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VIDEO: 75th Swiftsure International Yacht Race

‘A happy boat is a fast boat’

The Swiftsure International Yacht Race enjoys sunny skies and winds for its 75th anniversary.

It is the largest yacht race on the west coast of North America in terms of number of boats and racers, and the longest running sailboat race in the world, launching from the waters just off Clover Point. The international yacht race tests sailing skills, endurance and strategy.

“It’s not an easy race to win. It has a lot of technical challenges to it,” said Charlotte Gann, sponsorship relations for the Swiftsure International Yacht Race.

The photo of Dragonfly’s crew returning to the dock after flying around the Cape Flattery course, gives credence to Gann’s insight that “a happy boat is a fast boat”.

The boat, which gained fame in Thailand for being featured in a cigarette commercial, started its racing career with a local Victoria crew. It was sold a few years ago but then was bought back by Richard Ackrill, a sailor at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, and he re-engaged the original crew.

“They were back together again and consistently campaigning. It’s a wonderful story,” said Gann. “And they pretty much win every race they go in because when they can get their conditions they are pretty much unstoppable.”

This year has some notable additions, with an all-woman crewed boat and Lieutenant Commander Christopher Maier leading the race crew aboard STV Goldcrest with those who served and are now suffering from Operational Stress.

Swiftsure began in 1930 as a race between yacht clubs from Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria and was named for the Swiftsure Bank at the entrance to Juan de Fuca Strait. Today, it has grown into a spectator sport attracting racers and observers from as far as away as New Zealand and Russia.

Boats will continue to arrice back at shore today.

For more details visit where you can track the progress of each vessel in real time as the race takes place.

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