Built in 1972 in Victoria, BC, our schooner, Passing Cloud, has a rich history on the BC coast where she is renowned for her elegant design and remarkable sailing abilities. Designed by William James Roué, designer of the legendary schooner Bluenose whose image sits upon the back of the Canadian dime, Passing Cloud is a local legend in its own right. Her image adorned the front of the Victoria telephone directory for many years, and she is well known and loved in BC. Built to win races and sail around the world, Passing Cloud has spent the last decade close to its home port of Victoria, inspiring high school students on educational programs in the Southern Gulf Islands. But, new owner, skipper, and marine biologist, Dr. Russell Markel, is breathing new life into the classic vessel.
New owner Russ Markel wanted to retain Passing Cloud’s history while keeping her in good condition and updating the rigging. As an old wooden vessel with a long history on the coast, Passing Cloud needed new woodwork, wiring and hardware. In early 2012, Russ Markel, director and founder of OuterShores, worked closely with local boat builders Abernathy and Gaudin Boats in Brentwood Bay, BC, and riggers at Mainstay-Yachttech in Sidney, BC, to re-fit and upgrade Passing Cloud, preparing for her voyages throughout BC’s stunning coastline. As the old paint was removed, boat-builder Rob Abernathy noticed that ”underneath the paint was its history, like repairs other people have done.” The 40-year old mast was made new again, and after a month in Brentwood Bay, Passing Cloud was re-stepped and re-rigged at Ogden Point, Pier 1, Victoria. The refurbished masts were craned delicately with giant cranes into place at Ogden Point, catching the eye of regional media outlets, the Times Colonist newspaper and Western Mariner Magazine.
The OuterShores crew is thrilled to have Passing Cloud newly updated to help our expedition company reach its highest potential, providing amazing adventure travel, education and conservation research across the islands and fjords of coastal British Columbia. Spending his life and career as a marine ecologist and mariner studying, exploring, and sailing the BC coast, Russ Markel says that “Founding OuterShores is the realization of my goal to help people understand and experience first-hand some of the most spectacular wildlife and ecosystems on the Planet, as I believe this is key to their protection and preservation.” And Passing Cloud is just the vessel to help him reach this goal.