The Patos Island Classic is the Vancouver Island Racing Series’ opening regatta sailed on three different courses: the 67 nm Long Course, the 43 nm Short Course, and for those not wanting to sail past dark, a Day Course. This year’s start was postponed for two hours due to winds of 35 knots gusting into the 40s at start time. The Day Course was cancelled, but the two distance course fleets eventually started. Three boats stood out for their performance on the long course.
This is race is known for fickle conditions and lots of strong currents and is sailed through islands between Vancouver Island and the Mainland (see charts). Patos Island, the race’s namesake, is a small American island and the course is sailed quite a bit along the border between Canada and the U.S. Interestingly, Patos Island can be rounded in either direction which is normally a big tactical factor as there are quite strong currents around the island and often a wind shadow on one side.
The Race Goes To – WESTERLY
When the race finally started, it was still blowing in the 20s; but quickly dropped to into the low teens for most of the race. Overnight, the wind died to almost nothing for a few hours before filing back in to the low 20s.
Stuart Dahlgren, owner of the Santa Cruz 70 WESTERLY noted, “This is one of my favorite races; I really like that you can decide for yourself which way to go around Patos. With the course going through a lot of narrow passes, the wind can present quite a challenge. I’ve done it eight or nine times and I have recognized many patterns. For instance, while the windward end of the starting line was favored, I knew to start at the leeward end because that got me to the more favorable current first as we sailed out of the Bay.”
Monohull vs. Multihull
Aboard his trimaran DRAGON, Duncan Gladman, found himself in a match race against Dahlgren’s WESTERLY. Gladman reported, “We thoroughly enjoyed our 8.5 hour battle with Westerly around the course. We were unable to get by them until we gybed around Stuart Island on the Patos layline. The angle to Patos was good for DRAGON as we were able to peel to the J0 and leg out on WESTERLY in flat water with favorable current and 12 – 18 knots of breeze. Rounding Patos, and going on the wind, we knew holding off WESTERLY would be very difficult. Sure enough, they reeled us in and rolled by to leeward (always a painful experience!) as we passed South Pender. Stuart then put the big blue boat into point mode and pulled out in front and to windward. We both tacked onto starboard approaching Canoe Rock, but we sailed into a light spot while WESTERLY vanished into the darkness.
WESTERLY went on to finish first in Class One and first overall on the Long Course. DRAGON won Class 0 for multihulls.
What about the smaller boats?
Vern Lhotzky’s Dufour 34P INVICTUS finished first in Division 3 on the Long Course and second overall. If the wind hadn’t shut off, they would have been first overall. Lhotzky had ordered a bunch of new sails from UK Sailmakers: an Endumax Titanium main, Endumax Titanium AP No. 1, a carbon radial laminate No. 3, a Drifter, and a new symmetrical light/medium running spinnaker. So he could use them in this race, UK Sailmakers Northwest put in a rush order and delivered the five new sails an hour before the race. No time to test or try out…it was out of the bag and go!
Vern said all the sails were great, “The new UK Sailmakers Drifter was the clutch sail when the winds went lite overnight, helping keep us keep up with much faster boats. We were ugly fast! We had a rock star aboard, a great crew and some really fast sails. We used every sail in our inventory. I just ordered a new UK Code Zero yesterday.” While the close delivery was a sailmakers nightmare, the sails not only fit perfectly, they were fast.
On the Short Course
The Division 1 of the 43-miler was swept by UK Sailmakers powered customers, who took the top four places. Sailing with a mix of older UK Sailmakers sails, John Vassallo sailed his J/35 MOONLIGHT MILE to first in Division 1 and first overall. He was followed by Kim Hutlet’s C&C 35 Mk III QUERIDA, Steve Lipscomb’s Hotfoot 31 BORDER REIVER and Jeff Lloyd’s Bavaria 40 PRAIRIE DANCER.
A Baker’s Dozen UK Podium Positions
The 2019 Patos Race was a great one for UK Sailmakers’s customers. Thirteen boats finished on the podium. Not a bad way to start the season.
Andrew Madding Photos