While many Bay Area sailors are busy preparing for this summer’s Pacific Cup and the Singlehanded TransPac, it’s easy to forget that there is another race to Hawaii that begins farther up the West Coast. Back for its 27th edition is the Victoria-Maui International Yacht Race, originating in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia, and sailing 2,308 miles to the rustic old whaling port of Lahaina on the island of Maui. After a big fleet of 22 yachts took on the “half-century” edition of the race in breeze-on record-setting conditions in 2016, signups are off slightly with just 11 entries for this year’s edition. While the fleet may be smaller this year, it’s still plenty interesting, unique and diverse, ranging from the requisite fleet of racer/cruisers to a TP52 and an old Whitbread/Volvo 60 vying for line honors.
At the pointy end of the fleet is likely to be Peter McCarthy’s Reichel Pugh-designed TP52 The Shadow II and Chris Stanmore-Major’s new-to-him Whitbread/Volvo 60 Charger. Formerly known as Yamaha and skippered by Ross Field, she won the Volvo 60 class in the 1993-1994 Whitbread Round the World Race. Now in Stanmore-Major’s hands, she has been dusted off and re-fit after a long time in storage to begin embarking on an ambitious regatta and delivery schedule as a pay-to-play charter operation similar to J World’s Santa Cruz 50 Hula Girl or the Clipper Round the World Race.
As is generally the case in the Vic-Maui, the bulk of the fleet comprises of performance cruisers and racer/cruisers in the 40- to 50-ft range. Clayton Craigie’s Beneteau First 40 Anjo is the sole California entry in the race, representing Richmond Yacht Club. She should have her work cut out for her against a couple of Beneteau First 40.7s from Vancouver. The Beneteau contingent is strong in the race, but one of the boats we’re most excited to watch is the J/122E Joyride; a design that both rates and sails brilliantly.
The 27th Victoria-Maui International Yacht Race kicks off with its first start on July 1 in Victoria and concludes with the awards ceremony on July 21 in Lahaina. Follow the race and the fleet at www.vicmaui.org.