Lake Erie always feels somehow older, more mature ..It’s been the cradle of boating and summer pleasure for years. Port Dover is a time-honoured port with an established feel, high spirited traditions both old and new and a real character all its own. Fishing and sunning have been going on for a couple of centuries although the town’s best known institution, PD13, the spectacular motorcycle ride-in that occurs every Friday the 13th and has put the place forever on the map – only began in 1981.
Named for Dover, England in the early 1880s, Port Dover evolved as a fishing port and has been loved by generations as a long established summer resort pretty well ever since.
Georgian Bay: Just the words evoke ethereal images, stirring something special in the hearts and minds of all boaters whether you explore silently by kayak, traverse under taut sails or power through her more than 30,000 Islands.
This vast body of water is technically part of Lake Huron, but is often referred to as the sixth Great Lake for its sheer size and diversity of destinations. It’s a lake of legends, lost ships, forgotten coves, iconic windswept pines, artistic inspiration, rich history and endless islands each packing plenty of personality all their own.
Where to start? Good question. Boaters could spend a lifetime travelling the bay and never know all of its nooks and crannies; never stay in the same spot twice and still not see it all.
Owning a runabout or personal watercraft enables boaters to do unique explorations not possible with larger cruisers. The only additional equipment needed is a good tow vehicle and trailer. This way, you can launch wherever there’s a handy ramp to embark on new trailer boating adventures.
One of the most enjoyable and memorable is touring in Muskoka, Ontario. Dubbed “the Malibu of the North” by the New York Times, Muskoka has attracted the rich and famous since the latter 1800’s. Its cottaging celebrities include Martin Short, Steven Spielberg, Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Tom Hanks, Harry Hamlin, Cindy Crawford, Ted Rogers, Kenny G, Bill Murray, Kevin O’Leary, along with many sports and business luminaries. During the summer, the Muskoka population swells as tens of thousands of pretty well heeled cottagers take advantage of fun in the sun on its clear and sparkling waters.
We met Bobby Sherlock in Ucluelet on the West Coast of Vancouver Island onboard his Hunter 340, Pegasus, near British Columbia’s Barkley Sound. The Broken Group Islands would be our home, for the five of us, for the next few days. The Broken Group Islands are located are on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, in an area known as Barkley Sound and are only accessible by boat.
With fishing licenses in hand, and after a thorough tour of the boat, we talked with our skipper about the evolution of his unique Ocean Harvest Cruise. It seems like a natural fit for Bobby to lead such an adventure, with his education in outdoor adventure training and having cooked in professional kitchens since he was 15 years old.
Some may say that the sailing experience of monohulls versus catamarans is as different as chalk & cheese. Until recently, Frank (my husband) and I never gave much thought to catamarans. We rarely saw them over the years of monohull sailing on the West Coast. However, they’re very popular in warmer water destinations, especially the Caribbean. When we were presented with the option to sail on a catamaran for an autumn Desolation Sound Flotilla (organized by Cooper Boating, Vancouver), it intrigued us – What is catamaran sailing all about? We wanted to find out for ourselves. Our curiosity peaked further when we learned the catamaran or ‘cat’ was a luxurious 40’ Lagoon 400!
Cruisers who venture north of the BC coast’s major tidal rapids quickly learn that they’re not in Kansas anymore. The big passes not only divide the popular cruising grounds to the south from the less-travelled country to the north. They are gateways between the “civilized” south – where humans are in charge – and the “wild kingdom” that is home to some of North America’s most formidable wildlife.
However, the drive was such an exhausting part of the journey, it had the reverse effect of stress relief. That was when we finally realized our calling to transition into boating. Our first boat was to be big enough to sleep on and to entertain our family and friends.
Morning. Thompson Island on Lake Superior. Fourteen nautical miles out of Thunder Bay.
This begins on Day Two because we cast off yesterday and conditions precluded time spent below deck with my nose buried in “Frodo’s” logbook: co-operative winds, scenery that could make a politician cry, waves decorating cobalt waters that glittered like jewels in a crown.
Great performance in a versatile, modern design
For the Canadian Yachting readers who are not yet familiar with Beneteau’s broad range of power boat models, the Gran Turismo 35 may come as a bit of a surprise. Our test boat is a head-on competitor to the North American built express cruisers and the latest day boats that are coming on the market.
The GT35 has the style and amenities to match the best new designs in it’s size range, the stern drive power to deliver exhilarating high speed performance plus, it still adds in an overtone of Euro style.
Like many other harbours on Lake Ontario, Cobourg has seen its fair share of changes. Screams used to be heard from kids piled into a toboggan on wheels that went hurtling down a wooden slide into the harbour. Above it all was the bustling din from the waterfront of ship’s whistles, train engines, foghorns and thundering coal cars. It is now a rather serene place for the locals and visitors to enjoy various watercraft. Fortunately, the beautiful beach that lines the waterfront is still a star attraction for the town.
Located 95 kilometres east of Toronto and 62 kilometres east of Oshawa on the north edge of Lake Ontario, United Empire Loyalists first starting arriving in the area as early as the 1780s. The first settlement in 1798 was called Buckville, later renamed Amherst, then called Hamilton (after the township) and also nicknamed Hardscrabble. It wasn’t until 1819 that they finally settled on the name of Cobourg, which was incorporated as a town in 1837. In the late 1820s large schooners with passengers and cargo had to anchor well off shore, as there was only a landing wharf. A group of Toronto businessmen formed the Cobourg Harbour Company which built the wooden Eastern Pier from tolls charged for the use of the harbour.
Oh sure…boaters love to go boating, but some also like to, you guessed it: stroll. One of the great things about boating the north shore of Lake Ontario is pulling into Cobourg Harbour to tie up for a visit and walk about town in a leisurely or idle manner. Boat strollers are easily picked out around town, sporting Sperry Top-Siders that are a little worn out, sunglasses held on by a Croakie or duct tape, burgee embroidered canvas tote bags, clothes that are a little crumpled and a displaying a few days’ worth of facial hair.