Our first BCA Rally, the Peterson Cup 2019, is now a constellation of memories.
Having never joined a rally, our expectations were non-existent and our curiosity high. Our $10 registration fee was far outweighed by payoffs in adventure and new friends.
This year was a small fleet, six boats and ten people. Boats included Mischief (Heather Marshall, co-organizer), Camdeboo (Jennifer and Campbell), Cookie Cutter (Peter, co-organizer, and Connie), Gypsy Lady (Myron), Dolphin Tales (Debbie and Lynn) and my Theodora (with me and Marilyn Sanford, my friend, neighbour and Rally crew).
The Rally kicked off at the Dinghy Dock Pub on Protection Island, just off Nanaimo, on Saturday evening, 27 July, 1600h. We weren’t there. Instead, we spent just over ten hours motoring my 34′ Panda, Theodora, against the wind, current and white-capped waves, rocking horse style, from Vancouver to Nanaimo’s inner harbour: this was Adventure 1! Heather kindly dinghied out to us, when we arrived by 1930h with a shaky engine, to catch us up on the next day’s plans to sail out into strong NW winds, around the top of Gabriola, through Porlier Pass and down into Clam Bay.
Not only did we miss the Pub launch, but we also missed the Sunday morning sail when Theodora failed to start. We tried to sort out what we thought might have been a compromised fuel line delivery due to a seriously-shaken fuel tank. Ultimately Theodora was C-towed over to Stone’s Marina, awaiting the Monday morning mechanic who diagnosed, then replaced my primary fuel pump: that was Adventure 2!
New pump installed, my able crew and I motored through Dodds Narrows, tried a bit of sail and joined the fleet in Clam Bay by Monday evening. The fleet had stayed in Clam Bay through Monday to help repair the mainsail blowout Heather incurred in an accidental jibe on her sail down to Clam Bay.
Our daily Rally routine became the 0900h radio net check-in, a sail or scramble to the next destination and an evening of appies, stories of the day and plans for the next day. The evening appies were hosted in rotating cockpits throughout the rally. It was a super opportunity to share our day and learn more about prior adventures.
Each set of next-day plans evolved from the evening review of current, wind and members’ previous experience of Gulf Island cruising. I had never imagined all ten of us with two additional guests from Mayne Island could tuck snugly into Theodora‘s mini-cockpit for an evening of stories, food and the next day’s planning. It turned out to be cozy, informative and fun.
Our route planning considered weather conditions and hiking possibilities. Confirmed daily at the 0900h call in, we moved from our start in Nanaimo, to Clam Bay, Shell Bay (north of Montague on Galiano), Horton Bay (at the south end of Mayne to include a hike), Winter Cove (at the north end of Saturna, which included a short hike) and ended in a ’round-the-Penders cruise with all of us anchoring in Port Browning in anticipation of the BCA Rendezvous: these were Adventures 3-7.
One measure of the 2019 Rally success is the fact that our fleet, possibly each for our own reasons, stayed together an extra day to roll into the Rendezvous weekend.
Another measure of success is our new knowledge, grounded in fresh experience, of a few more nooks and crannies in the near-and-yet-so-far Gulf Islands. Yet another measure is the deeper understanding I have of how Theodora handles in bigger winds or stronger current than I would otherwise have ventured into. This year’s Peterson Cup Rally helped move me further into my retirement goal of learning to sail.
Perhaps the greatest personal measure of the Rally’s success for both of us was in the welcoming, supportive nature of new-found friends who shared the week. The flexible daily plans and firm support of new friends made this summer excursion one to remember.
Finally, on our trip back across Georgia Strait, much milder and navigable than the trip over, we sighted two Orcas breaching and, likely, feeding. That capped it off! We’ll be back.
You can see a complete photo album of the event on Shutterfly.