This is a story of attaining and living the sailing dream, and also of disappointment, defeat and the surprising realities of cruising aboard a sailboat. Forsyth describes how he became a member of the local sailing community, acquired the skills, and found the funding to select and equip his own boat. As a crewmember aboard others’ boats, and then as skipper of his own “Alice Rose”, Forsyth recounts his experiences on the Great Lakes, the St. Lawrence River, and the North Atlantic from Labrador to Florida.
Being persuaded to give up her busy life in Toronto, sell her house and move into a sailboat, Janet Peters began a journey of adventure for six years. Circling the world with her husband on “Solara” she encountered many storms, sailed on immense bodies of water weeks at a time, and saw small isolated islands that only sailors on small boats could reach. She learned how well her boat could handle rough seas and high winds, overcoming her fears, and learning to be an important partner to her husband especially during their struggle through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. In the next few weeks we’ll have a blogpost from Janet about this book and her experiences.
Canadian Captain Joshua Slocum was the first man to ever sail alone around the world. This is the most comprehensive biography of Slocum ever published, and the first written by a small-boat sailor. Author/historian Grayson uncovered previously unknown original source materials to shed new light on one of history’s greatest sailors. A fascinating appendix compares “Sailing Alone Around the World” with Thoreau’s “Walden”. Previously unpublished photographs bring Slocum’s world to life, and detailed maps trace the adventures of a sailor who knew the world like the back of his hand. This biography reads like an adventure narrative and will serve as the standard work on Joshua Slocum for years to come.
As we’ve discussedpreviously Canadian law requires people to carry charts aboard their boats. When you’re following the law (and I know that you all follow the law!) this means that you have to find some way to store your charts.
The most optimal way to store your charts in a chart table (like we have at the store) or even a smaller version. This allows them to be stored flat (or folded, depending on the size), in an organized way that will allow you to retrieve your charts easily and protect them. However, this is impractical for most people and most boats.
So, the other options are to roll your charts, or to fold them, and then to protect them.
There are several options. One option is to roll them, and put them in a tube. This could be a cardboard tube, however these are not waterproof. Other options include this one and this one.
These plastic tubes all have the same benefits- a tough material that is usually waterproof. However while rolling charts can be an efficient way to store them, if you have multiple tubes it can be awkward. More importantly, you’ll need to remove all the charts from the tube in order to get one, which means they’re difficult to use on the fly. Further, the charts may be difficult to keep flat on the table.
The other option is to fold your charts. Now a standard chart, when folded properly (so that the chart number is visible in the corner) fits in a No. 7 shipping envelope, with internal measurements of roughly 14″ by 19″. Charts do not use that entire internal volume, but that’s the size to shoot for.
There are a number of pre-made options. Richardson’s does a pouch/clear envelope that fits their chartbooks perfectly, and there are vinyl covers for 18″x24″, and 24″x36″.
However, there are other options. For example, Ziploc makes bags which are water resistant (but not waterproof). The XL and XXL sizes are large enough for folded. charts. These also have the ability for you to use the chart and keep it protected.
These solutions should allow you to protect, and keep on using your charts.
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.
In 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!
The 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.
After last year’s near-drought, May this year had twice as much rain as average. This resulted in flooding all over Toronto Island (which is closed to visitors until the end of July), as well as in Montreal and upstream.
Lake Ontario is much higher than normal. The staff here at the Nautical Mind have taken some photos to demonstrate.
This is part of the walkway (the WaveDeck) between the store and HTO park (where the Toronto Brigantine shop used to be. That wet area is actually awash.
This is the ramp down to the docks, and it’s effectively level. The Fire Station is off camera to the left, with the store to the right.
This photo was taken standing near the Fire Station, looking back towards where the Brigs shop used to be. The entire beach I believe was added after Brigs left, with the step being the edge of the old pier. The concrete on which people walk is awash here.
Our final photo is just a bit of fun. This was taken from next to the Fire Station. The water level is so high that the station has set up a picnic table to allow crew to board the boat in the background.
We definitely could use some relief from the rain around Lake Ontario.
The Great Lakes provide a great starting point for cruising, even if you want to go somewhere else. From here you can go to Newfoundland, across the Atlantic, or down the coast to the US East Coast and the Caribbean. One of the major routes for leaving the Great Lakes is through the New York Canal System, with the Erie Canal from Buffalo or the Owsego Canal from Oswego, both of which lead to the Hudson River, and from there either to New York City and the Atlantic or to the St Lawrence River near Montreal.
Just this week, we have received new stock of the Cruising Guide to the New York State Canal System. This is highly recommended for anybody who is planning to cruise the Erie or Oswego Canal. Further, for 2017, like with the Trent Severn Canal, The Erie Canal is waiving its fees- even for Canadian cruiser. So 2017 is a great opportunity to experience this waterway just on the other side of the Great Lakes.
2017 is Canada’s sesquicentennial (that is to say, 150 years since Confederation), and to celebrate, Parks Canada is making access to national parks free for the year. substantial number of those national parks are on significant coastlines, and can be explored by boat. In this blog, the fourth of the series, we will provide information about National Parks on the Pacific Coast.
NB: If you’d like to order charts for British Columbia and the Pacific Coast, please call us at the store, 1 (800) 463-9951.
Gwaii Hanas National Park Reserve, National Marine Conservation Area & Haida Heritage Site Park Website
Gwaii Haanas embraces more than 1,800 wild, undeveloped islands and islets off the coast of northern British Columbia and is often called Canada’s Galapagos.
Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the mountainous islands are covered by dense Pacific temperate rainforest and shelter an unparalleled diversity of wildlife, from the Haida Gwaii black bear to more than 20 species of whales and dolphins and tidal channels teeming with rainbow-coloured sea stars.
Travellers can explore Gwaii Haanas independently or via guided tours. Visits can range from a single day to longer adventures of a week or more, with most trips involving some combination of boating, kayaking and hiking.
Imagine the sand between your toes, eagles soaring overhead and the ocean stretching off as far as the eye can see. Or turn inland and walk among ferns the size of a small child rising from a bed of moss, with old-growth Sitka spruce, Western red cedar and Western hemlock towering above.
Suit up in your storm gear and watch the winter breakers crash on a rocky shoreline, or enjoy a summer stroll along an endless sandy beach. Paddle a pristine maze of islets accessible only by water. Take the hike of a lifetime through verdant old-growth forests and along unspoiled pebble beaches. Or enjoy a relaxing stroll along a sandy beach, pausing to explore tidal pools teeming with colourful sea life.
But there’s more at Pacific Rim National Park Reserve than just natural charms. Learn first-hand how an indigenous culture developed in harmony with the local environment, as First Nations partners continue the age-old practice of welcoming and sharing Nuu-chah-nulth history, tradition and culture. Step out of your kayak to be greeted by a First Nation Beach Keeper, or hear ancient legends told around the campfire by Guardians of the West Coast Trail. Pacific Rim National Park Reserve offers a West Coast experience steeped in nature and history.
Scattered throughout the Salish Sea, the Gulf Islands teem with wildlife, a haven for rare species and threatened eco-systems and a playground for hikers, campers, cyclists, boaters and kayakers.
With urban centres close by, the Gulf Islands are an easily accessible natural oasis. Sail or paddle a kayak on sheltered waterways through a scenic maze of islands thriving with wildlife from seabirds to whales. Explore the reserve’s 15 islands amid history and wilderness chiming with songbirds, hiking to mountaintop views of snowy ranges. Visit on a self-guided day-trip or stay for longer camping or kayaking adventures.
Eagles and seabirds swirl in the skies above the Salish Sea, sheltered, islet-dotted waters teeming with seals, otters, orcas and pods of porpoises. Kayak, hike or cycle a lush paradise with rare eco-systems basking in a Mediterranean-like climate – the forested Gulf Islands are laced with trails leading to mountaintop viewpoints, lighthouses, and reminders of First Nations and pioneer pasts, while their shores and lagoons are a haven for thriving birdlife.
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:
general condition of structures, equipment, and their operation
lifesaving, fire-fighting and fire detection equipment
2017 is Canada’s sesquicentennial (that is to say, 150 years since Confederation), and to celebrate, Parks Canada is making access to national parks free for the year. substantial number of those national parks are on significant coastlines, and can be explored by boat. In this blog, the third of the series, we will provide information about National Parks on the Great Lakes.
Journey to the picturesque granite islands and windswept pine trees of Thousand Islands National Park. Explore secluded bays by kayak or powerboat. Enjoy a day by the river or overnight in waterfront oTENTik accommodations at the park’s mainland visitor centre. Discover rare species of turtles and birdlife alongside undulating hiking trails. Experience the magic of this captivating and historic wilderness, just a few hours from Toronto or Montreal.
Parks Canada welcomes families to play together in the country’s beautiful spaces. In Eastern Ontario, boaters flock to the cozy clusters of islands in Thousand Islands National Park to reconnect with their loved ones and recharge against a backdrop of natural beauty. Breathe in pine scented air on an island hike, take in a family nature program from a park interpreter who will personally visit your dock, or relax among friends – it’s your choice. Enjoy the comforts of your boat on fully serviced islands or tranquil, rustic islands. For the more adventurous, set up a tent with the kids and gather ‘round the fire for marshmallows.
At the southernmost point of the Canadian mainland – Point Pelee National Park, experience nature like never before. Each spring, view flocks of migratory birds, joined in autumn by waves of vivid Monarch butterflies. In winter, wander snowy trails past ice-cloaked trees and in summer, bask on sandy beaches. Whether you cycle, paddle or hike Canada’s smallest but most ecologically diverse national park, you’ll be immersed in an unforgettable eco-adventure.
Featuring both ancient geological wonders and a vital cultural legacy, Fathom Five National Marine Park reaches out from Ontario’s Bruce Peninsula to protect a lush archipelago and a surrounding freshwater ecosystem.
Iconic flowerpot formations flank 420 million year-old dolomite cliffs on Flowerpot Island, home to stunted white cedars, mixed-woodland and rare ferns and orchids. Three historic lightstations hearken to Lake Huron’s mid-19th century shipping heritage. Below the surface, 22 shipwrecks haunt the lake-water and fascinating geological formations scar the rocky bottom.
Flowerpot Island, the most accessible island within the park, welcomes guests with coastal and woodland hikes, two famous flowerpots and backcountry campsites. Or, delve the depths on a snorkel or scuba excursion to explore the wrecks and submerged natural wonders that define Canada’s first National Marine Conservation Area.
Fathom Five awaits—home to underwater mystery, island exploration, rich culture and incredible opportunities for discovery.
Bruce Peninsula National Park welcomes explorers of all ages to uncover the natural wonders of its limestone coasts, mixed-wood forests, cliffside cedars, clear-water lakes and vibrant orchids. Situated along Southern Ontario’s Niagara Escarpment, and part of a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, this stunning 156-sq-km park is easily accessible via highway, only four hours from Toronto.
This is the traditional home of the Saugeen Ojibway First Nations, who have drawn subsistence and spirituality from this land for centuries, as well as a protected preserve for more than 200 species of birds, mammals both small and large, amphibians and even some rare reptiles.
A captivating playground in all seasons, guests enjoy hikes ranging from front-country walks to multi-day backcountry treks, summertime swims in pristine lakes and rock-scrambles along the rugged Georgian Bay shoreline. Serene camping in comfortable yurts, drive-to campsites or the remote backcountry makes extended getaways into this magical environment both convenient and fun.
Georgian Bay Islands National Park protects 63 islands within Earth’s largest freshwater archipelago, stretching for 50 kilometres along eastern Georgian Bay. Eight-kilometre-long Beausoleil Island is the main island, a 15-minute boat-ride from Honey Harbour, and the hub of visitor activity.
This island park harbours incredible biodiversity. Windswept pines and Precambrian granite of the Canadian Shield transition to forests of sugar maple and smooth-barked beech, punctuated by occasional conifers. Birdlife from raptors to songbirds fly above, small mammals scamper through forest undergrowth and this national park protects a greater variety of reptiles and amphibians than any other in Canada. Cultural roots run deep, reaching back through 5,500 years of human history.
Guests hike more than dozen marked paths, cycle scenic trails, swim from sandy or stony shores, ply remote waters via paddle or powerboat and unwind at campsites and cabins overlooking a vast and serene Great Lakes shoreline.
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area Parks Canada
Imagine a landscape where wind and waves caress the shores of tranquil sheltered bays and endless rugged coastlines – a place where a myriad of shipwrecks lay strewn on the lake floor offering silent testimony to the powers of Superior. The Anishinabek people have called this place Gitchi Gumme or “The Big Lake” and have lived on her shores for thousands of years, respecting the strength of her waters and the bounty of her lands.
Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area is a site so vast that, once established, it will be one of the largest freshwater protected areas in the world. Come fish, kayak and swim in her waves, hike her trails in search of waterfowl, migratory songbirds and wildlife and feel the grip of nature.
Expanding over 1,878-square-kilometres on Lake Superior’s remote northern coast, Pukaskwa National Park is a captivating wilderness that weaves untouched nature with the long history of the Anishinaabe First Nations.
This is Ontario’s only wilderness national park, defined by pink-and-slate granite shores, Great Lake temperaments and near-endless stretches of spruce, fir, pine and hardwoods. Biodiverse coastal regions—where wetland, lake and forest meet—are home to iconic Canadian species like bald eagles, moose and bears. Sandy beaches and accessible campsites welcome families. Scenic hiking trails range from weeklong expeditions to gentle nature walks. And canoeists and kayakers can paddle along a coast removed from human influence on advanced expeditions or easy day-routes. Pukaskwa is a place where everyone can catch a glimpse of the rich traditions, values and contemporary life of the Anishinaabe, the local Indigenous People.
In addition, the Trent- Severn Waterway (which is managed by Parks Canada) has free locking this year, as part of the same program that provides no-cost access to the National Parks. Information about this can be found in this blog from last year
2017 is Canada’s sesquicentennial (that is to say, 150 years since Confederation), and to celebrate, Parks Canada is making access to national parks free for the year. substantial number of those national parks are on significant coastlines, and can be explored by boat. In this blog, the second of series, we will provide information about National Parks on the Gaspé and St Lawrence River.
Ile Anticosti National Park
Just imagine! In the Gulf of St. Lawrence, a wild and enchanting island, basking in the clear northern light. Imagine white cliffs being lapped by the ocean’s waters unfailingly. Imagine looking down into yawning canyons and hearing the roar of powerful falls. Imagine huge secluded caves, white-tailed deer grazing on seaweed, salmon frolicking in emerald green basins, and seals sunning on rocks. Imagine yourself at Parc national d’Anticosti. Nearly 125 km of trails crisscross this huge land area. On the island, hiking takes several forms: a walk along the shore or through a canyon with towering rock faces, a fascinating exploration of a cave or an outing in a boreal forest.
Only an artist’s limitless imagination could have conjured up the striking landscapes of the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve. The combination of climate, sea, and naturally sculpted rocks have been the subject of countless works of art over the years. As far as the eye can see there are peat polygons, gravel beaches, former sea cliffs, and limestone monoliths with the ocean setting the mood. Its rhythm, salty smell and vibrant blue colour are so idyllic it feels like you’ve walked into a living painting where thousands of seabirds – meeting on the island to nest – swirl across the sky in unison. Atlantic puffins, terns, and Common eiders are just a few winged friends who regularly visit the islands.
Forillon Park covers a total of 244.8 km2, including a narrow strip of marine area a little over 150 m wide (4.4 km2). Its history is as fascinating as its wildlife and plant life which includes Eastern Canada’s largest colony of Atlantic kittiwakes. As seen at the Grande‑Grave heritage site, commercial cod fishing prospered from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. Frequented by Aboriginal peoples for more than 4,000 years, Forillon is also the site of the only World War II coastal battery that is fully preserved and publicly accessible in Quebec, at Fort Peninsula. As impressive as the major role played by the Gaspé naval base in the Battle of the St. Lawrence from 1942 to 1944 is the discovery of a geological phenomena of easily visible fossils dating back 500 million years!
The scenery is so awe-inspiring! In this magnificent spot, nature used its colossal strength to create a fjord. There are so many things to see and do here in winter and summer alike. For example, you can head to Baie de Tadoussac to admire the extraordinary panorama of the boundless sea, but also to see hundreds of migrating birds. The scale of this migration gave birth to the Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac. The park is divided into three areas, as large as they are different: Baie-Éternité, Baie-de-Tadoussac and Baie-Sainte-Marguerite.