Building The Wave Break – Joining Scandia (“skandy”) Island and Main West Wall Pier
By Al Woolnough
Some of our older members will remember the 39-foot ketch owned by Mr Christensen, a Danish fellow (Hans, I believe). It was a home built ferro cement craft called Scandia. I can’t remember the circumstances but obviously, his craft exceeded our 30 ft limit. The ketch was the jewel of our fleet back then. I remember cancelling a race day due to 30 knot winds, and a bunch of us took Scandia out for a sail. We took turns riding in the netting around the bow sprit. I also remember the second time the boat was launched. We stored our boats, at the time, in the south parking lot where the little light house now stands. The crane was set close to the boat due to its weight and the operator began to lift the boat back into the water. The owner never thought to mention to the crane operator that, over the winter he had added a galley but more importantly a significant amount of lead pellets in the encapsulated keel. As the crane boomed out, it began to tip. The very astute crane operator allowed the crane to continue tipping until the ketch was over the water and then released the cable and Scandia glanced off the big rubber fenders on the concrete pier and slammed into the water. The crane and lifting gear rattled loudly as the crane boom snapped up and it settled back on its pads. The only resulting damage was a black scuff mark on the side of Scandia and an embarrassed but unfazed owner who realized he should have mentioned his winter project. Anyway, back to the story. The Scandia was docked at the island portion of the west pier, which has ever since been known as Scandia Island. Sadly, Hans passed before being able to fulfill his dream of sailing Scandia back to his homeland.
In 1986, the Collingwood Shipyards closed permanently. In 1989 CYC constructed the wave break which closed the gap between the main west pier and Scandia Island. We obtained 9 of the butter boards along which the large freighters constructed at the shipyards slid into the launch basin, during the world-famous side launches. As memory serves, we “stole” them for about $400 each, as who else would take them. Those massive BC Fir timbers were 16 inches wide X 2 feet deep by 80 feet long. Eight of them were used, placed in pairs, one on top of another, to form a 4-foot-deep structure. The gap was 150 feet. The feds would not allow our anchors to be placed outside the line of the west edge of the pier, so the wave break was placed against the east side of the pier and over lapped 5 feet at each end. Karl Pullerits, a member of CYC and a world-renowned Marine Engineer, designed the wave break which served CYC admirably for over 30 years.
Again, some of our older members will remember the spring we launched the two sections of wave break which had been constructed on the shoreline of the lower parking lot. The club boats were launched first and then the wave break. It was a miserable cold day with a horizontal mix of rain and snow. I remember having to leave when I reached what ever stage it is of hyperthermia, that you shiver uncontrollably. The wave break was a huge work party project which bonded numerous members together as they spent long hours fabricating, launching, and anchoring the structures. The wave break served to protect a significant portion of the mooring basin and allowed placement of more slips. It also meant Hans didn’t have to dinghy out to Scandia Island when he wanted to go for a sail.