Follow the fleet of Vic-Maui participants as they gear up and then head for Hawaii starting July 4, 2022.

Aloha! Fifteen boats have registered for this July’s Vic-Maui International Yacht Race to paradise and throughout this past winter, Vic-Maui skippers and crew have bonded through intense race preparations, ensuring their boats meet the requirements in the World Sailing Offshore Special Regulations, the Notice of Race and appendices. Two classes will race; the Lahaina Class, with as few as 4 crew, through to the Racing Class speedster Peligroso, with over a dozen.

Vic-Maui boats will dock in the heart of the historic west coast port city of Victoria, Canada. The race fleet starts arriving July 1, with dock parties held ahead of each of the 2 race starts, with each starting near Brotchie Ledge on the waterfront – and fine shoreside viewing from Ogden Point Breakwater. 

Distinct from many offshore races of typically 600 nautical miles, the 2,308 nautical mile Vic-Maui race is a unique offshore experience, two races in one. Right off the start is the challenge of racing up the Juan de Fuca Strait with its fog, strong tidal currents, possible katabatic winds, and incoming shipping traffic. Off northern Washington, the boats will leave Duntze Rock to port, pass Tatoosh Island, then power reach down the coast until the North Pacific High signals a right turn and navigators will choose their best “slot” to the trade winds for the final jibe, avoiding approaching the center of the North Pacific High with its light winds. By July, the North Pacific High, usually hooked in to latitudes north of California, shifts to be centred near 45N; it’s huge, with its potential influence felt from 30N to 60N and it’s warm!

The 2,308 nautical mile race will test the boats and crew. Shoreside watchers can follow the tracker, where a transponder affixed to each boat reports the actual ongoing location and speed, and the adventures via Daily Reports on the Vic-Maui home page; a daily Roll Call check-in is done by each boat at a predetermined time with the Race Committee. This is an ORC Category One ocean race where safety requirements are very high, but the requirements don’t dissuade new racers from the challenge. At least two-thirds of the crew, including the Person in Charge, must hold a valid certificate for a World Sailing approved Offshore Personal Survival course. On-board satellite systems have become standard equipment, which also allows boats to maintain a connection to their ‘shore support’ team to monitor their crew and boat.

Before the race boats finish, family and friends will fly to Lahaina and take in the Lahaina Yacht Club’s Waiting Wahine luncheon and other fun activities, awaiting the race’s finishers. When boats arrive in Lahaina, crew are greeted with leis, kisses from loved ones, a hand-crafted welcome banner, and a party hosted for their arrival and fantastic achievement of sailing to this isolated Pacific island. The official end to the race is 1000 HST on Friday, July 22 and the following day a Gala event is held for the racers, with trophies awarded and stories shared. This may be the last time the entire fleet will be together. The Vic-Maui race is co-hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club and couldn’t take place without the engagement of both clubs and dedicated, skilful volunteers. 

Boat and crew will have experienced adventures never imagined, becoming a well-oiled team. Legends will live on through each racer’s lifetime; competing in Vic-Maui will be the pinnacle for many, generating decades of proud stories of ‘Challenge, Adventure, Teamwork’ in competing. And a record-breaking race is always a possibility – several fell in 2016 with Gavin Brackett’s TP52, Valkyrie, taking the Elapsed Race Record that year of 8 days, 9 hours, 17 minutes, 50 seconds; at least one 2022 boat has stated they’ll challenge this record.

 All Vic-Maui boats are winners; this is a marathon race, not a sprint. Why this race? Offshore yacht racing is one of the few great challenges still possible for amateur teams, while experiencing a sea adventure, and the teamwork developed on a small boat in the largest and deepest ocean in the world teaches skills carried throughout life. Ultimately they arrive in paradise, as captured by Kraken in 2018.

Thank you to Charlotte Gann for this Vic-Maui Race update.