The bells that now toll here are wind whipped stainless halyards ringing a forest of anodized aluminum sailing dinghy masts; but it wasn’t always that way.
Department of National Defence Building 13, now known as the Jericho Sailing Centre, was a hustling, bustling place during the Second World War. Here, Canadians carried out their solemn duty to serve our country, to stand with honour to defend and preserve the freedom and way of life we cherish today.
What is now known as Jericho Park and the adjacent lands south of 4th Avenue were all part of the largest military training base in western Canada, Canadian Forces Base Jericho Beach. The foreshore, which was hemmed with an apron of concrete wharfs including 4 large airplane hangers and a Marine & Stores building(now the Jericho Sailing Centre), was RCAF Jericho Beach Air Station, a flying boat and seaplane base. Through the CFB Jericho Beach passed thousands of western Canadians in their metamorphic journey from civilians to soldiers, launched from here to the eternal hell that is war. Many never came home.
The Jericho Beach Air Station’s focus was civil defence; launching recognizance missions from this shore to patrol the BC coast, looking for signs of enemy vessels and/or aircraft. This original Jericho “ocean access facility” featured floating wooden launch ramps, steel wheeled launch dollies, winches, winch ropes, indoor flying boat storage, armed guards and barbed wire, lots of barbed wire.
The crews and personnel of Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron 4, launched flying boats and seaplanes; craft with names like: Blackburn Shark, Fairchild 71, Vickers MKII, Canso Catalina and the mainstay of the fleet, the Supermarine Stranraer – a sub hunter-nicknamed “the Whistling Birdcage” for the sound generated by it’s biplane wing shrouds and rigging in flight.
The wind and the sea were elements as important to those brave souls as they are to us today although their work was far more dangerous than our leisure time launches. A dead calm sea was difficult to take off from as the heavy craft’s hulls had to break through the salt laden surface tension to lift off. A sleeping sea was also treacherous to land on as it was impossible for sky skippers to judge altitude over a swiftly rising glassy surface. Larger waves could also be a problem. There were many spills; eleven aircrew lost in mishaps during this period. In one episode a Blackburn Shark’s pontoons punched head on into an English Bay rogue wave in the late stages of a takeoff, flipping the bird and killing the crew.
It may soothe the pacifist nature of our modern day members to know that in over 1700 wartime sorties the original crews of Jericho never fired a shot in anger and their only contact with the “other side” was a mysterious, ineffective, invasion of bomb rigged weather-type balloons in the winter of 1944/45.
A monument, just south of the Jericho Sailing Centre entrance; the Jericho Hostel; Jericho Arts Centre; the Vancouver Park Board Maintenance compound, and the Jericho Sailing Centre are all that remain in Jericho Park in Remembrance of those flighty days and fearless crews. When the tubular bells of the Jericho Sailing Centre ring every November 11 they ring for all who served our country and particularly for those who served from these shores. Whenever we launch from Jericho we are exercising the freedom passed on to us from their weathered hands. Remember them well.
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
All members are invited to attend the annual JSCA Racing Awards and Volunteer Appreciation Dinner on Sunday, October 20 at 1700H. Tickets are $10 and available in the JSCA office up until Saturday, October 19. There will be a slideshow presentation and awards bestowed upon our notable racers and volunteers. As our way of showing appreciation for our volunteers, they receive complementary tickets. If you volunteered for the JSCA in 2013 and haven’t received your invitation please contact the JSCA office.
Penguin Cup Racing Series
October 6, 13 & 20
UBC Sailing Club is inviting you and your friends to view the movie “Don’t Let Go”
“Don’t let go” is a true documentary about windsurfing. Filmed in ten different countries, we captured all aspects of being a pro windsurfer. From travelling to remote destinations, riding the biggest waves, competing on the world tour, suffering serious injuries and fighting hard to come back. There are good and bad times! Whatever – keep your dreams alive and don’t let go.”
Location: Jericho Sailing Center – Second Floor
Date: Wednesday Sept 25th at 7:30 pm
Drink and food can be purchased at the Galley
Entrance Fee: By Donation – Suggested Amount $10
The proceeds will be donated to one of Jericho Sailing Center’s long lasting member and volunteer who we prefer to keep anonymous . This member’s financial prospects for the future are seriously challenged by his current health condition, and we hope that our donations can help him go through these rough times.
With Summer coming to a close, we would like to invite sailors of all levels to come out and enjoy the last evening race of the season! Come out with friends and enjoy cruising around in this beautiful weather.
Thursday Nite Paddling @ Jericho
Registration Closes 1845H
Start @ 1900H
Our last Thursday Paddling of the season! Come down and bring your friends!
There is something distinctive about life here on the left coast of Canada in this province of British Columbia that easily inspires people to follow their noses along the salt scented Pacific air pathway to mess around in boats down at the liquidly source of all life- it is our very essence.
It’s not something that started in this generation or the last, or even in the time since British Columbia first boarded the good ship Canada in 1871. As long as people have lived near these sand swept, rock reinforced Pacific Ocean shorelines they have felt an intimate connection with the sea and nowhere is this more apparent today than at the Jericho Sailing Centre.
From the relatively landlocked hub bubs of Toronto, Montreal and other Canadian population centers it’s hard for non-Pacific inhabitants of our country to imagine we BC left “Coasters” without sandals, surf shorts, super shades, sunscreen, sun tanned skin and hair blowing in the wind, well bent on a good time at the beach. (Perhaps the leading catalyst for Easterners who jump ship west). On BC Day the beach is where many of us will “be”.
If the weather turns out as long range advertised for our provincial holiday (and for the real Jericho junkies even if it doesn’t), the waves of English Bay will be streaked with the wakes of a thousand tiny ship trips launched from Jericho Beach out of Vancouver’s low cost ocean community centre. The kayak, rowboat, sailing dinghy, windsurfer, stand-up paddleboard, skim board or other naturally powered craft you command could be among the flotilla.
This Monday make plans to exercise your “Be Sea” essence. Live it up to the beat of the provincial motto “Splendor without Diminishment“, throw on your surf shorts and sandals, slap on some sunscreen and your shades, turn your back to the east with a smile and come celebrate BC Day at the Jericho Sailing Centre.
The first of the annual Celebration of Light fireworks shows takes place this Saturday over English Bay. If fireworks turn you on, “Celebration” is a perfect accent to three Vancouver mid-summer night eves right in the sweet spot of summer. The fireworks are best viewed from English Bay Beach. Kits Beach offers a next best view with Jericho accommodating the cheap seats – distant view but easier parking and disembarking when the show ends. Seating at the Jericho Patio and Grill is tough to find after 2030H. The rooftop deck will be open to members & their accompanying guests (60 maximum) with security in place to enforce no alcohol or smoking. The show dates are July 27 & 31, and August 3; Start time 2200H. For more information on the Celebration of Light check out their website:
EXTREME DANGER WARNING
One of the most dangerous situations for operators of small water craft in Vancouver occurs at the conclusion of each Celebration of Light fireworks show. Hundreds of powerboats are hastily heading for home in all different directions and the sea surface is filled with crossing boat chop on waves. Lights from boats and downtown reflect everywhere and a kayak, canoe, rowboat or other small vessel is almost impossible to see, even if the power vessel Skipper hasn’t been drinking, and in some cases, he has.
The Jericho Sailing Centre Association, in the strongest possible way, advises our members and other small, naturally powered craft to not put themselves in this vulnerable position. If you choose to be out there, please remember that the Coast Guard and other safety boats will have their hands full and may not even be able to locate your craft within the boating frenzy if you need them. Also remember, that you the Skipper, as always, are solely responsible for your safety and that of your crew.
Thursday Nite Paddling @ Jericho
Registration Closes 1845H