SHIPPING NEWS: Proud Manta wraps up

Exercises, funding for search and rescue and a host of other items in this weekly feature of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News

The crew of a CP-140 Aurora from 407 Long Range Patrol Squadron is back at 19 Wing Comox, after taking part in Exercise Proud Manta, the world’s largest anti-submarine warfare exercise. Held off the coast of Sicily the exercise ran from Feb. 23 until March 6.

The  squadron teamed up with personnel from other units during the exercise that involved 16 aircraft, eight surface ships and four submarines from 10 NATO countries.

Exercise Proud Manta involved both above and below water training scenarios, ranging from non-threatening communication exercises to war-fighting scenarios.

The most challenging training for the crews involved locating submarines.

• The Regional District of Nanaimo agreed at this week’s committee of the whole meeting to put a request for $5,000 in funding from the Royal Canadian  Marine Search and Rescue Society into the budget deliberations for 2014.

• When members of the Schooner Cove Yacht Club took to the water for the final pair of races in their spring Hot Rum series, they were faced with excellent sailing conditions.

Fleet Commodore Richard Hudson reports the March 10 event saw winds ranging between eight and 12 knots and smooth seas.

“Often a major influence, the tidal current was not as significant in these races,” he said.

In the first race  was Neal Berger in Shingebiss, followed by Richard Hudson in Freewind and Brian Robinson in Flight.

In the second race Flight finished in first, Shingebiss was second and Freewind finished in third.

Final results for the series show Flight in first place with five wins in six races. Freewind took second place and Shingebiss finished third.

The Spring Race Days will take place March 24 and April 7.

• Saturday, March 30 will be Tag Day for Sea Cadets and the Navy League.

They will be out in the Oceanside Area at Quality Foods, Save-on-Foods and other local businesses asking for support in the form of donations from the community.

In return Cadets will give back a gracious “Thank You,” as well as a token of their appreciation.

All monies raised will help them continue to participate in their ongoing activities.

• It’s still a little early for many boaters to get excited about going out on the water, says Don Manness.

That’s why the inaugural sailing race at the Deep Bay Yacht Club had to be called off.

“There weren’t enough boats to have a race,” he said. “Only two boats showed up. I think it’s a little too early in the season for most people.”

The club holds sailing races every second Sunday and Manness is hoping the next scheduled event, slated for this Sunday, will be a little warmer and more well-attended.

• Legend has it the schooner Malahat — The Queen of Rum Row — smuggled more illegal liquor during Prohibition than any other ship.

Built in Victoria in 1917, Malahat was owned by the Riefel family — which was heavily into the brewing industry.

During Prohibition, Malahat would anchor out in the mid-Pacific between B.C. and Hawaii and acted like a floating warehouse for as many as 100,000 bottles of illegal liquor.

Malahat foundered in Barkley Sound on March 14, 1944, and was towed to Powell River.

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