The 33rd annual Squamish Open Annual Regatta had almost everything this year — except wind.
But boaters didn’t let the uncharacteristically light wind in Howe Sound ruin a good time on and off the waters from Aug. 10 to 12.
“It was an awesome weekend but surprisingly not very windy, given the sunshine we had,” said the chair of SOAR 2012 Scott Shaw-MacLaren. “Usually we expect pretty solid winds but they really weren’t there, but it made for some challenging and very technical racing.”
Shaw-MacLaren likened the conditions to a game of Snakes and Ladders in which boats jump back and forth between first place and last place. Despite the conditions a good time was had by all, he said.
“Competitors were surprised by the lack of wind but I think everybody had a great time,” he said. “We always get positive feedback. We’re not a big regatta but we’re a niche market that attracts boaters who know how good it is and make an effort to come up here every year. This year the lack of wind added an interesting element to the race.”
Friday’s Inflow Express was a battle of attrition on the seas, as Shaw-MacLaren pointed out that times were much slower than in past years.
“The start was really calm on Friday,” he said. “Some boats sat on the start line for 15 to 20 minutes before they got moving. Usually you expect boats to make it back to Squamish in 45 minutes but this year times were a couple of hours. The fastest this year was an hour and a half.”
The winner of the Inflow Express was Can 678 from the West Vancouver Yacht Club (WVYC). The Can 678 completed the course in 1:32:39, quite a bit slower than last year’s winning time of 49:08. The top local time was Shaw-MacLaren’s Natural High, with a time of 2:00:09. Other local boats included: Jalapeno (2:04:52), Vivace (2:09:32) and Alida (2:24:52).
Saturday (Aug. 11) saw the Distance Race, with boats divided into fleets. Prowler from the WVYC won the A division, Recdibadger from WVYC won the B division, Blurr from WVYC won the C division and Blow by Blow from the Maple Bay Yacht Club (MBYC) won the short course. Shaw-MacLaren said it was a strong showing from the young skipper from Vancouver Island.
“Blow by Blow was the smallest boat in the fleet and was skippered by 15-year-old Chris Vasello,” he said. “He sailed the boat all the way from Chemainus, put in a lot of effort to come here and sailed well.”
Saturday also saw the docks opened to the public in the morning for the first time ever and saw the Squamish Dragon Boat Association (SDBA) put on a demo. Sunday’s return race was another light wind day, with Incisor from the WVYC posting the top time of 1:24:58. Local times included Natural High (1:53:07), Vivace (1:59:45) and Alida (2:20:27).
For complete results from the event, visit www.squamishsoar.com.