The cruising season in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest does not have to end with the passing of summer. A few hardy cruisers keep fall, winter and spring cruising as their own secret. The places that looked so captivating, with their natural green beauty in the summertime, take on a completely different look during the off-season. Fall colours are painted across the hillsides and in winter the white snow cap is more pronounced.

When boaters ventured into Frenchman’s Bay even a couple of decades ago, it was not without some trepidation - the entrance to the harbour was badly marked and was flanked by the remnants of underwater pier footings, the water inside the bay was so shallow running aground was a certainty for any but the shallowest drawing and the docks were slightly wobbly and mosquito populated.   But all that has changed and more transformations are underway even as you read this.

When July 1 arrives, our bow points northward to the Broughton Archipelago for good scuba diving, kayaking, prawning and crabbing, wilderness hikes and relative isolation.  The Broughton Archipelago is a paradise of hundreds of low-lying islands and evergreen- covered rocky islets lying between the bracing waters of Queen Charlotte Strait and the mountainous BC mainland. For most of us, the Broughtons are just far enough away to be a challenge yet close enough to be accessible. Up here, you’re on your own yet within a half-day’s run of

This month, we survey the major routes north of Desolation Sound, where some of BC’s best cruising grounds lie just beyond a series of challenging tidal passes. Beyond Desolation Sound lies a beckoning labyrinth of forested islands, inlets and anchorages guarded by a number of tidal passes adjacent to Vancouver Island. Because of the strength and speed of the currents in these passes, boaters may be apprehensive about attempting the transit to the greener pastures ahead. But taking an informed and calculated risk at these gateways leads you on to greater rewards in cruising grounds and anchorages to the north.

It’s nine at night and we are sitting in the cockpit of Adamant 1 enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sun turn the sky brilliant reds and oranges. We reminisce about our day. We climbed the hills at The Benjamins, we kayaked around all the little islets, we swam in the cool clear water and we shared sundowners with three other couples. It doesn’t get any better than this. We are on holiday in the North Channel! And we think we are the most fortunate sailors on earth.

The islands, channels and fjords that stretch from Desolation Sound northwest to Queen Charlotte Strait make up one of BC’s most inviting cruising grounds. Here’s how to get there and what to expect. North of Desolation Sound there is a special cruising ground that is rustic, remote and majestic. It offers some of the finest cruising in the world through deep channels and fjords, with vistas of snow-capped mountains beyond. Up here, the cruising just seems to get better the farther north you go.

Celebrate summer cruising with our choice of our favourite boating spots and experiences on the West Coast. This month, to celebrate summer and the best of the boating season, we’ve assembled a roster of prime cruising spots, activities and diversions. They’re not intended to be “bests” by any means – that would really be stepping out on a log boom! – but favourites selected by ourselves and some of our regular contributors. We’d love to hear what you think of our choices – and we’d love to hear about your favourites.

Named ‘place of harmony’ by its Finnish founders, this historic village is a beguiling destination just outside the Broughtons. On BC’s long and storied coastline, the ambitious cruiser’s bucket list is sure to contain literally hundreds of high-profile “don’t-miss” spots. But over the years, one destination popped up regularly in our conversations with cruisers and landlubbers alike, people whose opinions we trusted. They spoke of this place reverently and urged us not to miss it.

Georgian Bay

Across the country the wilderness, spectacular scenery and animals of Canada’s National Parks have served as inspiration for artists for over a century. Georgian Bay Islands National Park is rekindling the traditional link between the park and the arts with their Artist in the Park program which has successfully run for more than five years at several other national parks. Visitor experience manager Graham Lamb said there is a long tradition of the landscape inspiring artists. “Georgian Bay in general, as well as specific locations within the park, were both the inspiration and actual location for several works by


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 Marina at Blind ChannelOne of my favourite places

By Marianne Scott

Sailing north of Desolation Sound, the Discovery Islands and the Broughton Archipelago offer cruisers a bevy islands with ample anchorages. Tides cause swift currents to run through the islands’ waterways. Few marinas are found in this large, sparsely populated region but one that provides all the services boaters need and especially enjoy is Blind Channel, a marina and resort operated by the Richter family located on Mayne Passage on the east side of West Thurlow Island (50 24. 82N, 125 30. 00).

Read more about the Blind Channel Resort...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
At the end of last month, Canadian sailors gathered on the Palma Beach in Palma de Mallorca, Spain ...
In 2019, C-TOW celebrates its 35th anniversary of providing 24/7 “Peace of Mind Boating” for ...
West Vancouver Yacht Club reports that following an independent certification process the Georgia ...
It has been hot in the Abacos this winter. Whoever said this area was cool this time of year must ...
Unfortunately this is not a picture from a boat but was taken on the evening of February 27, 2019 ...
On March 1, Tom Ramshaw of Stoney Lake Yacht Club was honoured with the most prestigious National ...
Vero Beach, aka Velcro Beach, lived up to its reputation again. Our original plan was to be there ...
My husband and I were visiting the Bra d'Or Lake from Newfoundland in our 39 foot Sea Ray ...
After an autumn in Canada, we arrived back in northern Florida at Adamant 1 on January 3rd and with ...
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
ILCA is seeking new builders to complement its existing network of manufacturers, the International ...
Nelson Gilbert (1854-1921) began building canoes in Brockville in the 1890s, a time when the sport ...
I have heard a lot of talk lately about trends in yacht clubs where senior membership is getting ...
To get you in the mood for cruising the Boat Show then launching in spring, here’s a boat that ...
Quite simply, the styles of boats have changed. Where in past years a buyer might have been looking ...
At the boat shows, the Ranger Tugs’ classic tugboat lines always grab the crowds, with the wives ...
Sometimes a great idea requires an encore, and French yacht builder Jeanneau got that with the ...
Tactical Custom Boats announces the sale to a North American client of a custom Tactical 77’ – Fast ...
Bruce Elliott is an inventor. And when he sold the technology he developed to build utility poles ...
One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done ...

Swift Trawler 47By Andy Adams

You might look at the pictures of the new Beneteau Swift Trawler 47 and think that this is not a “performance boat”, but I think it certainly is, and here is why; it can top out at 30 mph to get you from A to B quickly or to beat the weather in, so it’s pretty fast, but it can also loaf along doing 1,250 rpm making 9.3 mph and at that pace, it travels 2.4 miles on a gallon of fuel. That’s great performance in my books!

With a light displacement of almost 28,000 lbs, this is a big boat. In fact, it looks and feels more like a small ship than a big boat.

Read more about the Swift Trawler 47......

 

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

Beneteau Oceanis 46.1When Beneteau introduced their new Oceanis 46.1, they were inspired by the fact that their previous Oceanis 45 was one of Beneteau’s best sellers and the new 46.1 had to be a clearly superior boat. The Oceanis range is about space and comfort for cruising while still delivering strong performance.

The yachting world has now recognized the Oceanis 46.1 as being just such a worthy successor. On January 19th, 2019, the Oceanis 46.1 won the highly regarded title of European Yacht of the Year in the “Family Cruiser” category.

Read More about the Oceanis 46.1......

DIY & How to

  • Prev
I’ve had two emails over the past few weeks with a count-down to launch (47 days per the last ...
Electrical ground is a term used to describe the reference point in an electrical circuit from ...
Last time we looked at making proper electrical connections – the tools, supplies and methods ...
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...

Sea to Sky SailingSea to Sky Sailing has just been approved as the only Royal Yachting Association (RYA) recognized training centre on the west coast of North America just in time to deliver an epic 2019 season!

“This transition from our previous International Yacht Training (IYT) certification to RYA is a huge benefit to our students as it provides them certification that is known globally as the gold standard for yacht training.  The RYA requires training centres to undergo annual inspections of their vessels, business practices and training delivery in order to maintain a strong standard and guarantee a high quality experience for students. 

Read More about Sea to Sky Sailing......

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Walker Bay Venture 14 claims to be the world’s first luxury Explorer Sport Tender. It is ...
Mercury Marine is pleased to announce the launch of the new MerCruiser V8 6.2L 370hp Jet Ready ...
My history with the Cayenne goes back many years, as I was at the launch of the original vehicle ...
Last month, Mercury Marine has announced the launch of the 400hp Verado outboard engine, the ...
Featuring advanced, intuitive 3D controls, Zipwake Dynamic Trim Control Systems deliver a more ...
Gina de Vere approached me at the Canadian Yachting booth at this year’s Vancouver International ...
A revolutionary “assisted docking” system that provides a glimpse into the future of boating ...
After developing the Figaro Beneteau 3, the first production foiling sailing yacht, Groupe Beneteau ...
You most likely operate your vessel with batteries that are rechargeable. Rechargeable batteries ...
This past decade has been a real up-and-down ride for the companies who make boating equipment. ...