Oriole and warship return to Swiftsure

The Royal Canadian Navy and Royal Canadian Air Force were prominent features in the 71st annual Swiftsure International Yacht Race on Saturday, May 24.

HMCS Nanaimo was at anchor as the seaward mark boat, and HMCS Oriole returned to Swiftsure to compete with some of the fastest boats in her class.
The race start drew hundreds of spectators out on the sunny and thankfully windy Saturday morning.

This year marked the 57th time Oriole has participated in Swiftsure. Its unique silhouette stood out among the competitors at the race line. The veteran vessel started the race from Clover Point at the front of the pack with full sails and a speedy clip. The 40 kilometre an hour wind pushed the 93-year-old sailing ketch upwards of 10 knots.

“We had an awesome start and crossed the start line with the fastest boats,” said LCdr Jeff Kibble, Commanding Officer of Oriole, and a Swiftsure veteran. “Saturday saw good winds and Oriole made great progress despite battling to windward. The winds slowly died throughout the evening and by late Saturday night Oriole was becalmed. We withdrew at 11 a.m. Sunday with no chance of rounding the mark boat within the time limit.”

LCdr Kibble has competed in Swiftsure 13 times, this being his fourth race as Oriole`s Captain. Only three of the 23 competitors in her class would finish the race, all of them struggling under light winds.
The Victoria Joint Rescue Coordination Centre worked closely with the Swiftsure Race Committee to ensure search and rescue assets were ready to execute a fast response should need be, as well as implementing other safety measures for the race.

Gathered crowds viewed an exciting search and rescue demonstration, which was a chance to see the working relationship between the Air Force, the Canadian Coast Guard and the Royal Canadian Marine Search and Rescue Organization (RCM-SAR). A spectacular display was executed by the Air Force and partner organization showcasing the expertise and abilities of search and rescue teams in action. The RCM-SAR members formed a protective box around a Canadian Coast Guard member in the water simulating a casualty.  RCAF 442 Squadron Cormorant arrived on scene and performed a perfectly executed hoist with the assistance of a Canadian Coast Guard lifeboat.

SLt Rudee Hastie, MARPAC PA Office

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