May 31, 2023
By Graham Heath
When September rolls around and teacher tasks you to write an essay on “how I spent my summer vacation,” you need some good stories! What better way to generate those than enter in the Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race. The race is a 550 mile, 9 stage counter clockwise circumnavigation of Vancouver Island coming up 3 to 17 June.
Our entry is Jackrabbit, a Carroll Marine 1200 built in 1996 and raced for the past nine years by skipper Colin Nichols out of the Canadian Forces Sailing Association in Victoria. Colin and Jackrabbit did the race in 2017, and we have a very experience crew of eight that are in for the whole trip, but still a ton of preparation and training needs be done in the next few months. So the race to the start line begins.
The World Sailing Offshore Special Regulation for Race Category 2 governs the safety requirements for Van Isle, the checklists are lengthy, but each check is a step forward. We are getting a good handle on the safety equipment requirements, and we have six crew current on the Offshore Personal Survival Course and one with current Marine Basic First Aid. Those courses are hard to get so it is a relief to have met the formal training requirements early.
Concurrently with getting the boat ready we have to get the team working together and racing the boat well. We have competed in several day races so far this year and our first overnighters of the year, the Blackline Patos Island Race in March out of Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club, then on April’s Easter weekend we headed across Georgia Strait to compete in West Vancouver Yacht Club’s, Southern Straits Race.
By the time autumn comes, we will have a great story to tell.
– Graham Heath is the 2022 BC Sailing Awards Sailor of the Year