Frances Barclay an invaluable ship

Historic ship continues to sail between Port Alberni and Bamfield

The Frances Barclay is a fixture on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The Frances Barclay is a fixture on the west coast of Vancouver Island.

The final race of the hotly contested Winter Series took place Sunday, March 11 under the most varied conditions imaginable, testing racers’ mettle.

Fleet captain Peter Milne reports the winds blew from all directions: west, east, north and south and everywhere in between.

At least twice during the race, he said, the boats were becalmed and on the final legs the racers were overcome by a 30-knot squall that blew out the head sail on Amazing Grace and flash froze the racers with rain and snow.

Going into Sunday’s race Shingebiss, Flight and Amazing Grace were tied for first place overall in the Winter Series. The final results for series came down to the last race.

Each of the boats held the lead at least once during the race, but in the end first place for the race and the series was won by Brian Robinson and his crew on Flight, followed by Tim Rann on Amazing Grace and Neal Berger on Shingebiss.

Kelly Moloney and her crew on Maxim also had a good day, taking fourth in the race.

 

 

• She may have been built in Norway, but the Frances Barclay has become a fixture on the B.C. coast, transporting mail, goods and passengers to otherwise isolated communities.

Built in 1958, the 130-foot, 300-gross ton ship served as a vehicle ferry under the name M/S Rennesoy and then M/S Hidle until it was refitted and renamed and brought to B.C.’s west coast in August of  1990 to begin service for Lady Rose Marine Services.

The ship, berthed in Port Alberni, travels on a regular scheduled route to Bamfield

Besides providing invaluable contact with the outside world to isolated coastal outposts, the Frances Barclay has become the first choice for kayakers on their way to the Broken Island Group in Barclay Sound.