Paul and I both have roots in the British Isles so this past summer we decided to spend a season sailing from England to Ireland and Scotland to visit the homeland of our grandparents and catch up with relatives still living there. And since Scotland is not that far from Norway – a 25-hour passage across the North Sea - we worked that in to our itinerary too. This story begins with our return to England last spring and Leg One of the 2011 cruise – the voyage from England to Ireland along the coast of the Celtic and Irish Seas.

Paul and I had always wanted to sail to the countries of Scandinavia so, following a successful shake-down cruise to the Channel Islands and along the south coast of England last spring, we pointed the bows of our new Southerly 49 variable-draft sailboat, Distant Shores II, towards the Baltic Sea. Our 3,200 nm summer voyage to the Baltic would take us from Chichester Harbour in England across the North Sea with stops in Holland and Germany then through the Kiel Canal into the Baltic Sea to explore Denmark and Sweden, then back to England to the Northshore Shipyard in Chichester Habour where Southerly yachts are built.

altThe Mediterranean island nation of Malta is a golden destination for sailors and when you arrive at Grand Harbour at the fortified city of Valletta you realize why. This perfect natural harbour, one of several on the island, has offered shelter to seafarers since ancient times.

Add to this Malta's strategic location in the center of the Mediterranean, 90 km. south of Sicily and 290 km. from the northern coast of Africa, and it's easy to understand why Malta has been conquered and ruled by nearly every major power that has shaped the history of this part of the world from the Stone-Age and Bronze-Age peoples, to Romans and Phoenicians, Arabs, Normans and Carthaginians, Castilians, French and British.

dest-europe-cruising-large“Who wants to go first?” I do, so up I step up to the controls of our 34 ft. Le Boat cabin cruiser. A few minutes earlier, my two friends and I had been eyeing the cruiser eagerly and a touch anxiously from the safety of dry land. It’s our new home for the next week.

In the interests of full disclosure, I’m not a boater. Not from lack of interest, just lack of opportunity.

destinations-europe-chichester_harbour-smallCommissioning a new boat can be exciting, enlightening, challenging, sometimes frightening, often frustrating, but mostly a delightful experience. At least that's how it's been for Paul and me for the last few weeks as we go through the process with our new Southerly 49 sailboat, Distant Shores II, the latest variable-draft cruising boat built by Northshore Yachts in England. We took delivery of our new baby in mid-March at the Northshore Shipyard which is located on beautiful Chichester Harbour on the south coast of England.

europe-two_footitis-smallTwo-footitis – the need to move up to a boat 2-feet longer than the one you have – is an ailment that hits most sailors at one time or another as their passion for the sport grows, new challenges are sought, the crew expands or, let's be really honest here, the desire for bigger and better toys hits hard.

international-transatlantic-smallIt had been a fast 2-day passage south from the Portuguese island of Madeira to the sun-baked Canary Islands of Spain, our jumping-off point for a transatlantic passage to the Caribbean. We'd had great sailing with wind all the way – and from the right direction – until the last few hours of our approach to Gran Canaria on December 13th when the wind headed us. But our new Southerly 42 sailboat, Distant Shores, charged effortlessly into the building seas under power of our small self-tacking jib and reefed mainsail.

dest-int-maiden_voyage-smallEvery sailor knows it's bad luck to begin a voyage on a Friday. Why? We've never really been able to satisfactorily pin that down. Like most superstitions the origin is a bit murky. Some say it has religious roots relating to Jesus' death on the cross on Good Friday. Others say it relates to Friday the 13th and that historically bad things often happen on a Friday. Regardless of the reason, it's a superstition that the brotherhood of sailors, whether racing or cruising, pays heed to.

EUR-Croatia125NEWHaving spent most of my holidays in the Caribbean over the past two decades of holidays, the Adriatic was a distant destination ‘to do someday’. I knew basically nothing about the Adriatic and what it had to offer but the lure was apparent. We – Mango Yacht Charters – decided a to expand our business and add the Mediterranean to our repertoire of destinations.

 

 

EUR-Baltic125NEW“Did you sail all the way … from Canada?” My husband, David, and I were asked that question dozens of times as we circumnavigated the Baltic Sea during the summer of 2005. As people strolled by to see our port of origin, they’d spy the maple-leaf ensign and immediately strike up a conversation. Canada is popular in the Baltic; being Canadian is a first-class calling card.

CYOB Destinations: We Visit the Hilton Beach Marina

Hilton BeachBy Amelia Morris

Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population 200!), which I am lucky enough to call my cottage country, is located on the north-east coast of St. Joseph Island. The Hilton Beach Marina is one of the largest and most major ports of call in the Western North Channel. It also has a long and rich history dating back to the 1850’s.

I spoke with Marina Manager, Laura McRae and got the full scoop on what goes on in this inconspicuous but busy marina.

Read more about Hilton Beach Marina....

 

 

 

Lifestyle

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Boat Reviews

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Scarab 255 Open

Scarab 255 OpenBy Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You can imagine,at the GroupeBeneteau dealer meeting in Michigan last fall where all the Four Winns, Scarab, Wellcraft, and Glastrondealers had come to see the latest new models, the docks were lined up with gleaming brand-new boats to show the dealers and media – and they certainly put on a show! But for me, the Scarab 255 Open was an immediate stand out. This is a boat that breaks new ground and brings fresh thinking and interpretation of the boating experience to a wide range of buyers.

We had a quick look around but the test drives would have to wait until the next day.

Read more about the Scarab 255 Open....

 

 

 

 

DIY & How to

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Marine Products

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