Our History

Canoes on what is now known as Jericho Beach in 1883

A Paddling People from the Beginning

For thousands of years people have launched naturally powered craft from the shores of what we now call Jericho Beach and Point Grey. Archeological evidence reveals a history of communities long connected harmoniously with their ocean environment.

Discovery off Point Grey

The Legend of Point Grey

The legend tells the story of the Tyee of the West Wind; the scourge of local ancient mariners who aspired to be chief of gods and stood in defiance of the Sagalie Tyee. The Sagalie Tyee, in the form of The Four Men in a canoe, paddled through a destructive tempest brewed up by the West Wind and victoriously landed on this headland. The defeated West Wind Tyee was transformed into a great stone, filled with powerful medicine which today stands just off the shoreline SW of Point Grey. Ancient people named it Homolson Rock and say that for thousands of years to come any paddler who touches their blade to it will be blessed with favourable winds on their journey home.

Sailors entered English Bay for the first time in June 1792 captained by George Vancouver, who noted the sheltered inlet and its significant southern features: the large sand bank, the old growth forest and the fresh water stream emptying into an accessible tidal estuary at the east end of the bank. The magnificent towering stands of Douglas Fir were much in demand by mariners for building masts and the area would later be claimed by the British Admiralty. Capt. Vancouver made good contact with the people here and it didn’t take long for the local community to recognize all of the positive attributes of sailing.

Jeremiah Rodgers

Decades later Jeremiah Roger’s logging operation cleared the old growth forest which once stood here and depended on the ocean to get the product to market. Much of this wood went in to the building of early, pre-Great Fire, Vancouver. His location became known as Jerry’s Cove which was condensed to Jericho.

Jericho Beach Golf & Country Club

The ocean setting within the breathtaking mountain vista attracted the exclusive Jericho Beach Golf & Country Club which was washed away by a great ocean storm and was rebuilt only to then be expropriated by the Federal government for the Jericho Beach Air Station.

Jericho Beach Air Station: Vancouver’s First Airport

In 1920, almost a decade before YVR opened for business, the Jericho Beach Air Station commenced operations. In the earliest days of Canadian aviation history, flying boats from Jericho charted the BC coast, surveyed timber for BC’s fledgling forest industry, flew people, supplies and mail to remote communities, assisted Canada Customs in stemming the tide of rum runners during prohibition and photo surveyed and mapped remote areas of the province.

RCAF Station Jericho Beach

In the early part of WWII the Jericho Beach Air Station evolved into a Royal Canadian Air Force Base. The remnants of the Jericho Beach Golf & Country Club were covered with concrete and military buildings, and the number of flying boat and seaplane launches increased dramatically.

The building now known as the Jericho Sailing Centre was built in 1940 as the Marine and Stores Building for RCAF Jericho Beach. The upper floor consisted of officer’s offices as well as planning and briefing rooms for marine operations.

The primary mission became civil defense; launching reconnaissance missions from this shore to patrol the BC coast and looking for signs of enemy vessels and/or aircraft. Flying boats and seaplanes launched from here during WWII included: Blackburn Sharks, Vickers MKII, Canso Catalina and the mainstay of the fleet the Supermarine Stanraer – a sub hunter nicknamed “the Whistling Birdcage” for the sound generated by its biplane wing shrouds and rigging in flight.

RCAF Station Jericho Beach crew’s only actual contact with the “other side” was encountering a mysterious but ineffective invasion of incendiary bomb rigged weather-type balloons aloft in the winter of 1944/45.

Jericho Beach Park

RCAF Station Jericho Beach was decommissioned in 1969 and its land and buildings were turned over to the City who decided to create a marine access park. A lengthy process of demolishing the numerous buildings began and when City engineers assessed this building — then known as Building 13 — they determined that it would be too expensive to retain and rehabilitate, and recommended it be demolished.

The 1974 former Jericho Beach Air Station Marine and Stores Building had long been abandoned and, like the surrounding buildings, had an impending appointment with the wrecking ball. The building was hard to get to from the land side, through an armed guard station and other barb wire remnants of the closing military base. 

It was unofficially adopted by a passionate crew of dinghy sailors, including members of the UBC and Viking Sailing Clubs, who had the dream and vision of creating a low cost, highly accessible, non-taxpayer funded community centre dedicated to ocean recreation for small, naturally powered craft. 

When the ominous wrecking ball confronted this unrealized dream the undaunted sailors took their idea to the City of Vancouver who agreed to a tentative one year agreement to see how such an entity might serve the needs of citizens in the newly created Jericho Beach Park. The Jericho Sailing Centre has been the park’s “anchor tenant” ever since.

Jericho Sailing Centre

In ‘74 every window was broken, the roof leaked, there were no washrooms, showers, running water or electricity. There was however a determined “people power” and a new “army” of volunteers who went to work digging trenches for waterlines, fixing windows, building ramps, storage racks, washrooms, clubrooms, and removed metal and piling remnants from the beach.

Four decades of unwavering, passionate evolution have created the world-class ocean recreation facility enjoyed today by many in this city named after a prominent seafarer.

Since our humble beginnings when we served just a few hundred people, the population of Vancouver has more than doubled and the demand for naturally powered ocean recreation programs, services and facilities have increased exponentially.

More than 25,000 people from throughout the city and Metro Vancouver area, from all walks of life and all of life’s circumstances, annually launch from the Jericho Sailing Centre to experience Vancouver’s marine environment first hand.

Our restaurant and deck are open to the public. Come enjoy the best ocean side views around.

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  • 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 on shore 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.

  • Winter conditions can be challenging. Some people look forward to winter ocean recreation as a way to keep enjoying the salt water sports that they love. Over the years, Jericho Rescue has rescued people in the initial stages of hypothermia at all times of year. In winter, this is a risk people should be mitigating with proper preparation. Tim Murphy sails on a blustery, chilly day in mid January. Note the smaller ILCA 6 rig, drysuit and toque. Tim also made sure to stay close to shore in case something went awry. Upgrade your attirePlay safe and dress for survival. Now that the air and water temperatures have become noticeably cooler, the wetsuit or thermally protective attire that may have been optional in the summer months are now mandatory. It depends on your activity. If you are sailing or windsurfing then a cold water wetsuit is in order. A full length 4/3mm or thicker wetsuit with a proper hood or hat would be a minimum (a 5/4mm or thicker suit would be even warmer). Wetsuit manufacturers also offer accessory thermal layers to add warmth as conditions get colder. This is a great way to extend the usefulness of your regular suit. Some folks prefer drysuits – this time of year it would be important to make sure you are wearing proper insulating layers beneath your drysuit. In either case, check to make sure your suit is in good condition with no holes and that the seals are functioning properly. Heat loss from your head and/or neck should be addressed with a hood, hat and/or a neck tube. Neoprene booties, gloves or mittens are also a good idea. If paddling or rowing, its a good idea to add insulating and/or wind-blocking layers to a dry bag in the bottom of your boat. This way you can layer up and down as you cycle through work and recovery intervals during your workout or if you end up getting wetter than expected. It’s important that these layers work well when wet and do not absorb water – wool and synthetics are recommended. Be smart about your activity patternsSailing, paddling or rowing in the cold means being smart about your route and preparation. Mitigate your chances of being caught out in the cold by doing more laps closer to home instead of forging further from shore. If windy, make your way upwind first to protect against getting caught downwind should something go wrong. Be conservative with your gear choices, skill and endurance levels. The cold combined with extra attire always makes activity a little more difficult and the consequences of gear or skill failure are more dangerous. Choose a smaller sail, or a more seaworthy kayak than you might choose in similar conditions during the summer. Resist the urge for “one more reach” and make sure you’re on shore before you get tired or before the cold reduces your ability to operate your craft competently. These UBC Sailing Club kayakers are well equipped for winter paddling. Note the safety gear on deck, drysuits, neoprene hoods, a calm day and a buddy to paddle with. If you do fall into ice cold water unprepared, your body will cool off more quickly than it can generate heat. The 1-10-1 rule states that after a minute of fast breathing and panic, you’ll only have about 10 minutes or so of coordinated gross motor strength and function and one hour of consciousness. Plan your route so that you can quickly return to shore should you get colder than expected during your activity. However, if you cannot manage to re-board your craft after a capsize, always stay with your craft – it is far easier to spot than a person in the water. Have a plan to call for help if you need it.The law requires a sound signalling device, but a whistle or horn is no good if no one is on the water to hear it. If you do venture further from shore be prepared with a way to call for help. A cell phone in a waterproof case or a VHF marine radio (as long as you are licensed to operate it) are good items to bring with you. Safety in numbersUse the Buddy System. Always sail, paddle, or 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. For more information on cold water survival surf on over to Cold Water Bootcamp.

  • 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.0.5 IT IS EVERYONE’S RESPONSIBILITY TO AVOID A COLLISION 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.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. 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.