Skip Ben Power and the seven crew of his H20 won the 2011 Juan de Fuca Swiftsure race

Skip Ben Power and the seven crew of his H20 won the 2011 Juan de Fuca Swiftsure race

Swiftsure boats fueled by passionate sailors

The 70th annual Swiftsure is May 25, starting the Saturday morning at Clover Point.

Ben Power isn’t shy about his love for sailing. He wants to remind everyone it’s one of the most accessible activities going and not reserved for high society.

Yes, he’s a boat owner, and yes, he’s hell-bent on winning at Swiftsure again this year as he has before. But the skip of Baaad Kitty (it came with that name) is only one of eight on the boat, and it takes all eight to get it right.

This year’s Swiftsure is the 70th annual, Saturday, May 25.

“The more your team is prepared the more fun you’ll have during the race,” Power said.

“I get a little bit tired of all the other coverage some sports get. But I also understand to watch sailing is not that exciting. Believe me I’ve done it. That’s why you have to try it,” he said. “There’s no dull moments once you’re in the boat.”

Power recently spoke for 15 impassioned minutes at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club during the launch of the 70th Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

This year’s theme is canvas to carbon, embodying the technological advancements of ships from old to new.

“It’s the same sport, just different materials,” said Swiftsure chairman Vern Burkhardt.

Old being the navy’s HMCS Oriole, an annual sight off Clover Point on race day. Other classics have been invited to participate as well.

There is nothing old about Power’s Baaad Kitty, a Henderson 30, which is best described as a giant dinghy, a high-tech boat made of lightweight parts.

“It’s so fast, in light winds it actually creates its own speed, and in heavy winds it’s a bit hectic,” Power said.

Power first raced in 1985 as a crew member and purchased a boat just a few years later. More than anything he is adamant that people are missing out on the experience of being a crew member.

“It’s B.C.’s best-kept secret. You can have so much fun, it builds team spirit and life skills.”

Power and crew first entered Baaad Kitty into the Swiftsure Juan de Fuca race (to Clallam Bay and back) in 2011.

That race is famous for its dead wind, and yet Baaad Kitty swept the Juan de Fuca’s categories, crossing the finish line first and having the top time after the adjustments.

“One of the mysteries is the wind factor. Because of our boat, we do better in less wind than anyone else. And the less wind the more intense it gets out there, because everyone is fighting for that miniscule amount of speed,” Power said.

Last year, in better winds, Baaad Kitty finished second.

“I’m not a big fan of second but we did our best. For me, the more prepared we are, the more competitive we are, the more fun we have,” Power said.

“And anyone can do it.”

Prospective sailors can contact RYVC about how to join a boat crew for the club’s weekly regattas, Wednesday nights and Sunday mornings.

Double knotted

The 70th annual Swiftsure is May 25.

The starting point is Saturday morning off Clover Point.

The race finish lines are best viewed from Ogden Point breakwater on Sunday

Did you know: Swiftsure has five races. The Lightship Classic is an original standard, named after the lightship which predates radar. A lightship would anchor in the channel of the Georgia Strait and light up the night as a beacon for the racers.

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