New regatta created with old trophy

New Regatta Venture Cup

The Reviewing Officer Captain (Navy) Martin Drews (left), and Lieutenant-Commander Christopher Maier (right), present Naval Cadet Austin Ferguson (center) with the Jeune Brothers Trophy (aka The Venture Cup) for being the winner of the annual sailing race between the students of Venture. Photo by: MCpl Brent Kenny, MARPAC Imaging Services

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A new regatta and the revival of an old trophy is helping students at the Naval Officer Training Centre (NOTC) reconnect with open water sailing.

Fifteen Junior Officers studying to become Maritime Surface and Sub-Surface Officers (MARS) volunteered to compete in the first-ever Venture Cup sailing competition.

This summer, seven two-person teams of student officers took to the water each Sunday in sailing dinghies to race. Their launch point was from the Canadian Forces Sailing Association.

The Venture Cup competition was organized by the students themselves. Naval Cadet Austin Ferguson helped found the regatta and won the inaugural edition.

“Winning the competition was unexpected and great but having everyone from the NOTC come out every weekend and get on the water was truly unique,” he said. “It wasn’t so much about participating in the regatta itself but keeping the naval tradition alive.”

It was NCdt Ferguson and Training Officer Lt(N) Ronald Clancy who hatched the scheme for the regatta and then worked to drum up interest and support.

They found an old trophy in a case – the Juene Brothers Trophy – and used it as the award to the top team. According to historian Wilf Lund, the trophy was donated to HMCS Venture in 1955 by the owners of Victoria business Jeune Bros. Tent and Awning. It was awarded to the Venture student who accumulated the most points in a year-long intramural sports competition. He adds the trophy had originally been awarded as a prize in English thoroughbred racing.

The Junior Officers are planning to make the regatta an annual tradition. NCdt Ferguson, who was recently commissioned as an officer, will return to the school next summer for his MARS IV training and said he will be tasked with organizing next year’s competition.

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