Southern Straits is one of the biggest distance races of the year in Vancouver.  On Easter weekend, sailors come from all over the Pacific Northwest to compete in this classic race across the Salish Sea.  Southern Straits typically attracts over 100 boats and more than 800 sailors... it is a major event on the racing calendar every year and has now been going strong for over 50 years!

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The start line off Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver is bustling with spectators and media, we brush shoulders with the top sailors and coolest boats in the region, and Straits offers up an action-packed event.  The starting gun fires and we're off! 

Last year our team enjoyed an epic wave surfing, spinnaker flying, adrenaline-fueled 50 mile run from the start all the way to Sisters Islets... we hit a top boat speed of 12.8 knots! We had sunshine, rainbows, only a sprinkling of rain, big wind and waves, light wind and flat seas, a moonless night and some excellent tactical racing the whole way to a 4th place finish in our division.  Check out some highlights from Southern Straits 2017:

The Course

In 2019 we'll be racing in the Medium Course, covering roughly 108 nautical miles.  It's expected that we'll be sailing roughly 24 hours, give or take several hours depending on weather conditions.  

This is one of the very few local events that offers a night sailing component, which is both exciting and very serious at the same time.  Sailing at night can be breathtakingly beautiful with clear starry skies, phosphorescence bubbling in the wake behind the boat, and a serenity rarely found on land.  But sailing at night means extreme vigilance is required because visibility is very limited and it can be hard to judge the distance between objects on the water in the dark.  Please check the Pre-requisites below to ensure you are ready for this level of crew work.
 

2019 Preliminary Schedule

Thursday, April 18 Pre-Race Party!
Dinner, Skipper's Briefing & 'Captain's Keg' provided at West Vancouver Yacht Club. Dinner starts at 17:30.
Friday, April 19Start Racing!
The starting gun is at 10:25am for spectators at Dundarave Pier.
Saturday, April 20Still Racing / Finishing
Our finish time depends entirely on the conditions but could be anywhere from pre-dawn to dusk.
 

Pre-Requisites

Previous sailing experience required, including racing with spinnaker.  Suitable minimum experience would include:  
Quicker Crew course +
Spinnaker School +
Club races or other racing events.  

Contact us to discuss if you're unsure about your experience level.
 

Registration

*In 2019 registration is open first to VanIsle 360 participants as part of our qualification process. Other students may be accepted closer to the race start date.

This course is open to ages 19 and up.
Maximum of 7 spots available. 
20% for ages 19-25.  Contact us to access this pricing.

5% GST is added at checkout for Canadian customers
 

Included in Registration

Race fees, fuel and accommodation on board overnight during the race are all included.  Registration includes all food and beverages for the duration of the race, from lunch the first day to whenever we get back to the dock at the end of the race.  Please make sure you eat a good breakfast at home on the morning of the start!  Check this section of our FAQs for what else is included and not included.

Note that the Pre-Race Party dinner is an optional extra.  Information on how to buy tickets for the dinner will be sent out to participants ahead of time.  

What to Bring & What to Expect?

Please check the required items listed for live aboard sailing on our FAQ page here.  Note that it will be cold at night and we will be racing for at least 24 hours so warm layers and very good waterproofs are a necessity.  However in racing, the amount of weight we have on board is a consideration so please don't bring your entire wardrobe!  

While we aim to sail our very best on the race course, we offer a fun and supportive learning environment.  No enraged skipper shouting at the crew.  No grim silence as the crew plots a mutiny.  No fits of depression if we don't beat all the other boats.  The Sea to Sky race team is all about improving our own performance both individually and as a team, and doing our best to make every race a positive experience.