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Some New Books For Motorboaters

It would be fair to say that Sailing dominates the shelves here at the Nautical Mind. This fall however, we have two fantastic new books coming out specifically for motorboaters and motor cruising.

Stress-Free Motorboating
Duncan Wells

This is the companion book to the fantastic and very popular Stress-Free Sailing. There are many actions and evolutions aboard a motorboat that require two or more pairs of hands, and are complex. When boats are crewed by a single person, or there are inexperienced people or children aboard, events such as leaving or returning to the dock, using canals, navigating, or dealing with emergencies can be particularly stressful. In this book, Duncan Wells discusses these kinds of scenarios. Text is accompanied by step-by-step photos and illustrations that show ways in which these operations can be done single-handed or shorthanded. Further, he addresses things like the difference between controlling boats powered by different types and numbers of engines, and managing man-overboard situations. This is a book that everybody who owns a powerboat should have in their library. Whether it’s your first time, your first powerboat, or you’re experienced this is a great book to help substantially reduce your stress when aboard.

The Inland Voyager’s Handbook
Danny L Davis

This book is perfect for both those who cruiser the Great Lakes and the Circle Route here in North America, as well as those who venture further abroad to the inland waters of Europe. Here’s a guidebook to travelling inland waterways safely and smoothly on any budget. Davis discusses what the lifestyle offers, suggests routes, provides guidance for choosing and preparing a boat for voyaging and for transiting locks, advises on where and how to anchor, and much more


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Tall Ship Race from Bermuda to Boston

Thank you to Nautical Mind staff member Robin Leaver-Fraser for this guest blog about her recent experience above the tall ship Atyla, which is visiting North America as part of Canada’s sesquicentennial celebration.


Tall ships from around the world have come to Canada to participate in the Rendezvous 2017 festival hosted by Sail Training International which celebrates Canada’s 150th birthday. I was able to join a Spanish ship, Atyla, on a leg of their journey. Atyla is a two-masted wooden schooner which was hand built and launched in 1984 with the goal of sailing around the world. This goal was never fully accomplished and the ship was repurposed as a sail training vessel in 2013 by the current captain and nephew of the original builder.

I joined the ship on June 4th in Hamilton, Bermuda and stayed until the next event in Boston. Although the intention was to leave the next day, dangerous winds postponed the race keeping all the ships at anchor in St. Georges for another few nights.

Finally on the 9th the race began and the ships sailed onto the open ocean. Bermuda faded quickly from sight and within a day there was no land left on the horizon. It was another eight days of sailing before we could see Boston in the distance.

While sailing the crew was split into 3 watches who took turns being awake and on watch for 4 hours, then off watch for 8. Aside from being on watch, our time was filled with lessons given by the permanent crew on board. The subjects of these lessons included knots, seamanship, engineering, sail handling and navigation as well as daily character development workshops led by the ship’s professional ‘Coach’.

You could also spend your time playing a never-ending game of fetch with the tireless ship dog Olivia!

We arrived in Boston on the 17th and participated in a Parade of Sail with over 50 other ships watched by massive crowds along the waterfront. It was an incredible end to an incredible experience.

Want to learn more about Atyla and become a trainee? Check out their website here.

Want to learn about Sail Training International and how to Sail On Board? You can find that information here.

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New Books for the Fall

Greetings and Salutations! As we wind our way towards the fall, we have some great new books that we’d love to share with you.

Too Cold for Mermaids
David J Forsyth

This is a story of attaining and living the sailing dream, and also of disappointment, defeat and the surprising realities of cruising aboard a sailboat. Forsyth describes how he became a member of the local sailing community, acquired the skills, and found the funding to select and equip his own boat. As a crewmember aboard others’ boats, and then as skipper of his own “Alice Rose”, Forsyth recounts his experiences on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and the North Atlantic from Labrador to Florida.

The Reluctant Sailor
Janet Peters

Being persuaded to give up her busy life in Toronto, sell her house and move into a sailboat, Janet Peters began a journey of adventure for six years. Circling the world with her husband on “Solara” she encountered many storms, sailed on immense bodies of water weeks at a time, and saw small isolated islands that only sailors on small boats could reach. She learned how well her boat could handle rough seas and high winds, overcoming her fears, and learning to be an important partner to her husband especially during their struggle through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. In the next few weeks we’ll have a blogpost from Janet about this book  and her experiences.


A Man for All Oceans
Stan Grayson

Canadian Captain Joshua Slocum was the first man to ever sail alone around the world. This is the most comprehensive biography of Slocum ever published, and the first written by a small-boat sailor. Author/historian Grayson uncovered previously unknown original source materials to shed new light on one of history’s greatest sailors. A fascinating appendix compares “Sailing Alone Around the World” with Thoreau’s “Walden”. Previously unpublished photographs bring Slocum’s world to life, and detailed maps trace the adventures of a sailor who knew the world like the back of his hand. This biography reads like an adventure narrative and will serve as the standard work on Joshua Slocum for years to come.

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Storing Your Charts

As we’ve discussed previously Canadian law requires people to carry charts aboard their boats. When you’re following the law (and I know that you all follow the law!) this means that you have to find some way to store your charts.

The most optimal way to store your charts in a chart table (like we have at the store) or even a smaller version. This allows them to be stored flat (or folded, depending on the size), in an organized way that will allow you to retrieve your charts easily and protect them. However, this is impractical for most people and most boats.

So, the other options are to roll your charts, or to fold them, and then to protect them.

There are several options. One option is to roll them, and put them in a tube. This could be a cardboard tube, however these are not waterproof. Other options include this one and this one. Chart Tube  Telescopic Chart Tube

These plastic tubes all have the same benefits- a tough material that is usually waterproof. However while rolling charts can be an efficient way to store them, if you have multiple tubes it can be awkward. More importantly, you’ll need to remove all the charts from the tube in order to get one, which means they’re difficult to use on the fly. Further, the charts may be difficult to keep flat on the table.

The other option is to fold your charts. Now a standard chart, when folded properly (so that the chart number is visible in the corner) fits in a No. 7 shipping envelope, with internal measurements of roughly 14″ by 19″. Charts do not use that entire internal volume, but that’s the size to shoot for.

There are a number of pre-made options.  Richardson’s does a pouch/clear envelope that fits their chartbooks perfectly, and there are vinyl covers for 18″x24″, and 24″x36″.

However, there are other options. For example, Ziploc makes bags which are water resistant (but not waterproof). The XL and XXL sizes are large enough for folded. charts. These also have the ability for you to use the chart and keep it protected.

These solutions should allow you to protect, and keep on using your charts.

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Project Coastline: A Spirit of Reconciliation is Launched with a Legacy Canoe

Coming Together

Since times immemorial, the canoe has been an enduring symbol of the spirit, identity, skill, imagination and knowledge of the First Nations People. It was an essential means of communication and transportation, not only for the First Nations, but for the European settlers who came to this country, a land where the only roads were lakes and rivers, distances were far, and portages were many.

If ever there was one single invention that made the exploration of Canada possible, it was the canoe. It was a vessel perfectly adapted to meet and overcome the challenges of our geography, with speed, grace, and practicality.

Finished Legacy CanoeIn a project designed to foster a spirit of reconciliation between the First Nations and Canada’s non-indigenous peoples, teen members from The Canadian Association of Girls in Science, and students from The Etobicoke School for the Arts worked together to create a professional grade Legacy Canoe. Their work was guided by the mentorship of three adult Master Boat and Canoe builders, with additional encouragement provided by a Golden Retriever named Rover!

By engaging their hands, hearts and minds, the construction of the Legacy Canoe has allowed the youth involved to discover how much value a canoe truly represents – in terms of the skill, ingenuity, and sense of practical and spiritual beauty which the First Nations demonstrated, every time a canoe was launched on Canada’s rivers and lakes. In that process, an essential part of our heritage was brought to life, as a symbol that brings cultures together in the present, just as it did in the past.

The physical work of building the canoe was completed by the teen members of The Canadian Association for Girls in Science, while the artistic work on the design and painting of the hull was created by students from The Etobicoke School of the Arts – whose students submitted almost 400 proposals for the hull decorations!

Project CoastlineThe winning artistic design was based on the concept of the flowing lights of the Aurora Borealis, but the fluidity of the many colours involved could also be seen as a quiet symbol of the diversity of our country, flowing together with a vitality that moves in a common direction.

Upon completion, the Legacy Canoe was blessed by Whabagoon (Flower Blooms in Spring) Patti Phipps Walker, an Ojibway Elder.

The Legacy Canoe will be launched on Sunday, 25 June 2017 at the National Yacht Club in Toronto, starting at 5:00 p.m.

This Canada 150 Project was an initiative of the Broad Reach Foundation for Youth. Videos showing the construction of the Legacy Canoe can be viewed at here on For additional information, please contact or Marguerite Pyron, Executive Director, at 416-850-5755.


— Randall Withell, volunteer with Broad Reach’s Project Coastline


Attaching Ribs

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Toronto’s Rainy May

After last year’s near-drought, May this year had twice as much rain as average. This resulted in flooding all over Toronto Island (which is closed to visitors until the end of July), as well as in Montreal and upstream.

Lake Ontario is much higher than normal. The staff here at the Nautical Mind have taken some photos to demonstrate.

This is part of the walkway (the WaveDeck) between the store and HTO park (where the Toronto Brigantine shop used to be. That wet area is actually awash.

This is the ramp down to the docks, and it’s effectively level. The Fire Station is off camera to the left, with the store to the right.

This photo was taken standing near the Fire Station, looking back towards where the Brigs shop used to be. The entire beach I believe was added after Brigs left, with the step being the edge of the old pier. The concrete on which people walk is awash here.

Our final photo is just a bit of fun. This was taken from next to the Fire Station. The water level is so high that the station has set up a picnic table to allow crew to board the boat in the background.

We definitely could use some relief from the rain around Lake Ontario.

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Cruising the New York State Canal System

The Great Lakes provide a great starting point for cruising, even if you want to go somewhere else. From here you can go to Newfoundland, across the Atlantic, or down the coast to the US East Coast and the Caribbean. One of the major routes for leaving the Great Lakes is through the New York Canal System, with the Erie Canal from Buffalo or the Owsego Canal from Oswego, both of which lead to the Hudson River, and from there either to New York City and the Atlantic or to the St Lawrence River near Montreal.

Just this week, we have received new stock of the Cruising Guide to the New York State Canal System. This is highly recommended for anybody who is planning to cruise the Erie or Oswego Canal. Further, for 2017, like with the Trent Severn Canal, The Erie Canal is waiving its fees- even for Canadian cruiser. So 2017 is a great opportunity to experience this waterway just on the other side of the Great Lakes.

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Sailing Canada’s National Parks: The Pacific Coast

2017 is Canada’s sesquicentennial (that is to say, 150 years since Confederation), and to celebrate, Parks Canada is making access to national parks free for the year. substantial number of those national parks are on significant coastlines, and can be explored by boat. In this blog, the fourth of the series, we will provide information about National Parks on the Pacific Coast.

NB: If you’d like to order charts for British Columbia and the Pacific Coast, please call us at the store,   1 (800) 463-9951.

Gwaii Hanas National Park Reserve, credit to Parks Canada

Gwaii Hanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area &
Haida Heritage Site
Park Website

Gwaii Haanas embraces more than 1,800 wild, undeveloped islands and islets off the coast of northern British Columbia and is often called Canada’s Galapagos.

Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the mountainous islands are covered by dense Pacific temperate rainforest and shelter an unparalleled diversity of wildlife, from the Haida Gwaii black bear to more than 20 species of whales and dolphins and tidal channels teeming with rainbow-coloured sea stars.

Gwaii Haanas is also a unique living museum, with an aboriginal history stretching at least 12,000 years. Historic villages, including a UNESCO World Heritage Site with century-old totem poles, are hidden throughout the islands, overseen by indigenous Haida Gwaii Watchmen who welcome visitors.

Travellers can explore Gwaii Haanas independently or via guided tours. Visits can range from a single day to longer adventures of a week or more, with most trips involving some combination of boating, kayaking and hiking.

Charts: 3807 Atli Inlet to Selwyn Inlet, 3808 Juan Perez Sound, 3809 Carpenter Bay to Burnaby Island, 3811 Harbours in Queen Charlotte Islands, 3825 Cape St James to Houston Stewart Channel, 3853 Cape St James to Cumshewa Inlet and Tasu Sound, 3857 Louscoone Inlet, 3858 Flamingo Inlet, 3859 Tasu Sound, 3864 Gowgaia Bay
Cruising Guides: Exploring the North Coast of British Columbia Including the Queen Charlotte Islands

Des kayakistes dans les eaux cristallines entourant les îles et les îlots du Tiny Group. Réserve de parc national Pacific Rim. / A group of kayakers paddle through the crystal clear waters among the ‘Tiny Group’ islands and islets. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Credit to Parks Canada

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
Park Website

Imagine the sand between your toes, eagles soaring overhead and the ocean stretching off as far as the eye can see. Or turn inland and walk among ferns the size of a small child rising from a bed of moss, with old-growth Sitka spruce, Western red cedar and Western hemlock towering above.

Suit up in your storm gear and watch the winter breakers crash on a rocky shoreline, or enjoy a summer stroll along an endless sandy beach. Paddle a pristine maze of islets accessible only by water. Take the hike of a lifetime through verdant old-growth forests and along unspoiled pebble beaches. Or enjoy a relaxing stroll along a sandy beach, pausing to explore tidal pools teeming with colourful sea life.

But there’s more at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve than just natural charms. Learn first-hand how an indigenous culture developed in harmony with the local environment, as First Nations partners continue the age-old practice of welcoming and sharing Nuu-chah-nulth history, tradition and culture. Step out of your kayak to be greeted by a First Nation Beach Keeper, or hear ancient legends told around the campfire by Guardians of the West Coast Trail. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve offers a West Coast experience steeped in nature and history.

Charts: 3671 Barkley Sound
Cruising Guide: Cruising Guide to the West Coast of Vancouver Island


Après avoir suivi le sentier de randonnée jusqu’à la terrasse d’observation du mont Norman, sur l’île Pender, on peut admirer le panorama spectaculaire. Réserve de parc national des Îles-Gulf. / Two hikers marvel at the spectacular views afforded after walking the trail up to the viewing platform on Mount Norman, on Pender Island. Gulf Islands National Park Reserve. Credit to Parks Canada

Gulf Islands National Park Reserve
Park Website

Scattered throughout the Salish Sea, the Gulf Islands teem with wildlife, a haven for rare species and threatened eco-systems and a playground for hikers, campers, cyclists, boaters and kayakers.

With urban centres close by, the Gulf Islands are an easily accessible natural oasis. Sail or paddle a kayak on sheltered waterways through a scenic maze of islands thriving with wildlife from seabirds to whales. Explore the reserve’s 15 islands amid history and wilderness chiming with songbirds, hiking to mountaintop views of snowy ranges. Visit on a self-guided day-trip or stay for longer camping or kayaking adventures.

Eagles and seabirds swirl in the skies above the Salish Sea, sheltered, islet-dotted waters teeming with seals, otters, orcas and pods of porpoises. Kayak, hike or cycle a lush paradise with rare eco-systems basking in a Mediterranean-like climate – the forested Gulf Islands are laced with trails leading to mountaintop viewpoints, lighthouses, and reminders of First Nations and pioneer pasts, while their shores and lagoons are a haven for thriving birdlife.

Charts: 3441 Haro Strait, Boundary Pass and Satellite Channel, 3462 Juan de Fuca Strait to Strait of Georgia, 3473 Active, Porlier Pass and Montague Harbour, 3475 Plans – Stuart Channel, 3477 Plans – Gulf Islands, 3478 Plans- Saltspring Island, 3479 Approaches to Sidney
Cruising Guides: A Dreamspeaker Cruising Guide, Vol 1: Gulf Islands & Vancouver Island, Exploring the San Juan and Gulf Islands, Best Anchorages of the Inside Passage


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Tall Ship Inspections and Exams from Transport Canada

STV Pathfinder and her crew of teenagers prepare for her 55th summer of adventure on the Great Lakes.  Before she and her sister ship, TS Playfair, can set sail, both the vessels and their crews need to pass muster on a rigorous set of standards established by Transport Canada.  The inspections include:Re-rigging the topmast


  • general condition of structures, equipment, and their operation
  • lifesaving, fire-fighting and fire detection equipment
  • watertight and fire-resisting door/window systems
  • quick-closing arrangements in fuel system
  • main and auxiliary steering gears
  • bilge-pumping arrangements and oil record books
  • navigation and radio equipment
  • ship-side valves
  • crew accommodation
  • Much more, detailed here at Transport Canada

Her crew must be certified with 150t Master, 60tL Mate, and Marine Emergency Duties level A2.

Pathfinder's crew preparing the tops'l yard

Find out more about the Brigantines and their summer sailing adventures for teenagers at