altJust as the mythical “Phoenix” rose from the ashes, reborn to live again, so too was a beautiful yacht launched in September to replace another destroyed by fire.

In 2005, Covey Island Boatyard built a beautiful sixty-three foot classic schooner, “Maggie B” for Chicago venture capitalist Frank Blair. This boat cruised extensively, including a circumnavigation, and was ultimately returned to the boatyard for a refit. On August 12, 2008, disaster struck; a horrendous overnight fire completely destroyed the yard along with the “Maggie B”.

The yard had been operating since 1979 with President John Steele at the helm. Steele, a man whose life has been devoted to boats and boatbuilding, started with a small shop on Covey Island, part of the LaHave group of islands about 25 kilometres from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. They quickly developed a reputation for fine craftsmanship building around 90 pleasure and commercial fishing boats, both sail and power. Success made them expand and move to the mainland at Petite Riviere where they operated until that fateful day.

Blair, now 66, was understandably flattened by the disaster, but it only took him six months to come to the decision that they couldn’t build another Maggie B; it was time to move on. He contacted Steele and the famous British marine architect Nigel Irens to a discuss building another schooner. Irens is considered by many to be the most brilliant naval designer alive today. The new boat was to be slightly shorter at 56 feet and more refined in order to be handled by a smaller crew of four offshore.

However, Covey Island Boatyard needed a new home. Steele discovered that there was huge unused building at the Kraut Point fish plant, in Riverport. Within two months of the fire, a deal was struck to lease this space as the new yard. A head office for Covey Island Boatyard was also set up in Lunenburg.

Four months later, work commenced on the new boat to be named “Farfarer” after the nomadic tribe who were chased out of northern Scotland. They are alleged to be the first whites to cross over to North America, way before the Vikings. Farley Mowat, the acclaimed Canadian author, wrote a book of the same name that gave Blair the inspiration for his new schooner.

Blair’s business success was largely due to his foreseeing the development of all things “green” and set out to follow that concept with his new boat. The wood epoxy hull would be built out of recycled materials. A 136-year-old warehouse, only one block from ground zero in New York, was being torn down. Steele discovered that it was constructed with very old beams of Douglas fir and pitch pine. These were acquired and trucked to the yard where they were milled to create the 1½-inch planks and laminated 3-inch square beams. The hull was built upside down and covered with E-glass in epoxy to a mirror-like finish, then turned right side up (a major feat in itself) for decking and finishing.

The decks are laid with aged pitch pine, salvaged from the warehouse, which is bonded to structural Corcell foam-sandwiched between epoxy E-glass. The interior is constructed of three materials: 1) tongue and groove pine painted white for all the deck heads and bulkheads; 2) trim is all black walnut from the owner’s farm in Illinois; and 3) cabin soles are cork throughout.

The Covey Island workers, all highly skilled craftsmen, are shareholders in the company and were glad to be back to work. Other local labour was added to create a closely knit team of 34.

“Farfarer” is anything but a conventional schooner. She is 56 feet on deck, weighs 35 tons, and draws 6½ feet with the centerboard up (and 13 feet with it down). The centerboard, which floats, swings up on a 4-inch bronze axle into the base of the long keel. A hydraulic pump lowers the board, but doesn’t need to raise it.

“Farfarer” sleeps six with a crew cabin forward and the owner’s suite midship. Blair’s constant four-legged companion “Mac” has his own bunk. The galley is a unique design with an island featuring a truly ancient rock fossil counter.

The masts are of free standing carbon fiber with the mainmast reaching 82 feet into the sky. Blair said of the spars, “they are whippy and more rocket science than I intended”. The rig is very high tech with two loose-footed mainsails and no headsails. The designer maintains that jibs are inefficient and dangerous when crew need to be forward in heavy weather to handle or change sails. The full batten Kevlar sails, crafted by North Sails of Lunenburg are neither marconi nor gaff but rather have a large head about 8 feet long.

The masts are elliptically shaped to act as foils providing extra wing like power and will pivot on their base when tacking. The two sails rise, lower, and reef conventionally with lazy jacks for control.

Power is provided by twin 40hp Nanni diesel engines made by a Spanish firm from Kubota blocks that push her up to 10 knots. There is no genset but rather a large water-cooled DC 350 amp generator mounted between the engine and transmission on one engine, an entirely new concept. As well, there are two alternators, one on each engine, plus solar panels mounted on the cabin roof. The extensive electronics are all state of the art. The yacht has tanks for 200 gallons of water and 300 gallons of fuel.

The custom-designed and hand-built schooner was started in April 2009 and launched in September 2010. When asked the price tag, Blair replied, in good humor, “More than I expected, but less than I feared”. “Farfarer” is an anomaly, being very high tech with the newest and best of rig and electronics, but made by meticulous Nova Scotia craftsmen with a fit, finish and classic touches seldom seen in today’s new yachts. She may resemble a schooner, but she sails like a racing yacht.

After sea trials and final delivery she headed for her home port in Maine and then to Brazil for the winter. Blair intends to have “Farfarer” in the Mediterranean in the spring and the Baltic in the summer of 2011. So, this beautiful new schooner will indeed be another adventurer and explorer.

By Lynn R. Helpard

Lifestyle

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Cobourg Yacht Club - 2015 Sailing instructorsKatherine Stone

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.

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Andrew AlbertiIn the past two issues we have been doing an overview of the right-of-way rules. In the first, we did a review of Section A of Part 2, in the second we did a review of the definitions. This issue, we will look at Section B of Part 2, General Limitations, which is essentially limitations applying to boats that have right of way according to Section A.

GENERAL LIMITATIONS

14 AVOIDING CONTACT

A boat shall avoid contact with another boat if reasonably possible. However, a right-of-way boat or one entitled to room or mark-room

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CY Virtual Video Boat Tours

Virtual Boat ToursWe all love boats and nothing can break us up! So, what better way to spend our time than looking at interesting boats and going aboard in a virtual ride or tour. We have asked our friends at various dealers and manufacturers to help us assemble a one-stop online resource to experience some of the most interesting boats on the market today. Where the CY Team has done a review, we connect you to that expert viewpoint. Our Virtual Show will continue to grow so visit frequently and check it out. If you can’t go boating, you can almost experience the thrill via your screen. Not quite the same, but we hope you enjoy our fine tour collection.

 

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Beneteau Oceanis 30.1As boat builders clamber to create ever-bigger platforms for ever-more generous budgets, the entry-level cruiser has become an elusive animal. Sure, if you want to daysail, there are plenty of small open boats from which to choose, but if you want a freshly built pocket cruiser, you’re in for a long search. Enter French builder Groupe Beneteau, which identified this gap in the market and set about creating the Oceanis 30.1, an adorable little cruiser that resembles her larger siblings in all but length and price. With all she offers, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call her a mini yacht.

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KingstonBy Amy Hogue

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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. 

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