“That’s the closest I’ll get to sailing on the Bluenose,” declared one Vancouver Maritime Museum volunteer as she disembarked from the iconic HMCS Oriole.

On Wednesday, September 23, a group of 12 museum volunteers were invited aboard the HMCS Oriole, a 1921 ocean racing yacht that currently serves as a training vessel for the Royal Canadian Navy.  Under the watchful eye of commanding officer Mike Wills, the volunteers were treated to a day sail around Passage Island, close to Bowen Island.

We watched as the crew of 20 sailors raised the Main, Mizzen, Jumbo and Yankee sails. We saw the teamwork involved in sailing a schooner and the brute strength required to manoeuvre the boat in strong winds. The conditions were perfect, a calm sea with a steady wind. At one point we were travelling up to 10 knots.

For those who have never been aboard a sailing ship, this is truly an amazing experience. What a great way to experience Canada’s maritime history! 

Andrew Hildred - Programming & Volunteer Coordinator, Vancouver Maritime Museum