- Nanaimo to Sandy Point
Thanks for a
The crew of
the Cheekee Monkee wants to express their sincere and heartfelt
thanks to Rhonda and Tom who volunteered for arduous duty as the
"Shore Crew" for the Cheekee Monkee. Not only did they
work their butts off keeping the Cheekee Monkee provisioned and
the crew accommodated in each port, they also serviced Time Bandit
who was sharing space in our trailer. Tom is a diver and he brought
his gear along for the trip. Extra thanks from me for that as it
saved me from having to jump in to wipe down the bottom a couple
of times during the course of the race.
We also want
to thank our wives and families for their understanding and loving
support for this 16 day event plus the countless hours and days
of preparation and decompression for this race.
The race committee
did a great job and a special thanks to Wayne and Janine for continuing
to promote and organize a world class event.
Before the race
even started, I booked the 3:15 ferry from Duke Point to Tawassen
for the return trip for the truck and trailer. The awards were scheduled
from 11AM to 3PM, well as luck would have it, the awards were delayed
and it looked like we might have to miss the presentation as we
had to leave the banquet at 2PM at the latest. Initially I made
arrangements to have the crew taken back to Nanaimo and I would
stay. Jason then took the imitative and contacted BC Ferries. He
discovered that they had 44' feet of over height space left on the
5:45 PM sailing. He booked the space and now the crew could stay
for the presentation.
During the wait
for the awards, Wayne Gorrie, skipper of Redshift brought his crew
up on stage and gave a very moving recap of the capsize of Redshift
off Race Rocks. His toughest moment came when he got back up on
the upside down boat and realized one of his crew was missing. Wayne
was about to start cutting through the netting between the hulls
to look for Mike but took a moment to tap on the hull and Mike tapped
back. What a sense of relief! Everyone was safe and accounted for.
Lunch was served,
what a great feast! Hats off to the caterers.
The awards were
presented right after lunch. Cheekee Monkee was awarded the coveted
"White Flag" for the first to finish, fastest elapsed
time for Leg 10, Paul pointed out that this was not a new record!
That was set last time by Dragonfly.
Mystic won Leg
10 on Corrected time for Division 1, Lordelpus won Leg 10 on Corrected
time for Division 2 and Cheekee Monkee won Leg 10 on Corrected time
for Division 3.
Vaca Loca took
first place overall on Corrected time for Division 1, Lordelpus
took first place overall on Corrected time for Division 2 and Cheekee
Monkee took first place overall on Corrected time for Division 3.
won the overall fastest elapsed time trophy for the 2003 Edition
of the Cadillac Van Isle 360, mission accomplished!
it really like to do the Van Isle 360?
Van Isle 360 is an emotionally consuming event; it will change your
life. Not many people get to circumnavigate Vancouver Island. Many
NW sailors view this as a local Holy Grail of NW sailing. Completing
the Van Isle 360 imbues a real sense of personal accomplishment.
Like any tough endurance event, the sense of camaraderie that develops
throughout the fleet is soul satisfying. We become a family of sailing
brothers and sisters in a fleet that is pulling for each other.
In 1999, the
first year of the event, we were already committed to regattas in
California and Nevada. In 2000, I competed while being treated for
Bladder Cancer; needless to say, I wasn't fully focused on the event
as I wondered if this might even be my last major regatta. In 2001
still suffering from cancer, we registered for the event and I was
on the East Coast racing when I learned that my cancer had progressed
to the last stage and surgery was required, it was not optional,
it was required. I had major surgery on April 30th of 2000 and had
to withdraw from the 2001 Edition of the Cadillac Van Isle 360.
The surgery was successful but I wasn't able to start sailing again
until Cow Bay in August 2001. Since then I have been focused on
getting myself, the crew and the boat in shape for the 2003 Edition.
Winning the Van Isle this year has been a personal redemption for
me and my and my family as we have battled with these health issues
over the past 3 years. For this year's victory, I am truly grateful.
Van Isle 360 is hard work, it is fun, it is tiring, it is bloody
and bruising, and it is dangerous, it is time consuming, it can
be very expensive, it is all consuming, and it is the best race
available. The format is conducive to team building. The course
is very challenging, the scenery is the most beautiful in the world,
the weather can be great or it can be miserable. You get a life
time's worth of sailing wrapped up into 10 kegs over 16 days. There
is nothing else like it.
We saw whales,
dolphins, seals, eagles, the northern lights, we spent the longest
day of the year in Winter Harbour, and it was only dark for about
3 1/2 hours. Eco Tourist, Eco Challenge, and Eco Sailing the Cadillac
Van Isle has it all!
hard down wind in big seas, we commonly stuff the bows as it is
impossible to avoid all of the steep wave sets. The deceleration
from 20+ knots to 5 - 6 knots in a short space of time will cause
bodies to fly through the air. In our case, when Colin was below,
he suffered serious injury, breaking 3 ribs, tearing a lung, bruising
his kidney and twisting his knee painfully. When on deck in the
back of the cockpit, both Shane and Colin fell onto the tiller several
times, this damaged the tiller and interfered with sail trim and
steering. In these conditions, it is vitally important that we remain
unhurt and in position to effectively control the boat. We have
installed a tether point in the main cabin to secure anyone below
decks in this condition. In addition, we have implemented a training
procedure for below deck safety for heavy weather sailing. In the
cockpit, we have an arch at the transom, the crew in the cockpit
now tethers around the arch and back to themselves, almost like
a seat belt. This prevents them from falling forward in the cockpit
and gives the mainsheet trimmer added purchase when trimming the
mainsail in heavy weather.
Bail when you
get a chance, water traveling at 20+ knots just seems to find its
way in every possible opening, on the outside legs, in heavy weather;
we had to bail water out of the boat several times.
Sail this race
with a practiced crew that has been sailing together as a team on
your boat and knows it intimately. In sailboat racing, it not so
much that we get beaten by other competitors, but that we get beaten
by the mistakes that we make during the race. At 5 minutes before
the start, we are all even and equal in position. From that point
forward, the accumulation of mistakes typically determines our finishing
position. In our case, this year for the Van Isle 360 2003 edition,
we were very fortunate to have made the least number of mistakes
and suffered the fewest amount of gear failure.
Sail fast, Sail
of the Cheekee Monkee, the only boat to complete all 10 legs within
the time limits for each leg. Below, the Canadian Coast Guard gives
the Cheekee Monkee the water salute as she finishes at Campbell