Thanks to Wally Moran for this guest blog on Cuba. Wally is the author of the new Cuba cruising guide Cuba Bound: The North Coastwhich was released just a few weeks ago. He was also one of the authors at our booth during the Toronto Boat Show this month.
Cuba – it’s a fascinating place to sail. Sure, you can go there as a tourist, stay at a resort and have a good time in the sun, but you truly miss the essence of what Cuba actually is – because you aren’t meeting the people.
Picture sitting on a fisherman’s 18 foot wooden boat, eating fish he’s caught while you try to understand one another. Or watching a group of fisherman bring in an eight foot hammerhead shark caught in their nets – just 100 yards from where you are anchored. That’s not resort tourism.
Ashore, you find yourself invited to join a group of Cubans and Russian tourists singing and enjoying themselves at a local pub as you walk by – at 1 am on your way home. Even though you don’t speak Spanish and can’t understand but one of them who speaks English, you finally get home as the sun rises over your vessel after an evening of singing, dancing and drinking rum.
This is the essence of cruising – discovering the culture of the places you visit, not just looking at them from the windows of a tour bus.
As a place to sail, Cuba ranks one of the best. Hundreds of great anchorages, clean and uncrowded since there are so few other cruisers. The coast is well charted, making for an easy downwind run almost any time of the year. The views are stellar, natural beauty to be found everywhere.
Sure, outside of the new Gaviota marina in Varadero, the marinas are not up to North American standards – but they’re certainly more than adequate. Besides, why do we cruise, if not to see and experience new things and enjoy different cultures and values?
And yes, Cuba can be very challenging, in many many ways, but that challenge is more than rewarded by the experiences you’ll have, and the people you’ll meet.
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:
January 9 to 17, 2016 Saturdays (9 & 16) — 10am to 7pm Sundays (10 & 17) — 10am to 6pm Weekdays (11 – 15) — 11am to 8pm
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.
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.
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.
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!
2015 has been a great year for new books that look at maritime history, the age of sail, exploration and discovery. This blog will look at a trio of new books on that subject which would be great additions to the library of anybody interested in those subjects.
In 2014, after many years of searching, HMS Erebus, one of the ships of John Franklin’s lost expedition to the Arctic (1845-1848) was finally located. This was achieved in the latest of series of joint expeditions between the Canadian Government, organizations such as Parks Canada, The Royal Canadian Navy, the Canadian Hydrographic Service, amongst others, and the Royal Canadian Geographic Society. This book is the official history of that 2014 expedition, and describes in loving detail the finding of the Erebus. It is filled with gorgeous photos, illustrations and maps that bring to life the original expedition, its disastrous end, and the efforts to find the Erebus and Terror. This is simply gorgeous, and important for anybody who is interested in Franklin’s expedition. Lead author John Geiger is CEO of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society and a Fellow of the Royal Geographic Society. He is also co-author of Frozen in Time: the Fate of the Franklin Expedition. Co-author Alanna Mitchell is an international award winning Journalist, and contributes to CBC Radio’s Quirks and Quarks on Oceanographic stories.
The famous voyage of the Beagle, from 1831-1836 has had intense repercussions on knowledge, religions and politics. While Darwin’s 1859 publication On the Origin of Species is an important scientific publication, Darwin’s journals are also incredibly important, especially to those interested in exploration and navigation. At the beginning of the voyage, Darwin was only 22 years old, and he was a product of a society that was starting to reckon with ‘modern’ science, and all its implications. This is an annotated, and illustrated version of Darwin’s journals from the voyage. Beautiful images, drawings, maps, illustrations, and photos provide context for Darwin’s entries, and bring the voyage to life. A palpable sense of excitement, wonder and discovery imbues this entire book.
In 1820, the whaleship Essex was sunk while whaling in the Pacific off of South America. Owen Chase was the first mate, and his memoir and tale of surivival would captivate many, and inspire Herman Melville to write Moby Dick. This book is a beautifully illustrated and annotated edition of Chase’s memoir. His story is reinforced through beautiful images, and amazing illustrations. This also includes selections from other maritime authors, such as Melville and Richard Henry Dana (who wrote Two Years Before the Mast). These selections emphasize the stark reality of whaling, as well as how inspirational memoirs such as these can be.
As we come into the Fall, and as boats come out of the water, peak reading season has arrived. In this blog, we’re going to look at some of the new books that we’ve received in the past few months and that we feel are excellent additions to your library, at home or aboard. First we’ll look at a few books we recommend that examine various aspects of sailing or cruising safety, in preparation for next season. The last three book are great fall or winter reads for those who love yacht and sailing ship design.
This is a great book that quite simply everybody who owns or skippers a boat should own, and read from cover to cover. Sailing is a matter of the execution of operations- and boats are designed for minimum, as well as optimum crew numbers to perform those operations. The reality is that very often, skippers do not have the optimum number of crew. This can happen when one is sailing with children, with inexperienced crew, or with crew who are partially or completely incapacitated due to illness or injury.
This book takes the basic operations that sailors have to do, such docking, anchoring, making and dousing sail, and provides detailed and illustrated instructions on how to do so single-handed, or with a sub-optimal number of crew.
This is a new book, published by the Pardeys, which addresses an important topic for many cruisers. It is very well written, very clear, and also well illustrated. The authors are experienced cruisers, providing some of the lessons that they have learned on their voyages with their children. This book starts with the conceptual consideration of voyaging with kids, to provide an understanding of the realities of it. From there, it moves to discuss every aspect of cruising with families, from choosing family-friendly boats, to every day life, provisioning, schooling, achieving privacy, and getting along with others in a confined space. It ends with a number of testimonials from a number of individuals who cruised when they were children. For those who are considering long-distance cruising with their families, this is a must-read.
Bodies of water are dangerous places. When you add movement, speed, and forces beyond control, they are even more dangerous. This book is designed so that sailors can identify, consider the dangers that they accept, and actively work to make their sailing experiences as safe as possible. The book is divided in to five sections: 1) Preparation 2) Boat Handling 3) Communications 4) Equipment and Maintenance 5) Emergencies. Each section is illustrated, and personal accounts highlight the dangers of each section. This is recommended for boat owners, skippers, and crew of all levels of experience.
Lewis Francis Herreshoff (1890-1972) was an American naval architect and author who was involved with design for the US Navy, in addition to designing racing yachts and cruising boats. His designs include the J Class Whirlwind, which was the American 1930 entry to the America’s Cup, the M class Istalena. He also designed beautiful vessels like the schooner Joann. He also wrote many books on building yachts, including The Compleat Cruiser and the Commonsense of Yacht Design. Herreshoff was incredibly influential, and two further books were published after his death. This is a beautiful biography, which particularly looks at how his personality and outlook influenced his designs. Includes many beautiful photographs.
In 1643, King Louis XIV ascended to the French throne at age five. In 1715, after seventy-two years on the throne, he was succeeded by his great-grandson. He attained his majority in 1654, and following the death of Cardinal Mazarin in 1661, implemented personal rule in France. For this entire time, Louis XIV was the man who dictate the course of Europe. Although famous for his use of his armies, the French navies during this period were technically, aesthetically the equal of any in Europe. This is an absolutely gorgeous book that examines the frankly neglected French navies of this period. JC Lemineur produces his volume after decades of research in the French archives. This was originally published in French as Le Vaissaux de Roi Soleil, and can also be ordered in French. This beautiful volume is published by Architecture Navale Classique Recherche Édition, and is a stunning continuation of that collection.
In the past several decades, Rif Winfield published four beautiful volumes which provided detailed and specific listings of the warships that served in the Royal Navy, during what is considered the ‘Age of Sail’. These volumes are essential reference guides for anybody who studies this period, and are sufficiently well written and clearly laid out that enthusiasts can also enjoy them. Thankfully, Winfield has continued his efforts, and is now addressing the French Navy. This period is one of change; it covers the end of the Ancien Regime, the Napoleonic Wars, and the long decades of peace that followed, prior to the introduction of the first steam powered warships. This book is filled with crisp drawings, paintings and other illustrations. It is a fitting addition to libraries and coffee tables, and you could spend hours poring through this book.
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.
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 to know the choices and reasons for going there. We arrived in Victoria, B.C. in May, 2013, and headed north, up the inside passage ofBritish 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.
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 guides, a series of guide books by Don Douglass & Reanne Hemingway-Douglas.
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.Wefollowed their directions religiously and never found an error in their recommendations.The guides are a pleasure to read and an invaluable reference.
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.
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 extensiveportion 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.
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.
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.
Help fellow seafarers find their way by adding guiding stars and reviews to your favourite books on nauticalmind.com — and get entered in a raffle with a chance to win a $25 gift certificate.
For every review you contribute, we’ll add your name to the raffle hat. You can even review charts or navigation tools if you want. Negative reviews are okay too, but extremely short/uninformative reviews might get disqualified.
This guest blog is from Lin Pardey, about Voyaging with Kids, a new book from Sara Dawn Johnson, Behan Gifford and Michael Robertson that the Pardeys are publishing. The overwhelmingly favorable reactions from early readers of Voyaging with Kids: a Guide to Family Life Afloat has prompted L&L Pardey Publications to create its first full colour book with interactive Ebook edition, to be released in October 2015. The website for the book can be found here.
A Thanksgiving dinner, a house full of friends, and voyagers from overseas, their children’s laughter ringing through the house: that is where Voyaging with Kids first entered my life.
During more than four decades of voyaging, no matter where we happened to be, Larry and I tried to recreate the unique feeling of this most American of holidays. And now that we had hung up our offshore sailing hats and moved ashore on a small island near Auckland, New Zealand, there was room to invite two dozen folks who needed a yearly turkey fix. Among the guests was Sara Johnson. We’d been exchanging emails for a few years. Just before she set off across the Pacific with her husband Michael and their two young daughters, Holly and Leah, I’d written, “Get here in time for Thanksgiving and we’ll have a mooring waiting for you.” As often happens, one kid boat seems to attract another, and on this evening six cruising kids had joined the celebrations. I watched them confidently fitting into a situation that was completely new and interacting comfortably with adults they had never met before, and I found myself wishing there was some way to encourage more folks to take their children away from so-called “normalcy” and let them experience the opportunities cruising could provide.
As the evening was winding down, Sara asked me a few questions about my publishing experience. She wondered if I could give her some guidance on a project she had in mind. A few weeks later we met for coffee. After briefly outlining the idea for this book, Sara told me the three authors were considering self-publishing. Over the next hour I outlined the pitfalls and advantages based on my experience of having the first seven books I’d written published by a major New York firm, then creating five more as an independent publisher. Then we switched to talking about ideas to expand the manuscript.
I drove off, headed to another appointment, and then, three blocks later, turned back. Sara was still at the café, just buying her daughters an after-school treat. “Sara, your idea has gotten me fired up,” I stated. “I would like to be your publisher.” It was at that moment that added this newest arrow to my eclectic career quiver. I switched from being a self-publisher to being a “real” publisher.
I was not the only person fired up by the manuscript these three hard-working authors created. The cruisers and ex-cruising kids who contributed sidebars and stories for this book, the editors and designers who helped bring it to fruition, and the early reviewers have all reacted the same way. This book has become for them, as it is for me, a special addition to cruising literature.
Since taking on this project, I have published two other nautical titles and hope to do more. I am dedicated to creating well-written and informative nautical books which will encourage others to enjoy the pleasures that can be found by independently exploring the waters of our world. I hope others are inspired and encouraged by Voyaging with Kids. And if it helps you set sail toward my part of the world in time for Thanksgiving, come on in for a taste of turkey.
This is the August Long Weekend- and so on Monday is (what is known in Toronto, only) as John Graves Simcoe Day. Interestingly, the rest of Ontario’s municipalities chose to not honour Upper Canada’s first Lieutenant-Governor in this way.
Simcoe is a fascinating character, with some tenuous but interesting maritime connections. He was born in 1752 in Northamptonshire, and died in 1806 in Exeter, in the West Country. His father was an officer in the Royal Navy, and was Captain of HMS Pembroke in 1758/59, during the campaign to capture New France/Quebec. During this time, the Pembroke‘s master was James Cook. The latter’s efforts during this period resulted in him spending several years charting the coasts of Newfoundland, and was then employed on three famous voyages of exploration.
Simcoe, despite his father’s example, did not go into the Royal Navy. After education at Exeter Grammar School and Eton, he spent a year at Oxford before being accepted to Lincoln’s Inn. From there, he joined the 35th Regiment of Foot as an Ensign. That regiment was deployed to the American colonies. He saw much combat in the American Revolutionary War. He was offered command of the Queen’s Rangers. After being invalided back to Great Britain following Yorktown, he recuperated at the house of his godfather, Admiral Samuel Graves, and in 1782 married Graves’ ward Elizabeth Gwillim. Following the end of the war, in 1787 he published A Journal of the Operations of the Queen’s Rangers from the end of the year 1777 to the conclusion of the late American War. This was followed by his election as an MP.
The Constitution Act of 1791 divided Canada into Upper and Lower Canada, and Simcoe served as the first Lieutenant-Governor from 1792 to 1798, although poor health forced him to return to England in 1796. During his brief time in Canada, he was largely responsible for the ending of slavery in Upper Canada in 1793 with the Act Against Slavery, for the creation of the Queen’s York Rangers regiment, and the building of Yonge St (from York to Lake Simcoe) and Dundas St (from York to London, Ontario). Following his return to England, he further served in military operations in Haiti, and then died before being able to take up duties as Governor of India.
While Simcoe did not have a personal involvement with the Navy or sailing, between his family connection, his time spent in the West Country, and his deployments away from England he would have certainly have spent quite a bit of time aboard ship.