)
      1st overall – Incisor (Clint Currie, WVYC)
      2nd overall – Brigadoon (Andy Allen, KYC)
      3rd overall – Kokopelli (Jeremy Wallace, RVYC)

      2010 Race #42, april 2-4

      For the first time in its 42 year history, the Southern Straits Classic was abandoned after five and a half hours. The SE winds at the start were strong but manageable. Most skippers made the decision to begin the race however weather conditions continued to build rather than subside as predicted. Subsequently, many of the yachts retired. At approximately1545 Friday the Race Committee were advised that the yacht Incisor had been lost and all six crew had been recovered and were being transported to the Nanaimo hospital. At approximately1600 the Race Committee reviewed the number of yachts continuing to race (which had by that time been reduced to approximately 20 percent of the starting fleet), the weather conditions as compared to the forecast and the amount of daylight remaining. Through the Yacht Club Communications Centre and with the assistance of the Coast Guard, competitors were advised that the race had been abandoned and all vessels on the race course should seek safe harbour and report in when they were secure. In addition to the damage to Incisor, two yachts lost their masts and rigging. In both cases the yachts proceeded either on their own power or with assistance to shelter.

      Co-Chairs Jason and Roberta Bowman and their committee are to be commended for their excellent effort. Hub International and Park Shore BMW were again title sponsors.

  • History 2011 to 2020
    • Thanks to Peter Lissett and Sonia Telford for the 2011 to 2017 notes. Thanks to Alex Anglin for the 2018 notes.

      2011 race #43, April 22-25

      Well, there was no chance of too much wind this year! I was serving on the start line at the pin end with George Streadwick in CHAPERONE. We had no difficulty setting the hook in the right place and had a great view of all the fleet puttering about before the start. We could also hear Len Kelsey on Dundarave Pier explaining what was happening to a pretty large crowd. What fine job he does every year. I gather the whole on-shore enterprise was very successful again this year with the added invitation for interested people to come out to the club for lunch. I hadn’t realized this was happening, so was surprised by the splendid lunch on offer when we got back. There were lots of people enjoying it too.

      The new requirement for the fleet this year was that each vessel carry a transponder. This allowed us to watch the progress of each boat throughout the race on the internet. There was a big screen TV setup by the fireplace in the clubhouse where you could watch it while sipping a small libation, otherwise you could do the same at home. The display showed the position of each yacht, her direction and speed over the bottom. I felt for them out there in the small hours of the morning trying to coax some speed out their boats with next to no wind to work with.

      Most years, the Short Course fleet starts crossing the line at a little after midnight, that is, very early on Saturday morning. This year Clint Currie’s INCISOR was first to finish at twenty to eight. Sean Hulscher’s MELTEMI, the winner on corrected time, at a minute or so past eight.

      James Duess in M POWER, was the highest placed WVYC boat on the Medium Course taking 35 hours to finish. He placed first in Division 3. There were no WVYC boats in the Long Course. ICON placed first on corrected time. She took almost 36 hours. Last place finisher on the Long Course, RAVEN from TCYC, took 47 hours! Now that’s what I call perseverance!

      2012 Race #44, april 6-8

      This was the 44th running of our Southern Straits Classic. The weather forecast had predicted “high pressure ridge” with little, if any, wind…lots of sun though! It turned out that there was just enough pressure for the 55 boat fleet to get away under spinnaker off Dundarave Pier at the start.

      The wind became extremely light by the time the racers got to Pt. Atkinson. Conditions stayed that way until sunrise on Saturday when the wind filled in resulting in a great spinnaker ride to the finish line in the afternoon. Members were able to watch the progress of the whole event on their computers thanks to a GPS tracker on each boat.

      Congratulations to the overall winners: Sandy Huntingford in FARRARI on the Medium Course, and Sean Hulscher in POUDRE d’OR on the Short Course - a great tribute to his father Buddy.

      Line honours went to Clint Currie, INCISOR, on the Short Course and Peter McCarthy, THE SHADOW, on the Medium Course. There were no WVYC boats competing on the Long Course.

      2013 race #45, march 29-31

      The Race featured the three Classic Straits Courses and an Inshore Route for boats and crews not quite ready for the more demanding courses. As a Vic-Maui qualifying race, Southern Straits attracted 76 boats to compete

      On the Long Course, Peter Salusbury; in his new Riptide 35, Longboard, was first in Division Two and first overall.

      In the two Medium Courses Sandy Huntingford in Farr-Ari become first in Division Three with James Duess in M Power; fifth. Patrick Firsch; Papillon, sixth and Peter McCarthy; The Shadow, eighth with Line Honours. Division Four had Chris Ladd in Fortisssimo fighting the light airs for tenth place. In Division Five, Brian Kyle in Séance secured ninth place.

      On the Short Course, Cam Telford and his crew on Aeolus took Line Honours in Division Six and held it for first place. Sean Hulscher, Meltemi, followed in fourth. Frank Fletcher; Voila, fifth. Division Seven saw Race Chair Ty Abrams in Ed finish in second place followed by Edward Karadontis in Dusty Mauch, fourth. Declan Sacre in Ragusa overcame challenges to finish ninth and Hank Schut in Tarka was tenth.

      The new Inshore Course saw the Club’s Melges 23S take four of the top five spots. R Boat; Ron Mulder first, Honey Badger; Michael Bond, second, Aquaholics; Graeme Clendenan, third and Sawlty Trousers/Team CBC; Matt Wagstaffe in fifth place.

      Much credit must go to Ty Abrams and his hard working volunteers for making this International Event such a success.

      2014 race #46, April 18-20

      Straits 2014 boasted one of the largest turnouts since the '80's with 96 boats on the Long, Medium, Short and Inshore courses. The medium course was the most popular with 40 entries and a strong US contingent was seen on the Start Line. For once, the weather co-operated and the gale warning that Environment Canada issued for the top end of the course never materialized. The strongest wind was 20+ knots coming out of Howe Sound on Saturday morning, sending the Fleet quickly across the Finish Line at Pt. Atkinson.

      On the Long Course, Neptune's Car skippered by Paul LaMarche was first overall. Midsummer (Kodiak) skippered by Ty Abrams took Line Honours and was first overall on the Medium Course and Frank Fletcher on Viola was the overall Short Course winner. On the Inshore, Harry Coleman on Ocean Pearl was first overall.
      Congratulations to Chair Ty Abrams and all members of the Race Committee for a great event.

      2015 RACE #47, April 3-5

      Straits 2015 matched 2014 numbers exactly with 96 boats on the Start Line, 12 of these being first time Straits Skipper's. Heavy skies threatened rain at the Start Line, but the drops held off until the Fleet were on their way. A larger than normal crowd gathered at Dundarave Pier and they were treated to a spectacular downwind spinnaker start, with the added bonus of seeing Eric Holden and the Open 60 "O Canada" head off on her maiden voyage under Canada Ocean Racing.

      Reports from the Race Course call Straits 2015 in many ways the "perfect" race: good breeze throughout the duration, the forecasted rain never developed past the odd shower, a Blood Red Lunar Eclipse with a "moonbow" overnight and not only was there wind at the Finish Line, a pod of dolphins were on hand at Pt Atkinson to welcome the Fleet home.

      On the Long Course, WVYC's Peter Salusbury and his Riptide 35-2 Longboard was the overall First place podium finish, with Alex Simanis taking First on the Medium Course on Poke & Destroy his Evelyn 32-2 from Sloop Tavern YC. Incisor, a CY8.0 from WVYC, took First place for the Short Course under new ownership with William & Kerry Phillips. Michael Bond from RVic placed First on the Inshore Course with his Melges 24 Recidivist.

      Congratulations to Chair Sonia Telford and her team of 96 Volunteers for a great Easter weekend of racing.

      2016 Race #48, March 25-27

      Easter fell early in 2016 with a late March race date that provided an additional challenge of shorter daylight hours and the potential need for additional clothing layers overnight. 108 Volunteers organized and hosted this year’s event and a new social media campaign was rolled out featuring individual Boat Bios and live race updates that proved to be hugely popular.

      Race day dawned with sunny skies and a large crowd gathered on the Dundarave Pier alongside the Easter Bunny to watch the downwind spinnaker start. An audible “ahhh” could be clearly heard across the water as HMCS ORIOLE hoisted her chute, making her debut on the Southern Straits race course to celebrate her 96th birthday. While the sunny & clear skies prevailed throughout the race, unfortunately the wind did not resulting in a large percentage of the Fleet to retire. For those who were able to cross the Finish Line, the podium was full:

      Congratulations to Paul LaMarche’s Neptune’s Car, correcting to 1st place for the Long Course by just over 2 minutes, with Valkyrie closing in quickly to capture a 2nd place result. 3rd on the Long Course was WVYC’s Peter Salusbury on Longboard. An error by Race Committee at the Start Line meant that the Medium Course was unable to be scored overall.

      Congratulations to Time Bandit for placing 1st in Div 4; Diva for placing 1st in Div 5; Balderdash for placing 1st in Div 6 and WVYC’s Kodiak for placing 1st in Div 7. On the Short Course, Graham Heath’s Pitoraq for won overall for the Short Course, followed by WVYC’s Incisor placing 2nd and Ed placing 3rd.

      The Inshore Course enjoyed a fantastic day of racing, closely followed by a lone Grey Whale that swam with the Fleet along the Spanish Bank shore. WVYC was well represented on the podium with Sawlty Trowsers in 1st place finish, followed closely by Ferdinand in 2nd and Meltemi in 3rd.

      2017 Race #49, April 14-16

      As the Southern Straits Race approached its 49th anniversary, the Organizing Crew hit the road with a new pre-race Tech Talk series that toured VRC, RVYC and Nanaimo YC. As the countdown clock ticked to the race start, excitement grew as our social media presence soared and everyone had fingers crossed that Mother Nature would provide a little more breeze than 2016! 2017 also saw the implementation of the “bigger & better” pre-race Safety checks with SPOT Trackers and Skipper Kits being delivered right to the boat.

      On race day, the Straits Race Committee were treated to the ultimate Start Line experience aboard Mark & Cathy Sagar’s beautiful 96ft MV ORIANA who served as our official Start Boat. Spectators and competitors enjoyed another spectacular downwind spinnaker start and Mother Nature was most definitely on our side as racers surfed up the Strait, the majority of the Fleet rounding their first mark during daylight hours, including the Medium & Long Course boats rounding Sisters.

      The trip back to the Finish Line proved to be a little more challenging as strong currents and light winds resulted in tricky tactical decisions having to be made. Overnight racing was held with the Fleet in close quarters and the Finish Line Committee was kept busy right up to the final minutes of the race.

      The TP52’s battled it out on the Long Course with Kinetic V crossing the line less than 3 minutes ahead of Smoke. Westerly joined them on the podium, placing 3rd on the Long Course.

      On the Medium Course, Beats per Minute celebrated a 1st place victory, with Diva placing 2nd and DILLIGAF finished in 3rd with a solid Double-Handed race.

      On the Short Course, Incisor took 1st place, with Meltemi in 2nd and Hurricane placing 3rd. The Inshore Course podium saw a Melges 24 sweep with Ferdinand placing 1st, Ocean Pearl in 2nd and Cool Beans finishing 3rd.

      As the race drew to a close, Southern Straits 2017 marked the retirement of PRO JC Dale and Race Chair Sonia Telford. Both would like to express their thanks to the hard-working team of Volunteers that make Straits such a memorable event for all those involved.

      2018 Race #50, March 30 - April 1

      By Alex Anglin, Committee Chair for Promotions and Finish Line
      The 50th Annual Southern Straits Classic Yacht Race on Easter weekend was resounding success. The start line of all four courses was held off Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver and the festivities ashore included a band, a pancake breakfast, coffee and cookies and even the Easter Bunny with a big basket of chocolate eggs.

      Many of these races can be filled with epic sailing stories, but 2018 was a pleasant and enjoyable race with consistent winds and fair weather. The start was delayed for 45minutes waiting for the westerly to fill in, but once it did, everyone was in agreement that it was worth the wait!

      On the 3 Classic courses, the boats saw between 12 and 16 knots all the way to Ballenas Islands. From there the Long Course boats took off on a downwind stretch to T10. The full Easter moon was epic and all the boats saw it rise in the Northeast and it shone down on the sailors for most of the night. The first of the Short Course boats crossed the finish line at Point Atkinson at 4:30 am Saturday.

      WVYC Boat First Home
      On the Long Course, Peter McCarthy’s newly acquired TP-52 THE SHADOW II was first boat home. Michael Schoendorf’s very well sailed Riptide 41 BLUE finished not far behind to take the PHRF Overall win. JAM owned by Bill Fox really impressed on the Long Course; she took the ORC Overall win by a wide margin. They appeared to sail a flawless race, super-fast up wind and well worked light air on the last leg to get the win.

      On the Medium Course, Ross and Marcia Macdonald’s X-41 DAIA took the line honours win (they were so fast upwind) but the experienced and always well sailed Shock 35 — EXCALIBUR, skippered by Jason Vandergaag, took the Overall win in a very large fleet of 42 boats.

      WVYC Boat Line Honours on Short Course
      On the Short Course, William Phillips CY 8.0 INCISOR took line honours, but the irrepressible C&C 30 SILIK skippered by Wade Harrogate prevailed once again to take the Short Course overall corrected time win.

      Full race results can be viewed on the Southern Straits website at:

      Volunteers deserve a High Five. This race is truly a labor of love for the West Vancouver Yacht Club. Mike Seper, the Race Chair and Principle Race Officer, Jennifer Ross, along with the 130+ volunteers deserve a high five! Also, thanks to our sponsors for their generous support.

      It takes tremendous energy to host 75 boats from as far away as Seattle and Victoria. But hats off to the sailing crews for racing hard, for up to 40 hours (starting at 10:30 am on friday and some boats sailed right on through till 11pm Saturday) and then turning around to deliver the boats back to their home bases the very next day. And Easter Sunday was truly a howler.

      HAMACHI posted some great footage of their Juan De Fuca Crossing… fully reefed and flying…some races you win and sometimes you win the deliveries. Sail on! Until April 19, 2019, when we see you all again for another great Southern Straits Race!

      2019 Race #51, April 19-21

      by Peter Saulsbury

      The 2019 Southern Straits of Georgia Race will be remembered as one of the best and fastest ever! There were three courses, a 133-mile long course allowing the faster boats to stretch their legs, a 98-mile medium course and a 70-mile short course.

      Bruce Hedrick’s pre-race forecast proved accurate (once again) with a 5 – 8 knot westerly at the start which gradually built as the fleet beat out of English Bay and tacked up the Bowen Island shore.  There was a massive ebb current on the start line which really accelerated at the committee boat end and Steve Travis’s TP 52 Smoke timed the start perfectly at the boat end and jumped into a massive current ‘elevator’ before the rest of us – there’s some great drone photos and video of the start which captured Steve’s amazing start.

      Most of the long course fleet left the south shore of Bowen for the long starboard tack across the Strait with the TP 52’s (Smoke, The Shadow, and Sonic) along with J/160 Jam really using their long waterlines to their advantage over us tiny 35-footers to stretch out a nice lead. A few interesting wind shifts further west on the race course created some interesting passing lanes – the J/111 65 Red Roses skippered by Alex Smyth called it well by staying north, we opted to keep more west and they did a nice job getting a jump on us before Sisters.

      After Ballenas the seas flattened out and the wind lifted nicely on port tack so we gained a little back jib reaching into Sisters. Smoke really legged out on the other TP’s and rounded at 1753.  The leg from Sister’s to Entrance couldn’t have been better.  The most amazing full moon came up right in the east and with the crystal clear sky, lit up the race course all night – truly magical to be sliding downwind at 15+ knots boat speed with an A2 on such a beautiful evening.  
      We caught up and passed 65 Red Roses by Ballenas so the battle was on after that! Our timing crossing Nanaimo Harbor on the approach to Entrance couldn’t have been worse as we had to douse the chute really early to negotiate our way around two large inbound ships and then got into an interesting conversation with a tug and barge coming out of Nanaimo on the beat upwind to Ballenas!  

      The stiff beat from Entrance to Ballenas was bone jarring for us little 35 footers with TWS hovering between 21 to 26 knots and a steep chop.  The TP 52’s reveled in the conditions and rounded fairly closely at half past midnight. We were very happy in our upwind speed and legged out on 65 Red Roses to round 36 minutes ahead of them. From Ballenas to the finish line of Point Atkinson, the NW stayed in the 20+ knot range all the way home which made for an impressive, enjoyable downwind slide home. Smoke did a nice job stretching out over The Shadow and Sonic and won line honors at 0313 – less than 3 hours after rounding Ballenas! 

      From the results, it looked like The Shadow and Sonic had a close finish over an hour behind Smoke, finishing within minutes of each other. The always well sailed J/160 Jam skippered by Bill Fox finished a little over an hour later to take second overall on the long course. Alex and the team on 65 Red Roses did a masterful job all race and deserve full credit for finishing first overall on the long course. On Longboard, my team did a great job pushing the boat around the course to grab the final podium spot on the long course.   Ross Macdonald and his very fast X-41 Daia made short work of the beat to Sisters on the Medium Course and took line honors just before 0200 – well done to Ross who always gives an upwind clinic in these conditions! 
      On corrected time, John Peterson’s J/109 Legacy took Division 2 (by 8 seconds over Lodo!), Steve Blaine’s Hanse 400e Rubato won Division 3, and the Dufour 34 Invictus skippered by Vern Lhotzky took Division 4 and the Medium Course overall win.     On the short course, the Hotfoot 30 XS sails by Benoit Sonrel held off some close competitors to take the Short Course line honors win. My old Flying Dutchman colleague, Huntly Gordon sailing Flyway took Division 5 and the Short Course overall win. We all had to admire those short course boats on the stiff beat to Ballenas Island on Friday afternoon/evening – tough conditions to go upwind in such small boats – really well done to them all.  

      As always, the host club West Vancouver Yacht Club put on a great event – thanks to Chairs Kelly Brix and Adam Ferguson and PRO Jen Ross – and of course the army of 130 volunteers and club members who made it all happen. 

      2020 Race #52, April 10-12

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  • History 2021 to 2030
    • 2021 Race #53, April 2-4

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