SYDNEY, N.S. — RCGS Resolute was recommissioned during special ceremonies in Sydney on Tuesday but thanks to wind gusts of up to 72 km per hour, the good ship didn’t even blow into town on time for its own party.
The ship was stuck just outside Sydney waiting for the breezes to die down just after sailing here in rough seas from Hamburg, Germany. It didn’t stop the ship’s operator One Ocean Expeditions from going ahead with the event to relaunch the vessel, although the ship was at the helm of a few jokes, thanks to One Ocean Expedition managing director Andrew Prossin.
“It’s funny thing to celebrate the birth of a child without the child in the room,” quipped Prossin, who’s originally from Westmount.
Although his company is based in Squamish, B.C., Prossin wants to move more of its operations to the East Coast. Prossin told the supportive crowd of about 100 community leaders at the Joan Harriss Cruise Ship Pavilion that he considered Sydney to be the ship’s home port, although officially that hasn’t happened yet thanks to the difficulty in getting permits to do that in Canada.
“We need to have those regulations opened up so we will be able to bring more to Cape Breton,” said Prossin. “This is the Arctic gateway, if you want to make it. Let’s make it easier to come here so everyone can visit.”
The ship’s future visits will be made easier with the construction of the port’s second berth, work that began Monday.
“If that’s here, I’ll use it,” said Prossin.
Eventually Prossin said he hopes to have all three of the company’s ships calling Sydney their home port.
And he does plan to use Sydney as a port to stock up on provisions before RCGS Resolute heads south for a series of Antarctic and South American expeditions that will last until May 2019. After that the RCGS Resolute will take part in several Canadian cruises that include an East Coast golf expedition that will leave from Louisbourg next summer.
“I grew up sailing on these waters here,” Prossin said. “You just keep moving forward, much like today, even without the ship at the pier.”
RCGS Resolute was originally built in Rauma, Finland, in 1993. When it came on the market One Ocean Expeditions acquired the vessel to meet its ever-expanding demand for adventure expeditions focused on education, science, exploration and community outreach. According to Catherine Lawton, One Ocean Expedition’s general manager, the company has been expanding steadily over its 20 years in existence.
“We’ve had 100 per cent expansion every 15 to 18 months,” she said, adding there’s a high demand and wait lists for people wanting to go on their cruises.
When One Ocean Expeditions received the ship, it was given the name RCGS Resolute, a name that not only recalls the HMS Resolute that was lost in the Arctic in 1854 searching for the Franklin expedition but also the Inuit town of Resolute in Nunavut Territory.
RCGS stands for Royal Canadian Geographic Ship. The RCGS Resolute is the first vessel to ever receive this designation. One Ocean Expeditions is a partner with the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in geographical exploration.