Team Name: Chum
Team members: James Betts (father), Carrie Betts (daughter)
Hometown: Victoria B.C.
Race vessel: Siren 17, Canadian conceived and built (also, they got it for free)
Human propulsion: Oars (and paddles)
Reading Team Chum’s race application was a little like descending down a ladder and winding up in a fully functional time capsule of the 1970’s that James grew up in. Not that discordant weed smoking, key swapping decadence of a world doing anything it could to cope past unravelling racial unrest, tidal wave of well-earned political cynicism, and wakes of Viet Nam- but that falsely simpler time of a freckle-faced bowl cut and a dog rattling around seatbelt-free in the rear facing third row of the family station wagon, stubbed out cigarettes in the ashtray, Bee Gees on the eight track. Hippies were heading back to the land, wooden boat building was in revival, homeschool was just staring to make kids weird and largely undatable.
In the 1970s of Team Chum, James’s parents (Carrie’s grandparents) didn’t wait long after James’s arrival before casting off lines and sailing away. By age 3 James had sailed to Hawaii, by age five he’d done the Panama Canal, by age ten he could single hand the family’s 42’ sloop but had never ridden a bike. He was the weird homeschool kid. His words: “I didn’t know what was on TV but knew every word of the Pirates of Penzance.” We agree, we don’t know how he got a girlfriend either, let alone married, but while his wild days of rambling are now mostly limited to weekends in and around the Gulf Islands the Betts legacy of active adventure lives on for another generation. Now 15, Carrie is already an accomplished sailor, in an athletic leadership program, and will be the youngest to sign up for the R2AK’s full race. We can only hope that the inclination towards Gilbert and Sullivan has skipped a generation.
Their boat’s the very model of a modern trailer sailor.
It’s got a giant open cockpit, rain means you’ll have to bail her.
With ample cabin you can duck in, change your clothes, dry out a spell
Or anchor up in shallow coves while weather outside goes to hell.
The rig and sails are small enough so it can be reefed handily
But large enough that in light airs it moves along just dandily
They’ve never rowed the boat before, but venture that they’re going to try
The can-do values of the R2AK they personify.
While faces of their family grow two or three shades paler
They are the very model of a modern trailer sailor.
Welcome to the R2AK Team Chum, please don’t take that last part as an invitation to get all Pinafore up in here. Just because there isn’t a rule making Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics grounds for disqualification, doesn’t mean we can’t make one.