Aboard Unda

A day of sailing

Victoria Classic Boat Festival 2014

Labour day weekend in Victoria is one of my favourite times of year because the wooden boats are in town. In particular, there are numerous beautiful, traditional sailing vessels that come to town to participate in the annual Victoria Classic Boat Festival.

On Friday evening, after work, we headed down to the inner harbour to admire this year’s boats. First we started with the beautiful motor yachts and launches. Then, we headed to the best part of the show, the sailing vessels. Most of the boats are from the Pacific Northwest, only a day away from their home ports. This year, there was also a lovely 40-foot ketch, Unda, from my home port, San Francisco. Aboard Unda, Dean and Dee Dee, the owners, patiently answered my questions about their boat and where in the San Francisco Bay Area they were from. After being invited aboard, it only got better: Dean asked if we would like to crew for them during Sunday’s parade and race.

Sunday provided the classic fleet with just enough wind to make the sailing really fun without making anybody work too hard. Truth be told, the locals all looked a little overpowered on the upwind legs, but fared better downwind with the extra sail area. The day was a total blast and the crew that was scraped (my wife and I qualify as near the bottom of the barrel) together thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Many thanks to Dean and Dee Dee for making this an extra special classic boat show. One that will be difficult to beat. And thanks also for being OK with me taking photos in between mainsheet trimming. I’m just sorry that I couldn’t get a shot of Unda under sail.

Photos captured with the Fujifilm X-T1, fronted with the XF55-200mm lens, and an X100s. There was enough spray that I was happy to have the weather-sealed X-T1, while I did my best to keep lens dry. They all performed admirably.

Follow Dean and Dee Dee’s adventures on Unda.


  1. I dearly love a tall ship, and the shots of the small clipper type are beautiful. Makes me want to dig out my Master & Commander books again. Which it is an uncommon genteel sight, your photographs! Some great work on your 35mm equiv, there. Lovely rich organic colour too. Also – colour me jealous. :)

    1. Thanks Peter, it was a visual delight to be amongst the fleet. The tall ship you see in some of the photos is the SALTS Pacific Grace. a gaff-rigged schooner. Unfortunately, she is currently having her topmasts replaced, so she looks a little under height right now.

  2. Great photographs depicting the beauty of sailing. I can feel the wind and the boat heeling; squint at the glare reflecting off white sails; and hear the hull slicing through the water, the mast creaking, the stays humming. Thank you for sharing a great day!

    1. Thanks Robin, we feel really fortunate for the opportunity. Pure serendipity. It also doesn’t hurt to talk to people. Mostly, they are generous and welcoming. It also doesn’t hurt that they needed crew!

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