The 2013 Swiftsure is now history and many sailors will remember this years event as one of the more challenging races.
The early start and a decent breeze made for good racing initially. On board Turicum (C&C 44) we had a great line getting through Race Passage and then sailed towards the middle of the Strait. We had great success with our Code 0 combined with a wind-seeker set as a staysail. That got Turicum moving in very light winds and we made good some spots.
With the wind predicted to be light later in the race we favored the American side where we expected less adverse current. Boats were scattered across the entire Strait form the Canadian shore all the way across to the American side.
The closer we got to sunset the lighter the winds became. Close to the mark, a Canadian Navy ship anchored in Neah Bay, the wind shot off completely and we were ghosting along with dozens of other boats nearby.
At four in the morning we rounded the mark alongside with maybe 20 other crews. The boats were lined up like pearls on a string, separated by less then half a boat length as one by one rounded the mark and started heading back to Victoria.
While the wind picked up slightly the current was against us. The regular tidal current was exacerbated by the spring run of form all the rivers draining into the Strait. At 9 am Team Turicum decided to turn on the iron spinnaker to get back to Victoria in time for the crew to catch the last ferry back to Vancouver.
While we are disappointed not having finished the race, it was a great learning experience for all of us. We built a stronger team that now works more efficiently together than during the Southern Straits Race. We are now all looking forward to compete in the VanIsle 360 Race in less than two weeks.
Christof is the owner and operator of Simply Sailing. An enthusiastic sailor he loves to share his knowledge with other sailors.
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