CAF Story | A force to reckon with

Video / October 6, 2017


LS MacLean sailed from the West Coast to Halifax on HMCS Oriole, a 96 year old sailboat and Canada’s oldest commissioned ship.


I really quite enjoy when squalls kick up out of nowhere, and then you really have to act on your feet. You obviously see it coming on the horizon, you know you see the dark clouds, they’re nice and low. You know they’re coming and you want to kind of push the boat into it as far as you can get. And then it’s just ‘bam’ on top of you. When things get a little bit hairy and scary, that’s what I’m about.

Hi, my name is Vincent Nicolas MacLean. I am the Assistant Chief’s Bosun Mate aboard HMCS Oriole. Before I came to the Oriole I had no sailing experience at all. Off the hop, I was pretty intimidated by it. I didn’t know… what nothing was really. It’s different, it’s an experience, it’s raw. You know it’s dirty, there’s no showers. There’s… you know you’re stinky a little bit. You’re having a good time, you get sea sick; you know, it’s great. I definitely get a rush from it, I mean, who wouldn’t?

A few days in, we hit the Oregon coast. And you know, everyone was talking about how bad it was going to be, and it was pretty bad. We were heading south, and the winds were coming from the south about 50 or 60 knots. I mean I’m 6 feet tall, the boat has 6 feet of freeboard, and the waves were 6 feet over my head.

For a sailor that’s never sailed on a sailboat, it’s you know, pretty… it’s a force to reckon with. The thing with sailing is it’s really like a battle of the elements. You have to… you’re not going to outsmart Mother Nature. You know, you’re not going to outdo her. She’s going to be there and you’re just going to have to deal with her as she comes. It’s a lot more responsibility than I would be given otherwise. I get to be a Watch Captain, I get to hoist the sails, put them down. And you know, I have guys underneath me, and you know, I can watch out for them and take care of them, and go through the struggle together and have a good time. I came here I didn’t know what a spinnaker was, I didn’t know what a gennaker was, but now I feel very confident in running the boat by myself.

You know, I’d like to have my own boat maybe someday but, as far as what it feels like it’s… I don’t know, I’d do this for years upon end.

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