One of the activities organized by the Vancouver Island Fleet group is an Offshore Boats Tour, held at various Victoria-area marinas where member boats are docked. This year, the Mid-Island members of Fleet decided to organize their own boat tour, so they could showcase their boats and welcome visitors on board.
On March 19th, the clouds parted over Nanaimo and about twenty BCA members — and potential members — visited the two boats at Palms Marina (Free Spirit and Shala) and Carpe Ventus at Townsite Marina. The Spencer 44, Free Spirit, owned by Agathe Gaulin and Georgette Duhaime, was the host boat, being visible from the Palms Marina gates, with BCA burgee flying high. Most of the 20 or so visitors on Free Spirit also made their way to the end of A dock to visit Shala, a Sceptre 41 owned by Harry Nichols. Brian Short reported about eight visitors on his 45′ Beneteau Oceanis, Carpe Ventus.
Our experience on Free Spirit was thoroughly enjoyable and informative. Several visitors were seasoned offshore sailors and they made observations and asked questions that pushed us to explain our choices of equipment and upgrades to our boat. Others were in the market for an offshore boat and poked around looking for structural and design elements as well as equipment that defined our boats as offshore capable. One couple in particular stayed on and in Free Spirit for nearly two hours, checking out all her inner workings, noting tidbits of information from our conversations, and exchanging ideas with other BCA members.
More than half of the visitors were also interested in our sailing plans, both in preparation for offshore passages, and our ultimate dream cruise. These conversations invariably resulted in advice and stories from ‘Doners’, and a crowded cockpit or cabin of jovial sailors. Throughout the day, we felt camaraderie and a sense of belonging with this group of sailors that simply is not possible in a meeting format. Our conclusion after a full afternoon of interaction with all these visitors: An activity well worth repeating and worth the sail from our home port in Degnen Bay, Gabriola Island!