The Great RC Ocean Race - RC Groups
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Apr 28, 2014, 11:44 AM
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Crunchy Frog's Avatar

The Great RC Ocean Race

This race has been referenced in various other threads, but I figured it needed it's own thread. I am not affiliated with the organizers, but I attended as a competitor in 2013. I plan to attend again in 2015.

Race website

The race is a circumnavigation of Protection Island on Canada's West Coast. It's hosted by the Nanaimo RC Laser fleet and run by a terrific guy named Bruce McQuade.

Map of area:

The race is held on a Saturday in April and 2014 marked the 7th annual event. If you happen to have an IOM, there is traditionally an IOM regatta held in nearby Nanaimo on the Sunday.

The Great RC Ocean Race starts and finishes right off the docks of the Dinghy Dock Pub (also a sponsor of the event) and circumnavigates the island in the direction chosen by the Race Committee. In 2013 when I attended, it was run counter-clockwise.
Dinghy Dock Pub website:

Video of the 2013 event:
RC OCEAN RACE 2013 (9 min 33 sec)

The race has two classes: RC Laser and Open. The Open class is pretty much 'run-what-you-brung'. In previous years it has been won by IOMs, Marbleheads, and the as-yet undefeated catamaran, Fang.

If you don't have a chase boat/crew, the organizers can sometimes arrange one for you. It's a really fun event with good organization and friendly people. There are post racing festivities at the pub, with prizes and laughter.

So, I'm going to thrown down the challenge. I plan to attend in 2015 with a new boat I am currently designing. I know there are some really fast boats that members of this forum have built, and it would be great to see who could prevail victorious.
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Apr 28, 2014, 12:04 PM
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Wish this wasn't so far away I'd love to enter.

Looks a lot like the racing we did in Antigua with our first boat "The Box"
BOX Wins 2011 Antigua RC Regatta.m4v (4 min 56 sec)

Interesting to see the chase boat add a spinnaker to the Fang. Was that in mid race? Would have that that wouldn't be allowed.
We did some A sail testing a while back, went away from it to keep things simple though.

The B2 Assym (0 min 57 sec)
Last edited by John Fries; Apr 28, 2014 at 01:10 PM.
Apr 30, 2014, 12:12 PM
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Crunchy Frog's Avatar
Changes to the boat are allowed as long as the chase boat is in neutral and the boat is put into the water at the same spot it was taken out.
Apr 30, 2014, 12:38 PM
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hmmm not sure I like that feature of the race.
Apr 30, 2014, 12:47 PM
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Crunchy Frog's Avatar
The race exists because of the local RC Laser fleet. I think they want the option to allow a rig change. Those things get overpowered easily. Also, you need to be able to clear any seaweed that you pick up.

That said, when I did the race I didn't touch my boat the whole way around.
Apr 30, 2014, 01:40 PM
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Pretty sure the race is for fun and laughs....some things shouldn't be taken so seriously.
Apr 30, 2014, 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by dobydog6507
Pretty sure the race is for fun and laughs....some things shouldn't be taken so seriously.
You're right, does look like lots of fun
Oct 11, 2015, 06:57 PM
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The 8th annual race is coming up April 16, 2016.
new race website at
Apr 13, 2016, 04:34 PM
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Crunchy Frog's Avatar
Great Ocean Race 2016 is this weekend. Reportedly there are 4 IOMs entered - just one more and we get our own class. Who's in?
Apr 13, 2016, 07:50 PM
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That race does sound like a blast!
Apr 20, 2017, 01:32 PM
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Crunchy Frog's Avatar
Last year was super fun. It was a counter-clockwise course, and I managed to get way behind the other non-RC-Laser class boats (a Marblehead and other IOMS). Then on the North side of the island, where there is a narrow channel between Protection and Newcastle Islands, they all got caught up in negative tide. I caught up to everyone and passed all but one by hugging and short tacking the shore. I even ran aground once, I was that close to the beach. But there was still one IOM ahead, so I have yet to win this race.

The 2017 version of this race is on Sunday 23rd. I'll report in afterward.