Regatta sets sail this weekend

Model boats will test the waters of Beaver Lake Saturday and Sunday

Regatta chair Barry Fox officiates a recent race at Beaver Lake. This weekend

It’s common to see people take their boats out on the water on their days off, but this weekend, the boats at Beaver Lake might be a bit smaller than usual.

The Beaver Fever IOM (International One Metre) Regatta will see more than 20 radio-controlled model ships take to the lake for dozens of competitive races this weekend. The annual two-day event is hosted by the Victoria Model Shipbuilding Society and is the kickoff to a series of regattas around the Pacific Northwest.

“It’s kind of the first major regatta of the year,” said Beaver Fever regatta chair Barry Fox, noting future races are scheduled in Port Alberni and Seattle before the Canadian National Championship on Salt Spring Island in June.

As the man behind the Beaver Fever regatta, Fox said the race got its start after he moved to Victoria 10 years ago and noticed there was a demand for competitive sailing, but no real competitions.

“I had already started to do radio-controlled sailing and had kind of landed on this class of boat called the international one metre, which is probably the largest population of single-class radio-controlled boats in the world,” said Fox.

“I got hooked up with some of the local guys who were also enthusiastic about sailing, and over time, did some smaller regattas around Vancouver Island. Then I decided we could use a bigger regatta and I started this regatta we sail at Beaver Lake.”

Beaver Fever – a combination of Beaver Lake and Spring Fever – started with only a few boats, but over the years, has grown to as many as 24 racers. This year’s competition will see the fleet split into two heats, with races running throughout Saturday and Sunday.

While the boats will all fit the international one metre regulations, Fox said attendees will still be able to see a range of model ships in the regatta.

“The designs of the boats are quite varied, especially with the hulls,” he said. “It kind of goes in cycles: a few years ago, really broad-beamed boats were the thing to have, and now that’s not the case. The trick is a narrower boat.

“They all weigh the same, they’re all a metre long, they all displace the same amount of water, so they’re very equal. You don’t have to have the boat of the day.”

The racing starts at 10 a.m. both days and ends at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday. The schedule of heats is somewhat dependent on the wind.

The regatta is free to watch. Attendees can park at the nearby lot at 728 Beaver Lake Rd.

For more information, visit vmss.ca.

 

jacob.zinn@saanichnews.com

 

 

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