May 23, 2019

HMCS OrioleHello John,

I was pleased to see CYOB’s piece on ORIOLE, the Royal Canadian Navy’s sail training vessel (May 9 19.)  She was built as a racing yacht at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club for the Gooderham family in 1921.  She was based at RCYC for the first half of her life (or so) and was never a commercial vessel. 

It should be mentioned that HMCS VENTURE is the RCN’s officers training centre.  I served in the RCN for eleven years, and also aboard ORIOLE during that time. 

My time aboard ORIOLE was after training… I joined her for the Swiftsure Race as helmsman for my watch.   We started in light air with mobs of normal sized yachts dodging under our bowsprit,..,. and had to anchor for a while past Esquimault with the rest of the fleet waiting for the tide.  We set off again before dawn and by sun-up were galloping on a close reach at over 12 knots passing boats like they were standing still, spray flying all over while we successively shortened sail.   ORIOLE uses no winches, so to adjust her sheets we had to line up a whole watch and give the old ‘2…6… HEAVE!’ until the inches needed were gained… 

As we passed each boat we could see them cheering, shouting and taking pictures… very exciting, ORIOLE must have looked very dashing.   But by mid-day someone turned off the wind and we ended up pitching in a slop while the whole fleet climbed over us again… she didn’t win that year, alas.

The RCN is rightly very proud of HMCS ORIOLE… and from the reaction she gets at her port visits and out on the water, so are most Canadians

Gordon Laco
Midland, ON

Not happy with Cuba

Hello, John,

I must ask why, like too many Canadians, you relish supporting a brutal communist police dictatorship like Cuba. Too often, it's because we can, and Americans can't - that old animosity bred into too many of my countrymen.

If you're going to publish in this vein, at least have the temerity to give background to the nation's politics, its rabid support for Chavez-now-Maduro and the deprivations its brand of socialism has brought over 70 years to its people.

Filling state coffers from the spend of well-off yachtsmen will serve no purpose but to ensure its continuation.

Brian Hicks
Sailboat on Vancouver Island, reside in Calgary


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