Road crews support yachters

NANAIMO – Land teams in caravan of RVs support sailors in Black Press Van Isle 360.

At the Van Isle 360, the big race is out at sea, but there’s another race of sorts going on at the same time – the one involving all the RV “land yachts” that are circling the Island, too.

“It’s playing the game of who can get to the best accommodations before the other road crews do,” said Verdella Masur, shore support for the sailboat Dominatrix.

Absolutely, the recreational vehicle road crews will be part of the team during the Black Press Van Isle 360 yacht race this month. They’re never disconnected – they’ll be there waiting at the dock at the end of every leg to share in victories and defeats.

For the shore support teams, the race started a long time ago. Masur said she started booking accommodations in October. She and the other member of the Dominatrix’s shore support team, Jody Lancaster, have been busy in recent weeks with menu planning, grocery shopping and cooking.

“Generally the crew will be happy with almost anything that you give them, as long as it’s warm on the outside legs,” Masur said. “I’m a real stickler with making sure that they get to eat real food … A well-fed crew races much better.”

It’s her second time handling shore support at the Van Isle 360, so she’s learned that attention to detail matters.

It’s her job to put together first-aid kits and get the RV inspected. She has to remember to have loonies and toonies set aside for the showers at Port Hardy, and cash for the barbecue at Winter Harbour.

And she’ll be entrusted to again drive the RV.

Certain stretches of narrow logging road can be particularly harrowing, and driving an RV can take a little bit of know-how at the best of times. Two years ago one of the other drivers collided with a sign.

“It was a little bit lower than they expected it to be, and it put a big dent in a very large, fancy motorhome,” Masur said.

The fleet of RVs won’t be comprised only of the yachts’ road crews. Arbutus RV has also supplied a recreational vehicle for the Van Isle 360 race organizers to use as a mobile office. It should provide comfort and it’s as good a vantage point as any to follow the race.

“No matter where you are on the Island, you get a great view from the windscreen,” said Nice.

Masur said it’s going to be a fun couple of weeks.

“You get to travel around the Island and see all kinds of different things,” she said. “[It’s] always a big party, a roaming caravan.”