Andy and Stuart Thomas, (left) pose with their new trophy. Photo submitted

Comox Valley brothers sail to victory at 2018 BMW Lasqueti Island Regatta

Stuart and Andy Robinson of Comox set a new course record at the yearly sailing race in Nanoose Bay

They didn’t win a shiny new sports car, but two Comox Valley brothers are cruising happily nonetheless after setting a course record at the 2018 BMW Lasqueti Island Regatta.

Hosted by the Schooner Cove Yacht Club at Nanoose Bay, the 43 nautical-mile race brings sailors together from across Vancouver Island to compete. Twenty-eight boats raced in the regatta, which was held on June 2.

Read More: Lasqueti Island Regatta on this weekend

In their first trip to the yearly regatta — the largest annual sailing race on North Vancouver Island — brothers Stuart and Andy Robinson of Comox finished the race in just 4:04.20 on Saturday.

Their time meant they not only won the regatta but beat the previous course record by at least a few hours, according to Stuart.

“You could say we smashed the course record,” he said, adding that previous year’s winners’ times were generally around the six-hour mark.

The race has yachters sail in a clockwise direction around Lasqueti Island, starting and finishing at the Schooner Cove Yacht Club.

“It makes for a challenging event because there’s a route in the open strait, and there’s a lot of little islands to weave around,” explained Stuart. “Once you get around Lasqueti it can be fairly complicated to try and take advantage of the best winds and the currents.

“It’s also a narrow channel on the far side of Lasqueti.”

The brothers’ impressive time came despite one of their rudders breaking about an hour into the race. The brothers had to be creative to ensure smooth sailing for the remainder.

“That made it extra challenging but luckily we were able to lash it in place well enough to finish the race for the next three hours,” said Stuart.

Furthermore, their boat was short-handed, with only the two brothers manning the sails instead of a usual three-person crew.

The brothers raced on a Diam24 racing trimaran, which their sailing school and tourism company — Compass Adventure, based in the Comox Marina — acquired last year from France. He said the trimarans are able to reach 30 knots (60 km/h).

Read More: Compass Adventure sails into Comox Valley tourism sector

“These are real race boats and it was nice to go prove that in this great regatta with all these different yachters from all over the Island,” said Stuart, adding the brothers’ top speed on Saturday was about 19 knots.

“We feel really lucky to have had great conditions and we pushed the boat really hard.”

The BMW Lasqueti Island Regatta began in 2012 and is part of the Vancouver Island Race Series. The 2018 race included a welcoming social event and a weekend of complimentary meals for racers, including hot chili after the race Saturday evening.

The regatta wrapped up Sunday morning with an Awards Ceremony.

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