April 19, 2023
Downwind past the Point Atkinson Lighthouse / Photo Credits: Robert Torok
This year WVYC put the ‘Southern’ back in Straits, with courses taking all boats eventually to the ODAS marker south of Point Grey. Other than the big boats, most Straits skippers will not have been this far down the map since before 2010.
Fairly soon after the light air start, a SE breeze filled in, kites went up, and it was champagne sailing in 8-12 knots for all three courses on their way to the first mark at Halibut bank. Stuart Dahlgren’s Westerly continued their excellent form from Patos Island to lead the fleet out of the bay and down the Strait.
From Halibut bank all boats headed south. For the leaders it was a close jib reach, turning to a beat, and in the reaching conditions and dying breeze the rich began to get richer with the fleet splitting into a lead pack some time before dark. A shift to the south made for some fast sailing in the late evening as reaching sails came out, but it was not to be as the SE breeze returned later in the night.
The short course boats then began their battle back up towards the finish, with Medium course boats headed back to Halibut bank and the Long course headed for Sisters. By midnight the Long course were keenly examining the forecast as the next weather system was imminent and promising 30-knot winds.
The weather arrived around 2 in the morning. Short course boats were by this time finishing, and the lead medium course boats were near Howe Sound in breeze building past 20 knots. Eventually half of the long course would retire – those that continued finished in reefed sails and gusts over 30 knots.
The long course was won by Gord Wylie’s XP44 Phoenix, correcting over Westerly’s line honors. Alex Smyth on 65 Red Roses won the battle on the medium course, with Jim Prentice on Diva in second claiming the win in a close battle of the J/109s. On the short course the J/29 Rhumb Line took the win.
Notably every boat on the short course finished!
Full results here: www.wvyc.ca/on-the-water/racing/southern-straits
– Jason Vandergaag