Port Hardy teen Rory Korhonen recently completed a 10-day sailing journey from Victoria as a trainee aboard the SALTS schooner Pacific Grace.

SALTS voyage seasons student’s summer

PORT HARDY-Local teen takes 10-day trip as trainee aboard 138-foot replica schooner.

PORT HARDY—Tall-masted, wooden sailing ships have for centuries inspired songs, stories and even legends.

So it’s no surprise his first seagoing experience left an impression on Port Hardy teen Rory Korhonen.

“It was amazing, some of the sights we saw,” said Korhonen, who arrived home last week following a 10-day voyage from Victoria on the Sail and Life Training Society (SALTS) ship Pacific Grace. “It was breathtaking. I’m at a loss for words.”

The distinctive Pacific Grace is a 138-foot gaff topsail schooner, modelled on one of Canada’s original Grand Banks fishing schooners. Each summer it, and its sister ship, the 111-foot Pacific Swift, can be seen tied up at the SeaGate Dock on their way around the north end of Vancouver Island to and from their home in the SALTS Heritage Shipyard in Victoria.

This year, Korhonen, who just finished his Grade 10 year at Port Hardy Secondary School, was recommended for a bursary by vice principal Frank McLean. Once accepted, he joined a group of 31 trainees and eight professional and volunteer crew members for the 430 nautical mile sail up the inside of the island to Port Hardy.

“It was my first time on a sailboat, of any size,” said Korhonen. “I was kind of in awe at first; I didn’t know what to expect. But it was an amazing and educational experience. I developed a lot of friendships with a lot of people that I didn’t think I could in 10 days.”

Korhonen said each trainee was issued a log book, and each was tested on a variety of nautical skills taught during the journey. Along the way, he learned how to deploy one of the small, on-board dories, climbed to the top of the mainmast and learned a series of knots — a task made easier through his experience as a member of Port Hardy’s Junior Canadian Rangers.

“I did know some of the knots already, which was beneficial,” said Korhonen, who passed his junior sailor level. “But at the start, I didn’t know where any of the gear was.”

It wasn’t all work and testing, though. Korhonen described a series of stops, during which the trainees ferried ashore in the dories to take part in onshore activities. These included trips to Savory Island and Knight Inlet and to a freshwater lake.

“I saw a bunch of waterfalls, and two times we actually showered in waterfalls,” he said.

Normally the two SALTS ships travel together around Vancouver Island, but this summer Pacific Grace traveled solo on this trip, with Pacific Swift expected to follow and dock in Port Hardy in the coming days on its own circumnavigation of the island.

Pacific Grace had another destination planned as it picked up 28 new trainees and departed Port Hardy last Friday.

“This boat is going on to Alaska,” skipper Tony Anderson said. “We’ll sail the inside passage, then come back home through Haida Gwaii.”

“Alaska, that would be cool,” said Korhonen, who is already plotting his way back onto one of the SALTS ships, hopefully as a volunteer crew member. “It’s kind of crazy, three weeks instead of 10 days. But I’m thinking of applying for a volunteer crew position. If I had a chance, I’d do it all over again.”

And to his fellow Port Hardy residents who might get the chance for a bursary to serve as a trainee?

“I would highly recommend it.”

 

Just Posted

Port Alice trailer goes up in flames in the early morning hours

The North Island Gazette will continue to update the story with more details as it progresses.

1041 customers without power due to outages in Northern Vancouver Island

Keep following the North Island Gazette for more on the power outages.

VIDEO: Sports Talk with Tyson: North Island Bantam Eagles are ready for provincials

Sports Talk with Tyson is back this week with an indepth look at the North Island Bantam Eagles.

Ferry connecting Port Hardy and Bella Coola expected to set sail this summer

Its first in-service route will sail in central coast waters on May 18, 2019.

REPLAY: B.C’s best videos this week

In case you missed it, here’s a look at the replay-worth highlights from this week across the province

Patriots make 3rd straight Super Bowl, beat Chiefs 37-31 in OT

New England will meet L.A. Rams in NFL title game

Pettersson returns to lead Canucks to 3-2 win over Red Wings

Vancouver’s super rookie has 2 points in first game back after knee injury

Support pours in for Vancouver Island couple whose home was destroyed by massive blaze

GoFundMe page reached $10,000 in one day for soon-to-be parents

Skaters stranded in Saint John, NB, amid storm on last day of championships

More than half of the flights out of the city’s airport were cancelled due to the weather

Call for tighter bail rules after Saudi sex-crime suspect vanishes

Mohammed Zuraibi Alzoabi was facing charges related to alleged sexual assault, criminal harassment, assault and forcible confinement of a woman

12 poisoned eagles found in Cowichan Valley

Improper disposal of euthanized animal suspected

Olympic softball qualifier to be held in B.C.

Tournament is to be held Aug. 25 to Sept. 1

B.C. resident creates global sport training program

The 20 hour course teaches the science and application of interval training at the university level

Most Read