Finished work and Swiftsure 2018

So after the boatyard and sidney spit I ended up in Cadboro Bay for a couple of nights, while I finished my last week of work.

This wasn’t a great couple of days, as the anchorage was very rolly and I had to row ashore each morning, drag the dinghy up the beach hide it in a bush and then get on two buses in order to get to work. Barf. Finally, on Thursday I could move my boat back down to the inner harbour, as part of swiftsure. I did this before work on Thursday and had a thoroughly miserable motor into 20 knots of wind and 2.5 knots of current. Ugh. Nice to be back downtown though!

On the Friday, I spent a good couple of hours with Emma’s help talking off a bunch of stuff from Gudge in an attempt to make the transition to ‘raceboat’.  I also made up a new backstay tensioner using a piece of spectra I long-spliced at each end. Oh,and it was also my LAST DAY OF WORK. AMAZING!

This replaced a rather knarly looking wire crimp I’d done a while ago

And the final thing looked pretty great!

Later on Friday night a bunch of my friends turned up and we partied with all the other boats while the crew of me, Emma, Eric and Mal met and talked a bit about the next day.

Wasn’t a super late one as we all wanted to get rested before the race!

So race day, and we motor out with all the other boats

And then the start sequence begins. Now, due to me completely getting confused where the start line was it was at an angle), around 1.5 knots of adverse current and a wind hole, we ended up crossing the line 20 minutes after our start. Oops.

Well that was embarrassing. Once we got across the line, we managed to actually start making some good progress and flew through the water, beating into 10-15 knots. Here is a photo of the me eating a sandwich and squinting at the sun (I really need to get some sunglasses)

This continued pretty good until the wind started picking up even more, until it was 15 true, gusting higher – and with some chop that started getting pretty nasty

It was weird, where we had high wind speeds but I didn’t want to flatten the sails too much else all the swell would have stopped us dead – we needed the power to push through.

This continued to increase up until the anchor decided to come off the anchor roller, needing me to go forward, lift it back on and then lash it down, all at an angle of 30 degrees and getting absolutely soaked.

This was shortly followed by the tack line snapping – this was a piece of spectra I had knotted a while back and kept meaning to replace, but hadn’t. This caused the bottom of the sail to flog a ton, ripping the luff tape a bit and then sending the lazy sheet overboard where it got wound around the free-wheeling prop shaft. Doh!

At this point it was gusting over 25, 4-6 foot steep chop that we were launching over the top of, a tear in the foresail and the sheet was caught so I made the decision to quit. We radioed in and then tuned for home, having a lovely downwind sail with just the double reefed main, we were still hitting 7/8 knots.

Here is where we were when we quit – as you can see we’d managed to make up a bunch of ground!

We sailed back in just under 3 hours while managing to free the prop, meaning we didn’t need a tow, we got back in time for dinner and it gave us chance to talk through what happened.

Here is the broken spectra

It broke right at the bottom knot – always splice your synthetics kids!

Anyway, I got to stay in the inner harbour for the next two nights which was nice as we then had to LOAD everything again!

Many thanks to Emma’s mum Susan for making a bunch of the food, Emma for helping me load and unload everything and Eric and Mal for coming along! I’m now 0 for 2 in swiftsures (and 1 for 3 overall in races) but every time I learn something new – and it’s a very unique experience!




  1. Buy 2 pairs of sunglasses before you leave. You might just lose a pair.

    • I’ll probably get at least 3 pairs of cheapies – expensive sunglasses don’t last long with me

  2. I was wondering. I thought maybe your AIS thingee was broken…first you didn’t take off with the pack then you seemed to stop dead for the rest of the race. The system didn’t even list you as DNF. I have to tell you, it was a pretty boring race to watch 🙂

    And now you’re free. Exciting times.

    • Yes – we planned to go across around 30 seconds after everyone else but totally misjudged it and then had an embarrassing struggle over the line!

      Exciting times – though for the next week or so I am just running around town trying to get a last few things sorted so it doesn’t feel very relaxing!

  3. Thanks for the recap of the race! I was thoroughly confused when I had checked once and you were in the middle of the pack making good progress and then shortly after you were back in the harbour. Figured there was a good story there. Looking forward to more stories as you move along our coast, soon.

    Since you are somewhat adept with electronics, have you looked into running an alternator off your shaft while you are sailing? Similar to the power feedback system in electric cars when braking. Probably not worth the cost in most cases, but I like the idea of rigging my boat up with an electric motor and having the regeneration from the prop, but it is simpler in that case than it would be with your set up. This would cause a bit more drag while sailing, but you don’t seem to finish races anyway…!

    Now please excuse me, I have to go check whether my spectra is spliced or knotted.

    • I looked at it a while back, but the amount of effort it would take to install made it a pretty big job. It’s doable – I’d have to move the hot water tank though, redo all the plumbing etc. I was looking into a towed turbine at one stage as well!

  4. BCI and lessons learnt to your aft ,and a clutch of sunnies at your bow. Happy adventuring to you, Matt! If I knew the jargon I’d probably wish you something that read like ‘fair winds and…seas’, but I don’t really so, all the best and stay safe! I look forward to following along through your blog.

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