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The North Channel — A blog entry by Green Ghost, Blue Ocean author Jennifer M. Smith

Mayaguana

Jennifer M Smith, author of Green Ghost, Blue Ocean writes:

When we wintered in the Bahamas we began crossing paths with “Loopers”, folks on boats who’d set out to complete The Great Loop, that system of continuous waterways that includes the American Atlantic and Gulf Intracoastal routes (ICW), the Great Lakes, and the Mississippi or other routes linking the American Midwest to the Gulf. They’d stepped out from the Florida coast to enjoy the blue waters of the Bahamas before the northbound leg of their route through the dark waters of the ICW.Seeing another boater was a good enough reason to fall into conversation with a stranger, but observing another Canadian flag ensured it.
“Where are you from?” was the usual start. “Which way are you headed?” was next, followed by “What’s your favourite place so far?”
“The North Channel!” was invariably the answer to the last question.
The North Channel? We’d never been there, and, to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure where it was. All these miles we’d put under our keel and we’d not yet seen our own backyard, one of the best fresh water cruising grounds in the world.
Finally, now, with 40,000 nautical miles behind us, we are poised in Penetanguishene to sail north through familiar Georgian Bay to the North Channel this summer. It may not be a typical summer, but we imagine the North Channel will make isolation a beautiful experience. See you on the water.

 

The boat – Green Ghost under full sail

 

 

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IMO Publishing Books Again

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) had stopped publishing hard copies of books due to the Covid.  They’ve started back up again, so if you require IMO texts please order-away.  We received the following email:

 

Dear Resellers,
From today, Monday, 15 June 2020, IMO is implementing a phased return to work at IMO Headquarters, commencing with a small percentage of key staff returning to the building to test the new social distancing arrangements, following the temporary closure of the IMO Headquarters earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 emergency.
As part of this phase, we are delighted to announce that our inhouse Despatch Team has returned today.
Here’s what you need to know:
•                     As you will appreciate, the Despatch Team will be adjusting to new social distancing rules and ensuring that they are able to work safely in the new environment.
•                     Priority will be given to stock management and systems testing as we move towards a resumption of our ‘new normal’ activities.
•                     The reopening of our Despatch Office will not impact on the despatch of boxed quantity orders which have been placed under our separate COVID-19 Alternative Despatch Arrangements initiative. These confirmed orders will be despatched directly from our off-site storage facility shortly.
•                     Resellers are invited to resume placing their orders for both digital and printed publications via our web shop as usual, taking into account the above priorities.
•                     We regret, however, that our new working arrangements no longer permit us to accept collections of orders from our premises. As such, please select either ‘expedited’ or ‘express’ as your delivery option when placing your order. All orders will be shipped by IMO Publishing at our standard rates (including pallet rates*), which are listed on our website and may be viewed here.
•                     Please note that our courier, UPS, does not deliver to PO Box addresses. When placing your orders, please include a complete delivery address including: street name and number as well as a post code.
IMO Publishing would like to thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we move towards resuming our “new normal” activities.
IMO Publishing
Great news.
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Aboard Quetzal, anchored in Prickly Bay on the south shore of Grenada

John Kretschmer, author or Sailing to the Edge of Time and many other books writes:

I rose before the first hint of twilight this morning, made a cup of strong coffee and climbed into the cockpit. The dozens of anchor lights, rocking with the erratic rhythm of an unwelcome swell, represented a constellation of cruising boats. From tidy production boats, to utilitarian aluminum cutters, to well seasoned ocean crossers like Quetzal, Prickly Bay is a refuge for those of us who live aboard and ply the oceans as a matter of course.

We have many friends in the anchorage, and they have all made their way here from far away – Australia, Brazil, France, Canada, the US. As part of the subtitle and throughout my book, Sailing to the Edge of Time, I mention the promise of ocean Voyaging. Waiting for the light of day, and the reassurances that come with it in these trying times, I realized, not for the first time, that its the promise of mornings like this that keep me committed to a life afloat.

Kretschmerblog

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The Origins of Dominique Prinet’s Navigation Texts

Dominique Prinet, the author of  excellent course texts and exercises on Celestial and Coastal navigation, shares his reminiscences of the origins of his books:

My passion for sailing was born in Tanzania (East Africa), at the yacht club of Dar es Salam. With my little plywood boat, I was in paradise: the weather is perfect year-round, the sun shines nicely every-day, a gentle breeze blows regularly from 9 AM to 5 PM, and the beaches are spectacular, bordered by palm trees and coconut trees. The people are wonderful.

Enjoying life in TanzaniaI was there for five years under a World Bank program, to turn around and manage the national airline. Electricity and telephones had been mostly cutoff, and the flights of the day were announced by the local radio every morning depending on how much cash there was that day to buy fuel. When the job was done, I returned to Canada as crew on a sailboat from Portugal to Guadeloupe, navigating by sextant.

Bush Pilot on an Otter, Arctic Ocean

It had been such a wonderful experience that I decided to help others reach that state of felicity. For 15 years, in Vancouver, I taught sailing (and power boating) to Sail Canada students, on land and at sea, from Basic to Offshore. I was also an Instructor Evaluator.

The Coastal and Celestial Navigation course books are the notes that I put together for these students and developed with them over the years; the exercises are those they had to do to prepare for the tests. The books are well tried and tested, and they work.

Teaching Celsetial Navigation

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HIRING for the Boat Show

WE'RE HIRING FOR THE BOAT SHOW

 

We’re looking for a few hands to help out at the Toronto Boat Show this year, January 17th to 28th.

Experience or interest in any/all of: boats, retail, books, or boat shows a plus.

Please contact Ross or Dorothy with a resume by email, phone, or in person.

books@nauticalmind.com
416-203-1163
249 Queen’s Quay W

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The Honorary Canadian – Guest Post by Kimberley Jordan Reeman

Douglas Reeman aboard HMCS Haida in Toronto

Kimberley Jordan Reeman is the widow of the late Douglas Reeman (aka Alexander “Bolitho” Kent), and an author in her own right.  She has recently published her first novel, Coronach and writes a blog.  She has contributed the following portrait of his relationship with Canada.

 

The Honorary Canadian

It was June 12, 1944, and the tide was ebbing fast. The motor torpedo boat was caught on an underwater anti-tank obstacle off the beach at Arromanches, within range of armour-piercing shells being fired from inland. An M.T.B. ran on high-octane fuel. One hit, and she would go up like a bomb.

Her skipper, on the bridge with a group of Royal Canadian Engineers, sent a young R.N.V.R. lieutenant named Reeman over the side with four seamen to try to lift the boat off. The rest of the crew was still aboard when the shell hit amidships.

The world exploded in searing flame and black, roiling smoke. The M.T.B. was burning fiercely. The young lieutenant was drifting in the shallows, the salt stinging his face, his legs on fire with phosphorus despite the sea’s coldness.

He lost consciousness, and came to on the beach. Rain was falling, and some one was saying, “It’s O.K., buddy. Take it easy,” and then, “Keep that rain off his face,” and another voice said, “Somebody give him a cigarette.”

He remembered saying, “I smoke a pipe,” before the morphine took him under.

They were Canadian army medics and they saved Douglas Reeman’s life, and saw him transferred to a landing craft that took him to England for weeks of rehabilitation. And then he went back to war.

He never forgot the Canadians; and they’d always been around. He knew the Royal Canadian Navy’s Light Coastal Forces and the men who served in ‘the little ships’: he’d heard the lilting accents of officers and seamen from St. John’s and the outports who wore NEWFOUNDLAND shoulder flashes, and the voices of men from the Dominion who wore the shoulder flash of Canada. Like every one else in the Royal Navy, he had admired the grace and speed of the Tribal Class destroyers, H.M.C.S. Haida among them, and in Iceland he had seen H.M.C.S. Skeena wrecked, and the survivors and the dead brought ashore. Later, when The Toronto Star serialized one of Douglas’s novels, the American publishing world took note and offered him a contract.

Fame followed, as a writer under his own name of contemporary war stories and, in 1968 with the publication of  To Glory We Steer, as Alexander Kent, author of the Richard Bolitho series.

Douglas visited Canada several times, on book tours and as a guest of the Royal Canadian Navy: in Halifax, R.C.N. ships were dressed overall in his honour. And on the rainy evening of June 6th, 1980, during a cross-Canada tour to promote A Ship Must Die, he gave a reading in the Brigantine Room at Toronto’s Harbourfront, where a young Canadian woman in the audience stood up and asked him a question he couldn’t answer.

Maybe he felt, as I did, the hand of fate touch him that evening. He invited me to write to him, and my letters sustained him as he struggled in a vortex of depression following the death of his wife in 1983. On July 9th, 1984, we met for the first time in four years in the lobby of the Royal York Hotel. Later that evening, he asked me to marry him.

We were married at St. James’s Cathedral in Toronto on Saturday, October 5th, 1985. The vicar, the Reverend David Bousfield, was a Royal Canadian Navy reservist, as was the verger. Douglas was signing copies of his books for Father Bousfield in the vestry just before I arrived.

For thirty-one years we were inseparable. He considered himself an honorary Canadian, and he was always very proud of his ‘Canadian girl’. His relationship with the R.C.N. and his Canadian readers remained close; he always wore a Canadian poppy in November, and when we observed the silence at home on Remembrance Day the Maple Leaf always hung from the upstairs window beside the White Ensign in memory of all those who had served.

We were always there for him, we Canadians. Until the last second of his life, when I held his hand as he left me. But he lives on in his books, and I keep him in my heart. With my country.

As always, together.

 

Logo -KJR-BlogTour-2019

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I Grew … We Grew Together

Sue Williams, author of Ready to Come About writes:

coming alongsideChristmas Eve my husband, David, had a grand mal seizure while doing last minute shopping in the mall. The event was so violent that he sustained two compression fractures of his thoracic spine, and cuts on his head took fourteen stitches to close. “Stress and sleep deprivation,” were what the neurologist determined to be the cause.

When he returned to work, with the scars still raw, he was fired. “Restructuring,” the CEO chose to call it.

After David recovered I said, “Dear, you wanted to cross an ocean. This is your chance. You have the boat. You’re back in good health. And you’ve now got the time. You can look for a new job when you get back.” Then I suddenly added, “And I’ll go too,” surprising us both.

exhausted from sailingBy Day Eight on our passage to Caiscais, Portugal: we had snagged a rogue fishing net that pulled the engine off its mounts; David had to dive into the choppy Atlantic for almost an hour to cut the net loose; we were taking on water through the stuffing box; we had entered a Nortada along the western coast of Europe causing our weather cloths to tear, our radar reflector and courtesy flag halyards to break free, and monstrous seas to develop; and Inia was losing a nautical mile, or a minute of latitude, in the strong south setting current every time we checked.  

David, as skipper, felt responsible for the safety of his vessel, Inia, and the welfare of his crew, non-sailor me.

“Stress and Sleep Deprivation.” Was another seizure in the making? I seriously feared so!

happy sailorsThis was just one of the many challenges we faced in our 11,000 nautical mile, year-long circumnavigation of the North Atlantic. As they say, adversity introduces one to oneself. We also learned that the rougher the passage, the more joyful the landfall.

My memoir, Ready to Come About (Dundurn Press 2019), is the story of my improbable adventure on the high seas and my profound journey within, through which I grew to believe there is no gift more previous than the liberty to chart one’s own course, and that risk is a good thing … sometimes, at least.

 

 

 

Ready-to-Come-About
by Williams, Sue
With no affinity for the sea and not a single adventure-seeking bone in her body, Sue Williams headed off into the North Atlantic in the wake of a perfect storm of personal events. Two things were clear to her: her sons were adults and needed freedom to figure things out for themselves, and it was now or never for her husband to realize his dream to cross an ocean under sail.

304 Pages • softcover • 2019
$20.99
yawl inia

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Collision Regulations, and The Canadian Modifications

The Collision Regulations are an important document for anybody who uses the water- they are the international rules of the road. They are critical knowledge for anybody who works on a ship’s bridge, and required knowledge for most Transport Canada Tickets. In this blog, we’ll talk about what books we recommend for studying the Collision Regulations- and for dealing with the Canadian Modifications.

The Canadian Modifications were created by the federal government when the international regulations were incorporated into law. They are changes to the code- in some places, they are simplifications, and in others, they add complexity. As an example of the latter, the international code has three simple signals for ships to communicate their steering intentions to each other when passing, or overtaking.
1 Blast: That ships will alter course to starboard, to pass each other on the port side- or that an overtaking ship will overtake to starboard.
2 Blasts: That ships will alter course to port (and with a similar change for overtaking
3 Blasts: This means that a ship has put its engines astern.

This is a *very* simple system- and can be used by  mariners of any nation.

However, in the Canadian modifications, ships can also call each other on the Bridge-to-Bridge channel to discuss their plans. This is not in the international regulations, and was inserted by the Canadian government. This applies especially in the Great Lakes region. This can create confusion- especially with the growth of non-native English speaker as ships’ crew on the Great Lakes.

It is important to know the Canadian modifications- because they modify the light and sound signals required for various sized vessels in different weather conditions. Further, there are many modifications that apply specifically to the Great Lakes. The Collision Regulations can be downloaded from here, and softcover copies can be ordered from us.

Necessary as the official Canadian Modifications are for studying, the printed legislation is not the most conducive way to learn or to study collision regulations. Here are some of our recommendations

The Colregs Guide

Colregs Guide

This is part of the excellent DOKMAR series (Which also includes books on Ship Stability, Ships’ Electrical Systems and Ship Knowledge). This book doesn’t so much have written explanation of all the rules, but uses illustrations images. So this book is very good for actually picturing situations described in the official document.

 

 

 

 

 

Macneil’s Seamanship  Examiner- Colregs

Macneil’s-Seamanship-Examiner-COLREGS

This is part of the excellent Macneil’s pocketbook series. This book is not so much for *teaching* collision regulation as it is for quizzing/testing afterwards. It includes both written questions and questions based on visual aids and situations. This book is broken down into ‘tests’ (not based on practice tests, but sets of questions’.

 

 

 

 

 

The Seaman’s Guide to the Rule of The Road

Rules_of_the_Road

The Seaman’s Guide to the Rule of the Road is a similar kind of document (in terms of a mix of written and visual things), but is definitely a book for *teaching* the rules of the road as well as testing. In addition to the textbook aspect, the last section of the book also includes the text of the interational regulations. This is also up to date, including the amendments that came into force in 2016.

 

For testing, we recommend the Rules of the Road flipcards (although the Lights & Shapes, Sound Signals and other flip card sets and education tools  are also extremely useful). as well as Gregs Szczurek’s United Rules (which includes US rules for Inland Waters, Western Rivers and the Great Lakes (however, they do not include the Canadian Modifications), and Colregs Study Guide (Which have just the international rules).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I did it! by Linda Kenyon

I never really expected to find myself on a 43-foot sailboat in the middle of the North Atlantic, but sometimes these things just happen. I was living in a tiny condo in Waterloo when I met Chris and decided to quit my job, sell everything I owned, and sail away with him.

The first time Chris took me out, I’d never been on a sailboat before, was baffled by all the ropes, as I called them, not knowing a sheet from a halyard. Chris had me take the wheel as we motored out of the harbour and went forward to remove the sail cover. I watched him working on the foredeck.

“Ready to raise sail?” he asked.

“What do I do?”

“Just keep the boat pointing into the wind.”

I could do that. In no time, he had the mainsail up. It fluttered weakly in the gentle breeze. So this is sailing? He came back and took the helm, and as we rounded the lighthouse and left the shelter of the harbour, the sail suddenly filled with wind and we picked up speed. He handed me a rope—“Make sure that feeds out and doesn’t get caught on anything, especially your foot” — and reached over and unfurled what I now know is the genoa, sheeting it in with one hand as he steered.

Then he switched the engine off and the only sound you could hear was water rushing along the hull and the occasional cry of a gull. We were galloping through the sparkling blue water, wind in our hair. Free, I thought. I’m free.

“You like it?” he asked.

“I love it.”

Two years later I found myself at anchor in a sandy bay on the southeastern tip of Antigua, making lunch while Chris gave the bottom a final scrub before setting out to sail to the Azores, a passage of roughly 2,300 miles.

Sure I was apprehensive—who wouldn’t be? Okay, maybe slightly terrified is more like it. But after the first few days of easy sailing, I began to relax, to savour the feeling of being stretched out in the cockpit, water chuckling along the side of the hull, a gentle breeze wafting over me. The morning sun was shining right through the broad yellow and green stripes of the spinnaker, bathing the cockpit in soft, warm light.

Of course the easy sailing didn’t last. We’d been out about a week when the weather began to deteriorate—and so did my courage. Then it got worse. Just two days before making landfall in the Azores we were clobbered by not one but two big gales. On the morning of the third day, the wind died, and as it started to get light, the island of Flores emerged from the gloom. I felt a surge of pride. I did it! I sailed all the way across the North Atlantic. Not too bad for an accidental sailor.

I’ve just written a book about my first ocean crossing. Sea Over Bow, it’s called, and it’s for anyone who has ever wondered what it’s like to sail across an ocean. It’s an adventure story, but it’s also about finding the courage to begin again.

Linda in the rigging spinnaker portrait landfall in the azores