Over the past year, my schedule has been a bit crazy with lots of travelling and a move to Canmore. So I was thrilled when I realized the stars were aligning and I was going to be able to attend the BCA August Rendezvous on Newcastle Island aboard Easy Rider, a spunky Ranger 29 owned by my daughter Dani and son-in-law, Toryn. If you think recently-weds and a mother-in-law would be cozy on a smallish boat, throw in two 14 year-olds and a dog called Spartacus and you’ll have a rough idea of the crew that arrived, soaking wet after a bouncy slog up from Dodd’s Narrows on August 3…
Coming into Mark Bay and heading for the docks, I started tying on fenders – one, two, three – and on the fourth and last fender – leaned out and over the lifeline and… “kersploosh” – my brand new iPhone (three days old!) slipped out of my Velcro pocket on my life jacket and plopped into the water! The fourteen year-olds had to listen to some rather colourful language as I watched my new baby, in its very expensive waterproof case, slip into the depths of Mark Bay. The search for the phone (which involved a diver and lots of advice and consolation from everyone) went on for a couple of days, because the phone kept ringing and accepting texts down there. Alas, terrible visibility made it impossible to find and I wound up having a thoroughly analog weekend!
Which, as it turns out, was tons of fun (and an excellent reminder that one can have a great experience without a phone attached to one’s palm). The team of volunteers (headed up by Yvonne Harwood on Ostara) did a terrific job of providing a good mix of organized activities and time to socialize and visit some of the other boats. Thank you to all who volunteered and helped out during the weekend!
The theme of the Rendezvous was the 150Th Anniversary of Confederation and there were plenty of chances for participants to embrace their Canadian identities. It’s always hard to know in advance who will show up at a Rendezvous. At previous gatherings, there were several other teenagers in attendance, so when it turned out our two girls were the only youngsters this time, we were really happy that we had stocked up on plenty of supplies for the boat-decorating contest. That gave our two teens a good project to keep them busy when they weren’t exploring the Island, swimming, or trying out the stand-up paddle board (SUP). Beatrice (pronounced Bay-a-tree-chay) is a relative from Italy who had never sailed, never SUPed and certainly never seen anyone hanging from a mast, tying streamers to the spreaders. She and her cousin (my step-daughter Allegra) spent ages patiently cutting out white letters and gluing them to red paper plates to create a banner we suspended between the mast and the forestay. While that might not have been quite as much fun for them as chillaxing with other teens, the whole project certainly kept both girls (and the rest of our crew) pretty busy! In the end, all that effort paid off as Toryn and Dani were the proud recipients of the best-decorated boat prize, a great pair of new Optisan Watersport 7X50 Binoculars generously donated by Hub Insurance.
Speaking of prizes, I have to say we were all impressed with the number and range of giveaways the committee managed to round up for the Rendezvous. At most of the official events, raffle tickets were drawn and those prizes just kept coming! From rigging inspections to magazine subscriptions to hats and insulated mugs, the loot was terrific! Just about everyone in attendance (66 people representing 33 boats) won something, which was great. The amazing local community of chandleries and businesses providing marine services, from insurance to sail repairs and rigging, came out in force again this year to support this event. There were many generous gifts from the following sponsors, which were recognized as prizes were handed out:
As offshore sailors who are currently preparing and outfitting our boats to go offshore, we are fortunate to have such a great set of supportive local marine businesses.
Other highlights of the weekend included taking part in the dinghy lunch raft-up (followed by the dinghy tug-of-war) even though we didn’t bring our dinghy (with all those people and the dog, there was no room left for even our modest little tender). The SUP did the trick though, and I braved a wet bottom to paddle out and participate.
Fortunately for the Canadian Province-themed scavenger hunt, Denis and Rosario of Counting Stars were kind enough to lend us their dinghy so we could scoot all over the anchorage searching for clues. We proved to be a terrible team – we clearly do not know our Canadian trivia! Who knew that the Bloody Caesar was invented in Calgary? The contest was a fun combination of knowing obscure facts and tootling around, finding BCA boats that had clues stuck to them. We all had a good laugh when we learned that the boat with Newfoundland’s flag stuck to them had sailed off before the activity started! Congratulations to the two wining teams which were tied with 11 correct answers:
- The Debutantes (Debbie Greentree, Barb Peck and Bjarne Hansen)
- The Blue Rose Nomad (Ken Christie and Dee Logan)
Each team member took home a great cruising guide, generously donated by Peter Vassilopoulos. These Canucks managed to find 11 of the remaining 12 clues and answered 11 of 13 questions correctly.
As always, when a bunch of hungry sailors get together, the food was amazing. The main potluck on Sunday evening provided all of us with some delicious sustenance and fun conversations. The potluck was also where we were treated to an impromptu parade of all those who took part in the Best Canadian Attire competition. Even though there was at least one attempt at bribery (sorry Rosario, that bottle of wine didn’t help you out!), the judges took their responsibilities very seriously. In the end, Bjarne Hansen (Hoku pa’a) and Catherine Casey, a friend from the UK visiting Counting Stars walked away winners of the best dressed male and female awards, but really, everyone who participated deserved a prize!
And, finally, I had a chance to learn more about the Peterson Cup Cruising Rally, which ended just before the Rendezvous began. This non-competitive event is held annually in memory of former Commodore, Lex Peterson, who encouraged all of us sailors to get out there while we still can. It sounds like there were lots of pies and plenty of laughter during this four-day sailing trip that began and ended at Mark Bay. The well deserving winner of the Peterson Cup Cruising Rally this year was Heather Marshall who single- handed Mischief with grace, skill and flare while baking the most amazing pies, so I heard.
The evening ended with a great selection of Canadian music for all ages as part of the “Name That Canadian Tune Contest” organised by Jay and Anita Bigland of Karina C. With any luck, my schedule next year will find me with a bit of time on the Coast so I can attend both the Rally and the Rendezvous. Until then, smooth sailing everyone!
Photos of the event are available in this photo album.