History

The first organized yacht race around Vancouver Island was developed in 1986 by multihull sailors, Wayne Gorrie and Steve Knight. The event, co-sponsored by the Coast Hotels and the Anchorage Marina, was known as the “Coast Hotels Around the Island Race”. The race took place over eight legs rather than ten. Yachts were also encouraged to seek sponsorship. Twenty five boats signed up for the event, which had an entry fee of $1,000, but the starting gun was never fired. Unfortunately sponsored yachting was frowned upon in Canada at the time and the event was forced to cancel.

In 1999 the Cadillac Van Isle 360° International Yacht Race was born with Wayne Gorrie and Janine Bell at the helm. The first year the fledgling event, billed as the “Ambassador’s Edition,” attracted 14 boats. The Ambassador’s Edition was intended to be a trial run to test the course and determine if a race around Vancouver Island done in stages and on a timetable was really possible. It was a huge success! 

The race ran for three consecutive years, each year attracting more and more boats, media attention and supporters. Following the 2001 race, the organizing authority made the decision to run the event every other year on the odd year, offsetting the Vic Maui race running on even years. This biennial schedule worked very well: the next race, 2003, was a banner year, attracting a record number of entries and selling out by early January. The Canadian Navy offered support vessels, new course records were set and television and movie crews followed the entire race.

In 2011 Blast Performance Sailing acquired the rights to the Van Isle 360. Now in its ninth running, the Van Isle 360° has grown into one of the most respected and exciting yacht races on the entire west coast, with international media coverage, heart-stopping drama and superb racing action. Follow us 8 – 22 June 2013!