What dates and times do you operate?
Year round on a weather permitting basis from 9AM-9PM. From April 1 to September 30 we daily offer 2 x 3 hour sails and 1 x 1.5 hour harbour cruise. Private Charters are available all year.
What are your departure times?
3 Hour Sails depart at 9:00 am and 2:00 pm. Evening Harbour Cruise departs at 7:30 pm. Departure times may vary due to weather or special events.
Please arrive at least 15 minutes prior to departure.
Where are you located?
We are located at ‘A’ dock across the street from the Fairmont Empress Hotel.
What services do you offer?
We are proud to offer a historic marine adventure aboard our classic Tall Ship Thane of Victoria. We offer 3 hour sails and a 1.5 hour evening cruise from May to September. Private Charters are available all year.
Thane of Victoria is Transport Canada Certified Home Trade IV for up to 18 day passengers along the Coast of British Columbia. We have operated tours without incident since 1978.
Guests are encouraged to bring along a picnic. All ages and abilities are welcome aboard. Alcohol is permitted however this is not a booze cruise. We provide all warm and wet weather gear, coolers, ice, glasses, openers and sunscreen.
Do you offer trips that include special events?
Many great special events happen in Victoria and we get in on the excitement. The Swiftsure Yacht Race, Canada Day and Symphony Splash are examples of special events we participate in yearly.
Do you have gift certificates?
What is your eco-tourism certification about?
We are dedicated to a low environmental footprint. We have Green Tourism Canada Gold Certification – their highest level of certification. Our eco-tourism features / activities include:
- Built with > 95% recycled and salvaged materials. What couldn’t be found was purchased with money from recycling scrap metals and bottlesTall Ship Thane is fully self-contained and can operate the season without access to an external power source. We have an aft solar array
- Use less fuel in an entire season than one whale watching tour
- LED lights and a low flush toilet
- We provide reusable utensils, glasses and plates
- We recycle all of our guests plastics, paper and drink containers and compost leftover food
Are you associated with any tourism associations?
We are proud members of Tourism Victoria and Super, Natural British Columbia (Destination BC)
What should we bring?
Although we provide all the gear you may be more comfortable in your own. There is plenty of stowage down below so pack whatever you need to be comfortable.
It is recommended that you bring along a picnic as we don’t sell any food or drinks aboard.
It is also a good idea to bring:
- extra warm clothing – on a warm day the wind can be cold
- sun hat
What wildlife can we see?
Can we bring wine, beer or liquor?
Alcohol is permitted in moderation. We provide the cooler, glasses and opener.
Do we actually sail or are we motoring?
During 3 hour sails we are under full sail with the engine off for most of the trip. By law, we have to motor out of the inner harbour because it is a marine airport. During this time we cover the safety features and history of the vessel. It takes about 10 minutes to motor out of the marine airport at which point guests can help remove the sail covers and haul up the sails.
Evening cruises use the motor for most of the tour but weather depending we can catch some wind to bring us back into the outer harbour.
A favourite saying of ours: “If there is lots of wind we are going to sail right along and have a good time, and if there is not much wind, we are going to bob along and have a good time, but we are going to have a Tall Ship Experience which means we will be dependent on the wind and not on the engine.”
Where do we go?
We have no set course; every adventure depends on the wind and tide. We sail the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the vicinity of Classic Cove, between Whitty’s Lagoon and Esquimalt Lagoon, towards Port Angeles as far as the Alpha buoy, and down as far as Trial Island. Sights include the historic Fisgard Lighthouse, Naval harbour, Victoria’s largest float home community, and the First Nations Land & Sea Mural.
Can we participate?
Guests are encouraged to become involved in sailing the vessel; hauling the sails, taking the helm, riding the bowsprit, Some folks prefer to relax and enjoy – nothing is compulsory! We try to incorporate special events that are taking place on the water. We impart local marine history, geological facts, info on marine wildlife, and throw in a sailing lesson during a fun-filled tour.
Do you offer sailing instructions?
Yes. Sailing instructions are incorporated into tours in an informal manner. Anyone wanting to learn more just has to mention it and we’ll show you the ropes, but we are NOT a certified sailing school.
Do you have life jackets?
Thane is Transport Canada certified so we a full compliment of life jackets. We also carry Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) and encourage all children to wear them. They can also be used by adults.
What other safety equipment in onboard?
Our critical safety equipment:
- Covered self-inflating life raft for 25 persons
- Full compliment of certified life jackets and optional personal floatation devices for children
- Fire fighting and pumping equipment
- Computerized navigation system, radar, DSC VHF Radio, and cell phones in case of emergency
- Flares and sounders
Is it safe, fun and comfortable for infants? Pregnant women? Seniors?
Yes it is safe, fun and comfortable for all. There is a cushioned bench seat at the stern of the vessel that is reserved for these guests if needed. It is best to mention your special circumstances when booking so we can provide appropriate accommodation.
Are you wheelchair accessible?
This depends on the size of the wheelchair. We can accommodate most chairs on deck and often transfer the passenger to a comfortable seat aboard. The washroom is not wheelchair accessible.
Do you have safe storage for walkers, wheelchairs, baby carriages, etc?
Yes. It is also extremely safe on the dock. We have not yet had anything left on the departure deck go missing.
Is there a washroom / toilet onboard?
Yes. There is a washroom aboard with running hot and cold water, and a flush toilet.
What clothes should we wear?
It is a good idea to dress in layers. It can be cool on the water even in July or August. We strongly recommend shoes over sandals as they keep feet warm. We ask that your footwear have no metal buckles or clips as they damage the woodwork.
What about seasickness?
Seasickness is very uncommon on Thane. There are several reasons for this:
- We sail in a protected area so there is not much ocean swell
- We are surrounded by land at all times which enables passengers to easily ‘keep an eye on the horizon’
- We are a model of the Spray which is considered one of the most stable sail boat designs
- We weigh 21 tonnes, are made of solid wood and don’t ‘bob’ around much
Should we take anti-seasickness pills before sailing?
You are welcome to do so if you will feel more comfortable. A drawback is that they tend to make you drowsy. As an alternative we suggest you bring ginger ale, ginger cookies, ginger tea or ginger candies as these are effective at settling the queasy feeling people may experience when on the water. If you are concerned about seasickness, it is best to arrive with plenty of rest, a full stomach and no alcohol. Ultimately, each person is different and will be affected differently.
Where will we sit?
It’s up to you! We urge guests to explore the vessel. There is outdoor and indoor seating. The boat is very large and has a variety of seating arrangements. There are no designated seats and people tend to move around between the various areas. Guests usually divide their time between sitting on the foredeck, riding the bowsprit, and down below. There is also a comfy cushioned bench seat at the stern of the boat.
What is the origin of the name Thane?
Thane is the Viking term for Captain. Eventually the Thanes came ashore in Scotland, chased the Scots up the hill and became landowners. They had Thanedoms and Thanesses. Then William the Conqueror stuck it to King Harry at the battle of Hastings and the title was lost to Earls and Dukes. Shakespeare’s MacBeth was referred to as the Thane of Cawdor and the Thane of Glamis.