More than twenty 12-foot-long Minis could fill Cadboro Bay on New Year’s during a race organized by the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. Submitted.

Cadboro Bay hosts New Year’s sailing race

Race marks a tradition that started in 1983

Many mark New Year’s by throwing themselves into icy water. Gerry Porter prefers to sail on it.

The Oak Bay resident welcomed 2019 by squeezing his 77-year-old body into a tiny sailing boat, racing in Cadboro Bay against some of his closest friends.

“This is called frost biting, and we are just having a wonderful time,” he says. “It’s the most fun you can have on the water without getting yourself wet.”

RELATED: Dave Godfrey had the ‘energy of 10 men’

Porter has been having fun since 1983 when the tradition of welcoming the New Year with a turn on the sea first started.

It resumed Tuesday when Porter and some 20 other sailors meet at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club for the first of two races.

It is a vintage gathering, as most of the sailors range between 60 and 84 in age. But don’t let those numbers deceive you. Many of them have sailed all seven seas and they remain as competitive as ever in sailing for bragging rights, without being too serious. One clue to this spirit is the name of the race itself.

Porter describes the race as the mini version of the America’s Cup, the oldest international sporting competition and one of the most grueling events ever. In the real version, competitors race yachts 12 metres long on the open ocean. In the Cadboro Bay version, sailors race 12-foot-long mini versions, which they help steer with foot pedals. In short, it is not quite the same, but you get the idea.

RELATED: Boat capsizes in Caddy Bay

This said, Tuesday’s gathering is first and foremost about sharing time with others who share the same passion for sailing. In some ways, it is also a demonstration that you do not need to be young to have a fun on the water. According to Porter, of the 35 sailors at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, 25 are aged 75 years and older, and if you consider Porter’s commitment to this tradition, he wants to see many more changes of the calendar.

“An hour sailing a Mini 12 adds a day to your life,” he says.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

Almost four of 10 Canadians have unlimited internet data at home

Fifty-four per cent say they telecommute at least sometimes

Esquimalt needs urgent health care facility, mayor says

A severe doctor shortage is leaving Esquimalt residents scrambling for health care

Student Voice: Saanich students launch competitive robotics team

The Reynolds Reybots plan to share their skills with middle schools

Royal BC Museum’s newest series takes visitors behind the scenes

Adult sessions explores art, nature, history and more

What are the worst parking spots in Victoria?

We are looking for the worst places in the city to park and need your opinion

UPDATE: B.C. woman and boy, 6, found safe, RCMP confirm

Roseanne Supernault says both she and her six-year-old nephew are fine and she has contacted police

PHOTOS: Women’s Marches take to the streets across B.C. and beyond

Women and allies marched worldwide protesting violence against women, calling for equality

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

Most Read