Vic-Maui Race

  • July 03, 2014

The first Vic-Maui race was sailed in 1965. The race was a dream of RVYC member Jim Innes who at that time was a Captain for Canadian Pacific Airlines. Jim apparently talked incessantly about the idea of such a race originating in Victoria and ending some 2308 nautical miles away in Maui. He convinced three other skippers to start with him off Brotchie Ledge in 1965. With Jim in his Lapworth 36' "Long Gone", there was Lol Killam of RVYC with the 45' sloop "Velaris", Ron Ramsay of the Royal Victoria Yacht Club with the 45' ketch "Norena of White" and Boo Paskel from Seattle Yacht club with his 73' ketch "Tatoosh". The race and the weather were typical for most of the races to follow. Westerlies in the Juan de Fuca Strait, left turn down the coast to about the latitude of San Francisco followed by a right turn with the northeasterly trade winds filling spinnakers and the downhill sun run to Maui. Three boats finished the race some 15 days later at Kahalui Harbour on the north coast of Maui with the fourth "Tatoosh", having used the iron spinnaker greeting the three arrivals with Mai Tais.

During their stay in Maui they met up with the originators of what would become the Lahaina Yacht Club. Upon returning to BC waters both Jim and Lol proceeded to convince the RVYC and the newly organised LYC to jointly sponsor such a race and thusly the Vic-Maui International Yacht Race was born. The first official race was in 1968 with some 14 boats entered. Bill Killam's Porpoise III swept the fleet first to finish and first on corrected time. She took 17 days, 6 hours and 50 minutes. The race, heralded as a FUN RACE has encouraged both the ardent racer and the cruiser-racer. It has been held every even year since 1968 with 2014 being the 25th Vic-Maui race. The number of entrants has ranged from 4 to 37 boats.

Records have been broken many times since the first official race in 1968. The current record holder is "Grand Illusion" skippered by James McDowell of the LYC who completed the race in 9 days, 2 hours and 8 minutes in 2000 beating out the previous record of 9 days, 19 hours and 36 minutes set by "Pyewacket" skippered by Roy Disney in 1996.

Vic-Maui challenges navigators to demonstrate their weather routing and navigational skills. Success depends on the navigator's skill in predicting where the Pacific High pressure zone and trade winds will be, nearly a week into the future. The adventure includes sailing around the Pacific High and surfing downwind in the trades. The days pass quickly with the fleet surrounded by dolphins and albatross, spectacular sunrises, sunsets and brilliant starlit nights. Teamwork gets the boats to the finish line near Lahaina, where each arriving boat is greeted with an outstanding Hawaiian welcoming party. Family and friends meet the racers to celebrate the accomplishment with hugs, leis and mai-tais.

Each of the fleet will have a YB tracker installed meaning that friends and family left on shore can track an individual boat or the whole fleet.  The trackers are set to wake up at predetermined intervals to collect and transmit data including speed, direction and GPS co-ordinates to name a few. All this data is pushed through the Iridium satellite network to the severs at Yellowbrick HQ. From there the data is visualised on to our race tracker which is available on the race website.

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