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Competitors gearing up for Van Isle 360

Tripp Tease, a 40-foot all-out racing machine, is the Comox Valley entry in this year’s Black Press Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race. - Photo submitted
Tripp Tease, a 40-foot all-out racing machine, is the Comox Valley entry in this year’s Black Press Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race.
— image credit: Photo submitted

On June 9, 40 beautiful sailboats will race into Comox harbour completing the second leg of the 2013 Black Press Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race.

These sail racing machines – some 70 feet in length – are easily seen from the marina boardwalk and may be visited on the docks once safely moored. They are a sight to behold under sail and great fun to see up close – and the public is invited.

This international race has been run since 1999 and developed from the crazy idea of a few rabid catamaran sailors to what is clearly one of the most respected and exciting yacht races on the entire west coast of North America.

The race starts on June 8 in Nanaimo and circumnavigates the whole of Vancouver Island over 14 days, stopping at 10 ports in the process. The city fathers, along with the residents of each port of call, most often organize a reception for the nearly 400 sailors and support crew whose arrival times are somewhat spread out through the afternoon; but prize-giving and welcoming speeches are usually at 6 p.m.

Leg 3, June 10 runs from Comox to Campbell River, starting at 9 a.m. The awards presentation will be in or near the Rip Tide Pub in Campbell River at 6:45 p.m.

Leg 4, June 11 goes from Deepwater Bay just north of Campbell River to Hardwicke Island.

Leg 5, June 12 takes sailors to Telegraph Cove. Awards will be on the boardwalk near the whale museum at 6:45 p.m.

Leg 6, June 13 leads from Telegraph Cove to Hardy Bay off the government dock in downtown Port Hardy.

Leg 7, June 14 takes sailors from Port Hardy to Winter Harbour.

For many years, the reception in the Comox Marina was organized by the Comox Valley Yacht Club, but this year that honour has fallen to the Comox Bay Sailing Club and their team is hard at work in preparation. Commodore Andrew Walther said, “No major problems have been encountered,” and that the most significant item, that of finding moorage for 40 large sailing vessels in an otherwise full marina, has been resolved.

Reception committee member and CBSC activist, Rick Tae, has negotiated that all the racing vessels will be together in the private marina – located just below where the Edgewater once stood, and that the gates will be open to welcome visitors.

With more and larger racing boats competing each year, the competition becomes keener and the level of community participation and mutual support gets higher.

An interesting example of such participation is occurring in the Comox Valley with the arrival of the fleet this year: the private marina is donating the proceeds of the moorage fees to the Children’s Hospital Foundation. Private marina owners appreciate the involvement of the Town of Comox and love to see the school kids checking out the boats.

CBSC Commodore Walther is delighted that the Rotary Club of Strathcona will host a “French Toast” breakfast for the departing sailors, as well as for fans and well-wishers, early in the morning of Sunday, June 9.

The Black Press Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race is a world-class event and the Comox Bay Sailing Club is pleased and proud to have a representative in the race (Tripp Tease) and to be the hosts for the fleet when they arrive at the Comox marina.

The public is encouraged to see the fleet and to follow its progress on the sailing club’s  Facebook page during the entire race.

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