Swiftsure: It’s all about the soup

Published on May 28th, 2014

The Swiftsure International Yacht Race, hosted by Royal Victoria Yacht Club, annually provides a rugged, exacting, colourful, and international competition. As the premiere long distance sailing race in the B.C. and US Pacific Northwest area, the race is also a major community event with its festivities on shore.

Occasionally known as ‘Driftsure’ on those years when the winds and tides (and fog and drizzle) conspire against the racers, it is a race in which yachts, both racing and cruising, and crews capable of adventure in exposed waters are encouraged to compete and test their skills.

The 2014 edition offered three long courses of 138, 102, 78 nm (Swiftsure Lightship Classic, Cape Flattery, and Juan de Fuca, respectively) and the Swiftsure Inshore Classic for a total fleet of 184 monohull and multihull boats.

“Winds held after the start on Saturday (May 24) through the evening on the entire race course but later became light at the West entrance to Juan de Fuca strait,” explained Charlotte Gann of the race committee. “They stayed firm for the East entrance and the expression ‘the rich get richer’ applied to those race yachts that made it around their distant race mark before sunset on Saturday. That allowed them to finish typically in the wee hours of Sunday, and then greeted at the dock by a photographer, the inspection dock team, and hot bowls of soup.”

With 1299 sailors participating, that’s a lot of soup.

“As Swiftsure Races go, this certainly wasn’t one of the worst and really was pretty good since there was wind, for the most part, and if you were on the fastest rated vessel in your class, you probably did fairly well,” explained Bruce Hedrick in Northwest Yachting magazine. “RVYC once again did a great job running the event including getting it started on time, making the post race inspections short and to the point, and then providing any boat that wanted it a cup of excellent minestrone soup for each and every crew member. What a great way to finish Swiftsure!”

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