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The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

What is the Peterson Cup Cruising Rally? A Recent History and an Invitation to Join

Ken Christie

Blue Rose
DeKleer Bros. 30 Sloop
July 11th, 2018

Have you ever wondered what the Peterson Cup Cruising Rally (PCCR) is?

BCA’s only scheduled cruising rally is basically a fun week of buddy-boating and kicking back with like-minded BCA members and, occasionally, a few non-members as well. Usually 5 to 12 boats participate, but the number varies each year as it can be joined and exited as a skipper needs.

When former BCA Commodore Lex Peterson first started the rally, it was a series of daily races leading up to the August Rendezvous. Done among friends, celebrated with a round or two, and good stories. But these were not just competitive races: Lex did not believe in waiting to begin living. His message was clear: “do it and get out there while you can”.

Today, the rally is a reflection of Lex’s original intent and in keeping with BCA’s core values:  Sharing, Community, Adventure and Inspiration. It is sponsored by the association as a whole – not by a particular Chapter – and relies on a willing individual or couple to volunteer as Rally Coordinator(s).  Thankfully the PCCR has only been without a coordinator once in the past fourteen years; volunteers really do make BCA happen! Expenses are kept to a minimum and a modest participation fee (now $10 per person) allows for a few fun prizes and, on occasion, a souvenir T-shirt.

The 2015 PCCR Fleet: the wrap-up at Newcastle Island.

It has also become more of a social event – as it might be when you come across BCA boats in a distant offshore location. Island hopping, more than daily races, has become the norm.  Local anchorages have been interpreted as tropical islands, some with cannibals, parrots, pirates, stew-pots over campfires, new country customs officers, ZARPE, and scantily clad natives (hence a propensity to race around Lasqueti Island in years gone by).

Recent Rally History (2014 – 2017)

In 2014, Grace and Rob Dodge offered to coordinate the PCCR after former Calgary Chapter Vice Commodore “Cap’n Pedro” Pete Simpson, rally coordinator for a number of years, stepped back. The fleet was sent through Dodd Narrows, marooned or grounded in Herring Bay, and then escaped to Montague, ending up in the Hummingbird Pub. This might have been the first year with a PCCR T-shirt; the Dodge’s sketched and printed the memento shirt given out at Montague. Rally winner was Ken Christie, skipper of Blue Rose.

Peterson Cup Cruising Rally: Fleet of 2014

The 2015 rally was organized by Ken Christie who expanded the fantasy BCA cruising grounds from tropical isles to the Falklands, as he had just rounded Cape Horn that February. Hence the introduction of a rally theme: Round the Horn in 4 Days. Gambier Island became the Falklands. Gabriola Pass was Canal Beagle, with Acorn Island being Cape Horn. Yes, it was all a nutty idea, but soon forgotten at Appie Hour on Dulcinea II, in Ruxton Passage. Frank and Dawn had actually sailed it all. And were awarded the Cup.

Peterson Cup winner 2016: Feather Mills, Freyja A

Ken Christie once again had the honour of organizing the 2016 rally. In February he had been given a motorcycle in Santiago Chile, and sent south, way south from Valdivia. Amanda and Barry Glickman of Papa Rhumba then sent him to their old port of Puyuhuapi. Down a long Patagonian inlet, the ride evolved into the 2016 PCCR theme.  Captain Feather Mills, Freyja A, accepted the Cup that summer.

PCCR 2017: Cookie Cutter at her finest!

In 2017, Ken’s travels had recently taken him to Panama and Costa Rica; he sailed from Shelter Bay Marina, Colon to Golfito Harbour in Costa Rica, via Golfo Dulce. That journey gave rise to the year’s theme and a Panama Canal T-shirt, created by Dana Fetherstonhaugh. Participants were asked to complete Canal Transit and ZARPE forms at the Dinghy Dock Pub (it turned out that August Moon and Cookie Cutter already had valid Canal measuring numbers from previous transits). Tradewind Seeker lead the Canal transit through narrow Little Bull Passage, then the Fleet took off to Tribune Bay, one of the San Blas Islands. Libertina finished the Canal with a race to Secret Cove. The winds on the Thursday made for an epic sail; Camdeboo reported seeing 28kn as they charged across the strait back to Mark Bay. Single-handed skipper Heather Marshall aboard her trusty Catalina 27, Mischief, did more than solo anchor, sail a fast passage, and crank out hot apple pies: she was unanimously awarded the Cup.

This Year’s Rally (July 28 – August 2)

Go ahead, make a few guesses!

As dictated by tradition, the rally will start in Nanaimo on Saturday, July 28 with a Passage Planning meeting held in the Dinghy Dock Pub at 1600hrs. The Rally commodore, yes, Ken Christie for the fourth consecutive year, will suggest the start time on Sunday (0900hrs), with the first of five anchorages being decided on as a group. The Fleet will take turns hosting Appie hour on deck at each anchorage, usually at 1700. There are no other docks or pubs involved during the week; all gatherings are in anchorages with appies, potlucks and beverages from onboard supplies. Appies have tended to flow onto other boats, and back eddy into dinner, plus stories, plus song before subsiding for the night – quite likely to be the norm this year too.  The little Fleet of happy boats has a final dinner together on land, Thursday at 1900hrs. Then Friday is a lay day, and Saturday the big BCA Rendezvous begins. And because the 2018 BCA August Rendezvous is way south in the Pender Isles (Port Browning), the PCCR will likely end in a southern community rather than back-track to Nanaimo.

One of the many pies that have appeared at Appie Hour

What is not a rule: as a BCA boat, the demonstrated ability to safely cook at sea during the long voyage, is a given. If it is not safe, don’t do it. Thus the present PCCR Commodore requests, not demands, a fresh pie for each Appie hour. And all Appie hours are at anchor, which you should set before stern tie, or raftup.

The Peterson Cup

After Lex passed away from cancer in 2004, his contributions to BCA were honoured with the formalization of this annual event and a dedicated BCA perpetual award in his name.  The PCCR winner is decided by group consensus, with presentation at the August Rendezvous and/or at the Christmas Awards night in the winner’s Chapter. The trophy is not necessarily awarded to the skipper with the fastest sailing times; nor it is for an endurance race. While those things might come into play, the Peterson Cup is for overall play, and recognizes a deserving skipper who exemplifies the BCA tradition of fostering seamanship and friendship.  Since its inception in 2005, the Peterson Cup has been awarded to:

  • 2005 – John Humphries, Star Tracker
  • 2006 – Grace & Robert Dodge, Nanamuk
  • 2007 – Cam & Marianne McLean, Mayknot
  • 2008 – Dave & Bev Carter, Coquette
  • 2009 – Pete Simpson, Tula
  • 2010 – Chris Stask & Jacqui Kidd, Inceptus
  • 2012 – Feather Mills & Simon Brissenden, Freyja A
  • 2013 – Glen Wilson, Moon Shadow VI
  • 2014 – Ken Christie, Blue Rose
  • 2015 – Dawn & Frank Gaudek, Dulcinea II
  • 2016 – Feather Mills & Simon Brissenden, Freyja A
  • 2017 – Heather Marshall, Mischief

Congratulations to all and here’s to another fine week of “inshore” sailing!  For further details and to register for the 2018 Peterson Cup Cruising Rally, click here.

Be alive, live your life today. Awareness is a treasure. Celebrate life. “Someday” is today.

Peterson Cup: one of BCA’s perpetual awards, named in honour of former BCA Commodore, Lex Peterson



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