Maple Bay Regatta marks 60 years

The Maple Bay Regatta celebrated its 60th running on the Labour Day weekend.

Both the Maple Bay Yacht Club and the Maple Bay Regatta celebrated major milestones in 2015, the club marking its 90th year of existence — in B.C., only the Royal Victoria Yacht Club is older — and the regatta reaching its 60th running on the Labour Day weekend.

“The Maple Bay Regatta has always been a popular event for sailboat racers due to the outstanding backdrop and uncertain wind conditions,” spokesperson Brigid Reynolds said. “During the regatta, keel boat racing took place in the eastern part of Maple Bay, with a possible course extending to North Reef just south of Thetis Island or from Paddy’s Mile Stone to Burgoyne Bay on Salt Spring Island and the Octopus Point mark near Sansum Narrows South. The windward/leeward courses this year took place mainly between Paddy’s Mile Stone and Octopus Points or Burgoyne Bay.  The dinghy racing took place in the Southern part of Maple Bay and Bird’s Eye Cove.”

Sailors from up and down Vancouver Island and the Mainland entered 43 keelboats in five divisions and 32 dinghies in four fleets.

Because of inconsistent and light winds, Maple Bay is known for its challenging conditions, Reynolds noted, and the Labour Day weekend was a perfect example of that as converging winds from Bird’s Eye Cove, Sansum Narrows and Burgoyne Bay and off the surroundings made for difficult wind patterns.

“This year proved a challenge for Kirk Palmer, the principal race officer, who is familiar with the local winds and conditions having won the Lieutenant Governor’s Cup multiple times in previous regattas,” Reynolds said. “The tides and currents were not big factors this weekend and the racers played the shifts and oscillations instead. Winds were predicted from the north but we saw an unexpected easterly instead.”

Thanks to young Maple Bay sailor Abby Brown, there was a resurgence this year in the dinghy events as she encouraged racers from Victoria, Comox, Saltspring Island and Maple Bay to participate. The 32 vessels managed five races over the weekend.

Winners in the dinghy fleet included Andrea Cairns in a fireball, opti sailor Ruben Rozen, Devin Roberts in the 420s and Ally Irwin in her laser.

The Lieutenant Governor’s Trophy for winning the combined A and B divisions went to April and Paul Faget from the Port Madison Yacht Club on their left coast dart, Ogopogo. The Adams Cup for winning the C and D divisions went to Antony Zegers of the Canadian Forces Sailing Association on his boat, Ducati.

Other winners included Rags, skippered by Judy Button in the ultra class, Nigel Martin on Bullet Proof in division B and Two Bits, owned by Penny and Bruce Cameron, in division D.