Welcome, Nautigirl - always happy to see another BCer on the board.
What to expect for Souther Straits?..... COLD!
Seriously, this race can dish up anything and everything. Like any venue we've had drifters, gear busters, mass retirements and withdrawals, and once in a while incredibly beautiful moonlit sailing.
Being tied to Easter means that one year to the next it may be as much as a month earlier in the year compared to another year, so that's a factor too in what you might expect.
Depending on your ride, take plenty of easy-to-eat snacks, dress in layers with extras/dry clothes if you're not limited in what you can bring. At some point you'll probably spend a lot of time on the rail as at least one leg is likely to be a long beat.
Long course or Short course? Big difference in the time you might expect to be out there. Big/Fast boat or standard midsize PHRF racer/cruiser? These are all factors that will influence your experience.
Like most everyone you'll probably say 'never again' at some point, only to show up the next year anyway. Have fun!
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)