Sail Training Ship HMCS Oriole on the Ways

Our Victoria Waterfront Correspondent, Murray Polson, caught HMCS Oriole on the ways for maintenance in Victoria BC.

HMCS Oriole

HMCS Oriole Awaiting Installation of Her Second Mast(Murray Polson photo)

HMCS Oriole (KC–480) is the sail training vessel of the Royal Canadian Navy based at CFB Esquimalt in Victoria, British Columbia. She was originally rigged as a schooner but her sail area was reduced to make her easier to handle for sail training and now she is a 31-metre sailing ketch. She is currently the oldest commissioned vessel in the Royal Canadian Navy, and also the longest serving commissioned ship in the RCN. Launched in 1921 she started life as the personal yacht of George H. Gooderham (an Ontario manufacturer and political figure), then Commodore of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club in Toronto.

She is ketch-rigged, 102' x 18.5' x 9.5'. She displaces approximately 100 tons and carries a sail area of 14,447 square feet of sail. Her mainmast is 87' and her mizzen 55' (above deck). A Cummins 165bhp diesel engine powers her when the wind isn't strong enough to propel her. She has sleeping accomodation for 21.

During the Second World War, she was chartered by the Royal Canadian Navy as a training vessel. She was used to train sea cadets on the Great Lakes until 1949 when she was moved to the Maritimes for sail training for new entry seamen. She was commissioned as HMCS Oriole in 1952, and in 1954 she was moved to Esquimalt.

HMCS Oriole

HMCS Oriole (Murray Polson photo)

She is the longest serving ship in the Canadian Navy. The Oriole provides sail training to junior officers and non–commissioned officers. She participates in many events, races and public relation day sails. HMCS Oriole has frequently acted as the Salute Vessel for the Victoria Classic Boat Festival.

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