Swiftsure International Yacht Race - Victoria BC each May

Swiftsure International Yacht Race

The Swiftsure International Yacht Race is a series of yacht races from Victoria BC on the last weekend of May that has been drawing crowds to view the off-shore spectacle since 1930.

The race Starts and ends in Victoria BC, being called the Swiftsure International Yacht Race because the courses run to midpoints in U.S. waters. In its eighty years the race has evolved into nine races sailed over four courses in the Juan de Fuca Strait.

Crews race to the Swiftsure Lightship and back in courses of up to 140 nautical miles with winning times for the longest course often under 24 hours, largely dependant on the weather. If winds are poor crews have named it “Driftsure” yet one year 130 boats were blown out of the race soon after the start.

There can be plenty of drama. At the start one year a heavy tide pushed most boats back two miles and at the midpoint a boat hit the lightship when turning around it. Boats have been grounded at Race Rocks in fog. A finish saw a boat cross the line stern first after it lost its main masts just before the line, and one year a single second decided the winning yacht.

So set sail for Victoria this May!