Pennants and flags flying in a forest of masts and rigging, the boats inside British Columbia's Victoria Harbor are assembled for the start of the Swiftsure Lightship Classic, a 136-mile race in which fierce tides in the Strait of Juan de Fuca can sweep a boat backward and Pacific swells can cut off the wind. But, as the pictures on the following pages show, for all its perils the race offers a glorious panorama of full spinnakers against a never-to-be-forgotten setting.
Bunched at Race Rocks (above), three yachts head for the Pacific; below, two sail home. Victoria's breakwater (above, right) serves as a grandstand, and gorse-covered Vancouver Island provides a backdrop for the fleet.
Massed spinnakers pull lustily at the downwind start of the Swiftsure.
Homeward bound, Haimhausen reaches past the lofty Olympic Mountains.
Race over, the fleet nestles below the provincial parliament buildings.