May 9, 2019

John Booth

John Booth, who passed away just a few weeks ago was one of the most amazingly gifted and generous persons that I’ve ever met. He was involved in so many different projects and types of work that I’m certain that there are many that I’ve overlooked. Here’s a short list of memorable works;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Booth at the Helm of his T BirdThunderbirds.


It’s almost impossible to overstate his importance to this fleet. He built his first wooden ‘Bird, #660, in 1966 before he was involved in the design and building of the molds for the first fibreglass ‘Birds. This involved doing the pitching experiments with John Dewey to ensure that FRP ones would not have an unfair advantage over wooden ones, thereby preserving the fleet for all; working on the design and construction of the ‘high aspect ratio rudder’; and, helping on the development of the aluminum mast for the ‘Bird. John probably built 30 FRP ‘Birds, and helped repair and rebuild untold numbers, all done with little thought of being paid. This was John’s biggest fault – as a businessman.

 

The Ever Helping Hand


John Booth was the ideal that a lot of us should aspire to in terms of lending a willing hand to his fellow competitors, even when hard pressed to be preparing his own boat for a major regatta, or even during the regatta. He was so self -effacing that often precious hours of work were simply relegated as “It was nothing”. I witnessed this first time when I became a member of the Thunderbird Fleet in 1984. His help was invaluable in my first regatta with the ‘Bird, and I simply could not believe the generosity of spirit that accompanied not only this first acquaintance, but in virtually every regatta since then.


This helping hand also extended to those from visiting clubs. In 2009, my daughter was returning from a Swiftsure in a Royal Van boat when they hit bottom off of Trial Island, and began taking on water. It was his shop that came to the rescue on the weekend; and, it was his shop and skills that so memorably impressed our visitor. Yet again, “It was nothing”. Nothing indeed was charged, just a beer.

Mini Twelves


John’s important contributions to the health and vitality of the club over the decades can be seen in the very Fleets that John has had a major hand in building – the ‘Birds and the Mini Twelves – but also sustaining them with his energy and construction skills. He made the molds for the Mini-Twelves, etc and did seemingly endless repairs for them, even when he was 80 and had a difficult time bending down to get into the damaged hull. His zeal, energy and support with no real thought of compensation are highly laudable.

John In His ShopBooth 8 Dinghies


There must be 300 or more of these built. Which west coast sailor has not rowed one of these fine dinghies? He also built Mintos and Whitehalls. The latter had an ingenious sliding seat, like the racing shells, but based upon the wheels from in-line skates.

Catalina Rudders


John is famous in the Catalina world as many have his improved rudder – based upon a scaled up version of the T’Bird’s high aspect rudder. It apparently transformed the sailing characteristics of the Catalina. For many years, there was always one being built every couple of months. A lot of happy customers, all spread by word of mouth.

Dock Carts


Every time you use a dock cart, there’s a good chance that it’s one that he built. He worked with Century Plastics to build their mold to produce the plastic versions.

Molds and Pattern Making


John trained as a pattern maker in England before returning to Canada. He impressed them as being a bit of a mechanical genius. Try thinking about how things are made – backwards and inside out. He worked with various foundries and plastic shops to make molds for, and or built;


• Canada II’s keel. Metallex poured it.
• domes of various mosques
• domes for Seastar Chemicals plant
• bell for navigation buoys
• custom Harley ‘hawg’ fenders and tanks
• battery boxes and other plastic roto-molded parts
• floats for oyster farms
• almost indestructible carts for the city’s garbage trucks
• the clock bezel and ‘pawns’ that adorn Victoria’s City Hall
• rudders and centerboards for various sailing dinghies
• avant garde artwork of unusual appearance by Roland Brenner & other artists

John and Vidas John to the left and Vidas on the right inspecting the new keel for ZigZag

It’s hard to imagine a more diverse list. Nothing seemed impossible. In fact, if it seemed impossible, John was more likely to try.


Nothing tickled John’s fancy more than finding a good deal, or seeing what a Thunderbird could do against faster boats. The pinnacle of this was the “Zig Zag Project”. Who would have thought that a revised ‘Bird could pass a Hotfoot 27 or Martin 242? He took particular glee in helping me make the mold for a new keel, based upon a Melges. The fact that the ‘local’ foundry had a 900lb limit, together with the fact that John had never handled melting/pouring lead cannonballs for fishing, made him even keener to try pouring 1000lb or more at his shop full of combustibles. The fire marshal just happened to visit the shop a couple of days after the successful pour! John was beside himself with mirth!

 

I have a hard time thinking of a finer person.


Article by Vidas Stukas

DIY & How to

  • Prev
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told my children to wash their hands. I remind them ...
The new editions of PORTS Cruising Guides, from the publishers of Canadian Yachting will be ...
As the seasons change and we move from warm summer into cooler fall, many fanatic boaters ...
On the Friday before a weekend with a gorgeous forecast, I heard on the news that a boat had ...
A reader suggested we take a look at anchors. Anchoring seems simple enough. A weighted hook with a ...
If you’ve spent any time in a boat yard during spring commissioning season, you won’t find it out ...
As a busy marine mechanic, I tend to have the same or similar conversations often, and they’re ...
This time of year, great deals abound. That boat with the ‘for sale’ sign looks quite attractive. ...
For less than US$2,500, Jim Leshaw, a lawyer who lives and works in Key Biscayne, Florida, ...
Each spring, I tend to notice canvas. I wish it was because it’s been immaculately maintained and ...

CompassBy Katherine Stone

Not a hard re-installation - just line up the holes and replace the screws.

I remember vividly my first experience using a chart plotter and navigation system. Deciding that we should try the cruising lifestyle, we purchased an older boat and set out from Hindson’s Marina in Penetanguishene at dawn to sail across Nottawasaga Bay to Thornbury, Ontario for the Canada Day long weekend. It was a beautiful start to the day when we left and motored out of Penetanguishene Bay and rounded the corner, heading toward Christian Island, right into pitch black clouds. 

Read more about Your Compass........................

 

  

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
With a philosophy of quality and 'doing things right Ranger Tugs launches the all new R-25 at the ...
The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 41 renews the spirit of the practical seaworthy cruiser. The ...
The Canadian Yachting test crew last week had the opportunity to run the Bavaria S36 HT at St ...
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 ...

J99By Katherine Stone

All set to pull out the Code 0 before dousing the jib.

It was a very cold and wet beginning to the summer and we never thought it would arrive in Southern Ontario. Doing a 100 miler race on Lake Ontario (billed as the COOLEST race on the lake) with my 8 layers of thermal clothing, woolen ski toque and ski mittens, along with a neck warmer kept me on the edge all night, just out of frostbite reach. I shouldn’t have complained, as we also had wind!

July and August arrived, and it has certainly warmed up, in fact, its too warm, AND we don’t have wind. We are now counting 5 Wednesday nights in a row without wind to race. 

Read more about the J99 Offshore Shorthand Speeder.....................

 

Wellcraft 242 FishermanBy Andy Adams

Boat buyers are gravitating to the latest centre console boats for a wide range of reasons but for the Wellcraft 242 Fisherman, you can sum it up by saying it’s about features, style and value.

This great-looking boat is just as capable on a family picnic cruise as it is doing serious blue water fishing. A wide range of options let the buyer tailor the boat for their specific interests, but it’s all there to choose from. Our test boat was well-equipped for that comfortable cruise with easy access via the swim platform and through the transom gate into the cockpit.

Read More about the Wellcraft 242 Fisherman..................

Destinations

  • Prev
Boom & Batten Restaurant is suspended over the water adjacent to the Songhees Walkway and ...
Provincial Boat Havens are those special places to drop anchor in British Columbia’s West Coast and ...
NW Explorations, a Bellingham, Washington-based yacht charter, brokerage, and marine services ...
If you haven’t cruised the Rideau Canal before, you have missed a special treat and even if you ...
At the 2019 Vancouver International Boat Show I had the pleasure of meeting up with Allyson and ...
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
There is good anchoring in Cowichan Bay and nearby, and salt water enough to make any boater happy. ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...

KingstonBy Amy Hogue

Cruise into the city of Kingston, Ontario, and it will quickly become clear that this city and surrounding waterways have something special. Built around the northern shore of Lake Ontario, Kingston is the place to go if you love to explore new waterways, fantastic views, and exceptional boating opportunities.

Sitting at the intersection of three world-class Canadian bodies of water, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Rideau Canal (Cataraqui River from Kingston to Newboro), the water’s influence is deeply woven into Kingston’s culture and history. 

Read more about Kingston......................

 

Marine Products

  • Prev
Too hot to bake? No oven onboard anyway? Try these no-bake shipboard treats. (Yes, we know they’re ...
It is not that often I drive as big a vehicle as the Nissan Armada (nautical name!) as a test ...
The new edition of PORTS Cruising Guides: Georgian Bay, Lake Huron & the North Channel from the ...
Canadian Yachting’s Chartering Handbook, full of information and advice for heading off to a ...
Navigating the process of yacht care and maintenance just got a whole lot easier, following the ...
I will be honest, I am generally not a big fan of Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV). My wife and I own ...
The FX model is Yamaha's top-of-the-line three seater WaveRunner and a totally new model for 2019. ...
In the April 2015 edition of CY magazine, I published an article on anchors and anchoring – Staying ...
The Seabin device part of the Oak Bay Marine Group trial, has had promising results so far while ...
When I took the Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV down to Wednesday night racing, the people that came over ...