A Billowing Spinnaker

A colourful, billowing spinnaker on a sunny, high-blue day is always a thing of beauty, and like a breath of fresh air. Maybe the only sight better is seeing a pack of competitive racing sailboats, all with spinnakers flying. Our cover photo was taken in January this year, while the pandemic continues to dictate how we live, and captures a feeling of freedom, worthy of celebration.

The cover photo was taken by local photographer/sailor Doug Stanley. One avid sailor from our Research Department assured the non-sailors among us that taking a great photo of a spinnaker while you are sailing is no small accomplishment. For those not familiar with sails and sailing, spinnakers are comparatively large, light sails used in place of the smaller jib, in situations where the boat is heading down wind. Being able to take down the jib and replace it with a spinnaker in mid-race to take advantage of a downward wind is always a bit of a fire drill. To complete the task in mid-race without losing ground or deck personnel is reason for celebration. Stanley was quick to confirm our researcher’s assessment of the difficulty of the dual combo of sail change and camera wielding.

As admirable as that accomplishment is, I am more impressed with the degree to which our cover photo mirrors the way most of us have lived for the past 12 months. In sailing, the winds call the shots, and it is the task of the helmsperson to react and choose the options most likely to take advantage of every change presented by the weather or a clever competitor.

In BC, with our current COVID-9-dominated lives, our helmsman is Dr. Bonnie Henry and when she and her team say wash your hands or self-isolate, we do it. The principal is the same except our boat is quite a bit bigger than Doug’s!

Go Doug go...and thanks for the breath of fresh air!

Mike Wiley

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