A slightly cool and overcast evening in June was the perfect excuse to head to the cozy clubhouse at Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA) in Victoria and connect with other BCA members at the annual VI Chapter BBQ. Nearly 60 members and VIPs were on hand to celebrate not only the delicious food coming off the grill, thanks to an army of volunteers, but also BCA’s 40th anniversary.
After a chance for casual conversation and catching up – with many exciting stories of cruises past and future flying around the room – attendees were well-fed with a combination of potluck goodies and catering from Toque Catering. VI Vice Commodore Tony Roberts also sourced a delicious selection of meats which were grilled to perfection by Peter McMartin and Chris Stask, with additional assistance from Karin Wunderlich, Elaine Humphrey, Al Kitchen, Connie Morahan and Corinne Whelan.
Following dinner, all attendees gathered for a brief welcome from VI Vice Commodore Tony Roberts, who introduced the attending VIPs in the room. This was a fascinating group of long-time and founding members, including BCA Commodore Leslie Hansen; Victoria sailing royalty and BCA honorary members Tony and Coryn Gooch; perennially-popular BCA instructor and lifetime member, Rick Ellis, and many more. Each member was invited to say a few words about their past and present involvement with BCA and boating in general. The entire crowd certainly enjoyed hearing these stories, with a particular highlight being founding member Sven Johansson, still extremely spry at 93. He recounted some of his adventures as owner of clipper North Star of Herschel Island, and as captain on a six-year expedition aboard Belvedere, during which he became the first to sail a yacht from west to east through the Northwest Passage (1982-1988).
Founding member, Jill Sydneysmith, was also very popular as she modelled her original BCA T-shirt, featuring a bold rendition of the burgee on a red background. It’s a design many in the room mentioned they would like to see make a comeback. Though unique, each story of connection to BCA revolved around a shared love of boating and desire for the community and camaraderie offered by the organization.
As so many long-time Doners were honoured, two soon-to-be-Doer couples, Barb Lyall and Brent Alley, as well as Dave & Diane Cherry were presented with their “bon voyage” leaver packages. We wish them all the best with their cruising plans!
As the evening wound down and guests began to leave, each was presented with a commemorative glass, laser-engraved with the BCA burgee and a note about the 40th anniversary. Spearheaded by VI Fleet Watchkeeper, Daragh Nagle, these glasses are a gift from the VI Chapter Watch to all VI members. If you did not receive your glass at the BBQ, we will have them at the Port Browning August Rendezvous, as well as club nights throughout the fall and winter; look out for either Daragh or VI Communications Watchkeeper, Dani Tate-Stratton, to receive your glasses.
Many thanks to all those who volunteered in the kitchen, at the door, or in the lead-up to the evening as well as to CFSA for providing a fabulous space in which to host our event.