Apr 26, 2018

The Whole CrewA snow squall blows down Buckham’s bay on the Ottawa river. What a contrast, a year ago our group of Ontario sailors where anchoring in an emerald lagoon just in time for a tropical rain squall -in the splendor of the Society islands of French Polynesia. 

I can remember jumping off the back of the catamaran into the warm southern waters and swimming under the boat watching as the rain flattened the sea fore and aft. Our flotilla group were a motley crew made up mostly from the Ottawa, Gatineau and the Toronto area but we had a few Scots and Americans to add confusion on the VHF radio! Flying from Toronto to LA with Air Canada and then on to Papeete with Air Tahiti Nui can set you back about CAD$2900 round trip, but there are occasionally specials with Air New Zealand for CAD$1100 round trip from Vancouver.

Beautiful FishAn air-conditioned Lagoon 400 will cost 9,053 USD for 10 nights. The whole adventure is a big expense but it is well worth it and will not disappoint on your ‘bucket list’, in fact you will never want to come home! The best time to visit is between the end of March to the beginning of November to avoid the rainy season. We had 8 days of sun on our 10 day adventure March 21-31.

 



Out For A Dinghy Ride

 

 

 

The crew from Ottawa

French Polynesia outranks any Caribbean island destination, especially this year as the Caribbean is still rebuilding. French Polynesia even edges the Mediterranean. While Greece has deserted islands and bays in the windswept Aegean, neither destination comes close to the pristine and untouched nature of the 5 archipelagos that make up French Polynesia.

The region was discovered by the Austronesians in 200BC, who had conquered the Pacific and were the first long distance sailors. The chain was later sighted by Captain Magellan in 1521, then over 200 years later by the French Captain Bougainvillea and Captain Wallis & Cook from the UK - on their way back from South America. The territory consists of 118 mostly volcanic islands and thousands of atolls scattered over 2,500,000 sq. km of Ocean! The best way to get an idea of the vastness of French Polynesian is to zoom down on Google Earth.

Sailing CatamaranOut of nowhere hundreds of fringing reefs, rounded atolls, deserted islands and major land masses appear. In such a huge area, you can image how many places are untouched by human interference. Islands, bays, lagoons, reefs and open ocean have evolved over millions of years untouched by pollution, industry and harvesting of marine resources. When you snorkel, or dive in the French Polynesia the sheer number of species of fish and coral is overwhelming.

The reefs are alive with healthy corals systems, unlike Florida and the Caribbean which have had devastating effects from global warming, relentless hurricanes, pollution and over fishing. The reefs in French Polynesia do not seem to be affected by bleaching, pollution or human activity. Every snorkel stop snorkelers are greeted with anemones full of colorful Clownfish, teams of delicate Butterfly and Angelfish and waves of fairy basslets. Anchorages are inside the barrier reefs, on shallow sandy bottoms (4-6ft) and snorkeling and paddle boarding are a big part of any charter experience, as the water is flat in the lagoons and there is so much marine life to see. The locals Tahitians are a happy, welcoming people and young men are often found well off-shore paddling small outrigger canoes which is a popular competitive sport in the islands.

Catamarans On Blue WaterI know this whole scene sounds like I am describing the Garden of Eden, but it actually is! That is the only way to describe the remote, pristine and spectacular qualities of this destination. French Polynesians seem to have a great understanding of how important their natural resources are and how to protect them. The distance away from major civilizations has also provided a buffer zone to change and the natural volcanic geography, out in the middle of the Pacific ocean, has created the wealth of marine life.

The most commonly known archipelago are the Society islands which consist of; Tahiti, Morea, Raiatea, Taha’a, Huahine, Bora Bora and Maupiti. Centrally located Raiatea has the largest number of marinas and charter yachts and is the place to start your own discovery of paradise. It is an easy destination to bareboat as anchorages in all the lagoons are numbered and well-marked on the boat charts. Alternatively hire a skipper and relax or join our next flotilla scheduled for March 2019 –to trade grey snowy Canadian skies for some French Polynesian sunshine!

- Capt. Steven Parry

Capt. Steven Parry is a commercial RYA Yachtmaster, who runs Ontario based Poseidon Charters, a TICO licensed Yacht Charter Agency. He is a familiar face at the Toronto International Boat Show and has been taking Canadian to Greece for over 20 years.

A short video with Capt. Steve to put you in the mood.

www.poseidoncharters.com

Mediterranean Shakedown: A Summer Cruise in Spain

Mediterranean ShakedownBy Sheryl and Paul Shard

This summer my husband, Paul, and I bought our fourth offshore cruising boat, a new Southerly 480 built by Discovery Yachts in the UK. It’s a unique boat with a retractable variable-draft swing keel giving you the option of sailing with a deep draft of 3.1 metres when the keel is down or just less than a metre with the keel fully retracted. Southerly Yachts are great for bluewater sailing and also for gunkholing in shallow creeks and inland waterways. You can even dry them out at low tide so they are is the perfect boat for the type of exploring we like to do. Our new boat, Distant Shores III, is the third Southerly Yacht that we’ve owned over 29 years of international cruising to destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle East, UK, Scandinavia and South America. This boat we plan to sail to the South Pacific.

Read more about the Shards' cruise in Spain...

 

Lifestyle

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Boat Reviews

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Beneteau Antares 27

Beneteau Antares 27By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You have to love it when something exceeds your expectations on so many levels; the new Antares 27 from Beneteau looks to me like that sort of all-around overachiever.

This is a brand new express cruiser design. With twin Mercury 200 V6 outboards, it delivers impressive performance, a reassuring and comfortable ride, and a level of versatility that will enable this boat to be your vacation partner for all sorts of adventures.

Read more about the Antares 27...

 

 

 

 

Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

Read More about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

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Ask Andrew: Electrical Installations – Part 1: Electrical Connections - basics and how-to’s

Electrical InstallationsBy Andrew McDonald

Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is aboard, areas of improvement and ways to upgrade.

One of the most common jobs that I’m asked to look at are electrical installations and upgrades. Surprisingly, the majority of these types of jobs are to ‘clean up’ the wiring of years past – when electrical standards were more fluid, and jury-rigged upgrades have been added and adapted over multiple owners and contractors.

Read More about Electrical Installations Basics...

 

  

Marine Products

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