The Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race sailed into the Comox Valley on Saturday, bringing Leg 1 of the June 6-20 circumnavigation of Vancouver Island to a close.
The Comox Bay Sailing Club hosted the local stop, and Commodore Andy Walther said, “I’m proud and very happy to mention this was a tremendous weekend both on and off the water for the CBSC.”
The Nanaimo to Comox leg finished just south of Denman Island, and most of the fleet arrived in Comox after motoring up Baynes Sound between 6 and 11 p.m. on Saturday.
Race results were provisional (pending protests) at press time, but in Div. IRC, JAM out of Washington skippered by John McPhail crossed the finish line first in nine hours, 33 minutes and 34 seconds.
In Div. 1, Lexi Belle out of Victoria skippered by Seth Amirault was first to port in 7:59.50. In Div. C it was Rogues Roost from Vancouver skippered by Theo Arsenault first in 8:42.29. In Div. R, Radical Departure of Vancouver skippered by Andre Wojcieszek was first in 8:58.12.
The fleet left Comox on Monday morning en route to Campbell River for Leg 2. The 52 boats finish up back in Nanaimo this weekend. Race fans can follow the fleet on the VI360 Race Tracker on the race website at vanisle360.com
While there are no Comox Valley yachts in this year’s race, several local sailors are crewing on various boats.
Walther noted CBSC members Matt Sanderson, Sarah Clark and Theo Truax sailed on Neptune’s Car out of Seattle, while six students from Compass Adventures hitched a ride on Dragonfly, a Formula 40 catamaran which is the fastest boat in the competition.
CBSC junior race team members Nate Bell and Chris Volkers were asked to sail on Jam from Washington State. “Their sailing talents were not only requested for the race to Campbell River but also on several subsequent legs,” Walther noted.
Club members Jon Lihou raced from Comox to Campbell River on Lexi Belle out of Victoria, James Volkers is sailing the entire race on Occam’s Razor out of West Vancouver and Tom Gornall is doing all nine legs on Anduril from Vancouver.
CBSC members Dave Shaw and John North also got in on the action on Northern Lights based out of Campbell River.
This was the first time in the race’s 10 years that the fleet stayed two nights in Comox. That came about when the usual first leg destination, French Creek, was dropped. The CBSC used the opportunity to host the Straight Marine In-Port Race on Sunday morning. Approximately 40 yachts motored out of the Comox Marina, raised their sails and raced around the buoys between Goose Spit and Denman Island.
When the racing was done participants gathered at Comox Marina Park in the afternoon for the awards celebration, which started with a welcome for the fleet by Chief Rob Everson of the K’omoks First Nation that included singing with drums and dancing.
Local musician Luke Blu Guthrie provided entertainment while Rotary Strathcona and 40 Knots Winery ran a beer garden.
“The Comox event was a resounding success for our club – rather suiting for our 50th anniversary – and we look forward to doing it all again in 2017,” Walther said in a race report on the CBSC website.
FINISH LINES The CBSC also put on a coach training course for a number of youth from the Comox Valley and the surrounding areas … the race, held every two years, is presented by Sylvia and Jeff Motley of Blast Performance Sailing in Chemainus …