Client Spotlight: Southern Straits 2016

ePACT is proud to sponsor the Southern Straits Sailing Race for the second year in a row! To share some additional details on this event with you, we interviewed Race Chair, Sonia Telford. Keep reading to learn more about the event, the boat participating from the Canadian Navy, and how ePACT improves safety for all racers.

ePACT at the Southern Straits

What are the key things that everyone should know about the 2016 Southern Straits race?

Each year, the West Vancouver Yacht Club hosts the Annual Southern Straits Race. The race starts on Good Friday, March 25th and 2016 will mark the 48th Anniversary.

Southern Straits offers 5 different course options that challenges competitors of all levels. New for this year, we are introducing our Grande course, which will see competitors complete 201 nautical miles during the weekend, the longest course currently offered in a Pacific Northwest race. Many of our competitors are using Southern Straits as a training ground for the Victoria-Maui race that sets off this June. Recognized as a challenging racecourse, Straits is proud to be a qualifying race for Vic-Maui. This year we are expecting 90 boats to be on the Start line, with approximately 700 crew members.

What’s your favorite thing about the Southern Straits?

While I am a sailor and love the sport of racing, I have to say that my favourite part is working with the team of 100+ volunteers that pulls this weekend together. Southern Straits has turned into a 3 day event that has lots of moving pieces, and the team started working on the 2016 race last summer. Many of the Volunteers are boaters themselves, who are giving up their long weekend to provide a spectacular race for others.

Tell us about the boat participating from the Canadian Navy, HMCS Oriole.

HMCS Oriole is the oldest and longest serving commissioned ship in the Royal Canadian Navy.  At just over 100 ft in length, she was built in 1921 which to put the date into context was the same year as the Bluenose that appears on the Canadian dime.  2016 will mark her 95th birthday and we are thrilled that she is kicking it off with her 1st Southern Straits race. I hope I’m still sailing, let alone racing, when I am 95!

8What activities will there be for attendees at Dundarave Pier?

At the Dundarave Pier on race day (March 25th) we have a Lions Pancake Breakfast, sponsor displays, the West Vancouver Pops Band and best of all, the Easter Bunny! Spectators can get close to the Fleet to watch the race start and we have a team of Race Ambassadors on hand that can answer any racing questions.

Throughout the race, each boat carries an individual SPOT Tracker so that friends, family and Race Committee can watch to see how they are doing as well. The Tracker link can be found at and if you time it right, you can come down to the shoreline at Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver and watch the Fleet cross the Finish line just off the Pt. Atkinson Lighthouse. When you consider how far these boats will have travelled, it is an extraordinary sight to see them finish and I love the cheers that you hear form the crews that carries across water as they cross the line.

How is ePACT supporting your event?

Sailboat racing, especially overnight distance racing, can definitely be classified as an “extreme” sport. The WVYC Race Committee works closely with RCM-Search and Rescue and the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (Coast Guard) in Victoria so that in case of emergency, the most up to date information of who is on board what vessel can be communicated clearly and quickly.

In the past, each competing boat would submit a hand written Crew list to Race Committee which was often hard to read or inaccurate due to last minute crew changes. The introduction of ePACT last year made a huge difference in not only information accuracy, but information security as each crew member controls their own personal information. Should an emergency situation arise, Race Officials can pass along time sensitive information to first responders quickly and efficiently as opposed to flipping through a 100 page binder full of paper.

Plus, many of our competitors are repeat customers from last year. Having their ePACT accounts carried over from 2015 has meant that crew lists can be updated for 2016 in minutes. No one likes the administrative side of prep. work and ePACT has made this a whole lot easier for both Skippers and Race Officials.

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