Tricky navigation for 15 competitors
BY CHRISTOF MARTI, SPECIAL TO THE SUN AUGUST 7, 2014
Fifteen boats competed in the biannual Vic-Maui International Yacht race starting in early July, and the 2014 event saw it all.
From light winds to storms, from idle fishing in the doldrums to tricky navigation around the high pressure zones; it was all there. Great memories were made yet again and we all look forward to the 50th anniversary race in 2016.
The race started in Victoria and took the competitors across the Pacific to Lahaina, Maui; more than 4,000 kilometres away. Most boats took around 14 days to complete one of the world’s longest ocean races.
This year’s competition was very challenging, as the Pacific high that has traditionally developed by this time of the year was split into several high pressure zones.
While high pressure brings us sunny weather in Vancouver, sailors dread it as there is no wind in the centre of a high. The fleet soon split into two groups, one seeking a more westerly path between two distinct high pressure zones, the other staying closer east hoping for stronger winds closer to shore.
Both groups had to endure days of light winds making little progress to Maui, sails flapping idly under the scorching sun. The sailors worked to make some headway towards the elusive trade winds, the day only broken by the lonely flying fish and the odd tuna slicing through the water.
Rumour has it that some competitors passed the time fishing or going for a swim. After days of crawling across the Pacific, the fleet finally reached the trade winds. Competitors who decided on the more westerly route came out on top and enjoyed sailing in a solid breeze, while the other boats farther east had to wait a little longer to enjoy the fresh breeze.
This year’s Vic-Maui race saw its share of excitement. Early on, Anduril lost steering and had to hobble into San Francisco under emergency steering. Kinetic lost two steering cables but had a third in store that got them to Maui. Strong winds and sudden squalls shredded thousands of dollars worth of sails on different boats.
A final storm near the finish line tore through the fleet with brute force, bringing down the mast of Kahuna and ripping up the main sail on Turicum. Luckily, nobody was hurt and all boats made it safely into port. The sail lofts back in Vancouver are looking forward to the fleet’s return.
Long Board crossed the finish line at Kaanapali first and took the overall win. String Theory won their division and took second overall.
Read the entire race report here.
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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