Compass Adventure wants to put Comox back on the map in the world of sailing.
The Valley-based sailing school, which James Robinson and his two sons Stuart and Andy operate out of the Comox Marina, is launching a new venture to promote the sport to tourists and the general public.
Starting this summer, the business is adding two-hour guided tours to its offerings as a way to encourage visitors to the Comox Valley the chance to experience the sport of sailing first-hand.
James Robinson said guided sailing tours of the Comox harbour, which will be on Compass Adventure’s new Diam24 racing trimarans, will be another incentive for tourists from around the world to come to the Valley.
“Adventure tourism is just starting. We think it’s been going on for ages, but from a European perspective, it’s new,” said James. “The Valley — and I’m being a little biased here — has some of the best sailings. It has every possible thing you’d want [to do] on the same day.”
While James’ two sons will pilot the trimarans, those who take part in the tours will be allowed to be involved whether its raising sails, helping steer, or performing other needed tasks.
“What we want is for people to come here to sail. What we’ve done is combine what we’ve done in the past and take it to a new level,” said James.
Compass Adventure has operated as a sailing school in Comox for over 20 years. Last year, the business acquired the three-hulled 24Diam trimarans from France. The trimarans are able to reach a speed of 30 knots (roughly 60 km/h) and are considered among the fastest high-performance yachts of their size in the world.
Robinson’s son Stuart says that after two decades, the business is ready to provide tourism offerings alongside its sailing lessons, youth camps, and rental programs.
The business also runs sailing events like Sail Fest, which takes place this year from June 22–24.
“Over the 20 years we’ve been doing different programs, these ideas have always been here – we’re just finally able to accomplish them,” he said. “I think the Valley — and Comox especially — is really ready for that next level of tourism.
“It’s no longer the secret best place in the world. The secret is really starting to get out there.”
Stuart added that making sailing more accessible to the general public is another reason behind the tour offerings, mentioning the elitism the sport is often associated with.
“Normally you wouldn’t be able to go on a performance yacht like this unless you owned one, or were part of an extreme racing team,” he said.
“It’s not an unattainable experience. With some experienced pilots, you can get out there and do all the parts. You can make that experience accessible.”
Compass Adventure will start offering the two-hour tours to the public by late June, alongside package vacation deals in partnership with various Valley-based resorts. The tours cost $95 per person.
For more information on its tours or other programs, visit the company’s website at compassadventure.ca