Sail training vessel prepares for Swiftsure

Sail training vessel prepares for Swiftsure

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

With HMCS Oriole now on the East Coast, all eyes are on Her Majesty’s Sail Training Vessel Goldcrest to make navy waves at the upcoming Swiftsure yacht race.

The international race, held over the May 26 weekend, is hosted by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, and is the premier international long distance race in the Pacific Northwest.

Goldcrest will race a distance of 106 nautical miles beginning in Victoria with the turnaround point at Cape Flattery, Washington, against teams from across British Columbia and the United States. 

Crewing the 36-foot training vessel will be eight sailors: skipper and Canadian Fleet School Pacific Division Commander, Lieutenant Commander Chris Maier, three sailors from the school, and four from the Soldier On program.

Soldier On provides opportunities for ill and injured serving and retired military personnel to enjoy sports and recreational activities.

The new team members will undergo four days of intensive sail training on board Goldcrest in the days leading up to the race.

Sailing, says LCdr Maier, is a great sport for people of all physical abilities, or for those seeking focus, teamwork and community in life or therapy – and it’s a sport for life.

“I firmly believe sailing and the act of being out on the open ocean is therapeutic for a lot of people coming from all walks of life,” said LCdr Maier. “It’s great to be involved in the process of helping Soldier On, and assist people in their road to recovery by leading more active lifestyles, setting goals, and establishing new routines in their lives through the sport of sailing.”

LCdr Maier is also Commodore of the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA), and recently coached members of Canada’s 2018 Invictus Games sailing team during a training camp held at the base in the second week of April.

Goldcrest will compete in Swiftsure under the CFSA’s burgee. It will be joined by several CFSA members also competing, including Vancouver Island Racing Series (VIRS) defending champion Graham Heath, who will skipper Pitoraq.

Swiftsure is one of the races in the year-long, 13-race, VIRS.

HMCS Nanaimo will act as a start boat in the Swiftsure race while an Orca-Class vessel will be used as a mark boat.

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