Applications for the 2017 Race are now closed. Please consider applying for 2019.
The Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race is one of the most challenging and grueling sailboat races in the Pacific North West, and arguably in North America. The race takes place in some of the most remote and inaccessible areas of British Columbia, boat and crew preparation is critical.
You can expect a wide range of conditions, from warm days and light breezes to gale force conditions and prolonged days of gear breaking wind and sea conditions. In 2015 the race saw sustained breeze of over 30 knots, peaking at 40+ knots, in Johnstone Strait from Deepwater Bay to Telegraph Cove. Standing waves at Sayward were estimated at over 8 feet, and anyone who sailed the infamous Nahwhitti Bar had a ride of a lifetime. Sail repairs and broken sheets and halyards were a daily expectation. On the other hand, 2009 and 2013 were races of light air and very long days and nights on the water contributing to crew fatigue and exhaustion.
Plans are for 9 legs in 2017, with no throw outs; after all, the goal is to race around the entire Island. Prior to 2013, not a single boat had sailed and finished every leg. In 2013, 4 crews became the first competitors to successfully complete every leg in the race, in spite of very light wind conditions. In 2015 the number jumped to 31 boats that completed every leg, a testament to the incredible wind conditions the fleet enjoyed on almost every leg.
When asked, what are the key items to consider for the race, it inevitably comes down to three key aspects;
1. Crew Dynamics – 14 days of non-stop racing, little sleep and the opportunity for lots of celebration and the renewal and establishment of life time friendships will take a toll.
2. Organization and preparation – by the time the fleet gets to Campbell River, the boats who have prepared well are on shore enjoying local activities, while other boats are having “Crew Meetings” to discuss the challenges of the first couple of legs. Boats will try and do the race without shore support, it is not recommended. A shore support team that shops, cooks, finds local repairs, keeps the beer cold and the rum handy is one of the most valuable members of the team. We ask for their contact information early, because we know how important they are to a successful crew.
3. Boat preparation. If you think it needs to be replaced or repaired, do it. Chandleries with sailing bits & pieces are few and far between after Campbell River, the very first opportunity after Nanaimo. Once we are past Campbell River, expect excellent supplies of hoochies, downrigger parts, outboard motor repair, bait and aluminum boat welding, while Harken/Samson/Lewmar/Yanmar & Volvo parts are few and far between, and must be flown in in most cases.
Please consider supporting the Race Sponsors prior to, and during the race.
After reviewing some of the challenges created by the strong winds the 2015 fleet experienced on the inside legs, we have reduced the stay in Comox by a day, and added a Lay Day in Telegraph Cove. This will allow the time limit on the Leg 4 of the race from the Marine Harvest fish farm to Telegraph Cove to be extended, and provide a day of protected moorage to prepare for the outside legs of the race.
Sylvia is busy working with the 9 host communities/facilities, who are busy preparing welcomes, pancake breakfasts, beer gardens, barbques, and other activities. The information on the various port activities will be available soon, and will be sent to each skipper, road crew manager and of course posted on the website.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. (250) 324-8886. We look forward to welcoming you to Nanaimo, British Columbia on Friday June 9th, 2017.