Records fall, masts break during Victoria's Swiftsure 2023 race

Records fall, masts break

Strong winds damaged multiple sails and masts, sinking thoughts of glory for some sailors in this weekend’s Swiftsure International Yacht race, while propelling others to record times.

“It was sunny, warm and fast race, with medium to strong winds,” said Randy Diamond, Swiftsure’s race event chair. “It broke course records in some races and close to records on others.”

There were the same number of boats competing this year, about 120, as in 2022, Diamond said.

Dragon, a multi-hull skippered by Duncan Gladman and racing for the Northwest Multihull Association-Canada, crossed the finish line in a record time of seven hours, 37 minutes and 58 seconds in the Juan de Fuca Race for Multihulls on Saturday afternoon.

Dragon broke its own 2022 course record by three hours, five minutes, but results are calculated using a handicap system, and the eventual winner was the Cheekee Monkee, skippered by Kim Alfreds of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. The Cheekee Monkee crossed the finish line about 14 minutes behind Dragon.

The same winds of up to 40 knots (74 km/h) broke the mast of the Hamachi, out of Seattle, in the Cape Flattery Race. A number of boats put their own races in abeyance to come to its rescue.

The eventual winner of the race, the Terramoto, also had its mast broken during the race, but the crew was able to finish despite the damage.

Terramoto, from the Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle, had an unofficial elapsed time of 12 hours, seven minutes and 55 seconds. That broke the previous elapsed time for First to Finish, set in 2007 by Flash, of 12 hours, 51 minutes and 13 seconds.

The heartbreak of the weekend was the Korina Korina, skippered by John Knudson of Washington state with a seasoned crew was made up of Victoria and Washington state residents. The Korina Korina was last year’s winner in the Swiftsure Lightship Classic. This year she was the last boat to make dock at around 7 p.m. Sunday, long after most of the other racers had finished.

“It’s the luck of the draw,” Diamond said. “She has a experienced captain and very consistent crew, but struggled in light winds [throughout the race]. We made sure there was still a welcoming committee, with hot soup waiting for them.”

This year’s winner in the Swiftsure Lightship Classic was the Zvi, out of the Seattle Yacht Club.

Other preliminary first place winners include: KOA, with Jason Hyslop and Jim Rhodes, Vancouver, in the Hein Bank Race; Setri, with Peter Dennis, Seattle in the Juan de Fuca Race for monohulls (he also won last year); HayTor, Stephanie Bacon, Victoria in the Inshore Race Division 1; Merganser, Richard King, Victoria in the Inshore Race Division 2 and Lunita, John Comuzzi, Victoria in the Inshore Cruising Division.

The official results will be posted in the next two days, Diamond said. For the most up-to-date results, go to swiftsure.org/live-race-results.

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