As the start of the 2018 BC Summer Games approach, one Prince Rupert athlete will draw on a unique overseas experience to help her compete at her best.
Amber Ly (17), a member of Prince Rupert’s sea cadets, is one of two Rupertites who will compete in sailing at the Summer Games, which will take place July 19-22 in Cowichan. A lifelong sailor and lover of the sea, Ly had an opportunity to sail on a 12-day voyage aboard the Royalist, an approximately 23-foot-long tall ship from the end of April until the beginning of May.
“It went amazing, it really blew my mind and the amount of knowledge I was able to take from it will stay with me for a very long time,” Ly said, recounting the experience. “I’m so glad I got to meet everyone I did and just absorb the culture.”
Ly was selected from 1,200 cadets across B.C. to experience the unique life that is sailing aboard a tall ship. The large vessels carry no electronics, thus requiring that all sailing tasks — steering, raising and lowering sails — be done manually using ropes.
In her first few days aboard the Royalist, Ly had to familiarize herself with her duties aboard the boat as well as its safety procedures and the skills she would need to be effective on board. Ly said the size difference between the tall ship and the two person boats she usually sails meant adjusting, and learning, to work as a team to accomplish everyday tasks.
“There were so many sails and they were so massive,” she said. “For example, if we had to hoist the mainsail, it would take at least 10 people on one rope just for that.”
The ship departed from Plymouth and sailed across the English Channel to France where it docked at numerous port towns over the voyage period before returning to England and sailing to Wales. Ly said that being immersed in a different environment and meeting the different cadets from England was something she found particularly rewarding.
“Growing up in Canada, it was good to see how different our cultures are,” she said. “Especially as teenagers.”
The crew arrived back in Wales on May 12 before Ly flew back to Toronto and then Prince Rupert.
As she prepares to go to the Summer Games, Ly said it will be her increased ability to adapt that will benefit her most as she competes in Cowichan.
“It’ll definitely be easier for me to adjust to new surroundings and situations,” she said.