The connection to Norway

02 Jul, 2014

Nova Scotia has particularly strong ties to Norway in regard to the convoys of the Second World War. Following the invasion of Norway in June of 1940, members of the Royal Norwegian Navy and Army, and their Merchant Navy, maintained training, repair and recuperation bases in Nova Scotia. To commemorate those ties, Steiner Engeset, Norwegian Consul to Nova Scotia and long time member of the Dartmouth Yacht Club, became the driving force behind the Convoy Cup.

In September 2002, Steiner’s dream became a reality.  The original Convoy Cup races were established in 2002 by the Dartmouth Yacht Club, Royal Norwegian Consulate and the Camp Norway Foundation in Halifax, Nova Scotia. An ocean race, that started and finished in historic Halifax Harbour/Bedford Basin, was held along with the day races and other club events on Bedford Basin, the staging area for the World War II convoys.   The format for the competition consisted of two races – a Basin Race, as well as a 100 mile Ocean Race. World War Two veterans & their families were guests of the Dartmouth Yacht Club power fleet to watch the start of the races on one of the calmest days ever seen in Halifax Harbour. The sailors persevered in spite of the wind (or lack of it), and the inaugural Convoy Cup Regatta went into the pages of history.

Now a semi-annual event is held at the DYC with a companion event held at the Wooden Boat Festival in Risor (Norway’s Convoy Town) on alternate years. The success and the growth of interest in these events, to commemorate and honour our convoy veterans who served their countries crossing the Atlantic during the Second World War, has been outstanding. There is interest expressed from several countries to hold additional Convoy Cup races.

The Dartmouth Yacht Club is proud to be the club of record for the Convoy Cup. As part of the 2004 Convoy Cup, the Dartmouth Yacht Club re-enacted a convoy leaving Halifax Harbour. Each vessel represented a ship that participated in convoys during the Battle of the Atlantic, and flew the country flag of the ship and a banner depicting the name of the vessel, etc. The event concludes with a sail past of the Corvette HMCS Sackville which has war veterans and their families and dignitaries onboard. This sailpast event continues annually in Canada and Norway.

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