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Victoria Classic Boat Festival

Oct 25, 2013
Clear skies greet the crowd amid the wooden classics in British Columbia.

Clear skies greet the crowd amid the wooden classics in British Columbia.

Ellen Massey Leonard

Eighty sail and power boats arrived on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, over Labor Day weekend for the 36th annual Victoria Classic Boat Festival. The event takes place in the scenic inner harbor, right beneath the landmark Empress hotel. The organizers expected more boats than in fact attended: thick fog on the days leading up to the festival prevented some participants from crossing the Strait of Georgia from the mainland.

The sun shone during the festival’s three days, however, allowing hundreds of spectators to view an eclectic variety of craft: everything from working fish boats to the sumptuous Ragtime-era motor yacht Deerleap. The tugboat Elmore was the oldest of the fleet, built in 1890. Sail-training vessel HMCS Oriole served as the salute vessel in the sail-past, and the topsail schooner Alcyone, which won Best Sail, showed off her lovely lines during the festival’s races. Sail and Life Training Society, owners of the wooden schooners Pacific Swift and Pacific Grace on which children can discover the joys of voyaging, sponsored a dory rowing race. The favorite boat among spectators, winner of the People’s Choice Award, was the restored runabout Wee Duggie. The festival’s other trophies were decided by 14 experienced judges. The event’s main sponsor was Canoe Cove Marina & Boatyard.

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