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The Vic-Maui Race Started This Week Too

As the last of the Pacific Cup divisions (the fastest boats) depart San Francisco today, we take a glance over our shoulder to the north and see another dozen boats exiting the North American continent bound for the isles of Hawaii.


On Monday, Charlotte Gann filed this report for the Vic-Maui Race:

“This morning dawned droopy and foggy with little wind, but nothing dampened the excitement at Victoria’s Causeway Marina, where the nine boats in the first fleet were putting in last-minute supplies, topping up water, and, most importantly, kissing goodbye to loved ones. The committee boat, Adventure-Us, had all the flags and horns at the ready. The group of spectator boats had hot coffee and muffins for their many guests. The last photos were taken of crews assembled in cockpits, along the decks, or at the stern.”

Map of Strait of Juan de Fuca
Here’s a little map to help you orient yourself in case you’re not familiar with the geography. Unlike San Francisco, Victoria is a long way from the Pacific Ocean. We based this map on a screenshot of the tracker from Wednesday afternoon. You can see the fastest three boats exiting the Salish Sea, Peligroso leading the way.
© 2022 Latitude 38 Media LLC / Chris

“One by one, engines fired up, dock lines were coiled for the Lahaina landfall, and boats began to peel away from the docks. What had been docks chock-a-block with boats became empty within 10 minutes, as boats paraded out in orderly fashion, headed to the 10 a.m. PDT start off Brotchie Ledge. Fog obscured the fleet until, wonder of wonders, a small breeze filled in, just enough for us to see all the boats, and sails were hoisted.

“While spectator boats moved around the race fleet, each yacht sought their best position, figured out the current, backed down one final time to ensure no kelp, and tacked in and out until the five-minute horn sounded. Jibs went up, and final positioning played out until the start gun went off. Flow got off in clean air; Xiomara pipped the fleet on the inside. The boats are now off to Hawaii. Within moments, several boats were treated to a humpback whale moving through the fleet. More are possible as the boats sail up Juan de Fuca Strait.”

Vic-Maui start
Monday’s Vic-Maui Race start in Victoria, BC.
© 2022 D. Sutcliffe

Much like the Pacific Cup fleet, the Vic-Maui racers are taking a south-of-rhumbline course.


The final starters went off on Wednesday. Charlotte Gann reported: “Today’s race start was a near-drifter. Glassy waters, hints of wind that didn’t materialize in time for the start. In sailboat racing you get what you get. The three boats today are the fast Division 1 yachts. Their higher sail coverage grabs wind that doesn’t reach the sea surface, so they kept some momentum.

“By roll call today at noon HST, all three were through Race Passage and into slightly better wind, though the direction was pretty much on the nose.

“Meanwhile, the rest of the fleet is off the Oregon coast and ghosting along in light, mostly following winds  — some spinnakers are flying! The boats regularly download GRIB files (GRIdded Binary) to analyze the next 24, 48 and 96 hours of winds at the surface, then plan their route according to their analysis. No clear pattern appears to be emerging until the weekend. The wind gods will prevail.

“Red Sheilla has seen sharks! Amun-Ra has seen dolphins with bioluminescent trails. Planet Express has a fruit fly invasion in the cockpit. Flow’s crew have gone for a swim (no wind). Annie M caught a 3-ft great white shark that ate the flagpole. And Outbreak has seen great Dall’s porpoise shows.”


On Thursday, Gann reported that the winds were still variable. “The barometer is stubbornly steady. Amun-Ra caught their first tuna. Fog is now in the rearview; it’s all sun, and seas are calm. Some contemplated going for a swim, but sharks have been spotted. On Planet Express, yesterday’s fruit fly extravaganza was sorted through various methods, then a bird landed and gobbled up the bug detritus.

“Flow experienced some squalls today, which could be a sign the trades aren’t too much farther ahead. Whales and dolphins are seen all around.”

We see that Steve McCarthy, owner of Hogin Sails in Alameda, is sailing aboard John McCarthy’s Santa Fe, New Mexico-flagged Amel Mango 52, the Annie M. In addition to working in sail lofts from Seattle to Santa Cruz, Steve has raced on Moore 24s and J/24s and cruised on a Swan 47 across Europe.

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