After being cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, the iconic Vic-Maui International Yacht Race from Canada to Hawaii will resume this month, with the first-place trophy being named in honor of local boating legend Robert “Robbie” Robinson, who died after year-long battle with cancer in 2019. For the first time in its 57-year history, the first-place award in the Lahaina class category will be named the Robbie Robinson Beneteau Trophy, memorializing Robinson’s unwavering support for Northwest racing and sponsorship of the Vic-Maui.
Robbie Robinson began his lifelong love of sailing at age five in Hawaii. After serving in the U.S. Navy on the USS Eisenhower, he founded his first yacht brokerage, Performance Yachts, in Bellingham before moving on in 1990 to establish the highly successful Signature Yachts brokerage on Seattle’s Lake Union. Signature Yachts represents Amel Cruising Yachts, Beneteau Oceanis, First Series, and Fountaine Pajot Catamarans. For more than 30 years, Robinson was a respected mainstay of the Northwest cruising community, sailing the West Coast waters countless times with his spouse Cesar Quirino and his beloved Siamese cat, Rumor. He was also a crew member aboard Jim Innes’ Red Sheilla in the 2012 Vic-Maui race.
The race itself, hosted by the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club and the Lahaina Yacht Club, is the longest distance boat race to begin from the West Coast. The teams will set sail on two different days by division (July 4 and July 6) in Victoria, British Columbia, and finish 2,308 nautical miles away on July 22 in Lahaina, Maui. During the race, the boats must navigate the tricky currents, heavy freighter traffic, and foggy weather through the Strait of Juan de Fuca before turning southwest at Tatoosh Island and riding the tradewinds off the summertime North Pacific high-pressure system that will carry them to Hawaii. As of early June, 14 sailing teams have been confirmed as taking part in the 2022 race, many of which are based in the Northwest. Nine of the teams comes from the Vancouver, B.C., area, one (Xiomara) is based in Sidney, B.C., and another (Millennium Seagull) hails from of Bainbridge Island. At the conclusion of what is sure to be a thrilling race, an awards gala will be held on July 23 in Lahaina and the Robinson Beneteau Trophy will be bestowed. A special tribute to Robinson and his storied career will also be incorporated into the evening. For more information on race details, visit: vicmaui.com.