In the wind: November 10, 2021

Featured photo: Supermarine Stranraer on the concrete apron of the Jericho Beach Air Station during WWII

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.

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. Too 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 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.

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 lives 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.

Remembrance Day Ceremony in Jerry’s Cove

Each year, leading up to the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month our good neighbours at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club hold a Remembrance Day Service on the water in Jerry’s Cove between the Jericho Sailing Centre and the RVYC breakwater.

Many of their past members served in the Canadian Navy during two world wars and current RVYC members do an excellent job of paying their respects in this solemn nautical tradition. Jericho Rescue will be on the water in Jerry’s Cove between 1030-1200H to pay respects on behalf of the JSCA and assist any attending paddlers who may wish to observe this unique maritime service. The service commences at 1045H. Please remember to display a poppy on your PFD.

Shower Power! Indoor Facilities now available to fully vaccinated members

The Jericho Sailing Centre indoor shower and changing facilities are now available to fully vaccinated JSCA members. Show your vaccine passport at the JSCA office and your member card will be updated for ongoing indoor shower and change room access. For the time being our outdoor showers on the west wall of the building will remain active.

Compound Security

The Jericho Sailing Centre is open to JSCA members and accompanying guests only at this time. Please help us keep gates closed when not in use to avoid non-members leaking in. We look forward to welcoming the public back when our schools and the Galley Patio & Grill resume operations next spring.

JSCA Annual Fleet Planning Meeting
November 30 1800H

Tasars at the leeward mark

Racers of types of Jericho style craft and classes, the annual Fleet Planning Meeting is where we lay out the first draft of the 2022 JSCA Event Schedule. If you have an idea for a 2022 event, or how we can make Jericho racing programs better, please attend this online meeting, share your ideas and help us plan for a successful 2022. RSVP for meeting link.

JSCA Committees Planning for 2022

JSCA members are encouraged to participate on committees to help us ensure that the JSCA best serves the needs of all members. Below is a brief description of our committees along with their next meeting date. If you would like more information about our committees or would like to attend please send a note via reply email and I can answer any questions and send you a meeting link. If you are unable to personally attend but have some ideas you’d like to see, please send them in a reply email.

OPERATIONS COMMITTEE (Next Meeting November 17 @ 1900H)
Serves as the Jericho Sailing Centre’s technical maintenance committee for the building, compound, ramps and beaches; considers special requests for allocation and use of club/meeting rooms, craft storage, and locker space; receives and considers members’ appeals of administration decisions in reference to storage and space allocation and makes recommendations to the Board.

SAFETY COMMITTEE (Next Meeting November 24 @ 1800H)
Oversees the operation and maintenance of all J.S.C.A. power craft and accessory equipment; oversees the Jericho Rescue Team Program; helps maintain a safety conscious atmosphere for J.S.C.A. users, both on the water and in/around the compound.

PROGRAMMES COMMITTEE (Annual Fleet Planning Meeting November 30 @ 1800H)
This committee plans J.S.C.A. Special Events and our racing schedule; oversees all aspects of Jericho racing, as well as the development and maintenance of our website and the production of the J.S.C.A. newsletter to ensure it is produced and distributed with reasonable frequency and adequate quality.

PLANNING COMMITTEE (Next December 13 @ 1900H)
Provides a structure for the on-going function and development of the Jericho Sailing Centre Association.

Cold Water Recreation

Appropriate Attire – Dress for Cold Water Immersion
The water temperature is now well below the level where it is safe to recreate without proper cold water attire: wetsuit, dry suit, etc. 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 might be OK until something goes wrong and they suddenly find themselves unexpectedly immersed in cold water.

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 from a distance 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.

Off Season Launch Log
Please use the Jericho Sailing Centre facilities at this time of year at your own discretion. All users understand that they are ultimately responsible for their own safety. In addition to letting a friend or family member know of your safety float plan you can check in at the JSCA office to register in our off Season Launch Log. The JSCA assumes no risk or liability for your safety on the water.

Be Aware of Sunset
Make sure your safety float plan includes plenty of time to get off of the water before sunset. If something goes wrong for you: equipment failure; changing conditions; fatigue, etc., you are very difficult to find in the dark.

Here is a link to one of our favourite cold water education sites:

English Bay Safety Seminar Online

The English Bay Safety Seminar was developed for users of the Jericho Sailing Centre to help keep them safe at play while on the waters of English Bay and beyond. The seminar covers basic water safety fundamentals along with user specific information drawn from the logs of the Jericho Rescue Team who have intervened in thousands of “sea disasters” over the past 46 years.

click: English Bay Safety Seminar

Jericho Sailing Centre Current Covid-19 Safety Protocols

The Jericho Sailing Centre Association is committed to fighting the spread of Covid-19. Here are the current Jericho Sailing Centre Covid-19 Safety Protocols:

  • Mask use mandatory in the building, optional in the compound.

Please bring your own mask. Disposable masks available for purchase in the JSCA Office.

  • Sailor’s Lounge and roof top deck open to members.
  • Indoor washrooms capacity limits removed.
  • Other than the Burrard room, all rooms in the Jericho Sailing Centre building are back to their original capacities.
  • One-way travel in the building.
  • Member service window barrier and office configuration will be retained. Indoor mask use by staff retained. Outdoor mask use by staff optional.
  • Indoor shower and change room usage available to JSCA members with proof of vaccination.
  • Continue to be kind to each other and give each other generous personal space.
  • Other than for indoor shower and change room access, vaccine passports are not required at this time, however we support public health recommendations for everyone to get vaccinated.

We anticipate further changes, tweaking and tuning, as we move through the summer. Thank you for being considerate of others.

Outdoor HOT Showers

Located on the exterior west wall

On the Water-Safety 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 practice.

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 it’s 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.

Jericho Sailing Centre Etiquette

Common sense and consideration of fellow members 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:

  • 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/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.
  • If you launch from your own dolly or trailer return it to your storage spot after launching.
  • 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, non-barking/whining 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.

Galley Patio & Grill Closed for the Season