Mayor Nils Jensen boasts boasts the most experience, and refined training, for this year’s 56th annual Oak Bay Tea Party, Mayors Challenge Tea Cup Race.

Oak Bay Tea Party: Tea cup race training in full gear

Mayor challenges Oak Bay fire, police deputies in June 3

The tradition of a two-teacup race, has doubled to four in recent years past and whittles down to three fierce competitors this year.

The floating tea cups are made of fibre glass and powered by mis-matched oars in this race of skill and daring. Pull too hard on the oars and your saucer may dip into the water and you’re sunk. Not to fear, the RCM-SAR Oak Bay team is always at the ready.

The race has featured famous athletes, actors and pub owners in the past. Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen challenges a pair of deputies: Ray Bernoties of Oak Bay Police Department, and Darren Hughes of Oak Bay Fire Department.

DC Ray Bernoties, OBPD

Swimming abilities are an asset, considering the number of those who have gone overboard in races past, but these three men have three vastly differing training regimens.

Deputy Chief Bernoties pulls the Oak Bay Emergency Truck for his dryland training.

“I can honestly say that I’ve never lost a tea cup race in my life,” Bernoties says.

DC Darren Hughes, OBFD

Deputy Chief Hughes performs his own dryland training, paddling his teacup, on the concrete apron out front of the Oak Bay fire hall.

“In any serious sport training is key. Train like you are in second and row like you are in first,” Hughes says.

Since its inception in 2002, Oak Bay tea partiers have delighted in watching their mayor race a challenger in a fibreglass teacup.

In his inaugural challenge, Jensen, wearing a period bathing suit in honour of the Tea Party’s 50th anniversary, hit the water then swam to the nearby Oak Bay Sea Rescue boat.

Oak Bay Mayor Nils Jensen

Jensen boasts boasts the most experience, and refined training for this year’s 56th annual Oak Bay Tea Party.

“Years of experience has led me to believe the tea cup race is more finesse than force,” says Jensen, over tea and a book.

The teacup race takes place at Willows Beach following the air show on Sunday, June 3 at 3 p.m.

For more details, including a full schedule of events, visit

Past challengers:

Former Victoria, Mayor Alan Lowe;

Former Saanich, Mayor Frank Leonard;

Former Esquimalt, Mayor Darwin Robinson;

Publican, Matt McNeill;

Olympic rower, Silken Laumann;

Former MLA, Ida Chong;

David Hahn, former President of B.C. Ferries;

The Q’s, Ed Bain;

NHL hockey star, Geoff Courtnall;

Actor and author, Meg Tilly;

Former Oak Bay Mayor, Christopher Causton;

MP, Murray Rankin;

Former Police Chief Frank Elsner of Victoria, former Police Chief Bob Downie of Saanich and former Deputy Police Chief Kent Thom of Oak Bay;

2010 Firefighter Calendar “Mr. May”, Duane Adsett;

Band Directors: Jeff Weaver from Oak Bay High, Jamie Davis from Spectrum Community School, and Dave Flello from Reynolds Secondary School; and

Acting Mayor of Oak Bay, Hazel Braithwaite and Tea Party Chair, Sandy Germain challenging former Mayor of Oak Bay, Chris Causton and former Tea Party Chair, Bill Murphy-Dyson.

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Deputy Chief Bernoties pulls the Oak Bay Emergency Truck for his dryland training.

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