Posted on (Updated )

In Memory of Skip Gillham

We thank Buck Longhurst for this moving tribute to Skip Gillham. Skip will be greatly missed.

 

  On July 27, 2016 the Great Lakes marine world lost one of its’ most avid historians and staunch promoters, Edwin Barry “Skip” Gillham, aged 75, after a long and valiant battle with cancer

I was first put in touch with Skip by John Bascom in 1970, and we exchanged photos and information by mail. My first face-to-face meeting with Skip was in June 1978. I had some material that Skip was wanting for one of his books and we were introduced at an intersection just west of Fonthill  by Al Sykes. We talked “boats” for quite a while and I knew that I had found a kindred spirit in preserving the history of the Great Lakes shipping industry.

   Skip was a very private person. Family and church always came before his boats and although we talked on the phone at least once a week or exchanged e-mails regularly, we only met once a year, usually at the Lock 3 Visitor Center. He was always very willing to help with a project either by providing photos or vital information or both. He could always be depended upon for help. He would quickly pass over personal matters but would talk at great length about ships and shipping.

  In 2004 we were talking on the phone and I asked him  – “why don’t you do a book on Yankcanuck Steamships?” He thought for a few seconds before replying “you worked for them – why don’t you write it?”  That was the beginning of a sort of partnership that has resulted in several company histories and given me a sense of accomplishment and a great deal of satisfaction and this is due in a large part to Skip and his willingness to share both his knowledge and his collection with others.

  Skip has been recognized by several marine societies as one of the world’s outstanding experts on great lakes shipping and we are much poorer for his passing.

 

G I “Buck” Longhurst
Gore Bay

 

Skip was a great author of local history, specifically focusing on the Great Lakes and freighters. Sadly, only a small number of Skip’s books are still available, including The Kinsman Lines, Purvis Marine, and Final Voyage II: Ships Scrapped in Hamilton and Niagara

 

Skip’s passing was also commemorated here in the St Catharines Standard.

Posted on (Updated )

Cruising The Trent-Severn Waterway

Stretching nearly 400km from Trenton, through Peterborough and central Ontario to Port Severn, the Trent-Severn Waterway is the cruiser’s passage from the Eastern part of the Great Lakes to Georgian Bay and Lake Huron. It is one of the most popular cruising trips in Ontario, and is accessible for everything from canoes and kayaks to houseboats and powerboats. It is also a way for boats to get from Lake Ontario to Georgian Bay if they can’t go through the Welland Canal.

The waterway is 386km long, with approximately 20km of man-made canals. It was constructed in the 19th century as a military waterway, but long since has become recreational. There are 45 locks, including 36 conventional locks, two sets of flight locks, hydraulic lift locks at Peterborough and Kirkfield, and a marine railway at Big Chute which transports boats between the upper and lower sections of the Severn. The system also includes 39 swing bridges and 160 dams and control structures that manage the water levels for flood control and navigation on lakes and rivers that drain approximately 18,600 square kilometres (7,182 sq mi) of central Ontario’s cottage country region.

Unsurprisingly due its popularity, there are a number of cruising guides. PORTS Cruising Guide Trent-Severn released a new edition in 2016. The Skipper Bob Cruising Guide Cruising the Trent-Severn, Georgian Bay and North Channel is also very popular, and likewise has a new edition for 2016.

Charts are needed for the Trent-Severn Waterway, and can be found here.

The Trent-Severn Waterway is managed by Parks Canada, and information regarding access and fees can be found here.

 

Posted on

Cruising the North Channel

There are many lovely places to sail in the world, but the North Channel between Georgian Bay and Lake Superior may be the loveliest of all. It is also a trickier place to cruise, especially when water levels are lower than normal.

To cruise the North Channel, it pays to be prepared. We have prepared a list of the charts you’ll need, as well as cruising guides that we recommend. There are several charts required for the North Channel

Charts:
2205 Killarney to Little Current
2206 McGregor Bay
2207 Little Current to Clapperton Island
2245 Manitowaning Bay- East End of North Channel
2257 Clapperton Island to John Island
2258 Bayfield Sound & Approaches
2259 John Island to Blind River
2268 Boyd Island to Spanish River (and various harbours)
2299 Clapperton Island to Meldrum
2251 Meldrum Bay to Joseph Island

Richardson’s Chartbook is also an option. It is cost effective because it provides charts for all of Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, and the North Channel. It is also a comfortable form factor for using on chart tables aboard yachts. However, Richardson’s does not legally cover you in terms of the requirement to carry large-scale (small area) paper charts. Richardson’s Chartbook would certainly be accurate for navigating (after updating with Notices to Mariners). When possible, we advise purchasing both the Richardson’s and the paper charts, to provide ease of use, and satisfy legal requirements. While this would cost more than simply buying Richardson’s alone, it would definitely cost less than the price of a fine from the Coast Guard. If cost is an issue, we strongly suggest buying the Paper Charts.

Cruising Guides
Well-Favored PassageWell-Favored Passage is a classic, and a definitive cruising guide for the North Channel. We have the 40th anniversary edition, updated with GPS coordinates and new information. Also very popular is the PORTS Cruising Guide: Georgian Bay, North Channel and Lake Huron.

We cannot strongly enough recommend exploring the North Channel. It is truly one of Ontario and Canada’s greatest treasures.

Posted on (Updated )

Books for Tall Ship Sailors

Tall Ships are coming to Toronto this July! Here at the Nautical Mind, we’ve consistently had Toronto Brigantine alumni among our crew- and old and new friends are always dropping by. This year, we have some great books for the Tall Ship sailors and fanatics out there.

Kedge-AnchorThe Kedge-Anchor or Young Sailor’s Assistant
William Brady

From its publication in 1847, this was an immediate success among American sailors. This Dover edition, published in 2002 is a complete reproduction of the enlarged 4th edition originally published in 1849.

Created originally for the US Navy and Merchant Marine, it is an absolutely fantastic reference book for modern Tall Ship sailors and enthusiasts.

 

YoungSeaOfficersThe Young Sea Officer’s Sheet Anchor
Darcy Lever

First published in 1808, this was a popular sea grammar in both England and the United States. Another beautiful Dover publication, it is edited and a foreword provided by John Harland. This book particularly focuses on a ship’s rig. How it is created, how they are designed, and the effect of the weather upon them. It is beautifully type-set to reproduce the look of the original.

 

Dana-Seamans-friend

The Seaman’s Friend: A Treatise on Practical Seamanship
Richard Henry Dana Jr.

Dana Jr. Is best known for the classic Two Years Before the Mast. This particular volume (also lovingly published by Dover) is reproduced from the 1879 edition. This book is divided into three sections. The first deals with practical seamanship such as rigging and ship handling. The second discusses the customs of the merchant service. The third examines the duty of a master aboard a cargo ship. Based on the author’s experience, it’s another fascinating insight into 18th century maritime commerce and seamanship.

 

Seamanship-Age-of-SailSeamanship in the Age of Sail
John Harland

This book is one of the best in terms of discussing shiphandling specifically. It has been particularly popular with many crewmembers from the sail training brigantines STV Pathfinder and TS Playfair. Originally published in 1988, this is the 2nd edition, released 2015. It is absolutely stunning and should have a place on your shelf.

 

 

Rogers-collection-shipyard-models-CoverRogers Collection of Dockyard Models, Vol I.
Grant H. Walker

The US Naval Academy Museum has an amazing collection of Dockyard models. Prior to widespread literacy and the development of blueprints, ship designers used models to provide shipwrights with their instructions. This is an absolutely gorgeous book about a fantastic collection.

 

Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail
Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail

Sam Jefferson

Where Victory and its like where the pinnacle of age-of-sail warships, clippers where the peak form of the age-of- sail merchantmen. These ships have given us some of the most iconic sailing narratives of the 19th century. Clippers raced to get Tea from China, Wheat from Australia and around Cape Horn to get Nitrates from Chili. This book is filled with over 200 paintings, illustrations and photos of clipper ships and their exploits.
Special Price $12.99 while stocks last.

Posted on (Updated )

Charts: Some Clarification.

In the past, a number of blogs have been written about charts: what we carry, what we can order, and laws regarding charts. We’re proud to be a chart agent, providing Canadian Hydrographic Services charts, as well as charts from NOAA, Imray, Maptech, Richardson’s, NV Charts, and a number other organizations and companies. There continues to be some confusion over charts, specifically the legality of chartbooks and what is required.

The Charts and Nautical Publications Regulations, Article 5(1) (c) (i) states that boats are required to carry “…the largest scale chart according to the reference catalogue… ”

Since this is something that confuses many people:
Small Scale = Large Area
Large Scale = Small Area

To put it another way, if you’re boating around Toronto Harbour, you’ll be required to carry chart 2085- Toronto Harbour. Chart 2077 (Lake Ontario West End) or 2000 (Lake Ontario general) would not be considered to have sufficient information.

The Canada Shipping Act requires most vessels to carry paper charts specifically, even if navigation will be done by GPS or on a computer. If you’re are going to be navigating, you should be carrying charts.

There have also recently been more questions about the legality of chartbooks, such as Richardson’s, Mapquest, and NV-Charts. These are not technically charts, but instead are very high quality photographs of charts. From discussions with representatives of various law enforcement agencies it is clear that there is no universal policy towards chart books. Anecdotal evidence suggests that also, reaction will vary from officer to officer. While the odds suggest that any individual person or boat may not be stopped by the Police or Coast Guard, and even if they were a chartbook such as Maptech or Richardson’s would usually be considered sufficient, they do not technically satisfy the legal requirement to carry charts in Canada.

The reality is that chartbooks such as Richardson’s are much easier to use on a chart table than a full paper chart, and that chartbooks are much more cost efficient than purchasing a full set of paper charts. We also understand that cost is a major factor for choosing to purchase chartbooks only, and not paper charts. What we would suggest is that our clients purchase a chartbook such as Richardson’s for their day-to-day navigation requirements, but also purchase the CHS charts they need to cover their usual cruising areas. To do so is more expensive, but it will cost far less than the fines for not carrying paper charts.

Charts are just part of what is required to be carried on board. It is always necessary to update charts or chartbooks with the Notices to Mariners. In addition, boats are required to have Chart One, Sailing Directions,Tide & Current Tables, the List of Lights, and Buoys and Fog Signals.

Posted on (Updated )

Some Great New Bargains

Whenever people visit the store, one of the first things they do is peruse the table at the front, where we keep the books that are on sale. There is always a great selection of books there, and recently we’ve received some new additions for the table.

Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail

Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail
Sam Jefferson

This is a classic; it has 8 chapters, beginning with the origins of then looks at specific clipper ships and their voyages, from Tea Races to China, mutinies in the Atlantic, and the last voyage of the Cutty Sark. A must for any lover of the final glorious days of the age of commercial sail.

Be Your Own Boat Surveyor: A Hands-On Guide for All Owners and BuyersBe Your Own Boat Surveyor
Dag Pike

When you’re purchasing a boat, it’s imperative that you know the material condition of the vessel. A survey is absolutely necessary- and this volume from experienced sailor, cruiser and powerboater Dag Pike teaches you all the places that you need to look, and the problems and conditions that you’ll be looking for. This book is especially recommended for anybody who is purchasing a used boat. This is not a replacement for hiring a professional surveyor, but will teach you the basics.
Rescue of the BountyRescue of the Bounty
Michael Tougias & Douglas Campbell

The Bounty was a tall ship, a replica of a small British warship built for the 1962 movie about the mutiny. In October 2012, the Bounty was caught in Hurricane Sandy. Two of sixteen crew aboard died, including the Captain. This book is an investigation of what happened in that disaster, and the efforts that were launched by the US Coast Guard to rescue the crew of the Bounty in such dangerous conditions. This is highly recommended for anybody who is a fan of disaster stories and is a gripping story of incredible circumstances.

 

Sailing Alone Around the World

Sailing Alone Around the World
Joshua Slocum

Another classic, this is Joshua Slocum’s tale of his three year solo circumnavigation, which he began in 1895. Slocum was the first person to sail around the world alone. A thoroughly entertaining read, Sailed to South Africa, Australia and South America before returning home. This is highly recommended.

Safe-SkipperSafe Skipper
Simon Jollands & Rupert Holmes

Being out on the water, even on the calmest day, always has some element of risk. For skippers, it is especially important to minimize the risks and make the experience as safe as possible. This book breaks down this process into five areas: 1) Preparation 2) Boathandling 3) Communication 4) Equipment and Maintenance 5) Emergencies. This is not not an on-board reference book, and it is highly recommended for anybody who would like to or is beginning to skipper.
The Boat DaBoat Data Book: The Owner’s and Professional’s Bibleta Book
Ian & Richard Nicolson

This is an indispensable book for boat owners, charters, chandlers, maintainers and sailors. This book contains charts, figures, facts, ratios and formulas for anything that has to do with boats, and particularly with the materials and fabrics that are used aboard boats. This book is especially important for anybody who is planning to build or refurbish a boat themselves, as it will allow them to do much of the planning, sourcing and designing before they actually purchase materials and begin the work.

 

Yacht Owner’s Manual: Everything You Need to Know to Get the Most Out of Your YaThe Yacht Owner’s Manual
Andy du Port

This is another book that will be indispensable for a yacht owner or skipper. It provides a how-to deal with a broad range of topics that cover every aspect of owning a yacht. Again, this isn’t an on-board reference book, but a book that anybody who is considering buying a boat (especially when they’ll have a crew) should read ahead of time. Author Andy du Port is formerly editor of Reeds Nautical Almanac, and has been sailing around the English Channel and Europe for decades.

 

Wreck of the Whaleship EssexWreck-Whaleship-Essex-Illustrated-9780760348123
Owen Chase

This is the annotated and illustrated edition of Owen Chase’s epic story of the Essex, the ship whose story provided Herman Melville the inspiration for Moby Dick. After the wreck of their ship, thirty sailors survived for more than 90 days. This edition is chock full of images, photos and illustrations to provide context for their story, their survival and the conditions.

Posted on (Updated )

New & Soon Arriving

New Arrivals

Contessa-26-50-yearsContessa 26: The First 50 Years

To quote customer (and Contessa 26 owner) David Aultfather “This book is a wonderful resource for anyone who is interested in the Contessa 26 sailboat. It has a foreword by Jeremy Rodgers, who built the first Contessa 26 sailboats in England, lots of great photos of the boats under sail, and interesting interviews with owners. This book is highly recommended.”

Seamanship-Age-of-SailSeamanship in the Age of Sail by John Harland- A beautiful new edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands by Chris Doyle (14th Edition)
Cruising-Guide-Leewards-SouthernCruising-Guide-Leewards-Northern

for the new 14th Edition, the Leeward Islands guide was split into two volumes.

 

 

 

 

 

New Bargains

Pirates-PassagePirate’s Passage by William Gilkerson

was $16.95, now $6.99
Winner of a Governor General’s Literary Award

 

 

 

 

Wreck-Whaleship-Essex-Illustrated-9780760348123Wreck of the Whaleship Essex, by Owen Chase
was $39, now $14.99. Beautifully annotated version of the story with images and explainations

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon

IAMSAR, 2016 Edition: Due Summer 2016

2016 Great Lakes Waterway Guide: Due April 2016

 

 

Posted on (Updated )

Guest Blog: Amy McCullough on the Risks and Rewards of Cruising Life

We’d like to thank Amy for her fantastic guest blog. She can be found at her website.

The Box Wine Sailors
The Box Wine Sailors

In The Box Wine Sailors, I liken life aboard a small sailboat to a game of “Bad News, Good News,” meaning that times were often trying, but the rewards more than legitimized the struggles. My partner Jimmie and I lived aboard Cotton, a 1972 Newport 27, for a year, sailing from Portland, Oregon, to La Paz, Baja California Sur, and we shared a fair amount of good and bad news along the way.

For instance, less than a month into our trip—a journey we embarked upon with no sailing experience (really!) and very little money ($6,700 in the bank), our tiller snapped off. This happened during a very stressful bar crossing into the Siuslaw River along the Oregon Coast (see below). That’s some pretty bad news.

 

Pic1(The remains of our tiller)

 

The good news was, as a crazy-in-love young couple, we were gleefully unemployed and thrilled to be spending all of our time together. Oh, and this was the view the next morning:

Pic2
(Our anchorage in the Siuslaw River near Florence, Oregon)

We met another case of bad news when rounding Cape Mendocino: The waves got bigger than we ever expected—crashing over the sides of the boat and right into us—and there was that added bad news that we didn’t really know what we were doing.

Pic3
(The author beginning to round Cape Mendocino…well before the worst of it)

The good news (as was often the case) was the stunning natural beauty of the anchorage that awaited us in Shelter Cove:

Pic4
(At anchor in Shelter Cove, California, note how the mountains dwarf little Cotton)

When trying to explain this in the book, I write: “So much of what we did was a strange mix of magic and torture, as if performing the most inconvenient, trying tasks could somehow be infused with an indescribable wonder, even joy. Everyday events ranged from doing the hardest thing you’ve ever done ever to witnessing the most breathtaking sights imaginable. We were constantly filled with awe—both at what we had to do and how fully we were rewarded.”

It was exactly because of these challenges and benefits that our trip aboard Cotton—the voyage of The Box Wine Sailors—was so incredible, and why Jimmie and I (pictured below) were so grateful to have the other to share it with. I suppose it’s not quite like being there, but The Box Wine Sailors is my attempt to share those risks and rewards with the world.

Pic5
(Amy McCullough and Jimmie Buchanan in Shelter Cove, Northern California)