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Van Isle 360 race to return in June

It’s back.

It’s back. 

The 2011 Van Isle 360 International Yacht Race, which runs every other year on the odd year,  is back and set to kick off again this June.  The dates have been set for June 4-18 and this year the Van Isle 360 will be celebrating its 8th running. 

After a slight decline in entries in 2009, largely due to world economic woes, the 2011 Van Isle 360 is back on track and set to be another sell out year. Since the first Van Isle 360 Race in 1999, the event has continued to grow with both the 2005 and 2007 races totally sold out.   Registration for this year’s event opened on Nov. 30 and entry forms began arriving the very next day setting a new record for early entries.

Race Chairman, Wayne Gorrie, says, “The Van Isle 360 is a ‘bucket list’ race.  Adventure races worldwide are gaining momentum and the Van Isle 360 is considered among the best in North America.” 

Racing around Vancouver Island on a schedule and in all kinds of weather is a serious challenge.  Navigating through some of the strongest currents on the planet and dealing with everything from storms to doldrums can tax even the most experienced and patient skippers.   Aside from the challenges, the sailors are rewarded with stunning scenery and fun welcome receptions at each of the 10 host cities. 

The Van Isle 360 starts in Nanaimo harbour on June 4 and continues north around Vancouver Island.  The Sailing Instructions basically say hang a left out of Nanaimo keeping Vancouver Island to port and get to the next stop the fastest way you can.  The ten host cities include French Creek, Comox, Campbell River, Hardwicke Island, Telegraph Cove, Port Hardy, Winter Harbour, Ucluelet and Victoria before finishing back in Nanaimo.

The deadline to enter this year’s race is Feb. 14.  A list of boats that have qualified to enter will be posted to the event website shortly after registration closes.