In The Wind: November 10, 2020

A Message from our President

Dear JSCA Members;

As we come to a close of an especially eventful season for the Jericho Sailing Centre Association, I would like to share a simple and truly heartfelt note of gratitude and admiration. Thank you! Thanks to our entire community of members, affiliate clubs, volunteers, staff, management, Board of Directors, and business partners for everything you did (and do) to help keep our operations strong and vital during this incredibly challenging Covid-19 pandemic year.

I feel deeply proud to have been part of a team that strove, with compassion, dedication, and professionalism, to ensure the JSCA remained a safe and welcoming destination for all of us who needed a healthy, fun-filled, and distracting outlet to cope with our stresses and worries.  I can’t say enough about both the responsiveness and inventiveness of all our partners, stakeholders, staff, and volunteers. Whether the many clubs, our schools, the Galley, DSA, our volunteers, or staff – everyone mobilized in double-time fashion to make JSCA a model organization that remained true to its mission and constitution, while accommodating a wide range of Covid-19 protocols and safety regulations. 

And, in the end, we delivered! We were still able to host 66% of our original event calendar. Some of our business partners actually witnessed a record year of performance. And we managed to close out the JSCA’s fiscal season with a balanced budget, while also keeping our cash reserves intact for the various long-term capital projects we still have scheduled in our Setting Course for 2035 strategic development plan. In my books, that is an incredible success!

I am very humbled to have had the membership elect me for another two-year term as a Board Director at last month’s AGM. Whether I should continue to serve on the Executive, as a Committee Chair, or simply a Director-at-large, I am proud to be given the opportunity to help steer our Society through this particularly rough patch, and on to smoother waters. While we’ve made good on our course over the last 8 months, we know there could be another year of special considerations ahead. It is my commitment to assist Mike Cotter, our General Manager, in keeping JSCA safe and vital for two more years to come.

Fair winds. And I look forward to seeing you back at Jericho Beach for another season of fun-filled aquatic recreation in 2021.

Chris Stairs,
President Jericho Sailing Centre Association

November 11 – Remember the Jericho Beach Air Station

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.

Supermarine Stranraer on the wharf at RCAF Jericho Beach Air Station

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 peaceful way of life we all cherish today.

What is now known as Jericho Beach 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 a concrete wharf apron, 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.

Supermarine Stranraers patrolling the BC coast during WWII

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 from here; craft like the: Blackburn Shark, Fairchild 71, Vickers MKII, Canso Catalina and the mainstay of the fleet, the Supermarine Stranraer – a sub hunter-nicknamed “the Whistling Birdcage” by flight crews for the sound generated by it’s biplane wing shrouds and rigging in flight.

Jericho Beach Air Station crew prepared for launch 

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 prevailing pacifist nature of our modern day users 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 incendiary 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.

Jericho Sailing Centre Covid-19 Safety Protocols – Week 26 STAGE 4

The Jericho Sailing Centre is sailing into Week 26 of operation under the Jericho Sailing Centre Covid-19 Safety Protocols.  These protocols have been put in place to minimize the risk of spreading Covid-19 among the users, staff and volunteers of the Jericho Sailing Centre and must be strictly adhered to-no excuses, relaxation or Covid fatigue permitted. 

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During STAGE 4 of our Covid-19 Safety Protocols the Jericho Sailing Centre will primarily be in use by JSCA members and their registered guests only, through the Fall, Winter and early Spring. Our Windsure and MacSailing school partners have closed for the season. Jericho Beach Kayak Centre will have reduced programs running through the winter (see below). Members of the public may join the JSCA any time throughout the year.

The main gate will be the initial access point for members and their guests during STAGE 4. Your valid* JSCA Membership Card will be required to unlock the member gate. If you enter with other members please make sure to card swipe the reader on the gate for potential contact tracing purposes. Please do not let anyone else in – have them phone the JSCA office to gain entrance.

Under STAGE 4 everyone entering the Jericho Sailing Centre facility must: wear a facemask at all times, stay physically distanced at all times, wash their hands frequently, register upon entry*, and of course, be kind to each other.

Guests accompanying members will be required to provide their name and phone number** at the office service window. All ocean gates will remain closed until needed for boat launching or retrieval. 

To support the Jericho Sailing Centre Covid-19 Safety Protocols there are temporary washroom, changeroom, shower and handwash stations throughout the compound. Showers and changerooms within the building will not be available. Interior washrooms will have an occupancy of 1.

All traffic within the Jericho Sailing Centre hallways and staircases, will be One Way only to support physical distancing. Please look for directional signage through-out the building and compound. JSCA office service is accessible via 2 service windows on the east exterior wall under a temporary awning.

The success of our Jericho Sailing Centre Covid-19 Safety Protocol depends on the cooperation of our entire Jericho community. Thank you to everyone who has committed to put “community” over “self”. Together we are doing everything we can to minimize the risk of spreading the Covid-19 virus.

*Please ensure you have signed the 2020 liability waiver to ensure your membership card is valid. Waivers can be signed at the following link:  JSCA Waiver 

**Registration information is taken for the potential purpose of Contact Tracing only. All information will be securely stored and destroyed after 30 days.

SAFETY NOTICE: Receding Daylight – Ocean Gates Locked at Sunset (<1637H)

A reminder to all late afternoon users of the Jericho Sailing Centre: today’s sunset is at 1637H (4:37pm for landlubbers). As we continue the long downhill slide to the winter solstice we are losing about 2 minutes of daylight each day. The wind frequently shuts off abruptly within an hour of sunset so if you are a sail powered craft you could run out of gas. Don’t sail any further from the Centre than you’d like to paddle considering tidal conditions and make sure you have your legally required paddle.

All craft on the water after sunset are required to display the appropriate lighting. Reference Transport Canada Safe Boating Guide for the legal requirements of your craft. Jericho Sailing Centre’s ocean gates are locked at sunset; if you plan to return after sunset it is your responsibility to ensure you have a gate key (available to all members $8).

Winter Launch Log

Members who launch from the Jericho Sailing Centre at this time of year are encouraged to stop in at the Jericho office and fill out the Winter Launch Log which outlines your float plan to let people here know you are out there.

Jericho Beach Kayak Centre Winter Programs 

Winter Paddling:
People have the opportunity to come kayak every other Wednesday and Saturday from 1-3pm throughout the entire winter. Cost $59

Online VHF courses
We are allowed to run our VHF courses online again due to the Covid pandemic.

Current we have one course scheduled October 20 and one November 26. The cost is $169 and includes the course material, license fee as well as instruction and testing.

Jericho Sailing Centre – Craft & Equipment Storage Available

There are still some craft and equipment storage spaces available to members at the Jericho Sailing Centre.

Kayaks – $158           
Double Kayaks – $191
SUPs & Windsurfers – $158
Laser Racks – $191
Tall Lockers – $119
Small Lockers – $63

Batten Down the Hatches! More Pacific Storms Coming This Way

Every “off season” vicious wind storms rip through the Jericho Sailing Centre compound looking for loose tarps, boat covers and poorly stowed gear. When they find a loose tarp they can turn a docile hibernating boat into a flying projectile which can cause damage to neighbouring craft. Members are responsible for ensuring they have “battened down the hatches” on their equipment stored at the Jericho Sailing Centre. If your boat causes damage to neighbouring craft you can be held liable. We encourage you to check your craft regularly year round (particularly before & after gnarly windstorms), remove any parts or equipment that can be easily removed (most thefts occur between Oct.-April) and make sure water doesn’t collect inside your hull (if it freezes and expands it can cause major damage).

Cold Water Recreation

There are many people launching from Jericho Beach these days who are new to cold water ocean recreation. Here are some things they must know about:

Appropriate Attire – Dress for Cold Water Immersion

The water temperature is well below the level where it is safe to recreate without a proper (no shorties) wetsuit or drysuit. People who get into serious trouble at this time of year have often made the mistake of dressing for the air temperature not the water temperature, which is fine until something goes wrong and they suddenly find themselves immersed in the water. A neoprene cowling is recommended for sports which feature frequent immersion. 

Always Stay with Your Craft

When a sailing dinghy, windsurfer or kayak capsizes they are usually within a couple of swim strokes of their crew. Some craft, particularly SUP’s and surf skis, require a safety leash (in good condition and properly attached) as they can easily get away in a capsize situation. Never leave your craft in an emergency situation as it is far easier to spot than a person in the water.

Use the Buddy System

Always sail, paddle, row with someone else, especially in cold water conditions. Let a reliable friend or relative know when and where you are going and when you expect to return. Diligently contact them upon your safe return. If you are launching from Jericho Beach stop in at the JSCA office to let us know when and where you are going and when you expect to return.

Be Aware of Sunset

Recently, JSCA staff have witnessed people launching within a few minutes of sunset. This is a dangerous practice. If something goes wrong for you: equipment failure; changing conditions; fatigue, etc., you are very difficult to find in the dark. Make sure your safety float plan includes plenty of time to get off of the water before sunset.

Here is a link to a cold water recreation education site:

Jericho Sailing Centre Etiquette

Common sense and consideration of fellow members and other users help make the Jericho Sailing Centre a true community centre with a friendly salt water community atmosphere. Here are a few etiquette reminders to keep things sailing along smoothly:

  • No Alcohol is permitted within the Jericho Sailing Centre other than that served by the Jericho Galley Patio & Grill At no time is alcohol permitted outside of a licensed area.                   
  • Do not leave your craft unattended on the shoreline for extended periods – share the shore.
  • RAMPS, and the areas adjacent to launching ramps, are for craft launch/retrieval only. Do not rig, repair or otherwise loiter in this area.
  • Do not leave or rig your craft in the rinsing areas adjacent to hosing stations. 
  • The Jericho Sailing Centre is a SMOKE/VAPE FREE facility. There is No Smoking or Vaping permitted in any Vancouver Park or beach area.
  • Give pathway users the right of way and bear in mind they may be distracted and not aware that you are crossing the pathway with your craft or launch rope.
  • Launch dollies are for launching/retrieval only (not for storage) and must be returned to the fence immediately after use.
  • Do not use the winches unless you are familiar with their safe operation. Winch instruction is available from staff or Jericho Rescue Team members. Only members or registered guests may use winches & dollies.
  • Only leashed, well behaved dogs are allowed in the compound, no dogs are allowed in the building or on the deck. Do not tie dogs to the base of stairwells or in other traffic areas. Do not leave your dog onshore while you are on the water. The City prohibits dogs on beaches. 
    In consideration of other Jericho users please consider leaving your dog at home while visiting the Jericho Sailing Centre.
  • Please coil hoses immediately after use and conserve water.
  • Do not block aisle ways.
  • Rinse racks are for rinsing not drying.
  • Swimming is prohibited in front of the Jericho Sailing Centre.
  • Respect your community by strictly following the Jericho Sailing Centre Covid-19 Safety Protocols.

Safety on the Ocean is your Responsibility

On the ocean there are elements of risk that common sense and personal awareness can help reduce. Regardless of how you decide to use the ocean always show courtesy to others. Please adhere to the code listed below and share with others the responsibility for a safe ocean experience. 
It is every member’s responsibility to know and observe the rules of the road when on or near the water. Here are some key rules which every Jericho member must know and practise.

1. Always wear your P.F.D. on the water.
2. Sail powered craft have the right of way over power craft, paddle and rowing powered craft.
3. All non-commercial vessels shall keep well clear of commercial vessels.
4. It is illegal and extremely dangerous to pass between a tug and its tow.
5. A port tack sailing vessel shall keep clear of a starboard tack vessel.
6. A windward vessel shall keep clear of a leeward vessel.
7. A vessel clear astern shall keep clear of a vessel ahead.
8. Any vessel overtaking another shall keep clear.
9. A vessel tacking or gybing shall keep clear of a vessel on a tack.
10.The area south of the orange can buoys is for training or transiting only.
11. Swimming or wading on the beach in front of the Centre is prohibited and is particularly dangerous for small children.
12. It is unsafe to loiter or let children play near the bottom of launching ramps.
13. Stay well clear of the end of the Jericho Pier as fishers cast lines as far as possible
14. Be cautious of pathway traffic when launching/retrieving
15. Do not leave your craft on the shoreline for extended periods of time

Always do a careful pre-launch safety check of your craft equipment and crew

Common sense goes a long way toward maintaining a safe environment. Membership in the Jericho Sailing Centre Association is contingent on members knowing and observing the Safe Ocean Sailing rules.