As a rower and dinghy sailor, I was pleased to discover a slim volume entitled Oar & Sail - An Odyssey of the West Coast by Dr. Kenneth Macrae Leighton. Leighton rowed and sailed his 14’ boat, sporting an unstayed standing lugs’l rig and a pair of nine-foot wooden oars, from Vancouver to Prince Rupert over two summer holidays. The first stage took him to Sonora Island, just north of Maurelle Island where we camp. Later, he launched at Port Hardy and completed the journey.

Three boys, a homebuilt raft and a slow-moving river, launch a lifelong love of boats and the water. After owning our Spencer 35 sailboat for almost 30 years, Anne and I recently sold her with the intention of getting a roomier vessel for two teenage boys, an energetic terrier and us. Our old boat headed for a new life on Vancouver Island and seemed a good fit for the new owner. After helping deliver Sway to the island, I returned to the marina on the Fraser River where she had rested between our many cruises up and down this rainy coast.

For an eager and experienced 14-year-old, passing the boater competency exam is just the first step in a lifetime of learning on the water. One of the toughest tests I have ever written wasn’t even at school. It was the pleasure craft competency exam. In contrast to the 30 minutes of studying I usually do for one of my grade eight exams, I spent weeks preparing for my boating exam. Every night during the weeks leading up to the exam, I would review a chapter in the study guide. I even took the guide to school with me to read when I had the chance.

Whether you see it as fairy dust in the water or stars in the head, ocean bioluminescence is a fascinating phenomenon. I had my most recent exposure to the remarkable phenomenon called bioluminescence during our beautiful West Coast weather last autumn. It was a crisp, clear night and we were on a mooring buoy at Newcastle Island Marine Park in Nanaimo, when my husband spoke to my love of the night sky and offered to take me for a dinghy ride to see the stars.

Is it the journey that counts – or the destination? My wife Sandy and I are avid sailors, although for many years we didn’t actually own a boat. To get our sailing fix, we simply chartered yachts in a variety of destinations. Typically, we would follow routes suggested by the charter company, always returning to the home marina within a week or two. And often, especially on our last day, our course would be directly into the wind, requiring us to beat, motor or both.

Easy to collect and prepare, fresh, wild oysters are one of the pleasures of cruising the BC coast. One of my favourite things about cruising BC’s south coast is the local seafood. And nothing beats a few oysters! It was late August and we opted for a dock day at Lagoon Cove Marina on East Cracroft Island because it was overcast and drizzling. We were getting to know new cruising friends at the dock, swapping stories and experiences, when I casually asked if anyone would eat a few oysters if I barbecued them. There was a combination of enthusiasm and skepticism – because oysters are not native to the Broughton Archipelago.

Fifty years ago, my parents bought a cottage on Gambier Island in BC’s Howe Sound. Facing the snowy Lions to the east and the undeveloped north side of Bowen Island, the tiny cabin – replete with mice, horsehair-stuffed furnishings and antique oil lamps – was accessible only by boat. My parents bought a 17’ clinker boat made by Elia Boat Works in Vancouver, and powered it with a Johnson outboard from Woodward’s Marine. They were set.

Even the simplest galley can produce great food, like these cinnamon buns… A well-fed crew is a happy crew, we say aboard Eleuthera Soleil, our 24ʹ twin-keel British Snapdragon. Robert and I both love to cook. Our galley is utterly simple: a Dickinson diesel stove with an oven, and a stainless steel Lagoustina pressure cooker. We cook as often as possible out in our canvas-enclosed cockpit, on our two-burner Origo alcohol stove, to minimize condensation.

Our first summer cruise aboard Free Spirit V changed our lives and introduced us to places and challenges we could never have imagined. Rob and I were complete novices when we bought our first boat, Free Spirit V, a 1991 Kadey Krogen 42 foot full-displacement trawler, in December 2010. Still, we wanted to follow friends north for a 10-week cruise the following summer. Bringing our knowledge and skills up to standard would mean a lot of winter cruising. Between December and the end of May 2011, with our reluctant standard poodle, Blue, in tow, we clocked almost 100 engine hours, and many of them weren’t pretty.

Did I mention how much I hate standing in the rain in a seaway…fishing? Messing around in boats has been our passion for almost 30 years. Corinne and I currently spend our summers cruising the Pacific Northwest in our American Tug 41, Ocean Mistress. We have a passion for finding new and remote anchorages. We love to explore. About 10 years ago we began adding other activities to our cruising agenda. We do a lot of hiking into the remote areas of British Columbia’s rainforest, and we add to our cruising larder with a little fishing.

Destinations

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Some may say that the sailing experience of monohulls versus catamarans is as different as chalk ...
The Presque Isle peninsula is a 3,200-acre – 7-mile long arm that extends northeast into Lake Erie ...
I know of no other boating location quite like the town of Gananoque in the Thousand Islands.The ...
Having cruised the BC coast for several decades, we enjoy sharing information about the remote ...
Glendale Cove, on BC’s Knight Inlet, is protected habitat for grizzly bears – and the ideal spot to ...
Years before realizing my family and I would find happiness in boating, Bronte Village had been a ...
The family of the Great Lakes, like our own, has members who each enthusiastically demonstrate ...
Clayoquot SoundClayoquot is one of the major sounds on Vancouver Island’s wild West Coast, and a ...
The Rideau WaltzI have lived in Ontario my entire life but have likely explored more acres outside ...
It was still dark when we departed our home slips in Chrystal Harbour, LaSalle, Ontario, and ...

Boat Reviews

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Bernie Luttmer of Swan’s Yacht Sales, has finally had his brainchild come to life, and he tells me ...
The BC builder takes a big step forward with its largest yacht to date: stylish, fast and ...
Modern graceful elegance is what Dufour’s Umberto Felci was trying to achieve when he designed the ...
The very first Sabre yacht, was a Sabre 28 sailboat appropriately named Patience. Sabre repurchased ...
When the time finally comes to do the dream destination cruising you've always talked about, you ...
The Offshore series from Canada’s largest aluminum pleasure boat builder offers practicality, range ...
Embodying the Cruising Sailor’s Wish List.The Bavaria Vision 42 is the product of collaboration ...
The Beneteau Oceanis 38 claims more flexibility than seen before on this size of boat and a new way ...
From the first glance the wide open decks large cockpit and overall look and feel of this boat are ...
The brand new Cruisers Yachts 328 Bow Rider is one of a new breed of boats that is redefining our ...

DIY & How to

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Boaters who prefer to be on the hook, such as ourselves in our Islander 36 sailboat Holole’a, ...
Will traditional paper charts soon be a thing of the past? And what will that mean for recreational ...
With built in functions for radar, weather, chart plotters, engine data, and radio controls, boat ...
Understanding how systems really work – and degrade over the winter – can help you prepare your ...
The Interlux® Boat Paint Guide has gone digital with the launch of a free app for Apple® IOS and ...
Convenient, Cool and Low-cost!From simple organizational Apps for your smart phone to complete ...
Navigation light repairs and replacements you can do yourself.In researching this article, we spoke ...
If you are new to boating, how do you start searching for the right boat at boat shows? We put the ...
What’s the dumbest thing you’ve ever done while boating?That’s the question I asked fellow-boaters ...

Environment

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Boating and astronomy can be a match made in the heavens. The inky black canvas above the boat is ...
The 30,000 Islands of Georgian Bay is a boater’s dream destination with crystal clear waters, ...
New rules severely restrict where and how salt-water boaters can discharge sewage. Is your boat ...
Many Canadian Yachting readers have likely experienced the beauty of British Columbia’s Gulf ...
Many newspaper headlines appeared in the spring of 2012 with these two names highlighted. The ...
Investing in a reusable winter cover is a sound environmental choice and a practical way to ...
I’m on vacation! Things can turn ugly in paradise when you finally reach that secluded anchorage. ...
I've been a pilot for 37 years and spent 28 years flying passenger aircraft for the airlines ...
There's been lots of talk about electric boats recently, but few examples are actually out on the ...
I think it’s a given that as a Canadian Yachting reader, you are passionate about ...

Marine Products

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Sweden-based Radinn, a company aiming to "revolutionize the watersport industry,” is trying to make ...
Taylor Made Systems is introducing a new range of glass sunroof systems for the boating industry at ...
KVH TracVision® owners in the U.S. can now enjoy satellite TV from DISH Network® on their boats and ...
Douglass Simpson, a winner of the Globe and Mail's Top 12 Canadian Innovator awards in the ...
Whether chilling snacks for a quick outing or supplying auxiliary cold storage for longer trips, a ...
SunZone SprayWet has been specifically designed to be applied on wet skin. Its formulation is able ...
Boaters and marina workers should exercise caution this summer before taking to the seas. A study ...
ASA Electronics is pleased to announce the arrival of the MS40BT—a Bluetooth®-enabled stereo that ...
When any boater is planning to head out onto the water for a two week excursion or even for an ...
My Boat was specifically produced in response to customer demand for an iPad App that would appeal ...