Why International Yachts are Looking to Cruise British Columbia’s Coast this Summer
With the upcoming unveil of Victoria’s first super yacht marina, people are asking themselves – is there really a need for such a project? Craig Norris, the CEO of the Victoria International Marina, and superyacht guru, says, “definitely.”
In the last few months, Norris attended Vancouver International Boat Show, the Lake Union Boats Afloat Show in Seattle, and the largest boat show in the world – the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Reflecting back on his experiences, Norris says there is still much to learn about the industry, but he is confident in establishing Victoria in the world of superyachts.
Although Canada has not been touted as a yachting destination, Norris says it should be one of the most highly-regarded up and coming yachting centres in the world. “It’s the right time to get into the yachting industry,” says Norris. “The market is starting to turn, it’s starting to ramp up and we’d love to see Victoria as one of the new emerging yachting destinations.”
Directly between Vancouver and Seattle, Victoria is perfectly positioned as the gateway to the Pacific Northwest. “We’re the first stop if you’re bringing your boat to the West Coast,” says Norris. “Whether you go north or south, we have some of the most amazing cruising in the world right on our doorstep.”
Due to various stigmas and stereotypes – such as snow and ice year-round, and lack of infrastructure – surrounding yachting in Canada, the market is virtually untouched. On the other hand, Canada’s West Coast has some of the best yachting conditions and corridors on the globe. The abundance of islands dotting our coastline create much sought-after shelter from the open ocean.
“If you launch out of San Diego or San Francisco, you’re exposed all the way up the West Coast – that’s not good cruising territory – that’s not fun,” says Norris. “Up here, you don’t have to deal with large swells and large waves. All those things that make people uncomfortable and sick are gone – not everyone wants to experience ‘The Deadliest Catch’.”
Norris says many of the people he speaks to about the West Coast of British Columbia simply don’t believe what he claims it has to offer.
“We show pictures of orcas, and people think we’re lying. When I go out, there’s a 50/50 per cent chance I will see orcas. Even if we show pictures of bears they don’t believe us, but if you’re cruising near the Great Bear Rainforest at the right time of year, chances are you’re going to see a bear.”
Not only does our West Coast offer plenty of wildlife, and picturesque landscape, but one thing that sets it apart from other yachting destinations is variability. With four distinct seasons, depending on the time of year people choose to yacht, they will be met by a different scene each time.
“Part of the lure is its newness, that discovery element is real here,” says Norris. “Right now, it’s all about the opportunity we have to showcase what Canada’s West Coast has to offer, because it’s endless.”
Norris’ motto is “Think big, act now and have fun.” Staying true to this, Norris’ plans for the Victoria International Marina are big – establish it as a must-see yachting destination. With work on the marina itself well underway, things are happening now, and as for the fun element, the experience of yachting along Canada’s West Coast, speaks for itself.