Posted on (Updated )

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

Posted on (Updated )

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

Posted on (Updated )

Visit Booth G545 at the Toronto Boat Show for Bargains Galore and More!

Come see us at the Boat Show, Friday Jan 20th – Sunday Jan 29th!

Nautical Mind Boat Show Booth G545

New Racing Rules Books

The Rules in Practice 2017-2020

Racing Rules Companion 2017-2020 (300dpi)

Understanding the Racing Rules Dave Perry 2017- 2020



Chapman Piloting & Seamanship (67th ed.) — only $35!
Franklin’s Lost Ship only $9.99!
Making Paper Boats – only $6.99!
Your First Atlantic Crossing: A Planning Guide for Passagemakers – only$8.99!
Reeds Diesel Engine Troubleshooting Handbook – only $5.99!
Adlard Coles Nautical Quiz Book: With 1000 Questions – only $3.99!

Up-to-date Cruising Guides:



Marine Charts

-Explorer Chartbooks for the Bahamas, charts for Intracoastal Waterway,  Richardson’s for the Great Lakes, Trent-Severn
Posted on (Updated )

Behind-the-Scenes Bookstore Trivia for 2016

A of peek inside our nautical minds —
a few behind-the-scenes notes and numbers from the year so far

Farthest we shipped a book in 2016:
11,415 km. It was Bulk Carrier Practice, sent to Shanghai, China.

#1 Seamanship title, 2016:
Stress-Free Sailing: Single and Short-Handed Techniques

Longest book in the shop:
21st Century Seamanship, a whopping 1,300 pages.


#1 bestselling chartbook since its first edition:
The Explorer Chartbooks to the Bahamas (1st ed, 2000), thanks to word-of-mouth praise.

2016’s most surprising cruising guide tally:
Three copies of the South African Nautical Almanac, tripling last year’s count.

Most exciting customer request:
“Please send a set of Canadian Arctic and Greenland charts for our east-west Northwest Passage expedition.”


Most intriguing 2016 book/event:
Dragon Harald Fairhair: The World’s Largest Viking Ship. The book’s half in Norwegian and the ship itself docked just outside our doors in July.

Longest (and most beloved) series:
Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin novels, at 7,000-plus pages. Would it were 10,000….

Unsold book we can’t bear to de-list:
Haunted Lakes: Great Lakes Ghost Stories, Superstitions and Sea Serpents. A 1997 first edition (!), but we just can’t mark down those Great Lakes sea serpents.


Most extreme customer-service delivery:
Two books carried this fall to Cap-aux-Meules, Magdalen Islands by a travelling staff member.

Most books bought by a single customer:
317—possibly more (records only go back to 2005)—purchased by our best all-time/long-time top customer. The runner-up is at 200 titles. Our sincere thanks to them both— and to all our supporters.

Posted on (Updated )

We’re Looking for Part Time Help in November & December

Become Santa for some sailors! Join our dynamic team of salty dogs and an actual dog for the holiday season as we distribute books, charts, and cheer from our Toronto storefront and across the internet. Familiarity with books, boats, and selling things is necessary for this position. Comfort with nautical charts and paper cuts an asset but not required. Available shifts will likely mostly be on weekends from mid November through the end of December with the chance of further opportunities at the Boat Show and beyond.

Please email or phone.
Posted on

BOAT SHOW 2016: Great Authors, Informative Seminars, Bargains Galore. Also: Boats.

Nautical Mind Boat Show Booth G545

January 9 to 17, 2016
Saturdays (9 & 16) — 10am to 7pm
Sundays (10 & 17) — 10am to 6pm
Weekdays (11 – 15) — 11am to 8pm

 ~ Booth G-545 ~



The 2016 Toronto Boat Show is shaping up to be one of the best ever!  A crew of extraordinarily talented and experienced authors will join us all week to lead informative seminars, autograph their works, and chat with fellow sailors. This year, we’ll be graced with the likes of:

The full schedule of seminars and authors is posted here. Authors are usually at our booth (G-545) just after their seminar.


Of course we’ll also have amazing bargains and clearance deals on books, calendars, DVDs, and more.


If you can’t make it to the booth or get overwhelmed by the unrelenting carnival of delight that is The Boat Show, please drop by our much more serene store on Queen’s Quay.

Looking forward to seeing you all!




Boot G545

Sharon Green - Ultimate Sailing Photog

Posted on (Updated )

Boat Show 2016: Jan 9th to 17th — Soon!

2016 Boat Show Dates & Hours

January 9 to 17, 2016
Saturdays (9 & 16) — 10am to 7pm
Sundays (10 & 17) — 10am to 6pm
Weekdays (11 – 15) — 11am to 8pm

Booth G545


This post was originally published as Treasures of the Vault… Now on Sale in January 2012. Thanks to the eternal nature of the Boat Show, it remains as true today as it was the day it was written. More contemporary Boat Show info to follow.


Deep in the cavernous bowels of Nautical Mind Head Quarters lies a dusty, half-remembered vault.  Once a year we throw open its creaking doors, shine high-lumen flashlights in to the dank, and haul out a trove of wondrous artifacts.  Left-handed marlinspikes, deadlight bulbs, buckets of prop-wash, deeply discounted calendars, all manner of reasonably-priced boat books, and much more are schlepped from the dark into a waiting truck.

NMHQ Catacombs
Cavernous Bowels

The assembled crew consists of tall ship captains, yachties, software developers, islanders, and sailors of all stripes.  Our zeal for the impending Event makes the load light and the work swift, as we sing Broadway show tunes and pack the truck.

Ramping up the Excitement
Ramping up the Excitement
Treasures of the Vault
Treasures of the Vault
Double Zeal
Double Zeal

The truck gets sprinkled with drywall dust, which presumably allows it to pass unharmed through the magical Prince’s Gates and arrive at the fabled CNE grounds.  Then, drawing on years of experience helming a tug in treacherous arctic waters, the driver deftly slips 30 tons of truck and bargain down the congested aisles of the Direct Energy Centre.  Truly a sight to behold, he manages not to crush a single SeaDoo or shipping pallet of radars.  Once at our destination, we resume our joyous box flinging, this time unloading the truck and assembling our pop-up bookstore booth.    Within moments, we deploy carpets, bookcases, tables, merchandise, POS-terminals, and the treasures of the vault.

30 Tons of Truck and Bargain
Watch out buddy! That’s 30 tons of truck and bargain comin’ at you!
Pop-up Bookstore Booth
Pop-up Bookstore Booth

At last, the booth is ready for another year of the carnival atmosphere of the Toronto International Boat Show.  Come visit us at booth G545 before sundown on Sunday, January 17th!  We look forward to seeing you!

Booth G545
Booth G545. You should come!
Posted on (Updated )

Paul Howard & Fiona McCall’s Cruising Guide Guide to the West Coast

Welcome back; world sailors. Sailors Fiona McCall; Paul Howard and their children Penny and Peter acknowledge welcome-back greetings from boats and spectators at harbouriront yesterday after their five-year; round-the-world Voyage aboard their boat; Lorcha.

We first met Paul Howard, Fiona McCall, and their two children Penny and Peter, when they sailed into Toronto Harbour in 1988, after a five-year round-the-world voyage in their 29-foot junk-rigged craft Lorcha.

Crowds were on hand to greet them. Luckily for us, their publisher was on the ball, and we had copies on hand of their book All in the Same Boat. We promptly sold our 100 copies, as Paul and Fiona busied themselves greeting people and signing copies of their book. It was a memorable occasion.

Since then, we have followed the adventures of this extraordinary sailing couple, who are still out there doing it.

Fiona McCall & Paul Howard aboard Carpe Diem

By Paul Howard & Fiona McCall

In October 2012 We sailed from Toronto on our 38foot Catamaran with a destination of  the west coast: British Columbia and Southeast Alaska.  Our plan was to head there directly, spend two seasons cruising that west coast, then cruise our way back to Toronto.  We were not acquainted with cruising the west coast.  Other than flying out a few times and knowing some people with boats, we had not spent any appreciable time on the water there.  These were new cruising grounds to us, though we were seasoned cruisers in many other parts of the world.


We needed cruising guides and I like to have lots of information.  When we have a destination I like
headed south julyAlaska 035to know the choices and reasons for going there.   We arrived in Victoria, B.C. in May, 2013, and headed north, up the inside passage of  British Columbia, to Ketchican, Alaska, and returned south to leave the boat in Anacortes, Washington, to haul the b oat ashore in November.  The following spring we returned to Anacortes in April to launch Carpe Diem and headed north again and carried on to Juneau, Alaska, and beyond to the Icy Straits and returned down the inside passage again visiting some favourite places and some not yet visited.    Thus we made two round trips on this coast covering thousands of miles in a relatively short time, but nowhere nearly exhausting the list of harbours and anchorages.  We sailed from Neah Bay at the tip of the Olympic Penninsula on the Strait of Juan de Fuca near Cape Flattery at the end of September, 2014, direct to San Francisco, following the recommendations in the Douglas Pacific Coast guide (see below).  Following is a summary/review of the cruising guides we used that does not include land based guides such as Lonely Planet guides, etc.


Waggoner Cruising GuideWaggoners Cruising Guide, Robert Hale

Covers from the Puget Sound (Seattle, Washington area) through the complete British Columbia coast and across the Dixon Entrance to Ketchican, Alaska, the first port in Southeast Alaska.  There is no equivalent guide for further north in Alaska even though the typical cruise in southeast Alaska is north to Juneau, Icy Straits and Glacier Bay.

This is an essential guide for this coast for its information on marinas, fuel stops and availability, grocery stores, liquor stores, hardware, etc.  It is easy to read and well organized in logical sections with locator maps.  There are lots of glossy photos and good pilotage information, though it is short on suggested anchorages outside of towns. The Douglass’s Exploring guides are often quoted in this text (see below).  Updated annually.

Exploring Vancouver Island’s West CoastExploring guides, a series of guide books by Don Douglass & Reanne Hemingway-Douglas.

Including: Exploring the South Coast of British Columbia; Exploring the North Coast of British Columbia; Exploring Southeast Alaska; (and less relevant to this section but important to us on our sail from the Straits of Juan de Fuca to Mexico is the Exploring the Pacific Coast).  They have published additional guides to the above, but these are the ones we used.

These are essential guides for travelling this coast.   We are experienced cruisers and enjoy getting off the beaten path to lonely and isolated anchorages but also enjoy the occasional marina and town.  For marinas and towns the Waggoner guide was all the info we needed.  For everything and everywhere else our first reference was the Exploring series.  The Douglass’s often quote sections of the government coastal pilot and then give additional detailed information from their own experience along with (in many cases) diagrams of anchorage entrances, rocks and kelp to avoid and just where to drop the hook.  We  followed their directions religiously and never found an error in their recommendations.  The guides are a pleasure to read and an invaluable reference.

Inside Passage Route Plannng Map, North PortionThe Inside Passage, Route Planning Map, South Portion and North Portion published by Fine Edge.

These strip maps are another essential tool for navigating along this coast.  When we began cruising up this coast we were not familiar enough with the geography to know major passages from minor passages.  Referencing the charts and guides still left some guessing as to what particular island to go around on which side when going from one anchorage to the next, especially in the more isolated areas.  These two strip maps give an orientation to the geography of the area in a way we did not find anywhere else.  The alphabetised list with Lat/Long waypoints allows one to immediately locate any island, town, passage, mountain, anchorage, etc. and know its relative position to others.  Essential reference for cruising this area.

Ports and Passes; Published by Ports and Passes.

Tide and current tables covering from Olympia, Washington, to Prince Rupert, British Columbia.

I like having a paper book with tides and currents.  We used digital charts but also carried paper charts for the entire area.   Digital chart programs give tide and current timing for state of tide and current direction for their coverage area.  I find the annually updated paper books much more accurate that the digital chart tables that are electronically generated for decades.  Also, I like being able to look up tides and currents for planning departure timing for the following morning without turning on a laptop or tablet.  I did begin cruising in tidal areas on my own boat in 1975, so perhaps this is a generational issue.

I liked the Ports and Passes book for the accuracy of its information and for the extras it included, sort of like an almanac with information on the local area beyond the tide and current tables.  You will note that the book does not cover north of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, just near the Alaska border.  While in Alaska we used the digital and on-line information plus the small local give-away tide tables that are often a free-bee at fishing supply stores.  I felt the lack of a comprehensive tide and current book in Alaska and would purhase the appropriate government publications if I go back there.  Put Ports and Passes on the essential list.

Anchorages and Marine ParksAnchorages and Marine Parks, Peter Vassilopoulos.

As the title suggests, this book deals mainly, but not exclusively, with marine parks.  We found it more useful in the Vancouver Island area, and the San Juan and Gulf Islands, though the book includes information up to Prince Rupert and the Dixon Entrance.  There are few places to get ashore in the more islolated anchorages but marine parks always have a landing area and this book tells you where they are and what facilities are available.  There are diagrams indicating anchorages and aerial photos and some anchorage waypoints but the Douglass books have more details and pilotage information.  Some parks have floats and mooring bouys for inexpensive mooring (much less than marinas) and there are almost always places to anchor, too.  There is an extensive  portion on the west coast of Vancouver Island, though we did not go there.  The coverage of Haida Gwaii is minimal, both the Douglas and Waggoners is more useful there.  The coverage does not extend into Alaska.  Not essential, though it is useful and well organized.

Boat Camping Haida Gwaii: A Small Vessel Guide to the Queen Charlotte IslandsBoat Camping Haida Gwaii, Neil Frazer.

Written mostly for kayakers and small powerboat cruisers who are tent camping in Haida Gwaii.  The information is more relevant to those people than us cruising sailboats but does have good information on these fascinating islands.  We loved Haida Gwaii and were awestruck when visiting the heritage villages and when speaking with the watchmen, the only inhabitants of those long abandoned homesites.  Any and all information about this special area was eagerly studied.

Dreamspeaker Cruising Guide Vol. 1: Gulf Islands & Vancouver IslandA Dreamspeaker Cruising Guide, Volume 1, Gulf Islands & Vancouver Island, Anne & Laurence Yeadon-Jones.

We only purchased one vloume of this series of six cruising guides that cover the Canadian part of the northwest coast.  They seemed to be more geared to inexperienced boaters who were not going very far or for very long, two week summer holidays or weekend cruising.  The book has lots of drawings and capsule maps of towns with recommendations for restaurants and shopping.  I grew impatient with the guide as I felt it was not intended for someone of our experience or the distances we intended to travel.  The book does not contain as many or as varied anchorages as the Douglass books.  It would be a good guide for local cruising or a companion to the Waggoners and Douglass guides if staying in one area for a period of time.

Continue reading Paul Howard & Fiona McCall’s Cruising Guide Guide to the West Coast