Sailboats congregate at the start line in Nanaimo Harbour in the minutes leading up to the last Van Isle 360 yacht race in 2013.

Sailboats congregate at the start line in Nanaimo Harbour in the minutes leading up to the last Van Isle 360 yacht race in 2013.

Van Isle 360 yacht race setting sail

The Van Isle 360 yacht race begins Saturday (June 6) in Nanaimo Harbour.

The fleet is going to fill the harbour to bursting this weekend.

The Van Isle 360 yacht race begins Saturday (June 6) in Nanaimo Harbour, and 51 vessels are all going to disembark that day and try for a fast start up the coast.

There are so many entries this year, said race director Jeff Motley, that the boats will start in two batches, 10 minutes apart. The start is still going to be wild.

“It looks like a giant melee. Lots of yelling and screaming,” Motley said.

The start line is situated between a pier and a reef, leaving no room for error.

“It’s what we call hard-ended start lines, so there isn’t room to bail out,” Motley said. “If you overshoot the start line on one end or the other, you’re going to run into something that’s going to put your boat out of the race.”

The yachts will circumnavigate Vancouver Island in stages, returning to Nanaimo in two weeks’ time. It’s a singular challenge in sailing.

“You just can’t do this race anywhere else in the world,” said Motley. “Obviously the spectacular scenery that we have here is one thing, but the sailing conditions themselves are definitely some of the most challenging on the planet.”

Upon leaving Nanaimo, the boats head north for Comox, though the narrow Johnstone Strait and past the Nawhitti Bar.

“And then everybody’s looking forward to … heading out into the open Pacific for what they hope is the big sleigh ride down the west coast of the Island,” said the race director.

The first leg of the race begins Saturday at 10:30 a.m. For the best views of the action, spectators can watch from the Visiting Vessel Pier.

sports@nanaimobulletin.com

Just Posted

Regional District of Nanaimo is seeking input from the public for its transit redevelopment strategy. (News Bulletin file)
Public input sought as RDN works on transit redevelopment strategy

RDN wants to know where people want bus stops, shelters and pedestrian and cycling connections

Douglas Holmes, current Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District chief administrative officer, is set to take on that position at the Regional District of Nanaimo come late August. (Submitted photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo’s next CAO keen to work on building partnerships

Douglas Holmes to take over top administrator role with RDN this summer

Neighbours fight a small late-night bush fire with garden hoses and shovels in Cinnabar Valley on June 5. They couldn’t get help from local fire services because the fire was located in an area under B.C. Wildfire Services jurisdiction. (Photo courtesy Muriel Wells)
Nanaimo residents on edge of city limits left to put out bush fire themselves

Cinnabar Valley residents tackle fire with hoses and buckets for two and a half hours

Nanaimo artist Dave Stevens is displaying paintings inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River at Nanaimo Harbourfront Library from now until the end of fall. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo writer and artist’s work goes up at Harbourfront library

Dave Stevens presents work inspired by arbutus trees and the Millstone River

The courthouse in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file)
Nanaimo man, already in jail, found guilty of sexual abuse of sons

Man previously sentenced for sexual interference involving girl in Nanaimo

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps near Nanaimo

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Most Read