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Hall of Fame Induction: George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby

Sail Canada is pleased to announce the induction of George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame.

Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame

The Board of Directors of Sail Canada has determined to establish a Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame to recognize illustrious individuals who have made notable contributions to sailing in Canada and worldwide.  To honour these two great designers in 2014, Sail Canada is using the opportunity presented by the inauguration of the “New Age of Sail” exhibit by the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston. Sail Canada and the Marine Museum have agreed to collaborate in the development of the Hall of Fame, initially in a virtual format, with a physical display to follow in due course.

413George Cuthbertson

George Cuthbertson started his long yacht design career right out of university, and by the time of the founding of C&C Yachts in 1969 had already established himself and the design firm of Cuthbertson and Cassian as one of the handful of leading yacht design firms in the world. With Inishfree, Red Jacket, Inferno, the Redline 41, Manitou,and the C&C 27, 35, 39, 43, 50, and 61, George established a design legacy that would be the envy of any sailor or yacht designer in the world. The successful racing record of C&C designs on International racing circuits established the credibility and panache that led to the successful building of high quality production boats for everyday sailors, and attracted thousands of families to sailing as a recreational pursuit. However, George would cap that remarkable design career by becoming the President of C&C Yachts at a time when it became the most recognized and successful production and custom boat builder in North America and the world. Leaving C&C in 1981 after a corporate take-over, George returned to his first love design by re-establishing himself as an independent yacht designer. George’s contribution to Canadian yacht design and Canadian boat-building deserves to be recognized. Without George Cuthbertson there would still have been a boat-building industry in Canada, but George Cuthbertson made it a truly Canadian industry by building Canadian designs.

Bruce Kirby

Although Bruce Kirby is globally recognized as the designer of the 13′-10″ Laser Olympic sailing dinghy, of which over 215,000 have now been built, Bruce’s design career embraces  seven renowned International 14′ Dinghy designs and a multitude of successful one-design classes, such as the Sonar, Kirby 25 and Ideal 18, America’s Cup Twelve Meters; production racer/cruisers like the San Juan 24 and 30;off-shore racing boats such as the Admiral’s Cup 40′ Runaway; a number of innovative cruising designs; and a variety  of plywood Sharpie designs for home construction. His sailing career is no less impressive, involving International Fourteen championships and International Team Racing, three Olympic campaigns, and off shore and Admiral’s Cup racing in his boats and others. On top of that Bruce was a pioneering sailing journalist, editor of One-Design and Off-Shore Yachtsman, which lives still as Sailing World magazine. Bruce is already a member of the US National Sailing Hall of Fame, the International Yacht Racing Hall of Fame,  the Canadian International Fourteen Foot Dinghy Hall of Fame, and the City of Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame. It is long past due that Bruce be recognized in his native Canada for all his contributions to Canadian and International sailing.

‘New Age of Sail’ at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston

The New Age of Sail exhibit this summer at the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston will focus on the huge growth in sailing in the 1960s and 70s brought on by a postwar boom economy and the introduction of fiberglass boatbuilding. Both George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby were instrumental in the growth of sailing in this period and both have agreed to be the Honourary Curators of this exhibit.

Inaugural Gala Dinner

George and Bruce’s achievements and contributions to Canadian Sailing will be celebrated at the Inaugural Gala dinner of the New Age of Sail exhibit. This dinner will be hosted by Kingston Yacht Club on the evening of May 10th, 2014.

Comments from Sail Canada President 

The Board of Sail Canada is delighted to be associated with the acknowledgment of the extraordinary contribution these sailors have made to Canadian and International Sailing. Their recognition paves the way for Canadian sailing to honour other illustrious individuals who have brought considerable credit to the name of sailing in Canada. We are delighted to be collaborating with the Marine Museum in this regard. The by-laws of the Hall of Fame will be posted in the coming weeks at www.sailing.ca

Comments from Marine Museum   

The Marine Museum of the Great Lakes at Kingston is proud to be a part of the induction of George Cuthbertson and Bruce Kirby into the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame and we look forward to working with Sail Canada to preserve and present  the history of the Canadian Sailing Hall of Fame to the public.

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LORC Racing Schedule for 2014

Your LORC executive and the participating clubs have been hard at work putting together a great racing schedule for 2014, so mark your calendars! Check the website at www.LORC.org

We start with the ABYC Open on May 24 & 25, always a great party. Then we move on the RCYC open June 21 & 22 where the Dinghies join us for racing and drinks on the lawn. Next is PCYC, July 5 & 6, for a wonderful tent party. The EYC Open and Levels Events August 23 & 24 follows with the smashing steak barbeque.  The last but not least big regatta is QCYC September 6th (and 7th if you’re a J24) with it great views of the city and large flying and white PHRF fleets.

But don’t forget our 2 long distance races the Donald Summerville from ABYC September 20th and the Boswell Trophy Race from RCYC September 28th these are races provide an opportunity to enjoy as 1 crew says “a great day of exciting fall sailing that’s not to be missed”.

The NOR for these events will be on the website and Registration opens, Monday.

We have changed our registration software but you can still register using your email address, then select “forgot password”, and a new password will be sent to you. The bulk of your information from 2013 will be included in your account, please review and update accordingly.

This year we are going to try to host an awards event in November, so we can share our sailing stories about the year that has been; date and location to be announced.

Thank you to everyone who completed a survey last year and the results will be posted shortly on our website. Your LORC executive is currently taking action on an number of identified issues to improve the overall LORC experience.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the volunteers that make the LORC event happen in all of the participating clubs, you do a wonderful job.  Thank you!!!

The LORC Executive

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Need Inspiration for a Unique Boat Name?

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Marine Operations Update-April 2014

Main dock looking WestThis is a very busy time for everyone as members prepare their boats for launch and all of the various Club preparations are in full swing!  These preparations are all completed with the involvement of many volunteers and there are some really messy tasks!  And just like the preparations of our own boats for launch being compressed into a very short time-frame (it did snow last Tuesday!), some of the work normally completed before launch will not be able to be finished before Launch. The photo (left) was taken just 3 weeks ago!

Dock extension looking WestYour Launch & Haulout Team has been very active in preparing for next weekend.  There are still many volunteer positions that need to be filled to make this all happen.  Please review the listing of open positions posted outside the Men’s washroom, and contact Ian Pooles to identify what tasks you can help with.

The docks have almost survived the ravages of the harsh winter unscathed.  We will see some repairs having to be completed during the sailing season.  They were just reconfigured to the summer layout last Friday and the Dock Committee were out on Saturday making their final checks.  If you do spot something that you feel should be repaired, please bring it to the attention of the NYC Office staff.  Early warnings of a failure, of any level, can greatly reduce the costs of outages and repairs.

New Mooring BallsOver the winter 8 moorings were lost.  One was a test unit and so we’re glad to have NOT selected that model!  These will all be recovered and returned to service.  The Mooring Committee continues with the mooring buoy replacement program this spring.  Again, with delays due to weather really impacting these tasks, this is behind schedule.  But they will continue to work all this coming week to get as many of the new buoys installed.  The new mooring numbers will be added when it get a bit warmer!

New Dinghy RampThe new dinghy ramp is scheduled to arrive at NYC the Tuesday following launch.  Gone are the old hinge plates that were tripping hazards and left gouges in the bottoms of the boats!  More will be reported on this next time with photos of the installation.

Island SignThe Blue Crane has been totally re-wired and new boom and hook controls installed.  Check it out!  A key is now required to operate the unit, both a safety and control initiative.

We also installed a new sign on the island the weekend before launch.

Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Accidents can happen all too quickly and when you least expect it.  Please take extra care so that we all have a safe and trouble-free beginning to the sailing and boating season.

And if you need to find a position to use up some of your required club work hours, come and see me.  With 12 Committees, there is always lots of variety of work that needs to be done and I can guarantee that you will enjoy the fellowship!

All the best!
Don Weston, VC Marine Operations

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The New NYC Sound System

What’s more important than our boat besides a great place to keep them?  This we have  at the NYC! And what was missing? Right again  – a good sound system which will help provide Public Announcements for Launch and Haulout. It will  also provide a nice ambiance whenever there is an event, regatta or social function (inside and/or out). Not to mention when it is needed for the many times the Chart Room hosts a conference, business meeting or one of our educational courses.

ReceiverA High Fidelity Dream

It all began a few years back when John Waddell held the VC Land Operations position. We had  almost the same dream. John, also a visionary, and I got chatting one day and we discussed everything that was needed for the clubhouse, inside and out. I was focused on the sound and music and so was John but he was focused on even more. He saw a working bar downstairs with two gi-normous, high-quality TVs and a great sound system. We did the Vulcan “mind meld” and we reviewed what needed to be done. We concurred on the many aspects, costs, locations, quality levels, placements, speaker sizes and options, satellite reception considerations, infrastructure, accessibility, ease of use, and what we wanted the end results to be.

Now by some weird coincidence, just up Bathurst Street were Kromer Radio who advised that they were going out of business (there is a God!). Just like an eagle that spots a mouse from 20,000 feet we pounced on this opportunity. This was a great time to get the equipment we needed and quality equipment at that. It was less than half price, bought locally and supports our business neighbours. Everyone wins!

20140421_141824Thank you to EVERYONE that helped.

  • There were many others that were also involved and helpful by contributing along the road to perdition big time, and I wish to say a super special thanks to them all:
  • Denys Jones for his blessings and getting the cabinet re-done up at his business to accommodate the PA and stereo equipment needed.
  • Linda Morley who took over where John Waddell left off on this project giving me the okay to “git ‘er dun” and get the rest of the equipment needed without scrimping on quality and focusing also on what would work best – which I did and again at 1/3 the normal cost (“vee have our vays”)
  • Tom Wood for his technical expertise and recommendations regarding the techy side of this project.
  • Don Hyslop, Marc Decorte and Ed Konzelman (amongst some others) that helped install it all, put it away for the winter, then reinstall it for the season – quite a big job actually.
  • And Sam was always accommodating and helpful along the way with testing, idea suggesting, information and logistics.
  • Even good ‘ole Walter for letting us drill through the walls where we needed to, and for providing suggestions and infrastructure assistance, helping this project along. (hey Walter! It’s finally finished!!! Thanks!)

And I don’t want to leave out Henry for not only coming up with a very resourceful and practical way of running the wires and cables so that they are invisible (using a conduit to “channel” them as they are fed where they need to go) but also for physically doing all the wire running. Thank you Henry!

It takes a team effort and many people to makes things happens on the scale of this project. We are so very fortunate to have that great team willing to help in the many ways that a project of this magnitude required and requires still. It is now complete, yet offers flexibility for any future changes.

What’s the result?

We now have a quality sound system in the Chart Room that plays from our Satellite connection, CD/DVD player, tape, computer, iPhone/Smartphone or whatever inside or outside or both. We can hook it up to the office PA for launch/haul and also utilize it, including cordless microphones for any meeting, course or seminar in either section of Chart Room. We did it all without paying any outside contractors, getting all the gear a half price or less, and designed to work in many applications and for various purposes.

Again thanks to all that helped in this major project. We just need the weather to “Begin the Beguine!”

Don Williams,
Dock Committee Chair

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Alberg Association Regatta

Albergs on the starting line.

Albergs on the starting line.

This year is the 50th anniversary of the Albergs which were made in Whitby Ontario. And the Chesapeake Bay Alberg Association will be at NYC on June 21, 2014,  to race against the Great Lakes Alberg Association. This is an annual event.

Gerry Kedey of NYC bought the very first Alberg 30 and it was called Opus 1. The Chesapeake Bay guys bought 10 of the first 50 boats that were built at Whitby. The Whitby Boat Works built 655 Alberg 30′s as well as Alberg 37′s.

Close racing in the A30 fleet.

Close racing in the A30 fleet.

Last year the crew of Jazz gained a comfortable 2nd place on a loaner boat in the Chesapeake Bay Alberg Association Regatta which had 10 boats racing in a seven race weekend. One boat lost its mast in the 20 knot winds due to a chainplate failure. The crew – all National Yacht Club members – were Tom Gibson, Adam Charlton, Marc Decourt, Joan McKay and John Kitchener.

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Toronto Waterfront Festival, 2014

CrowdEMERGE Aritsts ShowcaseGet ready for the excitement at this year’s Redpath Waterfront Festival from June 20-22, 2014.  With a footprint of 2 kilometers along Toronto’s waterfront from Spadina to Sherbourne, the action packed Festival will have something for everyone.

Don’t miss the world’s newest extreme water sport at the 2014 Flyboard® North American Championships, where there will be no shortage of adrenaline pumping competition. With points for double backflips, height and dolphin dives, Flyboarding is bigger, better and higher than ever.

Wine and Spirits 1Flyboard 1Enjoy family fun and dog friendly events at the 2014 DockDogs® World Qualifying Championships featuring the top canine record holders for distance jumping, height and retrieving.

Head over to Sugar Beach and unwind at the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival and get a taste of the latest trends, while the hottest new musical talent in Toronto entertains you at the EMERGE Artists Showcase.

Members can volunteer for the festival

If interested, email volunteers@towaterfrontfest.com and someone will get back to them about opportunities at this year’s Festival.

We also have some promotions, discounts and offers for people who come to the Festival with a WBIA Waterfront Savings Card. WBIA cards can be picked up at the WBIA office in Queens Quay Terminal.

DockDogs 2General Information
Friday June 20, 2014 – Sunday June 22, 2014.
Visit our website for more info here: www.TOwaterfrontfest.com
Facebook: TOwaterfrontfest
Twitter: TOwaterfest

Posted in Around Lake Ontario, Fun Stuff | Leave a comment

Hey, Who Shut the River Off?!

They say that if you wait for good weather you never go.

But who are they? I Googled the word “they” but Mr. Google did not give me the answer – only a definition. But as it turned out they were right! It was a big deal! So when you read anything about what they say, perhaps best to take their word for it and oblige. Lest yee be bitten and smitten and get a hitten by the hand of Neptune or Poseidon or  whoever’s in charge these days out there.

It was the Friday of Labour Day weekend last year and the wind was from True North – no, not from Craig and Nell’s boat, but actually from the direction of the magnetic course of “true north”. True magnetic north is a very uncommon wind around these parts to say the least and also a very uncommon direction.And it’s a contradiction suggesting that a true and a magnetic north are one and the same. Well, whatever. The wind was about 25 knots and increasing by the minute!

So off we went heading towards NOTL (Niagara-on-the-Lake),  mostly True South, magnetically speaking of course. With the wind directly, and I “means” directly behind us, no quartering or “eigthering” in the least and no easy way to sail it. Wing and wing (and not wing on wing – that was for tipping Buzz Bombs in WWII by Spits and their ilk) was the only way but the tough way “fer sure.”  With this north wind, magnetic or true (still not sure yet), there were virtually no waves for the first 100’ or so but after that, look out Miss Bowsprit ‘cause ‘yer gonna get a wet face!

For crew I had a newbie first mate that did not have any, let alone some experience with sailing. Oh my, just kayaking? But a boat’s a boat, right?! This north wind would just not leave us alone no matter what I yelled and gestured at it. Fortunately SoundScape was up to this cruising for a bruising as she is a solid sloop made in the era of true quality yachts.

The course to NOTL was simply not working as to sail that distance “wing and wing” and straight downwind required just too much helming and more work than I wanted to do on a Friday afternoon after a busy work week. I was glad that I put the “big wheel” on (more leverage) and even so needed two hands to drive and I like at least one free to hold the binnacle at times, give position reports on the radio – as I always file a Sail Plan with Prescott Radio – as every good sailor should – and periodically add some emotion to what I am talking about. My first mate could not hold a course for more than about twenty feet so having her drive for a spell was simply out of the question. I barely could either as the waves grew to monumental size the further south we went. So after about an hour of wrestling with the wheel, the new course was set – Port Dalhousie or bust. Arrrrgh! And bust almost won.

Now with a small angle of a quartering tailwind we could keep the sails on the same side, more or less, and almost sail in a straight line – almost. Surfing was more like it, actually achieving a recorded maximum (GPS) speed of 12.7 knots – likely sliding down one of the big fifteen footers that occasionally came to visit. The GPS’s breadcrumb trail looked like a drunken sailor’s “too much to drink” trail – and I was not the drunken sailor. Never have been and never will be.  I save that for when the boat’s safely secured to a dock, anchor or mooring can.

By mid-lake the wind had picked up to 30+ knots and the waves were averaging about 12’ and building and crashing everywhere. By the time we hit the “Southside Shuffle” of Post Glacial Lake Iroquois – or Lake Ontario as they call it now – the waves were about 14’ – and that ain’t no exaggeration. The bow was well and truly buried with each and every wave. The wind was up to 35 knots now, or more, and still from the magnetically true north – as per radio and instruments and wetted index finger (well everything was a bit wet by this point) – and blowing right down the Dalhousie Approach Corridor, and so the job of furling and dropping the sails was barely “do-able.” An experienced crew would have had some issues getting the sails down and furled but with just me and my inexperienced mate it was borderline impossible and that’s putting it mildly. The wind sounded and felt like a freight train going by. I found out later that another sailboat was smashed to pieces at the Jordan Harbour Bridge that same day – fortunately no loss of life or injuries in that one. And I wanted to put up the Gennaker when leaving the NYC’s basin to take full advantage of our tailwind forté. Hmmm…. What was I thinking?!

But down came the sails and up the semi-protected Dalhousie channel we motored to attempt the docking procedure in front of the Dalhousie Yacht Club. (Why did they leave out the “Port” bit in their name by the way?! Hmmm….) Several nice DYC folks came out to lend a hand – as they always do there. (Or perhaps they were just curious to see who in their right mind would take a boat out in a Lake Ontario typhoon.) But what they didn’t’ tell me or more correctly “yell me” – as the wind was still howling even that far up the channel so it was hard to hear anyone – was that the river was shut off that day – hence no current. (Closed for repairs was the story that I was fed.) When you dock there you anticipate and allow for the strong current coming at you but when it is not there – as it was not that almost fateful day – you tend to crash into anything and everything in front of you if you don’t know and if you are not quick on the draw and apply the “power” brakes when you should.

Well, I was busy driving the ship to its roost so I asked my mate to toss the stern line to one of the able-bodied long shore-men but she, being a newbie, messed up the throw and it went into the drink and under the boat, towards the spinning prop that I had in full reverse to stop the forward movement of the boat due to the lack of the expected and anticipated strong river current. Anyone could have done that and I don’t blame her one bit. What a mess! But, no time to fret just yet. It was time to react, act and not miss a beat and not hit a boat – no time to even think, that’s for sure. Git ‘er dun as they say in good ‘ole West Virginia!
I had to shut the engine down – so as to not get the line wrapped around the prop rendering it and the boat as non-operational, pull up the wet line, coil it quickly and re-throw it – and not miss, start the engine back up and then put it into hard reverse so it wouldn’t do this “crash” thing due to the lack of stopping current and all in 2.4 seconds. With a 35 knot wind pushing the boat forward still with the Dodger and transom acting like a sail and no stopping current its 13,000 pounds wasn’t going to stop in time and that was for sure. Well, if that doesn’t wake up a tired sailor from four hours of tough downwind sailing in a gale in twelve foot waves nothing will!

We were told that due to the wind we could stay there for the night but I said “heck no, we’d like to be on the Far Side – the Gary Larson side.” So, we tempted fate once again and moved – but that is another story – again with a happy ending but not without its fair share of drama as well.

Sure, there is a lot to learn here – there always is when a near-crash experience happens after a four-hour slog across our Great Lake in a hurricane . But that’s half the fun of a sailing adventure – mixing the known with the unknown and throwing in some extra unexpected ingredients for flavour. It’s called an adventure and what many of us live (and yes, sometimes unfortunately die) for.

So whenever you hear a warning phrase that starts off with “They say…” you might want to think twice or perhaps three times as sometimes, actually often, they know what they are talking about. But on the other hand, what fun is it sitting at the dock when the magnetic true north knocks loudly on your back door on the last long weekend of the sailing season saying “come out and play!!!”

by Don Williams – SoundScape


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From the (Frozen) Moorings

IMG_3124We installed a few mooring buoys last season as a test. They were pretty popular.

  • The buoys have a number of advantages over the tires.
  • Round, to discourage the birds;
  • White non marking plastic, which does not mark the boats if bumped;
  • Much more visible, so less of a hazard if mooring at dusk or at night;
  • Sit higher out of the water, so the mooring location identification is easier to see

We left these test buoys out in the basin over the winter as we wanted to see how they held up in the ice. This was definitely a good year for the ice test! Near as we can tell, everything seems to have survived. The view from the balcony looks pretty promising.

Therefore we are going to start replacing the tires with the mooring buoys.

The plan is to replace thirty of the tires with the new mooring buoys with a swivel under each buoy so there will be fewer problems with tangled pennants.

We will start with the moorings that seem most out of place.

A very rough survey last fall suggested that a lot of the placement problem is due to extra long mooring chains. Starting there we’ll check the chain length, shorten if required, then install the swivel and buoy. If all goes well that should finish the job.

There may be some mooring locations that will require the railway wheels to be moved.

This is a much bigger job which will require the Blue Barge, a calm day, ands lots of helpers. The Blue Barge is a great crane platform but not not a very maneuverable boat. The best way to position the barge is to run lines to three strong points and warp into the right location. Hopefully we will be able to fix most or all of the locations with chain length problems without need for the BB. We will have to see what we find when pulling up the chains. If there are a lot that need the BB, we may not get all thirty in this year. Stay tuned.

Fingers crossed for warm weather.

Craig Lahmer, Moorings Committee

IMG_3155 IMG_3153 IMG_3127

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Use Extreme Caution Accessing Boats with Ice Present

This winter has seen a whole lot more snow and ice than usual accumulate around our boats as they sit quietly on the hard, and it’s sticking around longer too. We all want to get at the boats to prepare for Launch, which is less than five weeks away.

A word of caution:
The ground around the cradles is very slippery! Some of the snow has turned to ice and is starting to melt. As it does, it creates large shallow pools of water that freeze again overnight, creating even more hazardous conditions.

Just this past Friday as we did a tour around the yard we were all slipping and sliding. Just when we thought it was clear we’d come across another frozen area. This is especially true along the walk beside the seawall on the basin.

For your own safety and well being please be very cautious walking around under the boats or setting up ladders while there is any sign of ice still apparent.

by Don Weston, VC Marine Operations

Posted in Committee News, Safety | Leave a comment

Attention NYC PHRF Racers

PHRFburgee_2014Dear NYC PHRF Racers,

The organization that is responsible for administrating our PHRF racing handicaps, PHRF – LAKE ONTARIO, is implementing
changes for the 2014 racing season as follows.

PHRF-LO is implementing five changes for the 2014 racing season. The details of the changes are available on the PHRF-LO website under Sail & Handicapping Guidelines Support.

  1. Discontinuation of the +3 sec/mile 183% spinnaker grandfather credit
  2. Headsail Half Width measurement required for non-triangular headsails that sheet in front of the spreaders
  3. Spinnakers ratings will be based on sail area, changing from mid girth,  requiring symmetrical spinnaker foot measurements
  4. All new mains and existing square top mains require measurements including Main Girth Middle, Main Girth Upper and Headboard width
  5. Other adjustments include  non-standard mast, -6 sec/mile for a boat with a carbon fiber mast where the class has an aluminum mast, +6 sec/mile for a boat with an aluminum mast where the class has a carbon fiber mast, +6 sec/mile for an in mast roller fuller main where it is not standard in the class, and +6 sec/mile for any center line tacked spinnaker on a boat that does not carry a spinnaker pole or articulating bowsprit

Boats that do not race flying sail, have a triangular main and jib ( no battens in the jib and minimal roach in the main ) will have no sail plan adjustments and no new reporting requirements.

Boats that do race spinnaker and currently have a +3 sec/mile grandfather credit will lose the credit for 2014.

Owners are encouraged to have the spinnakers measured over the winter, possibly by your sailmaker, or following the instructions on the PHRF-LO website. Owners that do not supply a foot measurement will have their spinnaker sail area rated based on the foot being the same as the Max Girth measurement.

Boats that have a square top main must supply measurements if they have not already done so.

The fee for a PHRF renewal or new application has increased from $30 to $35 for the 2014 racing season. Members will see the charge on their April club invoice, due the end of April. Members that pay the PHRF fee will have their PHRF certificates validated during the first few days of May.

For inquiries or to submit sail measurements please email phrf@thenyc.com


Posted in Committee News, Racing | Leave a comment

Clean Marine: Don’t Dunk Your Antifreeze

Spring is rapidly approaching—a development that turns thoughts to maintenance and de-winterizing our boats. But even though it might seem like common sense to avoid, every year hundreds of boaters dispose of the antifreeze that protected their motors and holding tanks during winter’s coldest months by dumping it into Lake Ontario. Or, just as bad, into storm sewers where it drains back into the waterways.

I have gathering some facts regarding antifreeze toxicity and how to dispose of it properly.

AntiFreezeCommon Myth

“Pink or Plumber’s/RV antifreeze is safe.”

Using propylene ethyl or RV/Plumber’s antifreeze (the safer pink- or blue-colored type of antifreeze) it’s still a dangerous, toxic substance that can contribute to fish kills.

Although propylene glycol (pink, blue or clear) anti-freeze is safer, it still can be harmful to fish and other aquatic life, especially when multiple boats flush their engines and holding tanks near boat docks, which are close to the spawning grounds of many species of fish. Waste anti-freeze also can contain heavy metals or fuel from engines that can classify it as hazardous waste.

I know the majority of our members now work hard to flush and remove their engine water cooling system before launch.  Have you considered the fresh water system as well?

Anti-freeze Collection and Disposal Tips


  1. Check your bilge and clean out any oil if present with a bilge pillow or absorbent pad.
    Remove the water intake hose from the through hull or raw water filter –whichever is most convenient. Place this hose into a large bucket of fresh water or attach to a water source.
  2. Have a friend hold a bucket to catch the anti-freeze as it exits the engine beneath the water/exhaust port. Have another 5 gallon bucket ready to switch the hose when the first bucket is full if required.
  3. Turn on the water (if connected) or immerse the hose and start your engine. Collect the water and anti-freeze mix in the bucket(s), and then let the remaining water drain on the ground until the engine is up to temperature.
  4. Turn off the engine and water. Reconnect the raw water intake hose. My system involves 3 of us; 1 on the throttle, another holding the hose in the intake water bucket and a third holding the bucket under the exhaust/water discharge port. Fellow members are a good source of knowledge on a system too.
  5. Dispose of the diluted anti-freeze in the tank beside the Workshop clearly marked Antifreeze.

Freshwater Holding Tank (New!)

I have never done this but realized last year there is more antifreeze in the fresh water system than the engine! Oops.

  1. Connect a hose to the sink faucet or place a funnel with a hose attached under the faucet and place the other end into a 5 gallon bucket.
  2. Turn on the faucet and start filling the bucket.
  3. Collect the anti-freeze until the water runs clear.
  4. Dispose in the same manner as above. While this is inconvenient it is no harder than taking engine oil to the Tank. .

Sewage Holding Tank

In spring use the head as usual and pump out when needed. This anti-freeze and sewage mix will go directly to a sewage treatment plant.

Thanks for taking a little time and effort to keep our waters clean and to protect fish spawning grounds.

Contact me with any questions at ghadrill@yahoo.ca or 647-963-2124

Geoff Hadrill, Chair Environment Committee

Posted in Committee News, Environment, Maintenance | 2 Responses

Fun Stuff: Mast Walking With Style

There’s a new sailing video that has recently been posted on YouTube and  it might be of interest to the membership. It’s a video of a “mast walk” where Alex Thompson walks up the 30 m high mast of a 60ft yacht while it’s sailing on an extreme heel and then dives off the top. It’s pretty spectacular! He also happens to be wearing a suit for the stunt – it’s an advert for Hugo Boss.

It’s actually a sequel of sorts to a video from two years ago where the same guy did a ‘keel walk’ on the same boat, again while it was sailing.

Submitted by Amelia Leelsma

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Ready or Not! Spring Prep Check-list

Spring Prep Check-list

Your boat, like mine, is scheduled to launch April 26 or 27. That’s less than a month from publication of this newsletter. I can’t wait, can you? The poor thing has been lying there stiff, cold, silent, alone and weather-beaten since the Fall, through what has been a miserable winter. She could sure use a bit of TLC and close personal attention before being dunked back in the lake. And if you ever want to see your cradle again, now would also be a good time to properly mark it with boat name, member number and references to which is the pointy and which is the blunt end (bow and stern are the actual words to use in case you have forgotten). Otherwise, poor cradle marking may prove very costly in the fall.

As to the boat, I offer a list below intended not for your boat but mainly for you. It’s been awhile since we had to think of such things so this is offered to help coax that boating portion of your mind out of hibernation and trigger thoughts of what you should be doing to with your boat in your situation. The list is not exhaustive nor boat specific but it should start you neurons firing. The rest is up to you. Launch will go as scheduled.

Make a List
• Make a list, check it twice and mark off what you have completed
• Review last year’s notes and logs for outstanding problems
• Add the notes and reminders you made over the winter to the list
• Create a comprehensive list that is specific to your boat and situation
• Modify the list as you progress and save it as a starter list for next year

• Think of it as fun – or at least as leading to fun sometime later
• Remove, clean, air out, dry and store winter cover(s)
• Arrange a method of safely securing ladder for work
• Remove debris and tidy up around cradle site
• Check the boat for signs of water, bird and animal intrusion
• Clean up on deck and below and air out the boat
• Consider cleaning or washing furniture covers and curtains
• Add to your list any new problems seen, smelled or suspected as you prepare

On Deck
• Inspect for signs of leaks, excessive moisture or discoloration
• Prime, oil or rough-repaint any exposed wood – leave refinishing for later
• Lubricate blocks, winches, shackles; standing and running rigging
• Before launch, remove all loose objects and trip hazards from the deck
• Freshen canvas covers, dodgers, etc – but don’t wash out the waterproofing

• Inspect thoroughly; fill/fix any damage
• Wash – maybe with a “power” washer (but be careful of newly painted areas)
• Prepare hull, fill, fair, wax and polish
• Mask off areas to be painted
• Prepare for and renew anti-fouling
• Inspect keel attachments, chain plates, thru-hulls, drains and screens
• Inspect stuffing box; service if required
• Inspect/replace zincs
• Inspect prop and shaft for both condition and security
• Inspect struts and cutlass bearings for security and wear
• Clean out thru-hull gratings, fittings and valves
• Rig means of catching anti-freeze on engine startup
• Properly dispose of all anti-freeze, oils, fuel, paints or similar fluids
• Remove paint from face of depth sounder and speed transducer
• Now’s the time to properly install any new thru-hull or transducer

• Ventilate well, tidy and spring clean
• Clean portholes, port lights, hatches and deadlights
• Look for signs of leaks, locate and repair any found
• Remove and dispose of any damp or mildewed materials
• Clean and de-grease bilge; properly dispose of waste
• Inspect wiring for areas of chafe or loose connections
• Open up all limber holes
• Closely examine all thru-hull fittings, hoses, clamps and attachments
• Examine fuel filters for signs of water or contamination
• Replace drain plug if removed
• Lubricate and operate seacocks until action is smooth and free
• Clean out primary fresh, cooling and raw water filters
• Clean and test bilge pumps, alarms and float switches
• Thoroughly clean ice box or fridge, check operation
• Wash down all interior surfaces
• Inspect below decks area and lockers for signs of leaks, mildew or damage
• Freshen-up upholstery, curtains etc.
• Treat or replace any damaged or mildewed foam
• Remove, inspect and re-stow gear

• Ensure that the engine oil and filter have been changed; check oil level
• Inspect/renew fuel filter(s), drain any water from primary filter
• Inspect/renew air filter
• Inspect transmission fluid, change if required
• Gas: Inspect ignition harness and flame arrestor
• Gas: Carefully check forced ventilation system, hoses, vents
• Gas: Inspect/change spark plugs, points & rotor
• Diesel: Inspect fuel delivery system, drain sediment and water
• Inspect/test/change/refill coolant
• Inspect/change all drive belts – locate spare(s)
• Inspect/change raw water impeller – locate spare(s)
• Check all hoses for soft or worn spots; replace as necessary
• Check hose clamps for placement, security and corrosion
• Look for leaks, drips; trace and repair
• Clean drip trays, add oil absorbent pad
• Check engine and bilge ventilation and ventilating fan operation
• Check operation of any gas or fume alarms
• Inspect and check engine wiring for looseness and chafing
• Examine prop shaft and coupling flange; it may need in-water realignment
• Re-examine stuffing box from inside
• Check all engine mounts and attachments
• Examine engine for signs of loosening bolts, nuts, hoses or gear• Ensure that nothing is blocking exhaust or air intakes
• Be sensitive to presence of fuel odours – if present get professional help

• Clean battery and battery terminals
• Check specific gravity
• Top up with distilled water
• Reconnect and charge, ensuring charger and batteries have adequate ventilation
• Inspect/clean alternator and starter terminals
• Check wiring for signs of looseness and chafing
• Check electrical circuits for proper operation
• Check all exterior lights that can be checked before launch
• Re-install any electronics that were removed for winter and test operation

• Flush potable antifreeze into disposable container(s)
• Flush tanks with fresh water (add small amount of bleach or cup of baking soda)
• Check all pumps for leaks and proper operation
• Inspect and secure all hose clamps
• Pressurize fresh water system
• Examine system for signs of leaks
• Inspect holding tank, prepare and service head(s)
• Tighten down head mounts if needed, check for leakage, freezing damage

• Inspect/repair sails and running gear
• Clean and prepare mast; remount mast attachments
• Inspect/re-tension all mast attachments
• Inspect/renew retaining pins/rings
• Inspect navigation, anchor and running lights
• Ensure that blocks run freely
• Inspect and service winches and line control devices
• Inspect/replace sheets, halyards, chafing gear
• Inspect, lubricate and service all running rigging and attachments
• Inspect standing rigging and attachments, lubricate as required
• Inspect and clean rode and anchor gear, wire shackles shut
• Locate pins or rings to lock standing rigging when raised
• Remove rust on any metal parts
• Prepare docking space or swing mooring
• Clean, prepare and attach mooring lines, lock shackles

• Inspect/lubricate control cables, levers, rods, gears
• Inspect and top-up hydraulic steering, check, adjust and lubricate others
• Inspect and adjust rudder packing gland
• Inspect, lubricate and adjust rudder mounts and attachments
• Inspect and lubricate wheel or tiller systems, attachments and fittings
• Test all controls for free and correct operation

• Inspect/check all PFDs and life jackets, confirm adequate number and condition
• Inspect fire extinguishers; condition, type, number, size, confirm adequacy
• Replenish first aid kit, note location
• Locate all safety gear – ensure compliance with all directives
• Inspect and renew flares as required, stow in safety locker
• That’s not all, but it’s a start and, hopefully, will trigger some memories of your own. May 2 is not that far away!

by David George

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Deep Freeze Has Silver Linings for Natural World

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – From a field station in northern Wisconsin, where the previous night’s low was a numbing 29 degrees below zero, climate scientist John Lenters studied computer images of ice floes on Lake Superior with delight.

It may be hard to think of this week’s deep freeze as anything but miserable, but to scientists like Lenters there are silver linings: The extreme cold may help raise low water in the Great Lakes, protect shorelines and wetlands from erosion, kill insect pests and slow the migration of invasive species.

TorontoHarbourFrozen“All around, it’s a positive thing,” Lenters, a specialist in the climate of lakes and watersheds, said Wednesday.

Ice cover on the Great Lakes has been shrinking for decades, but this year more than 60 percent of the surface is expected to freeze over at some point – an occurrence that could help the lakes rebound from a prolonged slump in water levels.

Even agriculture can benefit. Although cold weather is generally no friend to crops, some of southern Florida’s citrus fruits can use a perfectly timed cool-down, which they were getting as midweek temperatures hovered around freezing. “A good cold snap lowers the acidity in oranges and increases sugar content, sweetens the fruit,” said Frankie Hall, policy director for the Florida Farm Bureau Federation. “It’s almost been a blessing.”

Scientists noted that subzero temperatures and pounding snowfalls like those that gripped much of the nation for several days are not unheard-of in the Midwest and Northeast and used to happen more frequently.

For all the misery it inflicted, the polar vortex that created the painfully frigid conditions apparently broke no all-time records in any major U.S. cities, according to Jeff Masters, meteorology director of Weather Underground.

Read the complete original article here.

by John Flesher | The Associated Press

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Dinghy Ramp and Slips

Old Dinghy Ramp

Old Dinghy Ramp

New Dinghy Ramp

The new ramp is well on the way to being here! Along with Craig Lahmer, Chair of the Mooring Committee and myself, we made a visit to the supplier today and finalized several design points for the ramp, its mounting bracket and legs. It will be delivered early in April and the final assembly will be done on site.I it will be lifted into its place for the first time during launch. The ramp will actually sit on the basin bottom on extra heavy duty leg structures and be linked to the wall with special mounting brackets. Prior to launch we will be completing several dives to position and prepare base points for the legs to stand on.

Slip Assignment Process:

Last year a change was made to the process of assigning slips to members. The assignment of a slip is one of the most important steps for a new member and so the process has been moved under the Board, specifically to the Vice Commodore Marine Operations, along with the General Manager and the Member Services Manager of the NYC. For a new member, we try to match the boat to be best available slip. For current members we accept requests for a change of location and attempt to accommodate any such request. We do have some options each year as members leave or purchase different boats.

If you would like to change the location of your boat, please submit a request, in writing, to the NYC Office. This establishes your request in priority sequence. You will be notified of the decision of the Committee.

Don Weston, VC Marine Operations

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Commodore’s Comments, March 2014

Commodore Denys JonesDear Fellow Members

Recently while visiting the National Yacht Club I have been asked “what happened to you?” I have been walking with a limp and have my arm in a cast, so here is a brief explanation. As some of you know, in addition to being an active participant in NYC activities and a keen sailor, I am a really keen ski enthusiast and every year I look to develop new tactics and share them with younger instructors at my ski school. Part of this personal development involves participating in CSIA courses and personal training seminars.

The past few weeks have been a major challenge for me. On the 26th of February, while participating in the Canadian Ski Instructors Alliance level 4-instructor course I had a really bad fall… and I don’t know what happened. My helmet was cracked, I have a painful left knee, and a broken left humerus.  I can only guess that I must have hooked an edge and gone into a tree on the side of the trail. I must have lost consciousness since my only recollection is going from one flowing turn to being rescue by the ski patrol about 100 feet away from the trail. So friends, that is my story. I had an operation this past week and am on the way to complete recovery. Remember to “wear a helmet and hug your loved ones.”

Now, on to other news:

The Board and I have done our best to keep you informed about developments regarding the proposed Billy Bishop Airport expansion plans. The City Hall Executive Committee has done a great job of keeping all interested parties informed of the committee’s conclusions and recommendations to City Council. As you know, the NYC has voiced our objection very clearly regarding any changes to the current Tri-partite agreement. We have also clearly stated that the NYC must retain safe unrestricted access to the Humber Bay and the Western Gap. We note with optimism that the Committee has expressed the fundamental value of maintaining clear navigation channels. The NYC has also expressed concerns regarding excess noise and increased pollution and we encourage our members as individual citizens to express their opinions on these issues.

Please read the report from Toronto City Council staff report to the Executive Committee.

We will soon be getting our boats ready for launch

Remember to change your galvanic isolator if required as this will control potential damage to keels and rudders. Also please check your batteries. As you may know, each year we have problems with boats not starting when launched mostly due to old batteries. My understanding is that if your batteries are 4 years old its time to consider replacement.

See you at the club!

Kind regards,
Deny Jones
Commodore of the NYC

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Pelicans and Frigate Birds: How We Sailed to Cuba in 18 Days – Part II

Part 2: Arrival in Cuba

Continued from Part I

Everybody, but everybody, asks me about sailing to Cuba, and so they should. Cuba is a fascinating place, just 90 miles across the Florida Straits from Key West but a million miles away in atmosphere and culture.

Nothing to the trip, I tell fellow sailors with a hefty dose of bravado. For us, crossing to Havana was a pleasant overnight sail with a steady wind and two-foot waves, much like sailing across Lake Ontario with the heat turned up. I’m joking, of course, but not much.

havana seafrontThere were none of the dangers or political headaches that everybody insisted on warning us about. There were no patrol boats, neither Cuban nor American, no menacing helicopters, no paperwork and no bureaucracy. We didn’t even tell the Americans that we were leaving their country. And the only machine guns we saw on the entire trip were on the Coast Guard boats in downtown Miami.

We did see a jellyfish or two, dozens of pelicans busy commuting to and fro and gorgeous frigate birds soaring far above, the height of elegance with nary a flap of their four-foot wings. But unlike the latest Kon Tiki movie, there were no sharks at our stern with wide open mouths waiting for us to fall overboard.

As for special preparations? We picked up a Cuban courtesy flag and a set of Cuban nautical charts before we left Canada. We took our passports, boat ownership papers, two GPS handhelds and a pair of good binoculars. That’s all we needed or wanted. Visas? Insurance? Pesos? Nah. Who needs them? We didn’t.

Cuban currency, you ask in complete innocence? I will NOT delve into the mysteries of Cuban currency. Life’s too short. You can find your own currency trader behind every tree and every bush in Cuba.

As for retail? It’s so thoroughly wonderful to find a place in this world where you aren’t bombarded with advertising 24 hours a day. Just make sure you take everything you need with you, and that includes toothpaste and toilet paper. I do not jest.

The voyage across the Straits of Florida took a grand total of 21 hours, dock to dock, an average of 5.5 knots. We left Key West at 2 pm to make sure we arrived in daylight, set the compass for 190 degrees and headed straight across. Navigation was easy. We headed for handy clouds while the sun shone and, when it got dark, we looked for the lights of Havana 90 miles away.

It was a gorgeous trip – just us and the wind and the waves. Sailing is so much more exciting after dark. The black waves rushed past, inches below the gunwale, leaving a trail of white spray behind. The only sounds were the flapping of the sails and the mew of the gulls. The tropical night winds kept us warm and the compass light gave an eerie glow beside the wheel.

The wind was a strenuous 15 to 20 knots on a close reach until the early hours, but it was constant and easy to handle. The only excitement came at 4:30 in the morning when a sudden gust came howling through and blew my lovely red baseball hat into the water. It’s still there somewhere, 45 miles north of Havana in 1,200 feet of water. As for the wind, we raised all hands, dowsed the genoa and held on tight. It was very exciting at the time but not at all bad in retrospect.

Boca Chita Biscayne BayI have never liked all-nighters, and I didn’t like this one. I’ll admit that I almost gave up sailing forever at five in the morning when I was cold and wet and miserable and desperate for sleep. I managed to finish the 3 to 6 am shift, slept until eight, then crawled out of the bunk to a gorgeous dawn with the fortress of Havana on the horizon. The sight of that huge castle, the esplanade and the classical Spanish architecture made it all worthwhile.

Relations between the United States and Cuba have relaxed a lot since Barrack Obama and Raoul Castro took over and most people we met – on both sides of the Straits  saw the Cold War as a silly vestige of the past. The reality is that Cuban marinas are full of American boats, and nobody seems to mind. After all, the Cubans want tourism and they aren’t going to squeal if an American boat turns up looking for a place to dock. Certainly, we found the Cubans charming, friendly and welcoming. They were glad to see us, wherever we might be from.

Plenty of Americans sail across to Cuba, but they are a wary group of people who have learned to take basic precautions when dealing with their government. But Americans also like to talk and there was no shortage of people who would pull us aside and give us advice on crossing the Straits. The trick, they invariably said, was to pull out their fishing rods as they leave Key West and look busy as they motor up and down, edging closer and closer to the 12-mile limit. Once they cross the line, they immediately turn south and head straight for Cuba. The U.S. Coast Guard can do nothing to stop them in international waters, they say and hope. On the way home, American boats deke west towards Mexico or east to the Bahamas and look innocent if a U.S. patrol boat happens to pull them over and ask them for their last port of call.

Our first contact with the Cuban government was an imperative VHF command as we cruised down the coast west of Havana. “Yacht Solera! Yacht Solera, flying the Canadian flag! Report immediately!” That’s us they were talking to so, on the theory that discretion is the better part of valour, we turned into the nearest port, Marina Hemingway, nine nautical miles west of Havana, and found a welcoming committee of uniformed officials waiting for us on the dock.

They certainly looked forbidding, but we have to admit they were a very pleasant and friendly bunch. About 10 officials clambered on board our boat, two or three at a time. There was a medical doctor who checked us for infectious diseases, a veterinarian looking for sausages and fruit, several border officials and a contented sniffer dog who appreciated a cuddle or three.

They studied my passport very carefully and interviewed me at length even though they couldn’t speak English and I couldn’t speak Spanish. They studiously confiscated all our electronic equipment, our VHF radios, our GPS handhelds and our cellphones, wrote down the numbers and sealed them in a brown paper envelope. Then they politely gave the envelope back to us. Why did they confiscate our electronics and promptly give them back, we asked in surprise? It turns out that Cuba, like every Communist country in the world, has a horde of under-employed bureaucrats who have nothing better to do than compile thick books of picky regulations that mere foot soldiers must follow religiously. But every regulation has a flaw. This one requires confiscation but doesn’t say what to do with the electronics once they are sealed in an envelope. So the foot-soldiers give them back. Dunno. Makes sense to me.

Then our friendly border inspectors searched the entire boat from bilge to ceiling, but studiously ignored the spare cell phone, VHF and GPS that I had forgotten on the shelf in the forward cabin! Out of sight, out of mind, I guess. Paperwork? All we carried were our passports, the ownership of the boat and some Canadian currency. That’s all they needed. No visas, no insurance, no nothing.

As for the bribes that everybody asks about, these guys were as clean as a whistle. They even declined the can of Coke and a glass of water that we offered to make their job more pleasant on a hot day.

But we did ask them about that mysterious radio broadcast that so peremptorily ordered us to report. It turns out that the Cuban authorities have an observation platform on the roof of one of the tall hotels west of Havana with a telescope big enough to read the name of the boat from a mile away! Low tech, Cuban-style does work after all.

by Oliver Bertin

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Pelicans and Frigate Birds: How We Sailed to Cuba in 18 Days – Part I

Part 1: Ft. Lauderdale to Key West

Our first contact with the Cuban authorities was loud and insistent. “Yacht Solera! Yacht Solera, flying the Canadian flag. Report immediately!”

We jumped to attention and looked around. We were one mile off the Cuban coast with nothing in sight except a decrepit fishing boat and two languid anglers who eyed us suspiciously.

We had no idea who or where our mysterious radio contact was, but we thought we’d better comply. So we turned towards the nearest port and began a charming visit to the island of Cuba and its wonderful people.

It was the tail end of a short but eventful holiday last November that started with a telephone call from Diego Nazar Anchorena, former member of the NYC and owner of Solera, a C&C 30. Always a bit of a fidget, Diego decided to head south a couple of years ago, single-handed with occasional help from his friends.

I helped him sail across Lake Ontario, down part of the Erie Canal and then the lower half of the Hudson River into Manhattan. It was a lovely trip through some of the prettiest parts of the United States.

His last request was very different. He wanted to sail from Ft. Lauderdale to Miami, Key West and then Havana, where he planned to spend the winter. “Would you come along?” “You bet!” I said as I grabbed the first plane south.

Marathon city anchorageHow does one summarize southern Florida. Well, sailing the Atlantic Coast was much like sailing in Lake Ontario in mid-July, with two-foot waves, a hot, steady wind, funnel clouds in the distance and monster motorboats all around. It wasn’t at all difficult. We sailed the 35 miles to Miami Beach in seven hours, stopped for dinner and went looking for a good anchorage. We were chased out of Cruise Ship Alley by the U.S. Coast Guard wielding very big machine guns, so we deked around them into the Miami Yacht Club basin where we dropped anchor for the night. Out of Coast Guard sight; out of Coast Guard mind.

We ran aground twice the next morning – right in front of downtown Miami – because the dastardly U.S. authorities insist on putting their red buoys on the wrong side of the channel (Take note, sailors!). After an hour of frantic waving, we were washed into deep water by the bow wave of a monster fishing boat and off we went across Biscayne Bay.

Sailing in the Florida Keys reminded me of The Riddle of the Sands, that charming book on coastal navigation by Erskine Childers. The dredged Intracoastal Waterway twisted and turned across flat, featureless bays and through mangrove swamps, often with two-foot shoals on either side. Diego would study the chart with GPS in hand looking for the next red buoy, often two miles away, while I scanned the horizon with binoculars, making sure we were on track. We went aground, of course we did, but only four times in 200 miles, a performance we thought was pretty darned good.

The winds were lovely – strong and steady easterlies carried us south and then west at a steady six knots. We would adjust the sails every six hours or so and drop them at dusk when we were ready to anchor for the night.

The wildlife was wonderful. Frigate birds and pelicans swooped overhead. Dolphins gambolled beside us, smiling as they passed. Flying fish flashed across our bows, skimming the waves before diving into the water off our port side. We saw a family of manatees in Marathon, a father that weighed nearly as much as my boat back home with his 3,000 pound bride and their two babies. They were a charming group that loved to eat fresh lettuce and drink cold, fresh water from a garden hose, but they were nothing like any mermaid I’ve ever seen.

Speaking of wildlife, Florida natives are a class apart. Our first encounters with the local populace were the crab fishermen who tend their pots wearing facemasks, dark glasses, baseball hats pulled down low over their foreheads and full-length white coveralls. They looked like a species of Jesse James crossed with an inner-city hoodie and a Star Wars technician. But there was logic to their fashion statement. Fishermen have a huge incidence of skin cancer from the constant glare and are doing their best to stay alive.

We can’t say we enjoyed their company. They are an angry, threatening people, who have laid thousands, literally thousands, of crab pots all along the Intracoastal Waterway. If they see you coming, they roar over and drive parallel with your sailboat, daring you to hit one pot, just one. If you do, of course, you end up with a thunk, thunk, thunk as the crab line wraps around your propeller and whacks the bottom of the boat on every revolution.

The sheer number of crab pots sparks the inevitable question. Can there be any crabs left? The answer, we were told, is that fishermen can take only the left claw. Then they throw the crab back into the water and catch it again the next day and the day after that. No wonder fishermen look so frustrated.

Florida residents are a suspicious bunch, but they can be very pleasant once they discover you’re not going to mug them. There were several hundred itinerant sailors in Marathon, a huge publicly-owned marina with 225 swing moorings. Many were retired, but a large proportion pretended to be working from home. “My boss doesn’t know I have a boat,” was a familiar refrain. “He thinks I’m in Ft. Myers/ Houston/ Boston/ wherever.” That made for some interesting conversations. One guy sat on his boat working out airplane schedules for American Airlines in Dallas-Fort Worth. Another designs valves for eight-foot high sewer pipes. Dunno. He made it sound exciting. An English grandmother spends her winters scooping ice cream at the local mall and one 25-year-old adventurer gave up his job in Minneapolis and sailed his Macgregor 26 down the Mississippi River all the way to the Florida Keys. Bahamas is next, he said, or maybe England.

Many Floridians are definitely a little, um, strange. I wandered over to the local courthouse as part of my exercise routine and started chatting with a very bored security guard. It wasn’t long before he was demonstrating his handy-dandy Taser gun, especially for me. Zap zap zap. He zapped a spot on the tile floor. “They shot me with the Taser in my training routine,” he said proudly. “It was bad. I’d rather be pepper-sprayed three times than Tasered once.” He actually quantified it. Three times, not two, not four. Then he showed me his Glock 40-cal. pistol with its hollow-point dum-dum bullets. “If a guy is coming towards me with a knife, I want stopping power,” he said. Luckily, he didn’t demonstrate.

our route - key largo westAfter that conversation, we were glad to move on to points west. We paid our marina bill, loaded up with water and sailed 29 miles west to Big Pine Key where we found a secluded spot in a gorgeous, quiet bay with no highway traffic, no motorboats and no Taser-wielding security guards, just calm water, bright sun and trees in the far distance. A 50-foot yawl sat at anchor not far away. A fisherman drifted by to say hello. A sprit-sail dory swooped past to show off his rig.

But time was pressing so we raised anchor next morning and headed for Stock Island, the industrial fishing port of Key West. There’s a brand-new marina there, very posh and very empty, just waiting for the first winter season to bring some business.

A short-order shrimp cook runs a delicious food truck on the dock, right next to the fuel pumps. He spends his summers long-lining in the Labrador Current north of Newfoundland and his winters in Florida trying to get warm again. “I’m still shivering,” he said. There was a lonely young mother who lives on a catamaran with her six-year old son for weeks at a time waiting for her husband to return from his roughneck job on the oil rigs. Then there was a proud motor boater who gritted his teeth as I told him we had burned a total of $7 in gas on our 200-mile journey from Ft. Lauderdale. Ha!

I don’t have to tell you about Key West. It’s charming but crowded and very touristy. After a day wandering around the bars and gift shops, Cuba was far more appealing. So, we started the motor, tossed off the lines and headed south.

Watch for Part II: Arrival in Cuba next month

by Oliver Bertin

Posted in Adventures | 1 Response

Commodore’s Comments, February 2014

Dear fellow members,

I can say without a doubt the paramount thought in my mind is that we at NYC have lost some very fine members of our club in the past few months.

Over my 34 years as a senior member of NYC I have grown to know and respect many of my fellow members; sometimes we have debated with passion over an item that we have disagreed about, or we have strained muscles together to move a cradle or to place a boat in correct position in the slings at launch. Afterwards, we share a beer and celebrate our success. Like any family we have our highs and lows, but boy do we miss our friends when they finally leave us.

Now, this is not intended to be an obituary, nor is it intended to be a sad article. This is a salute to my fellow members past and present. We should celebrate the wonderful camaraderie and fellowship we enjoy at NYC. Be kind to each other, you are all special.

As your Commodore for this past season I have had many duties to perform, without doubt the most poignant moment was the casting of the wreath at our Sail Past. Eleven roses floated into Humber Bay, each representing a member and friend who had passed away in the previous year. I knew every one of those members and I found the duty humbling and emotionally charged.

Over the past few months we have said our final goodbyes to three very special members; Bob Yeates, Ian Hunter and most recently Doug Creelman. I would not consider myself qualified to write a detailed article honouring these members, however I would like to add a personal remark about each of these fine gentlemen.

Bob Yeates served twice as the Commodore of NYC. We used to tease him that he must be a glutton for punishment. Over the years, his dedication and volunteer efforts as a member and board member was incredible. Until the day he passed away he was the chair of our advisory board and during that year he helped me a great deal providing guidance and advice in my role as Commodore. I will always cherish our final journey in Sin Fin when she was towed across the harbor. I am grateful for that very special opportunity for one-on-one conversation with Bob.

Ian Hunter was a member of our club for a short time compared to some of our other members, but he was a remarkable example of a member who totally embraced our NYC volunteer program. Many of you will recall him serving hours on end as the traffic controller for Launch and Haul-out; He also worked diligently for the dock committee and regattas. Ian was a very talented single-handed sailor, as my neighbor on dock 75 I would see him sail in and out single handed with his remote control helm, I would offer to help with lines, but honestly wondered if he was just being polite accepting my help – he certainly didn’t need it. Ian was totally reliable and an absolute gentleman.

My first experience with Doug Creelman was in a protest room. He chaired the committee and I am pleased to say that this committee found in my favor, so I was happy. On another occasion, the results were not so favorable. This encouraged me to learn more about the sailing rules and I can say that this has helped me to become a better sailor. Thank you Doug for encouraging me to learn the rules.

Last Year Doug and his wife Lynne were awarded the Ontario Sailing Associations President’s Trophy for outstanding contribution to the development of sailing in Ontario. They were also awarded our NYC Race Committee Flag Award for bringing international recognition to club.

Doug’s role as a volunteer in the sailing community was huge, and we are so privileged to have had him as such a dedicated member of our yacht club.

All three of these gentlemen in their own way have contributed to making the National Yacht Club the special place we all enjoy. Let us celebrate their contribution and appreciate and remember them.  Raise a glass to them the next time you’re in.

Denys Jones
Commodore of the National Yacht Club

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