Thunderbird Fleet Championships 2013

posted Oct 3, 2013, 10:55 PM by Ian G

Fleet 4 championships will be held on Saturday October 5 as a part of the Thermopylae Regatta at RVYC. At the moment it looks like we will have a 6 boat fleet, including Kate and Justin who will be sailing their newly acquired boat Hocus.

Thunderbird Regionals T-Shirt and Information update

posted Aug 17, 2011, 10:44 AM by Ian G

Have a look at the updated schedule and social information on the the 2011 Thunderbird NW Regionals page.

2011 Thunderbird North West Regional Championship Regatta

posted Jul 13, 2011, 4:36 PM by Geoff Morrison

2011 Thunderbird North West Regional Championship Regatta


The 2011 Thunderbird Regional Championship Regatta will be held in Victoria, BC, on September 3rd and 4th, 2011.


The Regatta will be governed by the ISAF 2009 – 2012 Racing Rules of Sailing (RRS), the prescriptions of the Canadian Yachting Association (CYA), and the International Thunderbird Class Association, except as any of these are changed by this Notice of Race, and by the Sailing Instructions.


Advertising will be restricted to Category A per ISAF Regulation 20, Advertising Code.


Entrants shall comply with the ISAF Regulation 19, Eligibility Rules. All competitors must be members of the International Thunderbird Class Association.


There are no classification requirements.


The registration fee is $60 CDN.


The regatta will consist of only a final series of races. There is no qualifying series.

Friday, September 2, 2011 1700 to 2000 Registration and Social

Saturday, September 3, 2011 0800 to 0900 Registration

Saturday, September 3, 2011 1000 to 1600 Racing

Saturday, September 3, 2011 1600 to 2400 Social

Sunday, September 4, 2011 1000 to 1400 Racing

Sunday, September 4, 2011 1400 to 1600 Social and Prize giving


All competitors shall hold a valid measurement certificate. No formal measurement shall take place prior to the Regatta.


The Sailing Instructions will be issued to each competitor at the Skipper’s Meeting at 0900 on Saturday, September 3, 2011.


The Regatta will be sailed in the region of Oak and Cadboro Bays.


The courses will be determined by the Organizing Authority and will be detailed in the Sailing Instructions.


The penalty system shall be in effect as per RRS 44.1 and 44.2.


The Low Point Scoring System, RRS Appendix A2 will apply. A maximum of ten races are to be sailed in the Regatta. One race must be completed to constitute a series. The number of races to be sailed and number of discards allowed will be determined by the Organizing Authority and will be detailed in the Sailing Instructions.


Support boats for the regatta will be Discovery Isle, Gonzo, Ernie, or any other RVYC boat as designated.


Berthing for non-RVYC boats will be at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. There is no charge for berthing.


Except in an emergency, a boat shall neither make radio transmissions while racing nor receive radio communications not available to all boats. This restriction also applies to mobile telephones.


The Organizing Authority will provide prizes for the first, second, and third place boats based on the overall results. The Overall winner will be awarded the Thunderbird Regional Championship Trophy.


Injuries to competitors and damage to boats can and often does occur. Competitors sail at their own risk. The Organizing Authority and all parties involved in the organization and execution of the 2009 Thunderbird Regional Championship Regatta accept no responsibility or liability for any loss, damage or injury which may occur to any person or property, whether ashore or afloat, as a consequence of participation in the Regatta or otherwise. The Organizing Authority and all parties involved disclaim any and all such liability.
This Notice of Race and the Sailing Instructions in no way limit or reduce the complete and unlimited responsibilities of a competitor for the management and care of a boat she or he may be sailing in the Regatta.


It is a condition of entry into the Regatta that the owner/competitor has third party liability insurance coverage to a minimum value of $400,000 (CDN) as well as property insurance to the value of $100,000 (CDN). Such insurance should cover all risks arising whilst the competitor is participating in any way in the Regatta whether ashore or afloat. The owner/competitor may be required by the Organizing Authority to provide a copy of such certificate of insurance upon request.


For further information contact Vidas Stukas, Regatta Chair at 250- 595-0390


T-Bird Swiftsure Update July 2011

posted Jul 13, 2011, 4:33 PM by Geoff Morrison   [ updated Dec 7, 2011, 1:28 PM ]

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Thunderbird Fleet #4 at the RVYC.  The Fleet got its start when  Ned Ashe brought the first thunderbird, Mary D II, to the club in 1961.  The Thunderbird design soon caught-on and many more T-birds soon joined the club and the fleet.  The Thunderbird is a solidly design craft, and they are fast. Case in point, Ashe entered Mary D II into the Swiftsure Juan e Fuca race in 1965. He not only won the race, he set a race record that stood for a decade.   George Redzich also won the Swiftsure Juan de Fuca race in 1985 with his T-Bird Sea Jay.


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of fleet#4 everyone thought it would be a great idea to enter a Thunderbird into the Swiftsure Juan de Fuca race. How would the T-bird measured up against the test of time?   The challenge was laid out, and the idea grew into a plan. The seasoned crew of Scooter would bring their sailing credentials and ability and race on Sirocco which conforms to the Swiftsure’s specifications.


The Sirocco, designed in 1958 by Ben Seaborn and built by John Booth in 1978 did incredibly well.  Sirocco, which became known as “The Wonderbird” during the course of the race crossed the finish line at Ogden Point in under 24 hours. Corrected time was 19 hours 13 minutes and this gave The Wonderbird  1st place  in her division and  4th  in her class.  Truly a remarkable showing  which is testimony to not only the design  but her incredible crew.  Duncan Stamper, Keith Provan and Mark Malleson working, its seemed at times, as a single like-mined-being in the cockpit -- sharing observations, strategies, tactics and tasks and reacting seamlessly .  On the foredeck, the hardest working and most tireless crew I’ve ever seen,  Stephen Isbister.   And of course, yours truly rounded out the crew as the best equipment/food & beverage manager a T-bird has ever seen.  It was a blast.  I think we might just have to do it again. 


The race had many highlights, but the crew revelled in their great start and performance on the outbound leg. After four hours of light winds and sailing into the flood, everyone was delighted to reach Race Rock Pass ahead of many of the big boats in Division 1 and 3; boats which started in some cases 40 minutes earlier that the  Juan de Fuca race. Sirocco was the first boat, on corrected time, to round the mark at Clallam Bay.  It was a great day to be on a T-bird.  Be sure to check out videos posted on YouTube of the Wonderbird’s incredible performance in Swiftsure.


Fleet #4 will host the Regional Thunderbird Championship Regatta during the Labour Day long weekend. If you are looking for competitive racing action, the Thunderbird fleet is the place to be.  Come join the fun, there are boats looking for crew, and maybe a few good boats that are looking for a new skipper. Come down to D dock and join the Thunderbird Revolution.


Geoff Morrison

Fleet #4 President

2010 Rum Race: all Rum and No Race

posted Dec 29, 2010, 7:12 PM by Ian G   [ updated Jan 1, 2011, 8:47 PM ]

Four Thunderbirds were ready and willing for this years highly anticipated THSA Rum Race this Boxing Day. Scooter, Zig Zag, Seahawk and Sirroco were ready to compete for the top T-Bird prize bottle of rum. Representatives from all boats were down at the Oak Bay marina and registered in time for 10:40 skippers meeting. At the skippers meeting the conditions looked about 20 knots southwesterly,  not the 30 to 40 called for at the 9 am Haro Strait forecast.
By the time everyone had driven back to RVYC things had come up at least 5-10 knots, elements of the race committee were standing near the top of the gangway watching the rising wind. By around 11:10 it was clear that things were getting worse, something well into the 30s. There was discussion about how the course could be adjusted given the very nasty sea state that was likely to prevail on the far side of Discovery Island. The race committee decided that there was no feasible way to change the course before the start and cancelled it outright. There was no grumbling from the crowd because at this point conditions had changed such that it looked like it could be exciting just getting off the dock.

Undeterred by both the conditions, and the race cancellation Scooter decided to go out for a fun sail. Just to make sure the rest of the The crazy buggers even sailed of the docs with a solid 25 knots blowing right at the slip. After making it to Baynes channel they managed to capture their Bird surfing in the following videos. The condition look to be at least 35 knots in a strong wind against tide. Scooter now has a Youtube Channel.

Meanwhile back at the docs the crews of Sirocco and and Seahawk decided to join forces to work on the aforementioned prize bottle of rum below decks aboard Seahawk. Shortly after that Scooter returned safely to the docks and the crew of all 4 boats piled aboard to continue the party.

Scooter in Baynes Channel 1

Scooter Surfing in Baynes Channel

More Surfing

2010 Thunderbird Fleet 4 Championships Report

posted Jul 5, 2010, 5:07 PM by Ian G

The T’Bird fleet championships were held on June 26th on a brilliantly beautiful day.  Smiles were had all around because there was such a good turnout – 8 boats! Winds were ideal -generally in the 15-20 knot range from SW and then S – which meant full genoas, full hike and feathering the main to keep the ‘Bird on its feet.  It also meant extremely tired crews as Malcolm, Tim & Simon on race committee ran 7 excellent races back to back with a short break for lunch.  Whenever the last boat finished, the horn sounded for the start of the next race.  Whew!  By the sixth race, certain of the older skippers plaintively asked if this was the last race, while Bob Britten on “Hocus” was hoping for several more to make up a deficit with “Owl”.

The racing started off with 3 races that tended to follow the ‘standard’ understandable scenario – if it’s ebbing and a westerly, go left.  This paid significantly for Hocus and Owl, as it soon became evident that both had the same idea, and also wanted the same space.  In race 1, a close cross on the first beat by Hocus shuffled Owl out to the layline, where there was also more favourable current.  While this allowed Owl to work to windward, ‘royal’ we misjudged the amount of incipient flood at the mark. These adverse currents were only boatlengths apart. Fortunately, doing a 360 on a run with flood was not that punitive. A similar race unfolded in Race 2, but with the positions reversed between the two.  Then, as the ebb died down for race 3, the decision was how far could you go before you found any ebb at all.  The ‘left’ can look a long way from the ‘right’ in these circumstances.  The mantra of “we’re losing ground, we’re losing …” was thankfully replaced by “we’re neutral”and then by “man are we gaining now!”.  Sighs of relief were promptly followed by self appreciation of the brilliance of the call.  Late in the race, the wind shifted rapidly to the south.  Owl lead Hocus home, but it was the newcomers – Ian Gable on Seahawk– that came home third.  You should have seen their smiles!

 Over the course of the lunch break, the flood turned in earnest.  But it was the unusual strong southerly that made one rethink the basic strategy of where to go in a flood.  Cattle Point, the favourite spot for many sailors issued its siren call of flood relief…but at a great price.  With the weather mark near Fiddle Reef, the trick(s) would be to find the current relief downstream of the rockpiles, Tod&Fiddle, yet minimize the time spent in the various jets of flood.  The fourth race would also provide some rapid reassessment of whether you were overstanding the mark or not even being close to making it.  With these wonderful concepts bubbling through the brain, royal we forgot that you also have to get a reasonable start off to make this happen.  Owl crossed some 25 seconds late of a brilliant port tack start by John Edwards.  Sigh!  John fought off “Scooter” for the lead on the next two legs, with both boats slowly being drawn in by the siren call of Cattle Point.  Owl, greatful for the reprieve, gradually worked the rockpile, and was not threatened thereafter.

 It’s rare that ones competitors makes such good suggestions as where to go in the upcoming race.  Hocus was getting tired of placing second, and suggested that Owl go left again.  Really hard left!  Well, that sort of worked for the next races.  Again, John port tacked the fleet.  And, Hocus finally broke Owl’s string of firsts in Race 6 with clever and determined weather work.  They now asked the RC for 7 more races…which the RC fortunately did not grant.  The final race was another workout on the rockpile, with boats splitting away trying to find the right layline in this peculiar zone of flood lanes and backeddies.  Owl did lay the final mark, but just, and slid away yet again.

 The Fleets was one of the best regattas in recent memory owing to such stunning conditions.  Madding’s photos attest to this beauty.  We must be heathens because we only noticed afterwards!

2010 Fleet 4 Championships June 26

posted Jun 22, 2010, 12:04 PM by Ian G   [ updated Jun 22, 2010, 12:18 PM ]

The 2010 Fleet 4 Championships will be held at RVYC June 26, 2010.

 Skipper’s meeting in RVYC Parking Lot 0900
 First race warning signal 1000
 Prize giving on RVYC lawn  

Full details are available in the Sailing Instructions (pdf).

How to install the new single point lift fitting

posted Mar 31, 2010, 12:09 AM by Ian G

There is a new article describing how to install the new single point lift fitting without having to haul your boat.

Two Proposed Changes to Class Rules

posted Feb 4, 2010, 11:17 PM by Ian G   [ updated Feb 4, 2010, 11:51 PM ]

There are two changes being proposed for the class rules. The changes will be voted on during the February 13 AGM in Seattle. There is a online form for voting online
(which isn't working at the moment, more news about this later).

Change #1
Add allowance for a Kevlar type string genoa
9.1.1 No material other than woven dacron shall be used in the mainsail and headsails, except that the genoa may, alternatively, be made of dacron(polyester) substrate/mylar (polyester film) laminate, woven and/or laminated ply either polyester, HMPE or aramid may be used. No material other than woven nylon shall be used in spinnakers.

Change #2
Allow a loose footed mainsail
9.5 Mainsail
Delete section 9.5.3 in its entirety
9.5.3 The foot of the mainsail shall be attached to the boom by means of a track or a slot and meet riteria listed in Section 7.7. A lose footed sail is not permitted.

7.7 Boom
Delete section 7.7.4 in its entirety
7.7.4 Provisions for fastening the foot of the mainsail to the boom shall be so arranged that the sail foot describes a straight line along the fore-aft axis of the boom. A grooved boom which retains the mainsail foot bolt rope is recommended.

New Article: Thunderbird Anchoring

posted Oct 18, 2009, 1:09 PM by Ian G   [ updated Oct 18, 2009, 11:01 PM ]

For those people new to Thunderbirds, you might be confused about the best way to anchor a boat that might not have a chain locker in the bow. If so have a look at the new article on Thunderbird Anchoring.

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