The Official Magazine of the Bluewater Cruising Association

A Royal Send-Off for the First Leaver of 2024

Jennifer Handley

June 7th, 2024

In what is believed to be a BCA first, Cathy and Bill Norrie aboard Pixie, their 28 foot Bristol Channel Cutter, received an unexpected honour on May 5 when Princess Anne and her husband, Sir Tim Laurence, gave Bill a royal send-off.  After a brief conversation, they untied his lines and pushed him off the dock, the first BCA leaver of 2024.  A few memorable photos of the event can be found in this Times Colonist article published on May 6.

Upon departure Pixie sailed in very boisterous conditions to the Inner Harbour. Two days later, Bill single-handedly set sail for Hawaii. He departed at the break of dawn, sailed to Sooke where he tied up until the tide turned, and then headed out the Strait Juan de Fuca  with a lovely easterly. Notwithstanding all sorts of problems with the electronics, Pixie raced across the Pacific and arrived in Honolulu twenty days later, just before the end of May. Cathy will join Bill there in mid-June and then together they set off for New Zealand, where they plan to spend six months, returning back to Victoria in September 2025.

BCA Commodore, David Mitchell, presents Bill and Cathy Norrie with their Leaver’s Package

Just a few days prior to the royal visit, Bill and Cathy received their Leaver’s Package from BCA Commodore David Mitchell.  The Leaver’s Package is a gift from BCA to members who state their intention to cast off their lines and head offshore in a given year. The contents of the package vary from year to year but always include a BCA burgee, letters of introduction and a USB stick with all sorts of information of particular interest to offshore mariners. This year’s packages were put together by Vancouver Chapter Fleet members Jacqueline Chu and James Cooper with the support of Don Hutchison, Vancouver Chapter Vice Commodore, Patty Kennedy and Marilyn Sanford.


  1. Donna+Sassaman says:

    What an experience! It couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple. Thanks for the delightful article, Jennifer. And continued fair winds and following seas, Cathy and Bill.

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