Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Sailing judges investigate boat that kept racing in Swiftsure despite crew member's injury

Injured crew member has returned home to Sequim, Washington
CCGS Cape Calvert escorted into Victoria a sailboat that finished its Swiftsure race after declining to pull into Pedder Bay for treatment of an injured crew member. Department of Fisheries and Oceans

An investigation is underway into a Swiftsure sailboat with an injured crew member that did not pull into into Pedder Bay as requested by emergency personnel and instead finished the Juan de Fuca race early Sunday.

The crew member from Sequim, Washington, had been hit by a metal boom. When the sailboat finished the race, the injured crew member was met on shore by an ambulance and taken to hospital, B.C. Emergency Health Services said.

The man has since returned home and has been participating in the investigation, event chairman Randy Diamond said on Friday.

A tribunal of three internationally ­accredited sailing judges is investigating for Sail Canada, the national governing body for sailing, he said. Two judges are Canadian and one is American.

Participants and the Canadian Coast Guard have been interviewed and a decision is likely within about a week, said Diamond, who did not have details of what had happened on board.

Lt. Pamela Hogan, spokesperson for ­Maritime Forces Pacific, said in a Friday statement that the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Victoria received a report of an injury to a crew member on a boat in a Swiftsure race at 12:10 a.m. on Sunday.

The sailboat was asked by the ­co-ordination centre to head to the nearest port at Pedder Bay so the injured crew member could receive medical treatment from B.C. Ambulance, Hogan said. “The sailboat declined the officer and finished the race.”

The centre sent the Canadian Coast Guard vessel Cape Calvert to rendezvous with the sailboat and escort it back to Victoria ­Harbour.

The crew member was brought ashore about 12:42 a.m. and transferred to B.C. Emergency Health Services, Hogan said.

Diamond said the incident happened in Race Passage, a challenging part of the ­coastline, when the sailboat was near the end of its race.

He could not speak to why the sailboat did not pull into Pedder Bay, but said it has a shallow entrance and keels on some sailboats can be 12 feet long.

Swiftsure is made up of several races, which all started last Saturday morning near ­Clover Point. About 120 vessels from ­Canada and the U.S. participated. It was the 77th year for the event, presented by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, and marked the resumption of the races after two years of pandemic-related postponements.

[email protected]