Still a year out, preparations for the Van Isle 360° International Yacht Race are already underway. Applications are open to any crew that meets the eligibility requirements and submits the entry fee. The Van Isle 360° Race is a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island, run in the challenging inside tidal currents and breeze of Johnstone Strait and the sleigh ride North Westerlies of the offshore legs. It started in 1999 when just 14 boats competed in a proof-of-concept race, known as the Ambassadors Edition, around Vancouver Island that was ran in legs using timetables. The race was a success and the competition was held consecutively for the next three years. In 2001, it was decided the race would only be run on odd-number years, offsetting the Vic-Maui race held on even years.
Crews interested in racing will have to complete a qualifying race. The Oregon Offshore Race and the Swiftsure International Yacht Race are qualifiers held in May. The qualifiers Blackline Patos Island Race and Seattle Yacht Club Smith Island Race are held in April. The 90 nm Southern Straits Race will qualify you for the Van Isle and is held in late March or early April. If you have not completed any of these races, it may be possible to complete them in the spring before the 2019 Van Isle. It is also possible that other offshore races will be accepted at the discretion of the Organizing Authority.
The Van Isle 360° is a Category 2 Special Regulation Race, and AIS will be a mandatory part of the safety requirements. At least two crew members will need to be World Sailing Safety at Sea certified, and at least one will need to hold a basic first aid certificate or be a medical professional. This race will challenge any sailor; in the first eight iterations of the race, not a single team ever completed every leg of the race within the allotted time limit. The race has grown every year since its inception, introducing racers to quaint, scenic communities dotting the coast of Vancouver Island and giving them a true challenge in one of the most beautiful settings on the West Coast. Registration for the June 1-15, 2019 race begins on July 1. If you’ve got what it takes, sign up at vanisle360.com.