Solace at AnchorEach summer, in a Canadian cruising tradition, thousands of Western Lake Ontario sailors join the annual summer migration to the Bay of Quinte and the Thousand Islands.  The route,  for most of us, begins somewhere in the heavily populated environs of the Greater Toronto Area and takes us along the North shore of Lake Ontario through the protected waters of the Bay of Quinte ending in the crystalline waters of the Thousand Islands.  This year, four of us decided to head east in two boats.   Our companions, Alex and George,  are racing sailors who take three weeks off each year to cruise in Merlin, their C&C 27. My wife Eileen and I are travelling in Solace, our well-loved Oday 240. 

The San Juan Islands offer an eclectic alternative to Canada’s Gulf Islands, including eight superb destination marinas. Few cruising grounds can match Washington State’s Puget Sound for its wide array of natural beauty, wildlife and idyllic boating conditions. Right across the border from Canada’s Gulf Islands lies the eclectic group of islands known as the San Juans, a favourite destination for Canadian cruisers for decades. One of the great pleasures of cruising in the San Juans is the islands’ impressive selection of welcoming and well-run marinas. Here are eight great marina destinations for you to visit, explore and enjoy.

Let’s be honest. In terms of Canadian small cities Belleville is just another one. However, as a boating destination and as a historically important sailing force, it punches well above its weight. Cruising in Lake Ontario from Toronto has but one truly significant voyage and that’s to the Thousand Islands.  Getting there can be a lot of the fun unless you’re in a rush simply blasting through and going outside Prince Edward County. If you choose to take the scenic route, the journey through the Murray Canal to Belleville and then on to Kingston is as picturesque and historical a cruise as you’ll find anywhere.

Prince Edward County is a confidence that boaters share with a few tourists and the locals, but it has yet to become a major tourist draw.  It’s very close to the mainland; only the Murray Canal, the Bay of Quinte and its associated waters separate it from the rest of Ontario, but it’s the largest island in Lake Ontario and comes with all the wonders that islands develop. “The County” has only been an island since 1889 when the five miles of the Murray Canal was completed; prior to that it was a peninsula, but we’ll cut some slack on that.

A pearl among Gulf Islands parks, this sandy haven is ideal for hiking, beachcombing, birding, fishing…or just hanging. Sidney Spit is a park of superlatives. With the best sandy shores, the best sunsets, the best crabbing and some of the best hiking in the Gulf Islands, it’s no wonder it’s a hit with just about all who visit – for a few hours, a day or a week. The park occupies 178 hectares at the north end of Sidney Island, among the most geologically diverse of the Gulf Islands. The island is composed almost entirely of quaternary drift deposits – unconsolidated sands and gravels deposited by glaciers about 10,000 years ago.

Returning to these waters after many years was both a homecoming…and a tempting taste of cruising adventures to come. We first visited the Broughtons when friends asked us to deliver their sailboat back to Vancouver after a cruise to Haida Gwaii. From Port McNeill we headed home via Alert Bay, the Indian Islands, Knight Inlet, Lagoon Cove and Johnstone Strait. We never forgot the breathtaking vistas of mountains and channels, the easy hospitality of the marinas, the turquoise water of Knight Inlet, the haunting presence of ancient First Nations inhabitants and more recent pioneers, an exciting sail down Johnstone Strait in a booming westerly – and we couldn’t wait to return in our own boat.

Join us on a tour of these “Sirens of the Salish Sea,” perhaps the most tempting of the Gulf Islands. What is it about North and South Pender Islands, lounging smack in the middle of the Salish Sea, that makes them so alluring to boaters? The islands together comprise just 3,620 hectares and are home to only 2,300 residents. So why have they enticed skippers ever since their namesake, Daniel Pender, arrived in 1857 aboard his survey vessel HMS Plumper?

In 1613, Samuel de Champlain made his way up the Ottawa River in a birch bark canoe. To commemorate the 400th anniversary of this historic journey, 14 riders on 11 personal watercraft (PWC) made our own four-day voyage of discovery last summer. We travelled faster and likely had more fun than Champlain, but we shared the spirit of mystique, magic and wonder that the Ottawa River Waterway still invokes for all who adventure there.

Tranquil, colourful and funky, Genoa Bay is a must stop for West Coast boaters. The day brothers Will and Ben Kiedaisch assumed ownership of Genoa Bay Marina, they inherited outstanding bills, the bank was about to foreclose on the property, and the electricity was in danger of being turned off. “We didn’t know port from starboard when we took over,” says Will, laughing. “We had to learn how to run a marina from the ground up.”  “We didn’t even own a boat and the first tool we had to buy was a bolt cutter because the marina was locked and abandoned,” recalls Ben.

On a high-speed delivery to Whittier, Alaska, a brand-new Coastal Craft 400 IPS makes short work of the Inside Passage and the Gulf of Alaska. In September 2010, I took a call from a pleasant Alaskan, Dick Weldin. I remember his genuine interest in boat design, the pros and cons of features, and his queries and speculation on craftsmanship―I enjoyed our call immensely. I extended an invitation to the upcoming Seattle Boat Show. Little did I suspect that a year later I would be at the Seattle show standing on Dick and wife Jennie’s new Coastal Craft 400 IPS Indigo.

Grenada: It was all so inviting...

The Large Island of Grenada

By Katherine Stone

Anytime a Canadian is asked to travel south in the beginning of our spring, which this year was far from inviting, is a dream worth living. The thought of a sailing adventure, tropical breezes, the smell of spices and the warmth of the sun was too much – we HAD to go! The first thing we did was to dig out the copy of Ann Vanderhoof’s book, The Spice Necklace, we had acquired several years ago and to re-read the seven chapters of their adventures in Grenada. Not only should this be your required reading, but the book is loaded with scrumptious Caribbean recipes that are a must-try.

Read more about Grenada...

 

 

Lifestyle

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Boat Reviews

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Leader 9.0

Leader 9.0By Andy Adams

In the case of baking a cake, Betty Crocker and Julia Child both start off with the same eggs, sugar and flour, but the results can be very different. Naval architects, designers and engineers in the boat business also have many of the same ingredients, but the trick is to make the cake unique and desirable.

With a huge history of innovative design in boatbuilding, Jeanneau brings the sort of skill and artistry to their boats that can set them apart. Their new Leader 9.0 model is a case in point.

Read more about the Leader 9.0...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

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In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 

Ask Andrew – How to hire a boat repair contractor

hiring a contractorBy Andrew McDonald

A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out there, including: Websites showing repairs, YouTube tutorials, Instagram pages and snapchat streams – let alone books, magazines, service manuals, and years of practical experience – how does a boat owner know which method(s) are ‘right’, who to trust, and who to hire to do the job? In short: How do you find and select a contractor?

Unfortunately, most people are forced to hire a contractor due to a circumstance where something has broken or failed, or the task...

Read more about hiring a contractor...

 

  

Marine Products

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