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Vic-Maui International Yacht Race - A big softy

by Charlotte Gann 7 Aug 20:45 PDT
Vic-Maui International Yacht Race © James Clappier

Back in early July, twelve yachts set off from Victoria, British Columbia on the southwestern tip of Canada, headed for the Pailolo Channel of Maui, Hawaii, USA. Before the race starts of July 4th (first fleet) and July 6th (second fleet), bantering took place over Mai Tais, macadamia nuts, and more at the social events. Typical pre-race prep meant going over rigging one more time, having divers check and clean the hull, buying and stowing food, fuel, water. This is the first Vic-Maui International Yacht Race since 2018 and there was excitement all around. A Hawaiian blessing was held and soon the fleets were away.

On both cool July mornings, with light winds for the starts, no 'over early' calls, and working out of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the boats ghosted down the coast of the Pacific to get south to ~30 degrees N and the trade winds. This La Nina year challenged each crew to analyze the light air flow. Few took the rhumb line, but worked their way to almost abreast of the notorious Cape Blanco searching for wind before making the gybe to starboard and popping spinnakers. Doug Baker's Kernan 68, Peligroso, with her high reach up into the wind, kept sails full all the way and in the pre-dawn of July 16, finished in 9 days, 21 hours, 6 minutes, 19 seconds - not a record-breaker but surely remarkable in the stupidly light winds of a fumbly Pacific High that never set up during the race. Next in was a 3 AM finish in Division 1, Gord Wylie's XP 44, Phoenix, described as a Ferrari. Following this came Amun-Ra in the Lahaina Class, Ben Homsy's Beneteau Oceanis 45 - the Lahaina Class boats may use their engine for propulsion, with an adjustment made to their corrected finish time for hours logged with its use.

In the early afternoon of July 24th, in winds causing at least two round ups in 30-knot winds, 3 yachts finished within 19 minutes of each other, making this 2,308 nautical mile marathon race seem more like 'round the cans'; in this short window came Adam Serediuk's Beneteau 43, Planet Express, Jim Innes' Beneteau 49, Red Sheilla, and Aidan Walters' X-43, Xiomara. A crazy celebration was held at the US-host club Lahaina Yacht Club among the three finishers.

Throughout the following days, competing boats arrived in Lahaina, Maui, each greeted by throngs of crowds, friends, and family, whether in the deepest dark or midday heat.

Throughout the race, except through Pailolo Channel, light winds persisted and Race Committee made the rare decision to extend the race deadline to 10 AM on July 26th from the original July 22nd. This had some yachts finishing after the Awards Banquet on July 23 but made for the possibility of scoring a finish. The last boat to finish within the deadline, gaining them the coveted G.F.Y. Turtle Trophy, was Steve McCarthy's Amel Mango 52, Annie M in the Lahaina Class.

Most boats began making their way back to the Pacific Northwest by the beginning of August under romping 25+ knot winds on the nose, making the initial delivery journeys a tad uncomfortable, causing some gear breakage; two boats turned back to Hawaii to arrange repairs. The vagaries of wind.

The 2022 Vic-Maui International Yacht Race has been followed around the world - a 'nag note' came from Australia that media crew weren't getting race articles out soon enough - the media crew was making her way back to Canada.

There is buzz from skippers and boats already itching to race the 2024 Vic-Maui. Top among them is Peligroso and her crew - lovely gentlemen all, a delight to chat with, who say they plan to return to grab the record. We hope so, will be fabulous to see each of you again.

Race Results available here.

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