Sailors sea skills tested in challenging regatta

Another NFS(P) crew get set to sail in Sail Training Vessel Goldcrest for the regatta.

Another NFS(P) crew get set to sail in Sail Training Vessel Goldcrest for the regatta.

Peter Mallett
Staff Writer

Two student-crewed navy training vessels tested their skills over the Oct. 17 weekend in the first and only regatta of the season.

STV Tuna and STV Goldcrest joined 30 crews of 10 sailors in the Cascadian Convoy sailing challenge hosted by the Canadian Forces Sailing Association (CFSA).

Sailboats competed in five races of varying lengths off Vancouver Island: a long distance race from Esquimalt to Port Renfrew; a medium distance sail between Sooke and Victoria Harbour, and back to Esquimalt; a short distance race from Esquimalt to Race Rocks and back; a cruiser class race from Esquimalt to Victoria; and a U.S. long distance shadow race with sailors sailing from Port Angeles, Washington, to Neah Bay.

The race was given the go ahead in August from British Columbia’s provincial body of sport ViaSport, which allowed some sporting competitions involving teams to a maximum of 10 people to resume.

Competitors followed the strict health and safety protocol mandated by the province.

“The event proved that sailing is a perfect fit for physical distancing because teams compete in isolated bubbles on their vessels. With proper care and precautions by team members they can sail safely and still have fun,” said LCdr Chris Maier, CFSA Commodore. “In the end, the CFSA became a leader in the Pacific Northwest in learning how to sail in a COVID-19 world.”

STV Tuna with its novice crew from Naval Fleet School Pacific tackled the medium distance race. Under the leadership of skipper Lt(N) Konnor Brett, they eked out a seventh place finish in a field of eight. Although they had a favourable start in the race, their standing slipped when they rounded Race Rocks.

“That moment was the true equalizer as we lost our favourable placement due to the current, chosen routing, tidal stream, and our lack of knowledge of local sailing conditions,” said Lt(N) Brett. “But our crew was amazing and despite the challenging conditions they stayed focused on our mission: changing sails, tacking non-stop, trimming for the ever shifting winds, and coming up with [good] tactical decisions.”

The medium race was won by CFSA’s team Jack Rabbit led by Colin Nichols.

STV Goldcrest competed in the long distance category and was able to achieve the first of two required qualifying races for next year’s VanIsle 360 International Yacht Race. The race was won by Shadow Two of the West Vancouver Yacht Club.

The Cascadian Convoy served as the only qualifier race for next year’s VanIsle 360 Race, though four races had been scheduled but were all cancelled this year.

The CFSA provides recreation opportunities primarily for military personnel, their families and civilian members of the Department of National Defence. For more information about the CFSA visit their website at

For full results of the Cascadian Convoy and course details visit the webpage:


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