A past Van Isle 360 yacht race in Nanaimo Harbour. (NEWS BULLETIN file photo)

Fast fleet of yachts about to set sail around Vancouver Island

Van Isle 360 international yacht race begins Saturday, June 1, in Nanaimo

It’s a high-level competition, but it also takes a team effort to make it all the way around Vancouver Island.

The Van Isle 360 international yacht race returns Saturday, June 1, in Nanaimo, as 40 boats will look for a fast start out of Nanaimo heading toward Deep Bay. Three classes of boats will start inside Nanaimo Harbour and two divisions will start just outside the harbour, near Protection Island’s Angle Point. All the yachts will start at the exact same time, 9:30 a.m. Saturday.

The biennial race is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and the host communities along the way are Nanaimo, Comox, Campbell River, Hardwicke Island, Telegraph Cove, Port Hardy, Winter Harbour, Ucluelet and Victoria.

The fleet leaves Victoria on June 14 at 10 a.m. and is anticipated to return to Nanaimo on June 15.

New this year is a Helly Hansen team challenge. Organizers felt that after altering the race in 2015 to nine legs, from 10, there were some long days on the water and less time to socialize, noted Sylvia Motley, one of the race directors, in a press release. Teams chosen from boats in every division will be randomly chosen prior to the start of the race, and it will take their combined efforts to win the team challenge.

“The intent of [the] team challenge is to create the opportunity for immediate social interaction amongst the crews, and create a fun atmosphere for inter-boat camaraderie during the race,” Motley said.

Spectators will be able to see the start of the race from several locations along the waterfront, including the W.E. Mills Landing and Marina visiting vessel pier.

Scheduled start times along the way: Nanaimo, June 1, 9:30 a.m.; Comox, June 2, 9 a.m.; Deepwater Bay, June 3, 8 a.m.; Hardwicke Island, June 4, 9 a.m.; Telegraph Cove, June 5, 7:30 a.m.; Port Hardy, June 7, 9 a.m.; Winter Harbour, June 9, 9 a.m.; Ucluelet, June 12, 10 a.m.; Victoria, June 14, 10 a.m.

READ ALSO: Slow start to 76th annual Swiftsure Race


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