Vic-Maui: The Sleigh Ride Begins

Published on July 15th, 2016

The 2308 nm Victoria to Maui International Yacht Race is hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club. The fleet of 22 entrants had four staggered starts on July 9, 10, 11, and 12. Here is a report from the race office on July 15…

A Marathon Not a Sprint
The wind continues to blow and all boats are sailing in perfect Vic-Maui conditions. With winds over 20 kts, all boats have the spinnakers up and are broad reaching at top speed. Each boat seems to have picked a lane and all are pointing more or less at Maui. The trick will be staying in the correct lane, picking the right time to gybe and keeping the pieces together.

The wind predictor says wind conditions will stay good for the next few days, if you are in the right lane. Brad Baker, the Guru and winner as navigator on multiple Vic-Mauis, says that it will be fast sailing all the way to Maui. I cannot question his expert insight, but things could start to get “scoogy” a few days out as the boats work their way through the remnants of Hurricane Darby. If the boats can get west fast enough, they might outrun the changes coming from the right side.

As of Roll Call (3:00 pm local), the leaderboard was quite volatile. Crossfire’s retirement has made the Div. 1 battle between Kinetic and Valkyrie very interesting. At present Valkyrie is slightly ahead and appears to be in a faster lane. But Atalanta has picked up time as the bigger winds push on her massive sail area and 70 ft of waterline. And do not count out 2014 champion Longboard – while smaller, she was purpose-built for this type of racing. I will not make any comments on predicted finish times as I mentioned Crossfire yesterday. Am I to blame for daring to challenge Neptune?

In Div. 2, the battle for lanes is even more volatile. Kraken, Miles, Equus, Salient, String Theory, and Turnagain all close together and trading places on the Leaderboard hourly.

And the battle for Div. 3 is anyone’s game. While Rain Drop currently has a slight advantage, Expresso, Canard and Ion are not far behind. The 2 double-handed boats must be exhausted by now – the conditions are tough on a full crew, imagine being by yourself on the midnight watch. Mountain has a nice lead over Amiskwi.

As Brad pointed out in his analysis, the sailing is about as fun as it gets but it may turn into a war of attrition. As Crossfire found out, the speed adds a lot of stress to boat parts and constant attention is needed to maintain the edge between max speed and breaking things. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

Weather Routing Update from the Guru
THE SLEIGH RIDE BEGINS – First off my heart goes out to Lou and crew aboard Crossfire as they have retired from the race. I don’t know the details as to why beyond what was reported on the website, that they had a couple of gear failures. You can see on the tracker that they are now on starboard tack beating their way back home to Seattle. I hope that all are well on board and wish them a safe trek back.

In the last blog I predicted a fast race, record breaking in fact. That is still very much a possibility, even with the fastest boat out of the mix. The weather models continue to show a high pressure system, which currently is around 1035 mb, to build to 1040 mb and obligingly move West and North for the fleet. – Brad Baker

Mountain is Retiring

At 1640 HST (730 pm local time) Reed Bernhard from Mountain, the J-109 from Sloop Tavern Yacht Club in Seattle, contacted Race Committee to inform Vic-Maui that they are retiring from the race and diverting to Los Angeles.

They discovered problems with their upper rudder bearing and believe it would not be safe to continue across the Pacific to Hawaii. They have taken measures to ensure the equipment stays together to allow them to get their bail out port. They are very disappointed as they were having a great race and were one of boats leading the parade to Hawaii. Mountain will continue to participate in Roll Call until they get safety to L.A.

The Vic-Maui family shares their disappointment and wishes them Godspeed in getting to their destination.

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Source: Vic-Maui Race

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