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The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

August Rendezvous - Port Browning Marina

Nikki Tate-Stratton

Boatless... for now
October 3rd, 2018

Sometimes it feels like I live so, so far away from the water, all the way over here in Canmore! Any chance I get, I head for the Coast and whenever possible, I try to time my trips to coincide with BCA events like the August Rendezvous.

This year, 34 boats and 75 registrants gathered at the Port Browning Marina on Pender Island between August 3 and 6. Glorious blue skies and lots of sun meant there were plenty of fresh blackberries along the short walk between the marina and the Driftwood Centre; a convenient cluster of cute shops, cafés and various sources of ice cream. Berries and ice cream aside, there was an abundance of tastiness to be shared at various rendezvous gatherings, starting with the official Happy “Appie” Hour on Saturday, August 4th. After many warm reunions, story-swaps, and perhaps a frosty beverage or two as we caught up with where everyone had been since we last had a chance to see each other, we settled in for a movie night. Despite some initial issues with the sound system, one of the cool features of this Rendezvous was the showing of nautically-themed films on an outdoor screen. I’d love to see this become a regular part of future gatherings, even though the technical side was a tad challenging.

While a rendezvous is always a fun chance to get together, it’s almost always also when we say so-long (for now) to those setting off on long voyages. This time, Past-Commodore Jennifer Handley was present to give a hearty farewell to the crews of Makoolis and Knot Home on behalf of BCA. Prior to the rendezvous, the crew of Sedna also received a warm farewell from Vancouver Vice-Commodore Stephen Carlman, just before they headed south. Fair winds and following seas! I know how long it can take to nurture the dream of finally setting sail and very much look forward to the day when I’ll be the one taking possession of a much-coveted Leaver’s Package and setting my sights on the far horizon. Until then, I get a vicarious thrill every time another boat manages to cast off those dock lines and make the dream a reality.

Closer to home, the Rendezvous was also a chance to celebrate the more modest sailing accomplishments of those who participated in this year’s Peterson Cup Cruising Rally. I was almost able to clear my calendar this year to allow me to take part, but alas, deadlines overtook and overwhelmed me and I had to be satisfied with being entertained by Ken Christie as he did a marvelous, many-hatted presentation about the history and evolution of the Peterson Cup. Thanks, Ken, for your hard work and enthusiasm and the cool display you put together for those unable to participate this year. Congratulations are due to the crew of Cookie Cutter, winners of this year’s rally.

What I could (and did) take part in was the swashbuckling adventure known as the Great Blind Dinghy Race. The fact we had not brought the dinghy (Easy Rider is a small boat with minimal deck space and we had booked a spot on the dock) was no problem. That fabulous, friendly fraternity of BCA members meant my daughter (Dani) and I were offered not one, but two rowing dinghies to use. In heat number 1, Denis and Rosario’s inflatable took us around and around and around in circles… Somehow, I had not realized that there was a peculiar twisting/flipping motion required to lock the oars into the oarlocks, so half the time was spent waving the oars around some distance above the water. Given we were not trying to flap wings and fly around the short course, our efforts, though enthusiastic, were not so productive.

Despite having two more heats to redeem ourselves, the use of a speedy hard bottom dinghy and switching who was blindfolded and rowing and who was shouting instructions, we still didn’t have much to show for our efforts except aching arms from fruitless rowing and aching sides from uncontrolled laughter. The top three finishers were power rowers from Ostara, BlueRose, and Astrea. My apologies for not being able to provide a stroke by stroke account of the race, but I was either blindfolded and thrashing about in the anchorage or blinded by tears of laughter and flailing around in the bottom of a dinghy.

The crew of Easy Rider may have been hopeless in the blind-rowing department, but young Zoe rocked it when it came to the treasure hunt. Her collection of eyeballs, feathers, and various other bits and pieces took first prize, a stylish pirate bag designed by Piña from Tofino. Zoe and the bag were inseparable for the rest of the rendezvous.

Other delights included rousing sea shanties and a phonetic alphabet game, won by the crew of Traversay II. Yankee Alpha Yankee!

As always there were some pretty cool raffle prizes. Some of the highlights included a night’s free moorage at Saltspring, won by Tyally; a gift certificate from Harbour Chandler won by Tilikum and a free haul out from Straight Marine, won by Dolphin Tales. There were lots of other smaller T-shirts and small prizes, but my favourite was the safety tether (short leash?) scored by Dani on Easy Rider. Poor Toryn, you’re in trouble now!

Many thanks to Jacquie and all the volunteers who helped out to make this weekend yet another memorable BCA event. Can’t wait for the next one!

You can see a gallery of the weekend photos here.




  1. Corinne says:

    Wonderful article Nikki – thanks for sharing!!!

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