At this year’s T.H.R.A.S.H. Regatta, hosted by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, PITORAQ faced stiff competition but emerged victorious, winning the Long Distance Division 2 and overall for the Long Distance Divisions, clinching the Skipper’s Plan Perpetual Trophy.


T.H.R.A.S.H. is an acronym for Thank Heavens Racing And Spring are Here, an apt name given to this event in the Pacific Northwest racing calendar, with the excitement surrounding the start of prime sailing season in the Northern hemisphere, and the eagerness of sailors everywhere to return to the racecourse.

The weekend regatta sailors experienced a variety of conditions, perfectly suited for PITORAQ’s extensive UK Sailmakers inventory – a combination of X-Drive Carbon and Titanium upwind sails, and symmetrical Matrix spinnakers.

Saturday began light and variable, with a sluggish transition zone in the afternoon that abruptly became a tempestuous squall during the final race. PITORAQ was one of only two competitors that chose to complete the course – after throwing in a reef. Sunday presented beautiful sailing conditions, but its own set of challenges with oscillating wind shifts over the land that demanded active trimming and strategic navigation.


PITORAQ beats upwind at T.H.R.A.S.H. regatta with the Olympic Mountains visible in the distance. Photography credit: Andrew Madding.

Graham Heath’s PITORAQ epitomizes the adage “small but mighty.” Named after the Greenlandic Inuit term for a chilling wind that sweeps through valleys, PITORAQ has been a formidable contender in the local sailing scene for decades. The Windward 30 began as a father-son project in 1979, constructed from a kit in the driveway of the Heath family home in West Vancouver. Since then, PITORAQ has evolved from a family cruiser to a club racer, and now stands as a stalwart contender in the Vancouver Island Racing Series (V.I.R.S.).

Graham has repeatedly demonstrated his sailing skills in various Pacific Northwest events, large and small. In 2019, he embarked on the Race to Alaska aboard PITORAQ, and in 2023, he navigated the Van Isle 360° onboard CM1200, JACKRABBIT. With an impressive track record of victories in multiple events and overall in the V.I.R.S., Graham was also recognized as the 2022 BC Sailing Awards Sailor of the Year.


Looking forward, PITORAQ has a packed racing schedule for 2024, including a double-handed entry in the Swiftsure Juan De Fuca Race later this summer. Although Graham has competed in this event multiple times with PITORAQ and secured a Division win in 2016, this will be his first time entering in the Double Handed Division for the event.

Heather Mahady
Heather Mahady

Heather Mahady is the General Manager of UK Sailmakers International. She is based on Vancouver Island in the Pacific Northwest, and is a passionate sailboat racer, sailmaker, and sustainability advocate.

Articles: 35

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