The Nanaimo Gyro Georgia Strait Charity Challenge is a biennial charity event in which Gyro David Strang windsurfs 40 kilometers across the Georgia Strait, from Nanaimo to Sechelt. Strang, a now-retired Investment Advisor, co-founded the event in 1999 and had been across the Strait 7 times to raise funds for local Nanaimo Charities. Partnering with Saul Hilchey, a Vice President and Wealth Advisor at RBC Dominion Securities, the pair have raised over $180,000 for local Nanaimo charities.

Details of the 2014 Crossing

David Strang and Saul Hilchey, members of the Nanaimo Gyro Club, organize the biennial Nanaimo Gyro Georgia Strait Charity Challenge in which Strang windsurfs across the Georgia Strait, from Nanaimo to Sechelt. On August 1, 2014, Strang made his 7th crossing in just 1hr and 48 minutes. Tony Harris, of the Harris Auto Group, provided safe passage for Strang in his chase-boat. “It’s about 40 kilometres over to Sechelt” Strang said. “It’s just not safe to be out there on your own. We couldn’t do it without Tony”. The trio launched from Pipers Lagoon at 9:27am with 20 knot winds. The first part of the crossing saw Strang exceed speeds of 40km/h with Hilchey and Harris trying to keep up amid the swells. However, the wind died down closer to Sechelt and in the end, Strang was forced to pump his own sail to generate wind. About 500 meters from the shore the tide was pushing Strang away faster than he could pump, and Harris towed him ashore.

Saul Hilchey, a Vice President and Wealth Advisor with RBC Dominion Securities, does the fundraising. “This year we raised over $29,000” in corporate donations, plus another $1,000 from Gyro Garth Johnstone, owner of Archie Johnstone Plumbing & Heating who offered to match $1000 for the Nanaimo Child Development Centre.” The Nanaimo Salvation Army will get some as well, but the largest chunk, approx $20,000 going to the City of Nanaimo to build a neighbourhood park. Hilchey would like to thank the following donors for their contributions: The RBC Foundation $7500, Bank of Montreal $7500, Manulife Mutual Funds $5000, Dynamic Mutual Funds $4000 and Standard Life Mutual Funds $4000. Strang further commented: “These are still hard times. Economically it’s more difficult. Big corporations are cutting costs and they don’t have as much money around. The credit goes to Saul, he raised all the money. I’m just the rider.”

“The first six crossings have raised over $150,000 for Nanaimo. This will bring the grand total to over $180,000, which is really incredible” said Hilchey.