Bamse Cup 2017

Bamse Cup 1


Sept 14, 2017

The big boats get the glory but the small boats make the sailor. Nothing can be further from the truth when it comes to youth sailing. Whether it be a way for a young sailor to simply gain experience or the birth of elite level sailing, this regatta is to be placed on any event calendar. A product of the Convoy Cup Foundation, Bamse Cup is an extraordinary regatta named for, Bamse, an extraordinary dog. Bamse served in the Norwegian Navy during WW2 as mascot for his ship and eventually the Norwegian Navy. In a sense, a pioneer in what we now call a therapy dog. His legacy is simply to long for me to mention here but more can be found in a very informative and interesting book entitled (Sea Dog Bamse World War Ii Canine Hero by Angus Whitson and Andrew Orr)

Bamse cup 2On August 9-10, this youth regatta recently celebrated its 10th year of friendly competition at the Dartmouth Yacht Club. What makes the regatta extraordinary? Admission is free to all participants as costs are graciously covered by Dartmouth Yacht Club member Steinar Engeset, Retired Norwegian consular to Nova Scotia, and founder of both Convoy and Bamse Cup.

Bamse Cup 3The Convoy Cup Foundation is the brainchild of Steinar’s that commemorates the role of the allied convoys that departed Halifax’s Bedford Basin to send supplies to Europe in the battle against Hitler’s reign of terror. The foundations mission is to “Honour those that served in WW2. To celebrate the heroics of the allied forces the Convoy Cup is an ocean race hosted by the Dartmouth Yacht Club and in Risor, Norway. The Bamse Cup is the offspring regatta that caters to youth sailing.

To add to this the members at Dartmouth Yacht Club were asked to take time out of their busy summer schedules to take parents out in their boats. In true DYC fashion the membership was eager to help. The fleet of spectator boats quickly filled with parents eager to see their child on the race course. I was fortunate enough to be invited by Brad Boudreau to hop aboard Hipnautical, a finely crafted Grampian 26 of great character, for a close-up view of the action.

Bamse Cup 4With clear blue skies and light winds, the sailors of the future took to historic Bedford Basin to race in friendly competition where the allied convoys to Europe commenced. Thanks to my vantage point I could see and hear the Race Committee set up the courses, watch pre-start maneuvering, the all-important starts, many tacking duels, mark rounding’s, spinnaker hoists and douses and of course the dramatic starts and finishes.

Bamse AwardWith 70 participants ages 8-16 from 5 clubs the Bamse Cup was once again a resounding success with special mention to the coaches, volunteers and organizers who quickly circumvented unforeseen obstacles in the staging area resulting from the beginning phase of DYC’s new clubhouse construction. A true display of adjusting sails to new winds. In any regatta, the boats get the glory but it’s the unsung heroes behind the scenes that make a regatta successful. Both on-water and on-shore logistics dictate that the organizing committee and dedicated volunteers work diligently for many months prior to the regatta. All at the mercy of Mother Nature. The fact that the only call for extra assistance came in a request for sunscreen by a single boat is a tribute to the volunteers.

The closing award ceremony was highlighted by a visit by Bamse who posed for pictures with all competitors. Judging by the smiles on everyone in the room Bamse Cup 2017 was a resounding success. Onward to the next decade.

-Rob Dunbar
Photos courtesy of Bridget Hargraft

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