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It will be an exciting weekend in and around the Victoria Harbour because the Swiftsure International Yacht Race festivities begin today. Scroll down for the events listing.

Sailboat heeling over on a beautiful day. Photo by Captain Yves.

What is a yacht race?

A yacht race is a race between sailboats. The crew must bring their vessel through a course, often out to a buoy and back. Good competitors not only travel fast but are strategic about their choice of route. They must take factors like wind and tides into account, in addition to the complex rules of sailing.

Sailboats lining up for a race
Small Sailboats lining up for a race. Photo by Captain Yves.

For the Swiftsure Race, there are several courses. The courses range in distance, some taking one day to complete, others spanning up to two days and nights! All courses begin near Clover Point on Saturday morning at 9:00 AM. Over 160 boats will be jockeying for position on the start line. Boats will begin to cross the finish line, at Ogden Point Breakwater, starting Saturday evening. Boats will continue to cross the finish line until Monday May 27 at 6:00 AM.

Swiftsure race courses
Image by Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

What events are happening?

Thursday and Friday

Boats will begin to collect in the Inner Harbour starting today, May 23, 2019. Sailors will be checking in for their races through Friday May 24, 2019. The public is welcome to walk the docks of the inner Harbour and check out the variety of boats and crews participating. Live music will be played on Friday, May 24th till 10:00 p.m. in the Inner Harbour.


7:00 AM Boats depart Inner Harbour for the starting point, off Clover Point.

8:00 AM Pancake breakfast at Clover Point served by the Central Saanich Lions Club.

8:51 AM First boats begin to line up, the first race begins at 9:00 AM. Subsequent races begin every 10 mins after that.

After the start of the final race Royal Canadian Air Force 442 Squadron will perform a search and rescue demonstration off Clover Point using a Cormorant SAR helicopter!

Sunday and Monday

Watch tired and satisfied crews as they cross the finish line. Best viewing is from the Ogden Point Breakwater. Watch as the crews return for their post-race inspections at Ship Point in the Inner Harbour. All races will be complete by 6:00 AM Monday.

Spinnaker Sail on a flat day
Sailing downwind using a Spinnaker sail. Photo by Captain Yves.

Looks like a great weekend will be had by all!


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