The Maritime Museum of BC, with support from the Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, Mill Bay Marine Group, the BC Fairs, Festivals, an Events Recovery Fund grant from the Province of British Columbia, and a Festival Investment Grant from the City of Victoria, will be hosting the 44th Annual Victoria Classic Boat Festival this Labour Day Weekend, from September 1-3, 2023. We are also delighted to announce a Museum Dock of significant vessels from the Wooden Boat Society, and the Ladysmith Maritime Society!
The Honourary Commodore for 2023 is Captain Richard “Slim” Gardner aboard MV Deerleap.
About the Victoria Classic Boat Festival
The Victoria Classic Boat Festival is a spectacular annual gathering of vessels of a Classic design, both new and old, power and sail. Vessels attend from all over the Pacific Northwest, with the occasional visiting vessel from distant oceans. Each year during the Labour Day Weekend, approximately 10,000 visitors tour the docks and the boats on display. The public is invited to view the boats while they are moored at the Inner Harbour docks. Many owners generously offer tours of their boats.
William Noon, Festival Chair, noted that “the Pacific Northwest is blessed with an enormous number of traditional boats – from sail boats, to workboats, to cruisers. The Festival began in 1977 with the idea that our maritime heritage must not only be preserved, but also celebrated. The Festival’s open docks, events, and activities serve to engage our community and visitors on our maritime history, culture, and its ongoing story.”
As in previous years, these classic boats will participate in a “sail past” and race on Sunday, September 4. The modern day “sail past” tradition began at the first yacht club that was formed in England nearly 200 years ago. It was first introduced as a continuation of the naval habit of having Admirals and Royalty review the fleet on special occasions. The Festival’s tradition is similar, however, the Honourary Commodore instead of the Admiral receives the salute. Spectators can head out to watch the parade of ships and races from Victoria Waterfront on Sunday afternoon.
Abernethy & Gaudin Ltd. Young Boaters Scholarship
We are delighted to announce that our 2023 Abernethy & Gaudin Boatbuilders Ltd. Young Boaters Scholarship recipient is Eden Murray, with China Cloud.
China Cloud is a 45’ junk rig sailing vessel that was built on the beach with a hand saw and an axe by Allen and Sharie Farrell. Perched upon the mud flats on Lasqueti island and soaring lightly atop the water, this famous vessel and its welcoming aura inspired countless individuals up and down the coast. A masterpiece, an artistic home, and a gentle symbol for living uniquely and with peace, China Cloud is happy to be sailing again 40 years after her launch.
Well lived in and starting her deeper restorations by owner, Eden Murray and shipwright, Hans Murray, this legacy of the Farrells and all that loved them will now be happily embedded in community once again! You can read more about China Cloud’s history and current happenings at edengrace.ca/china-cloud
The scholarship covers registration and moorage at the Festival, all events, and is awarded each year to an eligible boater under 30. Applications for the scholarship open for the 2024 Festival in January 2024.
Date: September 1-3, 2023
Friday, September 1: 9 AM – 8 PM
Saturday, September 2: 9 AM – 8 PM
Sunday, September 3: 9 AM – 6 PM
Location: Victoria’s downtown Inner Harbour
Cost: Open by donation (suggested $5)