Van Isle 360 fleet returns

NANAIMO – More to the Black Press Van Isle 360 yacht race than crews jumping aboard their vessels and sailing around Vancouver Island.

Race organizer Jeff Motley addresses spectators and crews as the Van Isle 360 wraps up in Nanaimo Harbour Saturday.

Race organizer Jeff Motley addresses spectators and crews as the Van Isle 360 wraps up in Nanaimo Harbour Saturday.

There is much more to the Black Press Van Isle 360 yacht race than skippers and crews jumping aboard their vessels and simply sailing around Vancouver Island.

That’s one of many lessons Jeff and Sylvia  Motley, race organizers, learned in their first year running the event.

More than 40 boats left the Harbour City June 8 on the 10-leg race and arrived back in Nanaimo Friday and into the early morning hours Saturday at the visiting vessel pier.

Jeff Motley said the race was everything he and his wife hoped for and more.

“From the sailors perspective, even though probably 80 per cent of the race lacked a significant amount of wind, they truly enjoyed the challenging sailing conditions that they had,” he said. “And I know the camaraderie was enjoyed by all. For those who had taken part before old relationships were renewed, and for the new skippers, new relationships were created.”

The race included stops at French Creek, Comox, Campbell River, Hardwicke Island, Telegraph Cove, Port Hardy, Winter Harbour, Ucluelet and Victoria and Motley said they can’t thank enough the communities that welcomed the fleet and invited them back for 2015.

“Relationships are key, whether it’s relationships with the skippers and their crews, the road crews, the communities or Black Press, this race doesn’t happen unless everybody works together,” he said. “We understood that coming in and came to deeply appreciate what it meant.

“We were humbled – considering it was our first time for this event – how everyone couldn’t do enough to help us.”

Dragonfly captured the multihull division, followed by Bad Kitty and Moxie.

Then top-three in the big boat division were Icon, Flash and Dark Star while Terremoto won division one followed by White Cloud and Tripp Tease.

Motley said there were challenges behind the scenes, but best thing was the racers never knew about it.

“To see everybody smiling, slapping each other on the back and saying they can’t wait to be back kind of says it all,” he said. “From a debrief perspective, we do have somethings that we would defintely consider doing differently, but it’s too early to make any decisions.”