By William Kelly

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. There was nothing much left but a small anchor and some rusting chain – I think I just needed to check that Sway was really gone. Out past the red beacon at the marina entrance I could see the current as the river ran on into the late afternoon light. I thought of another river, a childhood river where my journey with boats began.

This was the Credit River in suburban Toronto – where I took my first voyage on the water in a small vessel, a raft of logs made by myself, my older brother Bob and his friend Sal, who did most of the work. I had travelled on ships with my parents but this was my first voyage in a vessel so close to the water. It was an unforgettable day and it altered the course of my life.

Sal Petruccelli, the oldest son of Italian neighbours, was a breath of fresh air in our otherwise WASP neighborhood of Applewood Acres, now part of Mississauga. His big laugh and shout at the end of the street signalled to kids within earshot that egregious events were in the works and it was worth dropping whatever you were doing to see what was up. Sal was worldly, interested in everyone, and shared his entertaining views on most things in life. He listened patiently to my befuddled take on how people came into this world and replied simply, “Ahh, I don’t think so, Guglielmo.”

Sal’s father worked at Grampian Marine in nearby Oakville, and I can still see the painted paddleboat Mr. Petruccelli made one summer and placed on their front yard with a “for sale” sign.

So it was very like Sal and my generous brother Bob to invite me, four years younger, to join them on a rafting adventure on the Credit River one summer morning. Sal had a bag with a hammer and some spikes while Bob and I brought lunch.

We hiked through fields past an abandoned farmhouse until we reached a place Sal knew above the steep riverbank. Down we went, away from the familiar, to a strange shore with a view across the mighty Credit to where cattails and rushes held down a low marsh. (I didn’t know it then but the Credit and its tributaries extend over 1,500 kilometres and drain an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers. It has a significant trout population to this day.)

Sal told Bob and I to gather large logs along the bank, while Sal scrounged planks for the platform that would hold the raft together. Soon, we were ready to launch our vessel and, to my amazement, it floated. But what amazes me to this day is that it stayed afloat with the three of us on board!

Sal warned me not to venture too near the edge of the raft for fear it would flip and toss us overboard while he and Bob, equipped with poles, gently shoved us off the bank and into the current. Out of the shadow of the overhanging trees we broke into the morning sunshine, free of the sullen land. I can still see that moment, my eyes filled with the sun that transformed the rippling river water into a glittering carpet of jewels. Everything seemed within reach.

We drifted across the river, Sal laughing as he urged Robouski, as he called Bob, to push hard to get us to the other side. We all laughed as we made it across and landed at the edge of the marsh, striding about our newly discovered world like conquerors. We sat on the bank, ate lunch and relaxed.

Soon, we felt the urge to press on and we shoved the raft off the beach. What a sensation – skipping away from the shore to drift down a slow-moving river. Eventually, though, we drew close to the river’s mouth at Lake Ontario and our adventure was at its end. Sal hauled the raft up on the beach near a bridge where rattle and jawing of the real world could be heard overhead. Exhausted, we mounted the bridge and began the long march home in silence.

In the years to come, I would gaze out the windows of various classrooms and offices and find myself transported to that scene. I moved to the West Coast and eventually had enough money to buy a boat and embark on fresh sailing adventures with my wife and children. My brother, now retired, lives nearby and still gets out on a boat to fish. Sal, however, passed away a few years ago but, like his father, retained a keen interest in boats, the wind and the water to the end of his life.

Eventually, I stopped gazing at the red beacon and the Fraser, collected the chain and anchor, and headed down the dock. Outside the marina, the tide was still ebbing and the muddy river just ran on.

William Kelly’s sailing adventures have taken him up the West Coast as far as the Gulf of Alaska. With Anne Vipond, he is the author of Best Anchorages of the Inside Passage.

Photo Captions:
Photo 1 - Sal and son Nick sailing on Georgian Bay in 1980.
Photo 2 - Sal Petruccelli was a veteran raft builder, shown with his sister Carmela.
Located on Notre Dame Bay, which was described by Deanne Peters, in Canadian Yachting no less, as the “Caribbean of the North” the town of Lewisportehas developed into a popular yachting destination for anyone cruising Newfoundland’s north coast...
This past spring, the BC government announced a ...
An experienced skipper from Quebec racing with a ...
Massive bags of nylon – stripped from old fishing ...
Walkers along the Waterfront Trail from Big Sound ...
These two galley-friendly recipes were provided ...
  • Canadian Yachting Sends Off Adamant 1 Headed for the Great Loop
  • Cruisers  Yachts Cantius 54 Delivery with Andy Adams and Canadian Yachting Magazine
  • Canadian Olympic House - Design Sneak Peek
  • Confident Sailor - Reluctant Sailor: The MacLeods and Canadian Yachting
  • The Azores Islands with Distant Shores and Canadian Yachting
  • CY's Galley Guys cook Asparagus and enjoy it with  Whitehaven wine
  • 2016 Azimut 55 S Yacht Sea Trial with Andy Adams of Canadian Yachting
  • Neptunus 650 Express Tour with Canadian Yachting Magazine
  • Yacht Controller Founder Gerald Burton Describes This Precision Docking Innovation
  • Explore the new Cruisers 60 Cantius with Andy Adams and Canadian Yachting
  • Beneteau GT40 Sneak Peek with Canadian Yachting's John Armstrong
  • Galley Guys at Krates Marina in Keswick, Ontario
  • Executive Yacht at Toronto Outer Harbour with Canadian Yachting Magazine
  • Diane Reid - Clipper Round the World Race - The Countdown is On
  • Port Credit Spring In-Water Boat Show with Canadian Yachting Magazine
  • 2016 Neptunus 62 Launch with Canadian Yachting
  • Enjo Outdoor Cleaning Kit - Chemical Free Cleaning Solutions for your Boat
  • Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean Part III - Water Separators - Ask the Experts
  • Launch Day 2015, Midland Bay Sailing Club with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Keeping Diesel Fuel Clean Part II - Filters - Ask the Experts
  • Mystic Seaport Museum with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Marine Museum of the Great Lakes with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Kingston’s Pumphouse Steam Museum with Canadian Yachting magazine
  • Antique Boat Museum Clayton NY with Canadian Yachting magazine

Destinations

  • Prev
It’s dawn on Endymion Island in Thousand Islands National Park: a stand of pine and granite, ...
For three years following our return from a year-long trip to the Bahamas and back aboard our 1981 ...
The food in the grocery store – where does it come from? There are undoubtedly hardworking ...
We had been out on the ocean for 17 days, just the two of us, keeping watch around the clock. One ...
Regatta-cation is defined as the perfectly balanced vacation for a girl such as me, who grew up ...
O’Donnell Point is lumpy on the best of days but as Northern Explorer makes the turn north we ...
We’re leaving the dock early in the morning in order to catch the incoming tide that will carry us ...
The sunny sky suddenly turned black as we waited on the blue line for our turn to enter the mammoth ...
Morning. Thompson Island on Lake Superior. Fourteen nautical miles out of Thunder Bay. Perfect ...
Despite the ongoing lure of the deep blue Caribbean seas, a day pass at La Marina at the Casa de ...

Midland Harbour By Terri Hodgson

The Heart of It all

As an attractive destination for sailors and cruisers alike, Midland Harbour doesn’t really have to try hard to impress; the waters of Georgian Bay attract yachts of all sizes from all over the globe. With a history steeped in lumber and boat manufacturing, Midland Harbour today is an integral part of a thriving town, boasting the largest freshwater marina in the world amongst its offerings. The hometown of Sarah Burke, Glen Howard, Adam Dixon and David Onley to name a few, Midland is the heart of the North Simcoe area, the centre of the neighbouring Georgian Bay communities.

Read more about Midland Harbour ...

Lifestyle

  • Prev
Located on Notre Dame Bay, which was described by Deanne Peters, in Canadian Yachting no less, as ...
These two galley-friendly recipes were provided by Lynn Lortie from the galley of Adamant 1 as Lynn ...
A couple of Canada Day recipes to help keep you out of the galley as much as possible and in the ...
On a gorgeous sunny May evening recently, the Canadian Yachting staff were treated to an evening ...
A recipe of perfection when heading out for a weekend cruise...easy to prepare and delicious...
In the heart of the Huronia wilderness, the Jesuits established the first French outpost outside of ...
It is always an interesting dilemma when crossing into another country; what exactly should one say ...
Like many other harbours on Lake Ontario, Cobourg has seen its fair share of changes. Screams used ...
Bermuda is the host country for the 35th America’s Cup, set to take place in 2017, a competition ...
In 1791, a 36 foot sailboat from Spain, captained by Don Jose Maria Narvaez anchored off Point Grey ...

CY Evening Cruise

Terri Hodgson

On a gorgeous sunny May evening recently, the Canadian Yachting staff were treated to an evening sail aboard Lynn and Pat Lortie’s Adamant 1, complete with delicious snacks and Lynn’s custom audio soundtrack, which may have taken us back a few years.

After a long winter and a cool, wet spring here in Midland, ON, it was such a welcome change to be out on the Bay on a calm, warm evening. Prior to setting out from the Midland Bay Sailing Club we enjoyed a glass of wine and a selection of appetizers that were all prepared using the Carnivore Club’s Meat of the Month box.

Read more: CY Evening Cruise ...

Boat Reviews

  • Prev
Like all Lloyd's l00 Al spec yachts you can be sure the Cheoy Lee Trawler 35 is properly built, of ...
Few people ever really define what they mean by “family boat " or what it's function should ...
George Cuthebertson, a household name in the Canadian sailboat industry, is designing on his own ...
When C&C puts a reverse transom on a production boat under 29 feet you know times are ...
  If we were asked to choose one word to describe the CS 36, it would have to be classy. ...
The Great Lakes 33 says Nick Aitken, was the product of “a bunch of sailors who wanted to try ...
Our first time aboard the MGM 50z was in the Yachts Miami Beach yacht show where we had the ...
In recent years, boats like the Century 5000 with good-sized overnight cabins combined with ...
In sailing circles, C&C is arguably one of Canada's most famous companies. And ever since the ...
“The 29er will be to sailing what snowboarding was to skiing", says the boat's co-developer ...

Beneteau GT 35Andy Adams

Great performance in a versatile, modern design

For the Canadian Yachting readers who are not yet familiar with Beneteau’s broad range of power boat models, the Gran Turismo 35 may come as a bit of a surprise. Our test boat is a head-on competitor to the North American built express cruisers and the latest day boats that are coming on the market.

The GT35 has the style and amenities to match the best new designs in it’s size range, the stern drive power to deliver exhilarating high speed performance plus, it still adds in an overtone of Euro style.

Read more: Beneteau GT 35...

DIY & How to

  • Prev
A propeller is only as effective as the rest of the drive system. This is a bold statement; but the ...
Informed estimates are that barely 10% of Canadian pleasure craft have underwater lighting but in ...
This article is the first of 2 parts. Part 1 deals propellers for displacement boats and Part 2 ...
Comfort and convenience are important factors both to keep boaters enjoying boating as well as to ...
Sunshine flooded the waters separating California’s Catalina Island from Channel Islands Harbor, ...
We've all heard this before but it's especially true when it comes to boating– knowledge is power. ...
Winterizing your boat in the fall is important and may be a daunting task for some boat owners.  ...
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 ...

Marine Products

  • Prev
The Blue Dream Project launched its 60 foot schooner in Lunenburg on July 23rd. The vessel is being ...
JEANNEAU is proud to announce the new models that will be unveiled at the upcoming Autumn shows...
The new PRESTIGE YACHTS 630 will be launched in September 2016 at the Yachting Festival of Cannes ...
The launch of the Monte Carlo 6 S at the Cannes Yachting Festival in September marks the success of ...
A shipment of heavy gauge, all welded RH and Fish Rite brand aluminum boats arrived by truck at ...
Garmin International Inc.has announced Quickdraw Community, a free online user-generated platform ...
Free Wireless Tools Provide Automatic Updates and Enhance Remote Service Support
Back Cove Yachts announces the debut dates for its newest model, the Back Cove 32. Internationally, ...
The brand-new Cruisers Yachts Cantius 54 is heavily protected by fenders as the delivery crew ...
Available in 11 colours, non-toxic, non-hazardous, UV and water resistant, the Hairline Fix ...