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IMO Marine Environment Protection Committee meeting resolutions: Polar Code, PSSA, & More

The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the IMO met for from May 11th to 15th.

The MEPC adopted the environmental requirements of the Polar Code and associated MARPOL & SOLAS amendments to make the Code mandatory; adopted amendments to MARPOL related to tanks for oil residues; designated an extension to the Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA); and furthered its work on implementation of air pollution and energy efficiency measures and the Ballast Water Management Convention.

The amendments will go into force January 1st, 2017. We’ll have them available as soon as they’re published.  The IMO has published this Polar Code infographic for the mean-time.

Polar Code Ship Safety Infographic

[Download as PDF]

The MEPC’s other conclusions include:

  • MARPOL Annex I amendments relating to oil residues adopted
  • Extension of Great Barrier Reef and Torres Strait PSSA adopted
  • Ballast water management status and technologies reviewed
  • EEDI review work to continue
  • GHG reduction target for international shipping considered
  • Revised air pollution guidance and requirements agreed
  • Fuel oil availability review to be initiated this year
  • Fuel oil quality correspondence group re-established
  • Black carbon definition agreed
  • Ship recycling convention – revision of IHM Guidelines
  • Oil spill response guidance approved

Details on the IMO site

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Victoria Day Hours, Queen Victoria, and yachts

victoria_2112685iSince about 1845, Canada has been celebrating May 24th, Queen Victoria’s Birthday. Following her death in 1901, it was officially named ‘Victoria Day’.

Queen Victoria was fond of the sea, and of yachting.  During her reign, HM Yachts Victoria and Albert, Victoria and Albert II, and Victoria and Albert III were built, the last of which was commissioned in 1901, several months after the monarch’s death. Other Royal Yachts included the Fairy, Elfin, and Osborne. Queen Victoria also had a front-row seat for watching some of the most beautiful and fastest yachts of the late 19th century, as Osborne House in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight was a major royal residence during the Queen’s reign. It was a Royal retreat, and is telling that Victoria chose a holiday home by the sea.

Of course, the Victoria Day holiday is still closely associated with yachting, and the beginning of the summer sailing season (at least, when the lakes aren’t cold as ice).

This holiday weekend, the Store is open normal hours:
Saturday 10-6
Sunday 12-5
Monday 10-5


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Rotten Perfect Poems of the Sea

Rotten Perfect Pie Hole Author
The author, on watch with pie.

Poets laureate of Toronto have described Eva H.D. as “the real deal” and “a punk“. She has sailed aboard the Europa, Mist of Avalon and STV Pathfinder TS Playfair. Here are two poems not included in her recent, excellent, Rotten Perfect Mouth published by Mansfield Press.


Bitter Reverie

Filling up books with saltbound notions,
the continent due south, while pointless thoughts
shimmy on, past grasping; deckhands tie knots,
yeast and beef waft from the galley, ocean
water froths the prow, bunkmates put lotion
on their hands, and the ship judders on, stots
like a deer at the engine’s revving shocks.
All around, the solid world’s in motion:
a cup of tea, the deck, a pair of whales
to port. All of it moves. I’m lost, of course
in vindictive reveries, luffing sails,
the seesaw of my imaginings. Force
plays upon the rig, snaps air from my throat,
drives us dawnward. My thoughts fly with the boat.

Friday Sky

The Southern Cross was blazing like a shield.
We drew imaginary lines straight down
to the horizon, heading south. A field
of fire, that sky. A kingdom and a crown.
We fell asleep at sunrise, and awoke
to stand watch in the briefest autumn squall.
We peeled off rainsoaked coats. A rainbow broke
the mat of cloud to puzzle pieces. All
of us went Ah. Greater shearwaters flew
white-masked in our wake. It touched the water
at both ends, that rainbow. Banks of clouds blew
West, screened sunset leaking shades of slaughter.
The night sky belched out sheets of fluorescent
light, and the new moon, a milky crescent.


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The Canadian Nautical Research Society


At the Nautical Mind, we are pleased to be able to work with Canadian authors and publishers, and to promote books that explore and celebrate Canada’s maritime past and current existence. The Canadian Nautical Research Society is an organization that has the same goal. If you’re a fan of Canadian maritime history, then you’re sure to recognize the names of members like Barry Gough, Marc Milner, Richard Gimblett and Roger Sarty. If you’re an alumnus or former crew of STV St Lawrence II, STV Pathfinder or TS Playfair, then Maurice Smith is a living legend. There are many more members who are actively involved in maritime and nautical research at the global, national and local levels. We at the Nautical Mind would like to recognize the contribution of the Canadian Nautical Research Society, and its past and present members.

cnrs-scrn_logo_color_150x163 Originally established as the Canadian Society for the Promotion of Nautical Research, the Canadian Nautical Research Society was incorporated 25 October 1984 and achieved the status of a registered charity shortly thereafter. “Ties That Bind: the Roots of NASOH and the CNRS” gives some historical background to our early days as seen through the eyes of W.A.B Douglas, one of our founders and a past president of our Society.

The objectives of the Society are:

  • to promote nautical research in Canada
  • to disseminate the results of such research
  • and to encourage an awareness of Canada’s maritime heritage

To those ends, the Society publishes a quarterly journal The Northern Mariner/Le marin du nord, quarterly newsletter Argonauta, and holds an annual conference. and makes several awards:

  • the Jacques Cartier MA Prize in Maritime Affairs, to encourage graduate students at the Master’s level
  • the Gerry Panting Award, which is a bursary to a young scholar to attend the annual conference to present a paper, and
  • annually awards The Keith Matthews Awards — named in honour of the Society’s first President — to recognize outstanding publications in the field of nautical research.

The Nautical Mind’s shelves have hosted a large number of books authored, edited and compiled by CNRS members, including all of those named above. To recognize their contributions, such books are identified on our website. The current line-up of CNRS members’ books available at the store at this link to our website.

If you’re interested in more information, it can be found at the CNRS Website, Facebook, and Twitter

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Remember the Lusitania!

Remember the Lusitania-LOCAC
The Nautical Mind would like to thank author Kent Layton for this guest blog on the sinking of Lusitania, which occurred on 7 May, 1915. Kent’s new book, Lustania: An Illustrated Biography, will be available in early May.


Lusitania-JKL On May 7, we will mark a full century’s passing since the loss of the Cunard liner Lusitania. On that Friday afternoon one hundred years ago, the east-bound liner happened across the path of a prowling German submarine, the U-20. Her commander fired a single torpedo at her without warning, and the results were nothing short of catastrophic.

Saloon-JKLIt took only eighteen minutes for the ghastly affair to play out. The ship took an immediate list to starboard after the torpedo impact; a second and even larger explosion followed the first. Although its origins are not known precisely, the best evidence indicates the blast was caused by a catastrophic failure in her high-pressure steam-generating plant. Whatever its cause, the ship was already doomed. Because of the list and the speed with which the ship sank, launching the lifeboats became a nightmare scenario, with boat after boat falling from the davits into the sea, and in some cases into other boats which had already been lowered away. When all was said and done, 1,198 innocent men, women and children had perished in the event.

Avenge the Lusitania-LOCACIt took a mere eighteen minutes for the Lusitania to plunge to the seafloor, but her legacy has endured for a full century now. Today she is often remembered in the context of a ‘political football’, a pawn in a deadly war; yet in all of the rehashings of political intrigue, something of the actual human drama of that event has been lost, for it is difficult to remember the bodies of actual men, women and children when one is thinking about conspiracy theories.

Also tragic is the fact that the loss of the Lusitania has forever since overshadowed her life. One would think, reading through many histories of the Lusitania, that nothing much of interest happened to her between the time she entered service and took the Blue Riband speed prize as the ‘world’s fastest ship’, and the time she was sent to the bottom in 1915. Yet her life was filled with all sorts of tales of adventure and stories of personal interest.

It is important that we never forget the tragedy suffered by the Lusitania, and the lives lost on that day. It is also important that we remember the great history of that liner’s career in proper context. To my mind, doing both honors the memory of all of those who ever sailed on the Lusitania, including those who were aboard for her ultimate, and most horrific, crossing.

J. Kent Layton
April 2015.


Lusitania An Illustrated Biography

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April Arrivals


Recently Arrived at The Nautical Mind:

Coach Yourself to Win

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Minor Display Issues After Code Update to [FIXED!]

We’re still ironing out kinks and smoothing a few corners on our shiny new site. Following an update yesterday, some things broke in exciting ways.  The damage was entirely superficial though – there was no risk to security, data, or stability. If the site appears extra odd to you, please try reloading/refreshing by hitting Ctrl-R or Apple-R or clicking a circley arrow near your browser’s address bar.

Nautical Mind Website

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Ontario Sailor Book Reviews: March 2015

Once again, we’re pleased to present the most current set of book reviews from Ontario Sailor magazine.


The Sea Among Us
By Richard Beamish, Gordon McFarlane
Hardcover, 384 pages

The Straight of Georgia, lying between the B.C. coast and Vancouver Island, is home to Canada’s largest seaport and two-thirds of the province’s population, but also a wide diversity of sea life. In essence a large sea, these waters support the world’s densest population of harbour seals, largest concentration of bald eagles, biggest octopus (Pacific giant) and longest marine plant (bull kelp). This book is an exhaustive study of the area, and opens with details on geology, fish and marine life, and concludes with the impact people have had on the area through fishing, logging and other activities. The authors, both scientists who live on Vancouver island, warn that the ecosystem is one of the most threatened in Canada and have written this book for the enjoyment of the general public to connect people with the water and promote stewardship. Royalties from book sales go to the Pacific Salmon Foundation. The writers rely on many other scientists as chapter authors, although the text is fast-flowing and written in plain English without scientific jargon. There are lots of colourful photos, graphics and illustrations.

Bluewater Sailing on a Budget: How to Find and Buy a Cruising Sailboat for Under $50,000Bluewater Sailing on a Budget
By Captain Jim Elfers
Softcover, 168 pages

If you are shopping for a yacht to take bluewater cruising than this is the book for you. Northern California based sailor and marine surveyor Jim Elfers, who has sailed more than 50,000 miles and worked for seven years at a marina in Baja California in Mexico, offers up 20 seaworthy boats that are available for under $50,000 that are worthy of coastal or far-off ocean voyages. The overall boat price was chosen because most people can save up that amount in a few years and head off into the sunset. The book details how to source and buy the ideal cruising yacht and how to deal with yacht brokers and marine surveyors. The list of good boats includes the Niagara 35, Beneteau First 38, Ericson 38, C & C 40, O’Day 39/40, Catalina 36, Canadian Sailcraft 36T, Pearson 36-2, Hunter 37 cutter, Tartan 37, Tayana 37 and the Pearson 40 (honorable mention). Each yacht gets a chapter that details the “good, bad and ugly” about the boat. Okay buyers, warm up those engines and get prepared before you head out on that shopping trip.


Henry Hudson, Doomed Navigator & Explorer
By Anthony Dalton
Softcover, 139 pages

British Columbia based author Anthony Dalton, who has written 13 non-fiction books mainly about the sea, ships and boats (The Graveyard of the Pacific, Sir John Franklin, Baychimo: Arctic Ghost Ship), has delved into the life of British explorer Henry Hudson and his four Arctic voyages in search of the elusive Northwest Passage and a trade route to the Orient. Hudson had followed other explorers like John Cabot (1496-98), his son Sebastian Cabot (1509), and Martin Frobisher (1576-78) to find a shorter route to China. The author says Hudson was determined and ambitious and his discoveries of Hudson Bay and many rivers helped to open up North America, but the explorer was also reckless and obsessive, which led to “clouded judgment” and “disastrous choices” that ended in mutiny after his ship became iced in for a winter in the Canadian Arctic in 1610-11. This is the story of the other Henry Hudson that you won’t find in most history books.


NipissingNipissing, Historic Waterway, Wilderness Playground
By Francoise Noel
Softcover, 270 pages

Nipissing University history professor Francoise Noel took some time off to research the history of tourism in the area of Lake Nipissing, which is located northeast of Georgian Bay and drains into the Great Lakes basin through the French River. She says the project was sparked by the effect the birth in 1934 of the Dionne quintuplets had on tourism in the area. The author researched the birth extensively and unearthed provincial road maps and other tourism literature that lists details of the Dionne births like the location of the nursery where people could visit, the home town of the doctor who gave birth to the five babies and other details that were designed to bring tourists into northern Ontario. From 1935 to 1943, the trip to Quintland was the most popular motor trip, with over 3 million making the pilgrimage. The research includes the importance of fishing and hunting as a way to draw tourists to nearby towns like North Bay from the 1870s to the early 1950s and the importance of the railways during these early years of travel. Later, the car opened up the area to wilderness seekers and those who wanted to see some pretty remarkable babies.

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Guest Blog Post: Explorer Charts

We would like to thank Sara Lewis, co-creator of the Explorer Chart Book series, for this guest blog.
M&S MA2We are so thankful to be cruising the Bahamas again this winter season after missing last year, having sold our boat. Our beloved Saranade has gone to live in Staniel Cay and be enjoyed by the Millers there, while we get to experience cruising on a power catamaran. Miss Agnes is doing nicely with a safe crossing from Florida to Bimini then the short leaps across the Bank to the Berry Islands and through Nassau to the Exumas. Ahhhh! Then we can sigh and relax and slow the pace with staying awhile in our favorite places and visiting friends on land and at sea. Now we are in Salt Pond, Long Island, which is where we began to conceive the idea of doing the Explorer charts.

Initially, we were using Klein’s Yachtsman’s Guide and the BBA Chartkit, both of which were lacking in hydrographic detail. Wanting to go farther afield into lesser known parts, such as the Ragged Islands and Bight of Acklins, we were fortunate to have some older and more salty sailor friends who had been there and pointed out on the topographical maps where we could and couldn’t go with our draft. That knowledge was enhanced by getting together with some of the Long Island fishermen, who also shared their local knowledge of these areas. So we ventured forth and started making notes. Our friends would ask to trace the primitive charts (none of us had copiers aboard back then!) and then began suggesting that we publish what we were charting out for ourselves.

That led to the first iteration—20 placemat charts of the Exumas, which eventually had text added and became the first Explorer Chartbook Exumas and Ragged Islands in 1995. Of course, then we had to cover the rest of the Bahamas, which led to the Explorer Chartbook Near Bahamas (the islands closest to Florida) and the Explorer Chartbook Far Bahamas (the easternmost and southernmost islands). Now the Exumas and the Near Bahamas books are in their 7th editions and the Far Bahamas its 6th. We continue to survey and update both the hydrographic data as well as the Need-to-Know Info for land facilities and services.

We are blessed to be able to share this beautiful country of aquamarine waters, powder blue skies and its lovely people.

Sara and Monty Lewis