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Masts break, records fall during fast Swiftsure 2023 race

Competitors broke course records in some races and came close to records in others
Strong winds led to some new records and some broken masts during the 2023 Swiftsure International Yacht Race on May 27-28. ADRIAN LAM, TIMES COLONIST

Strong winds propelled some to record times in this weekend’s Swiftsure International Yacht race, but ended dreams of victory for others by damaging multiple sails and masts. 

Randy Diamond, Swiftsure’s race event chair, said competitors broke course records in some races and came close to records in others. About 120 boats competed this year, the same number as last year, he said. 

Dragon, a multi-hull skippered by Duncan Gladman and racing for the Northwest Multihull Association-Canada, crossed the finish line in a record time of seven hours, 37 minutes and 58 seconds in the Juan de Fuca Race for Multihulls on Saturday afternoon. 

Dragon broke its own 2022 course record by three hours, five minutes, but results are calculated using a handicap system, and the eventual winner was the Cheekee Monkee, skippered by Kim Alfreds of the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. The Cheekee Monkee crossed the finish line about 14 minutes behind Dragon. 

Winds of up to 40 knots (74 kilometres an hour) broke the mast of the Hamachi, out of Seattle, in the Cape Flattery Race. A number of boats put their own races aside to come to its rescue. 

The eventual winner of the race, the Terramoto, also had its mast broken during the race, but the crew was able to finish despite the damage. 

Terramoto, from the Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle, had an unofficial elapsed time of 12 hours, seven minutes and 55 seconds. That broke the previous elapsed time for first to finish, set in 2007 by Flash, of 12 hours, 51 minutes and 13 seconds. 

The heartbreak of the weekend was the Korina Korina, skippered by John Knudson of Washington state with a seasoned crew made up of Victoria and Washington state residents. The Korina Korina was last year’s winner in the Swiftsure Lightship Classic, but this year she was the last boat to reach the dock at around 7 p.m. Sunday, long after most of the other racers had finished. 

“It’s the luck of the draw,” Diamond said. “She has an experienced captain and very consistent crew, but struggled in light winds [throughout the race]. We made sure there was still a welcoming committee, with hot soup waiting for them.” 

This year’s winner in the Swiftsure Lightship Classic was the Zvi, out of the Seattle Yacht Club. 

Other preliminary first place winners include: KOA, with Jason Hyslop and Jim Rhodes from Vancouver in the Hein Bank Race; Setri, with Peter Dennis of Seattle in the Juan de Fuca Race for monohulls (he also won last year); HayTor, with Stephanie Bacon of Victoria in the Inshore Race Division 1; Merganser, with Richard King of Victoria in the Inshore Race Division 2 and Lunita, with John Comuzzi of Victoria in the Inshore Cruising Division. 

The official results will be posted in the next two days, Diamond said. For the most up-to-date results, go to 

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