1984-1985 Spirit of Chemainus In April, 1984, SALTS received a donation of a partially completed hull and undertook to complete the vessel construction. Symbolic of the ships sailed by our forefathers, this new vessel was rigged as a brigantine (with four squaresails on the foremast), as was the historic Cadboro, the first such rig to enter Victoria Harbour in 1837 under the command of Captain Brotchie.
The hull design was based on a Gloucester fishing sloop, with lines taken off and recorded by Howard Chapelle. Alex Spiller, formerly of Dodge Cove near Prince Rupert, had already lofted the vessel and prepared the moulds at his shop in Dodge Cove, when it was decided to transport them and many of his shipyard tools to Chemainus.
The first phase – construction of the hull – was supervised by Spiller aided by shipwrights Paul McLennan, John Leekie, John Knowles, Wayne Loiselle, Andrew Remple, Grant Urton, Tom Ellis, Don Corfield and Tom Spiller. The second phase – fitting out of the interior – was undertaken by Bob Down, assisted by David Keeble, John Homer, George Weeks, Barry Coombs and Bill McAnn.
The Spirit of Chemainus was launched on the 14th September 1985. Built entirely of wood, primarily mahogany and Douglas fir planking on steamed oak frames and yellow cedar beams. Deck houses, hatches, bulwark caps, transom and trim of mahogany and gumwood. Her sparred length:- 92’ (28m), length on deck:- 65' (20m), beam:- 18' (5.5m), and draught:- 9' 6" (3m). Sail plan was by Robert Lally and Associates, after typical 19th century practice, with sails by Shay and Greg Foster of Whaler Bay Boatyard.
After launching, the hull was delivered to Victoria for final fitting out and rigging. This last phase was supervised by then executive director, Martyn Clark and involved Gerry Fossum (Spirit of Chemainus first skipper), Tony Anderson, Mark Wallace, Ron Polmear, Chris Maloney, Lars Junker, Harry Leeder, Fred Rempel, Bert Haupt, Gerry Boy and others. Sail plan was by Robert R. Lally and Associates after typical 19th century practice with sails by Shay and Greg Foster of Whaler Bay Boatyard.
The Chemainus represented her birthplace, the Chemainus Valley, as official "Tall Ship of Vancouver Island" in 1986. She then served as a sail training vessel for young people for several years before being sold. She was sold for several reasons, the primary one being that she could not accommodate enough trainees to pay for the maintenance and crew necessary to keep it sailing as a sail training vessel. Nevertheless, she proved an excellent training ship for SALTS crews to learn the handling of a square rigged vessel, and was instrumental in Expo officials inviting SALTS to build the Pacific Swift at the Expo ‘86 world’s fair in Vancouver.
History of SALTSTimeline:
- 1974 - Robertson II purchased and sailed to Victoria; innovative sail training programs started
- 1980 - Robertson II put up for auction but purchased and donated back
- 1980-1984 - Robertson II receives major rebuild from 1980-1984
- 1984-1985 - Spirit of Chemainus re-constructed
- 1986 - Pacific Swift constructed as working exhibit at Expo '86 in Vancouver
- 1988-1989 - First Offshore Voyage of the Pacific Swift
- 1989-1990 - Second Offshore Voyage
- 1991-1993 - Third Offshore Voyage
- 1994-1995 - Fourth Offshore Voyage
- 1995-2001 - Pacific Grace, a replica of the Robertson II, constructed
- 2003-2004 - Fifth Offshore Voyage and maiden offshore voyage for the Pacific Grace
- 2007-2008 - Sixth Offshore Voyage
- 2012 - Relocation of office, shipyard, and marina
- 2015-Present - Bursary funding surpasses $100,000 annually; trainees are selected by SALTS and up to 14 partner organizations
- 2016 - Summer voyage routes expand along the northern BC coast, allowing for new relationships with indigenous communities and exploration of indigenous history and culture
- 2016 - Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge sail with SALTS during their visit to Victoria
- 2017 - S.S. Beaver Medal for Maritime Excellence received from Her Honour the Lt. Governor of BC on behalf of the Maritime Museum of BC
Lo ‘ Spirit of Chemainus’ e’ stato costruito in British Columbia , sulla costa Ovest del Canada nei cantieri Spiller Boat Building nel 1985, su commissione della “Sail and Life Training Society”. Il progetto di questo brigantino, disegnato da Howard Chapelle nel 1901, è stato fornito dall’Istituto Smithsonian . Questo tipo di imbarcazioni era utilizzato per la pesca sui Banchi di Terranova e la principale caratteristica , oltre la robustezza, era la velocità anche in condizioni di mare avverse.