Nov 8, 2018
Tim Daniel the owner of Optical Illusion, a Dash 34 wins the 2018 Vancouver Island Racing Series.
As CYOB’s West Coast Editor and having raced on Pitoraq in the 2017 Vancouver Island Racing Series I wanted to know firsthand what Tim Daniel had to say about the 2018 series.
Here is what Tim had to say: “Maybe we could win this thing. That was the initial thought that started us on the quest to win VIRS this year. We had finished 13th in 2017 without really trying. After consulting the crew, who quickly agreed, the decision was made to try to win VIRS in 2018. It made sense for a number of reasons but the main one was that after 36 years of ownership Optical Illusion was to be sold at the end 2018. Needless to say, we wanted to go out with as big a bang as possible.
Easier said than done. Had I known in advance the amount of time, money, and logistics involved, I would have had second thoughts at the beginning. There were definitely second thoughts toward the end of the season, as weekend after weekend was consumed racing, and the patience of our spouses and friends wore thin.
Here are some statistics to frighten anyone contemplating this – regattas entered: 13, days of racing: 20, hours of delivery: 100-ish, regatta entry fees paid: $1,100, number of sailors who sailed on the boat: 21, cost of crew lunches/water: $910, sails worn out at the end of the season: well, all of them. There are significant hidden costs too – for example, the Swiftsure weekend alone cost over $1,000 when entry fees, transportation, dinners out, repairs to broken/lost equipment and delivery costs are included. This isn’t much compared to some offshore campaigns, but it is a lot compared to a typical year’s racing in this area.
The highlight of the year? Well, other than winning the damn thing and the amazing time we had sailing Optical Illusion which really is an incredible boat, the best part was getting to know the other racers. I have tremendous respect for Graham Heath (Pitoraq) and Steve Kibble (Godzilla), and their crews who went through the same things we did, Graham and crew for the second time! Being able to get out there and be competitive weekend after weekend is not easy. Ok, winning our divisions at Lasqueti and SOAR, and making last call at the bar after finishing Patos was pretty cool too.
The worst part? Passing through the finish line on the last race on Sunday at the Thermopylae regatta and realizing that it was likely the last time I would race Optical Illusion. Through all kinds of conditions that boat has never let us down; if anything went wrong it was usually operator error. I will miss her. I get kind of choked up thinking about that.
Shout outs? My wife Madelene, for not divorcing me over this. The regular crew Ben Daniel, Bill Jones, Tara Tunstall, Tyler Green and Ron Campsall, and almost-regular crew Francesca Jasinski and Oliver Barry, who showed up weekend after weekend; Ron especially for doing most of the long deliveries. Alex Fox for creating the VIRS series. Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club for their amazing job with both Patos and CRASH, going out of their way to make visiting boats feel welcome, and saving us 10-12 hours of delivery by letting us lay over between Maple Bay and CRASH. Our friends and neighbors who looked after our dog on weekends when we were out racing. My son Ben, a shrewd strategist, who contributed greatly to our success. Nick Banks for stepping in on main trim and strategy on the last day of Thermopylae when there was no regular main trimmer available. Royal Victoria Yacht Club for stepping up and providing free moorage for boats laying over between regattas. UK Sails for patching up our #2 headsail before Thermopylae. The list is endless.
Still, for all the time, effort and money spent, this is the best thing I have ever done in sailing. Just do it. By the way, there is a really competitive Dash 34 available…”
S/V Optical Illusion
Photos by Gilbert Requena