destinations-caribbean-grog-largeFrom the ubiquitous red shirts and baseball hats with the yellow map of Barbados emblazoned on them – the secret code of serious sailboat racers worldwide – to the Royal Navy tradition of serving up a thick, syrupy and brain-befuddling concoction daily to her sailors, it seems like rum and boating are synonymous.

For what sailor worth his salt doesn't savour a ration of grog? Almost a moral imperative.

Since one of rum's first names was Barbados Water, it seems like the perfect starting point for our voyage of discovery.

A moss-covered stone mill built for extracting cane juice crouches beside the ruins of a plantation house. From here you can look north and almost see the plantation where they distill Mount Gay Rum.

Guests of the Mount Gay Visitor Centre are welcomed at a Bajan chattel house nestled beneath a brace of palms. The forty-five minute tour includes an audio-visual presentation inside a replica rum shop and a sample tasting.

They have been making rum since before 1703 and have garnered more than thirty international tasting awards in the process.

Soon after Columbus introduced sugar cane to the West Indies, Europe acquired a near-addictive taste for the substance. Somewhere in the process, quite by accident, a plantation owner discovered that the leftover juice fermented quite nicely when mixed with water and left in the sun.

Enter rum, though it's good to remember that all rums are not created equal.

"Premium aged rums are complex spirits," says Appleton's PR director Catherine McDonald. "Check the colour and clarity. Then the aroma. And you can tell the best rums by the finish – a sort of explosion on the palate that lasts for several seconds."

Appleton is the oldest sugar estate and distillery in Jamaica. Rum production here has been authenticated to 1749 but the estate dates back to 1655.

By 1657, rum had become popular throughout the New World. It was known as rumbullion, rumskullion or kill-devil. By the end of the seventeenth century it was a staple of the Royal British Navy.

That's where Pusser's, official purveyor of the fiery libation to the Royal Navy until 1971, takes centre stage. In Tortola they've turned Pusser's – a corruption of the term 'purser' (shipboard guardian of said ration) – into a cottage industry.

And you can't call yourself a true member of the yachting fraternity until you've imbibed a Painkiller (think Pusser's et. al.) at Soggy Dollar bar on nearby Jost Van Dyke.

Unless you survive instead a ration of River Antoine Rum in Grenada. Called euphemistically 'overproof', you can use this stuff to clean paint brushes, but the distillery itself offers up a fascinating tour of traditional rum-making.

And in the event you don't survive, there's always one more nautical tradition you can share. According to legend, when Lord Nelson died they shipped his body home to England in a cask of rum to preserve it. When the ship made landfall Nelson's remains remained. The rum was gone.

Some still call rum "Nelson's Blood." Ration of blood, anyone?

After we published a picture of a cute doggie in a life jacket we got some great dog-onboard photos and published a couple in our last issue.
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Destinations

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Cape Breton – My Personal Playground

Cape Breton - St Peters MarinaBy Elizabeth Ann Kerr

A year ago, it’s quite possible that if someone gave me an outline of Canada and asked me to point to Cape Breton Island, I would have failed, at least on my first attempt. Now, its shape, topography and waypoint remain indelibly emblazoned on my heart.

It is also quite possible that Celtic Colours – an annual gathering of more than 200 local and internationally renowned musicians, performing 49 concerts in 32communities– helped to kick start Cape Breton’s tourism industry 20 years ago.

Read more of Cape Breton.....

 

 

Lifestyle

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Armdale Yacht ClubBy Katherine Stone

You can’t possibly pack in more national history associated with a yacht club than what you can find on Deadman’s Island in Nova Scotia. This is what Halloween legends were made of, as it was not uncommon once upon a time, to have an arm appear out of the ground in winter with the remainder of the poor skeleton not being reunited with its appendage until the spring thaw.

Many years after the Micmacs discovered Melville Island, the spot they called “end of the water,” the site was used for storehouses and then was purchased by the British, where a prisoner-of-war camp was built to house captives in the Napoleonic Wars and then later during the War of 1812.

Read more about Armdale Yacht Club...

 

Boat Reviews

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Vanquish 24 RunaboutBy Andy Adams

Big, elegant, and capable

Families with young people who are seriously into waterskiing or wake boarding face a difficult choice: Buy a dedicated tow sports boat and make the kids happy or buy a more traditional family boat and make everyone comfortable.

In our opinion, the Vanquish 24 Runabout offers up a big, elegant, and capable solution that could make everybody happy. This is not a cheap solution, but it's an impressive one. Last August, we traveled to Gravenhurst, Ontario, and got our first look at the Vanquish 24 Runabout, tied up at Muskoka Wharf Marine. One glance told us this was a special boat.

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DIY & How to

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Marine Products

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Seamasters Inflatables

Always a major exhibitor at the Halifax International Boat Show, Seamaster’s sales manager Dave Trott tells us they will have several news products on display including the new Stingray 206cc and the 186cc.

Seamaster Services of Dartmouth is a diversified company with roots in the marine safety business. Over the years they have expanded from liferafts to inflatable boats, as a Zodiac dealers, and now sell and service an extensive line of fibreglass and inflatable boats including Grady-White and Stingray.

Read more about Seamasters....