With Memorial Day freshly astern, sailing is finally in full swing

Here in the Pacific Northwest, an unseasonably cloudy and wet spring (even by our standards) has added a soggy factor to local sailing, but it certainly didn’t deter the nearly 170 boats from racing in last week’s Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

This flagship event, put on by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, runs a series of races from Victoria, British Columbia. Having sailed aboard John McPhail’s well-rigged and well-sailed J/160, JAM, I can report that the race was cold, wet, and full of wind and tidal-driven starts and stops, but a classic distance race nonetheless.


On the east coast, sailors encountered a windier-than-average Figawi Race, which serves as New England’s tradition start-of-summer sailing affair. Now, East Coast sailors have exactly 10 days left until the start of the Newport-Bermuda Race, the biggest and most-important distance race on the east coast. Already, some 185 boats are registered, and in Newport excitement levels are ramping up as boats and sailors arrive from points abroad.

On the international and grand-prix levels, it’s been an engaging week as well. The mighty ICAP Leopard 3, Mike Slade’s 30-meter Farr-designed super maxi, was denied her record for the fastest boat across the Atlantic ('competing' in the powered-winch category) due to lighter-than-anticipated winds. And in La Maddalena, Sardinia, Team New Zealand enjoyed a hat trick come-from-behind win over Synergy to take the La Maddalena Louis Vuitton Cup.

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Fair winds and following seas,
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