For me Swiftsure began on the week before as I scrambled to get all the gear together for the race. A life jacket with a harness, a tether, as well as a water activated light attached to my life jacket. Lots of little things which all make lots of sense, but were unexpected when I excitedly signed up for the race the month before. With all my gear in my duffel bag, I boarded Big Ben the night before the race to avoid Tour de Victoria road closures that would make it difficult to get to the boat on time in the morning. Captain Jim McLaughlin (of the Oak Bay Sailing School)and most of the other 6 members slept on board the 50’ Benetau Oceanis that night.
Everyone was up by 7am, and after a light breakfast we had a brief discussion about how we would start the race, and who would be responsible for which tasks. Jim II was charged with setting up a Helm and Navigation rotation for our crew of 8: one hour on navigation, followed by one hour on the helm. This meant that everyone would be able to get some sleep during the night if the race went long. With a forecast of winds of 10-20 knots, there was some talk of getting home for a late dinner that night, but when we motored out of the Victoria harbour at 8:30am, winds were light and stayed light as we arrived at the start line just off Clover Point.