The Vancouver Island Racing Series (VIRS, pronounced virus, “Catch the Fever”) is heading into year five! The VIRS is a series of regattas and races held throughout the calendar year, including the cornerstone event, the Swiftsure International Yacht Race. The racing kicks off every year with Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club’s Patos Island Race, a medium distance, possibly overnight, race traditionally held in late March or early April, “bbuuuurrrrr”. Yes it has been known to snow during this race! That never deters the hardy racing crowd though, with Patos numbers pushing fifty plus boats in recent years. Stay tuned for some surprises from the regatta organizers this year…..rumours of prize money?!
The VIRS is also about promoting the sport of Sailboat Racing within the immediate region and beyond. All who show up for a VIRS race are automatically scored in the series, and in addition to the designated scoring regattas, racers may choose an outside “Wild Card” event for inclusion in their yearly scoring total. The idea here is to encourage crews to travel to regattas further afield and likewise encourage racers to come to our races. Last year VARC (Vancouver Area Racing Circuit) adopted a similar Wild Card for their scoring…..All good!
Changes ahead for 2016 will include a lucky 13th event being added to the scoring races, and that is the second annual GIN (Gulf Islands Nanaimo) race. This new event was the brainchild of Jeff and Sylvia Motley, the organizers of the Van Isle 360. Racers will start in Victoria and attempt to navigate the fastest route to Nanaimo through the Gulf Islands. This race mirrors the final leg of the Van Isle, which takes place every second year. Another subtle change, sees Sailboat replace Keelboat in the VIRS logo. This signifies that multihulls will be scored in the 2016 series. Other changes in the works include a team competition, encouraging friendly rivalries between clubs and a continuing refinement of the scoring format.
Trotac Marine and The Sailing Shop at Trotac Marine are the original and continuing sponsor of the VIRS Overall Seasons Championship trophy, plus the VIRS Top Ten prizes awarded each year at Royal Vic’s Thermopylae Regatta. Each skipper receives a Gill bag that is emblazoned with the VIRS Top Ten. To keep up with ongoing developments, schedules and news check out the Vancouver Island Racing Series group page on Facebook.