Southern Straits 2024 Recap!

Southern Straits 2024 Recap!

Submitted by: Peter Salusbury (Longboard)

📸 Photo Credit: Robert Torok Photography


The 2024 Southern Straits Race is in the books and was a beauty. The 58 boats racing across four courses started Good Friday morning in a light easterly that built to about 10 knots as the fleet sailed into the Strait of Georgia. As predicted the easterly died off in the early afternoon and a light NW started to build across the eastern and northerns sections of the Strait, creating compression between the Long and Medium Course fleets.


On the Long and Medium courses, the fleet beat up the southern shore of Lasqueti, most tacking inside Sangster Island where there was much more favorable current. As the NW died further up the Lasqueti shore, it was evident the north flowing current and light to no wind conditions was going to make coming south after rounding Sister’s Islets challenging. More than a few boats reporting getting swept past Sister’s only to fight hard to make their way south to Sangster Island.


The other interesting observation was the apparent wind shear between Sisters and Sangster Islands – it was evidenced by the huge gains the longer waterline boats with taller rigs made versus their smaller competitors – gains that weren’t there all day when sailing downwind in light air. It became obvious there was more wind aloft than at sea level and the taller rigged boats generally did well in this stretch of the second leg to White Islets.


Once south of Sangster, the NNW wind settled in nicely and we all enjoyed a nice downwind sail to White Islets with a gorgeous moon rise over the city. The race hasn’t visited White islets in decades and it was fun to revisit the sea lion colony who were hilariously barking all night long – and that stench when you got downwind! On the Long Course, we then had one long starboard tack beat/fetch all the way to Ballenas that featured a beautiful dawn and sunrise.


From there the Long Course boats that did the best stayed on starboard gybe all the way down to almost Nanaimo Harbor before gybing to port for the long ‘great circle’ route back to the finish line off Point Atkinson. This last leg was relatively fast and fun with true wind speeds hovering in the low to mid teens.


On the Inshore Course, Rob Mulder’s Melges 24 “Ferdinand” was the elapsed and corrected time winner in an eight boat fleet.


The Short Course enjoyed solid wind conditions and the elapsed time winner was Bruce Townson’s J/112E “Kajofi” finishing early around 10:30 in the evening. Nick Conti’s J92 “Live Wire” took PHRF 5 on corrected time, David George’s J/29 “Rhumb Line” won PHRF 6 and Vatche Yerevanian CS3-“ Alatus” won PHRF 7.


The Medium Course elapsed time winner was Theo Arsenault’s Solana 44 “Rogues” just nipping out Jason Saunderson’s “Ultraman” by 37 seconds and Tolga Cezik’s J/111 “Lodos” (sailing doublehanded!) by a further 62 seconds! With Charley Macauley’s Farr 39 ML “Absolutely” finishing a minute later, the Medium Course’s first four boats finished within 3 minutes of each other – close racing!


On corrected time, the timeless Cal 39 “Chinook” skippered by Noah Walcutt took the overall win in ORC and in ORC 3 with Rogues winning ORC 2. On the Medium Course PHRF 4 division, the J/109 “Spyhop” skippered by David Schutte took the division win.


On the Long Course, Peter McCarthy’s TP52 “The Shadow II” took the elapsed time honours but it was Gord Wylie’s XP44 “Phoenix” prevailing on corrected time for the overall win, making it two years in a row for Gord as overall winner.


Overall, it was another memorable, comfortable, and scenic Southern Straits Race with plenty of sunshine and no rain and great memories for all participants. Thanks to all of the racers for participating and supporting the event and many thanks to all the volunteers, staff, and sponsors at West Vancouver Yacht Club for the race organization.


Full Results Here!