John Booth, A Legend. RIP

Published in Victoria Times Colonist from Apr. 17 to Apr. 18, 2019

BOOTH, John Reginald Age 80 of Victoria, BC passed away suddenly on Monday, April 8, 2019. He died at his home of 51 years, doing what he loved – tinkering in his shop. John’s passing leaves an immense hole in our family, with his friends, and in the many communities in which he embedded himself. He was loved by all for his kindness, generosity and incredible talent which he shared so freely. John was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan on September 5, 1938. As a boy, he grew up on the family farm, rode a horse to school and drove (and fixed) tractors and other machines. His family moved to Victoria when John was a teenager; he attended Victoria High School and later met “his girl”, Valerie. The farm boy never left him, but the west coast was where his heart was. John loved the water. He loved sailing, fishing, crabbing and watching the waves and wind from the perch of their Fairfield home. He loved the community on the water too – the activities they did together, and the stories that they shared afterwards and for years to come. And with each story, the wind was stronger, the waves bigger, or the fish even bigger still. John also loved his work and he wove his life around it. He was a builder; an inventor; a person that could make anything; a mechanical genius. He loved deconstructing and fixing things too – especially engines and motors. He enjoyed fixing old motors just as much as he liked complaining about them. It was the same for old vehicles. He always did so with great determination and respect for what someone else had built. His car and truck memories (fixing or driving) were some of his most repetitious and beloved stories to share. More than anything else, John loved his family and friends. His home and shop were homes to many and the doors were always open. He would be there in a heartbeat if anyone needed a hand, or if anyone was offering a beer or a coffee. He loved a party, an impromptu visit or a quick phone call. He appreciated everyone just as they were and never expected anything more of them. He only ever cared if someone was a good person; this was all that was important to him in determining friendship. John also loved the simple things: a favourable wind, peanut butter, a cold beer, old vehicles, his favourite chair, a good story, a good laugh, a new place to explore, a “good deal”, an ice cream cone, a project (his or someone else’s). John is survived by his daughters, Alison (Kerry) and Jackie (Trevor); his five grandchildren Shayna, Ashlyn, Maguire, Kale and Saul; his brother-in-law Brian; sister-in-law Heidi and nephews Alan, Stuart and Jeff. A Celebration of Life will be held on Wednesday, April 24th at 1PM at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club. In lieu of flowers or donations, and in the spirit of John, please be kind and lend a hand to someone that needs it.

2018 ITCA Annual General Meeting Announcement


The annual ITCA Annual General Meeting will be held at Twelve noon, Saturday February 10th, 2018 in the Sequim Bay Yacht Club meeting room at the John Wayne Marina Building in Sequim Washington. The room is located on the main floor of the building. All Thunderbird owners and people interested in Thunderbirds are invited to attend. The meeting agenda is as follows:
Call to Order
Minutes of last meeting
Reports of officers, committees and fleets

  • Treasurers Report
  • Measurers Report
  • Fleet Report

Old Business

  • Recap of 2017 Internationals in Port Townsend
  • Discussion of 2019 Internationals in Boston

New Business

  • 60th Anniversary Rendezvous– Gig Harbor June 7-11th.
  • Proposal: Yearly East Coast & West Coast Championship. Internationals alternate every 3(?) years

Election of officers – President & Secretary


Please plan to attend if you can.  This is a landmark year and we have some major issues to discuss.

2017 Thunderbird Internationals

The 2017 edition of the Thunderbird Internationals was held on August 1st through the 5th in beautiful Port Townsend, Washington. It was an epic event! Seventeen races over five days!

For starters, what better venue for sailing than the historic seaport of Port Townsend? In recent years, the city has become a mecca in the Pacific Northwest for Thunderbirds. There are currently about 14 boats in the local fleet. With a back drop of Mount Baker and the Cascades to the east, the Olympic Mountains to the south, ferries and other boat traffic coming and going, a walkable downtown with lovely shops and restaurants, it was the logical choice to host the 26th Thunderbird International Regatta.

On Monday, the day before the start of the regatta, the race committee went out and held practice races. It was a chance for the Birds to get out and shake off the cobwebs and to check out the competition. Among this year’s favorites, the event had 3 returning International Champion skippers and boats: Duane Emnott’s Thunderbaby, Craig Burnell’s Predator, and Grant Chyz’s Raptor.

The first day of racing saw winds in the 8 to 12 knot range with very close racing, tight mark roundings, and lots and lots of protest flags. It looked like a May Day celebration on the water with all the red flags. Predator seemed to own the day but an OCS in the second race put a damper on that.

Winds increased on the second day reaching 23 knots at one point. The racing continued to be very tight and as the racers became more familiar with each other and the crowded mark roundings, the number of protest flag sitings dropped. It also become clearer who the contenders for the title would be. The favorites were there but so was local sailor Stig Osterberg on 1190 Raven. Port Townsend Bay is a tricky place to sail, with swirling and changing currents and Osterberg seemed to find every favorable wind shift and current.

By the third day of racing the wind decreased significantly and this was to be the conditions for the remainder of the regatta. Racing moved out of the bay, due to lack of wind, to the area near Fort Worden. The race committee was able to get off three races and once again, local knowledge paid off with Raven winning the day and Raptor close behind.

Day four saw the boats back on Port Townsend Bay competing in light winds. Raptor took charge of the day with two bullets and a 2nd. Thunderbaby had a  good day followed by Raven. At the end of the day Raptor stood at the top of the standings with Raven 3 points behind and Thunderbaby back a few more places. The stage was set for the final day.

Day five and with up to three races scheduled in light conditions, the script was set. Raven needed to be on the attack and make up ground on Raptor. Raptor just needed to stay close and sit on Raven. And the most dangerous boat in any race or regatta, the third-place boat gets to sail their race, which is what Thunderbaby did. At the end of the day Thunderbaby won the day with two 1st and a 2nd moving them into second place. Raven ran out of tricks and ended the day with a 6th, 5th, and 3rd which moved them into third place. And Raptor did what they had done all week, sail consistently well, make no mistakes, and became the 2017 International Champion.

The regatta was noteworthy for Grant Chyz for a number of reasons. His crew was a family affair with his brother in-law Jack Christiansen of North Sails, his daughter Helen, and his son Paul. It was also the first time in history that any boat and skipper has won the International trophy 3 times.

The 2017 Thunderbird International Regatta was a phenomenal success. Much credit goes to the Port Townsend Sailing Association and Fleet 33 for great planning. The race committee was stellar. The best part for most of the participants, beyond the fantastic competition and racing, was the renewing of old friendships and the making of new friends. It’s why we say, “More than just a sailboat… a way of life!”

For more pictures of the event go to 

2017 Thunderbird International Champions Grant Chyz, Paul Chyz, Helen Chyz, and Jack Christiansen

ITCA Annual meeting Saturday February 20th, 2016 in Sequim Washington

The ITCA will be holding it’s annual meeting Saturday February 20th, 2016 in the Sequim Bay Yacht Club meeting room at the John Wayne Marina Building.  The room is located on the main floor of the building.  All Thunderbird owners and people interested in Thunderbirds are invited to attend.  The meeting agenda is  as follows:

Call to Order

Minutes of last meeting

Reports of officers, committees and fleets

Old Business  2017 Internationals in Port Townsend

New Business – Vote on proposed black book amendment regarding mast

Election of officers – VP and / Treasurer slots are open

Appointment of Measurement Committee


Please be sure to email your ballots in if you cannot attend the meeting.


Get the lead out – Mast issue up for discussion

The ITCA is currently working on a proposal for an amendment to the specifications to remove the weight requirement.  A current proposal would be  to eliminate section 7.2 .

A little background on the issue; The Thunderbird was originally designed with a wooden mast.  With the advent of modern materials, specifications  for aluminum masts were developed and the new lighter material took off. In an effort to keep boats with wooden masts competitive, minimum weight and center of gravity points for the aluminum masts were created.

The result was that most aluminum masts require corrector lead weights to be legal.  There are currently very few Thunderbirds with wooden masts that are actively racing.  The added weight, particularly aloft does nothing positive for the performance of the boat and does add to the potential pitching motion.

One downside to the change is that Mobile a number of boats have sleeved masts.  While the center of gravity of these masts is identical to others, they We’re are actually carrying less weight aloft.  The change would put these boats potentially at a slight disadvantage.  Also, some of the Australian masts which are stiffer and by nature a little heavier without the corrector weights would weigh a bit more.  Anyone who has raced with or against 1255 Predator probably isn’t worried about that!

The argument in favor of the proposal is that adding the weight to the mast does nothing positive for the performance of the Thunderbird and in fact is detrimental.

What do you think?  We are interested in all opinions both pro and con.

Membership will be allowed to vote on the issue at the AGM meeting on February 20th.