Navigation-inspired timepieces

AS WE SAIL INTO RACING SEASON, some of our favorite watchmakers are rolling out their ocean navigator wrist watches. Whether or not you man the helm-or even plan to step aboard-these exquisite pieces will make you look and feel like a captain of style.

Time for a Sail?

Racing around the isles

The worlds of yachting and timepieces have been merged since, well, the dawn of watch-making. Navigators of the sea have always counted on precise marine chronometers to hold a steady course… the alternative to which may have led to a watery fate.

Today, sailors may be less interested in discovering unseen land as they are racing against the clock. One such example is the 2012 Vic-Maui International Yacht Race, which pits 14 yacht teams against one another on an epic 2,308-nautical-mile course. Beginning in the lush climes of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and ending in Maui’s Lahaina Harbor, yachtsmen will steer their 35- to 50-foot vessels through the treacherous Straights of Juan de Fuca, down past Washington and Oregon states before catching the Pacific high pressure zone somewhere around Northern California then charting out to sea.

The biennial event runs every other year, having started in 1965 when race founder Jim Innes took 15 days make the journey; in 1968, 14 entries competed before a winner entered Lahaina in nine days, two hours and eight minutes.

A second isle favorite is the Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge, which essentially is a Hawai’i-wide race that pits local yachting clubs against each other in a friendly three-day showdown to see who can rack the best times in a best-of-five shootout.

The race first began in 1930 with the namesake’s first bout in Hawaiian waters; currently a single 30-foot (or more) boat from each club is allowed to enter the race that traces a triangle just a few miles offshore. This year’s winner was Capt. Tony Miller from the Hawaii Yacht Club in his Ikaika vessel.

-By Brian Berusch