Vic Maui: Not in the Brochure

Published on July 11th, 2016

(July 11, 2016) – At Roll Call today, the first sixteen boats in the Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race are all off the coast of Washington and Oregon, or directly on the Rhumb line to Maui. All are facing challenging conditions in the form of headwinds with variable speeds and bad tacking angles. Funny how the race promotion brochure talks only about perfect reaching conditions all the way to the tropics.

Expresso and Mountain are the furthest south, having passed Astoria, but are also the furthest east, just 70 miles off the Oregon Coast.

Amiskwi and almost all of the boats from the second start are on the rhumb line. It was a successful strategy in 2014 when String Theory placed second. John Mortimer is repeating that strategy although pounding to windward in 20 kts of breeze all the way to Hawaii might get tedious. At least they have wind.

And we have the first tuna today. Salient clearly was not too busy changing head sails and tacking and got the fishing gear deployed and were rewarded with a 14 lb tuna. Other boats report seeing lots of dolphins and a number of whales. That is in the brochure.

And for added fun, the National Hurricane Center is tracking Hurricane Cecelia which is presently on track to reach Hawaii on Sunday. It should pass or dissipate well ahead of the Vic-Maui fleet, but it adds a lot of colour.

A Tale of Two Past Winners
The 2016 Vic Maui Race fleet features the largest and most diverse fleet of boats seen in decades in the running of this famous offshore yacht race. As a result of this diversity, there are some interesting storylines that promise to be captivating within the larger race being held this summer. One such story line hit the start line today.

This particular story is the match race to Hawaii between two former overall race winners, which share virtually identical handicap ratings but, beyond that one similarity starkly contrast each other in every other conceivable measure. The two boats are Atalanta and Longboard and consider the striking differences between these two competitors:

Longboard was built in 2014, is 35 ft long and weighs just 6000 lbs with a carbon composite construction. Atalanta was built 49 years ago out of aluminum and is a 74 ft, 118,000 lb behemoth. Longboard is the defending champion from 2014. Atalanta won the race in 1994.

While Atalanta and Longboard rate almost identically, they are orphaned on handicap between the Division 1 ‘big sleds’ and Division 2 ‘racer cruisers’. Because of the handicap spread between the two divisions, Longboard and Atalanta started together today and the match race is on. It’s an intriguing story of ‘old school’ vs ‘new school’, state of the art technology vs legendary thoroughbred, diminutive light weight flyer vs proven maxi yacht.

Both yachts have contributed to the legacy of this race, a legacy celebrated this summer on the 50th Anniversary of the Vic Maui Yacht Race.

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Background: The 2308 nm Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race, hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club, has four flights of starts on July 9, 10, 11, and 12.

Source: Vic Maui Race

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