The Just Nick FileBy Greg Nicoll

This past June I stepped aside as Publisher of Canadian Yachting Media after a ten-year run. It was time to hand over the tiller to younger legs and fresher ideas. What to do now…

Most of my boating has been racing sailboats, but that too needed younger less creaky joints and more flexibility than I had to offer, so that was not an option.

In 1984 my wife and I purchased a brand new J24 and raced it continually even up to today when it was made part of the Boat Hub fleet at the Port Credit Yacht Club to encourage boaters to experience boating without ownership. It still makes the start line on Monday night races.

A few years ago, a friend made me a generous offer to purchase his boat, a classic 1980 C&C 34. At one time, the 34s had a very competitive fleet on the lakes, so I knew she could perform and give my Skipper wife the ability to squeeze out every knot available. No davits or towing our dinghy, the dinghy had to fit upside down on the foredeck.

Our J24 was named Quick Nick and had a great reputation as a competitive boat. The C&C 34 came with a name that just didn’t match our expectations and so after much thought and ceremony, she was renamed “Just Nick”. In her earlier life six to eight young, muscular sailors would hang out on the rail pushing the boat to its limits. For those from the early days, our boat was originally christened as Freckles out of the RCYC. Recently many people would come along side and say, that’s a C&C 34, I used to race them - great boat. But now, except for day trips with friends and family, there are just the two of us learning to cruise and modifying the boat to be a little respective of our age.

Kate, my wife, is still very active racing and volunteering at Port Credit and working as a national judge for many regattas across the country. I am more at home with Just Nick based at the Thornbury Yacht Club (TYC) on Georgian Bay. Assisted by my days in the marine industry and along with a whole community at TYC, there have been a number of suggestions on how to make our boat more comfortable and enjoyable. My plan is to pass on some suggestions from my experiences that might make your boat experience better.

First: The swim ladder.

The original fold-down stainless-steel ladder was both slippery and painful.

The cost of a new ladder that would fit the existing brackets was rich and trying to drill into the stainless rungs proved very unsuccessful. Then I found Ralph Booth from Apropos Marine in Pt. Clair Quebec. He manufactures an aftermarket kit that was easy to install. Ralph was very knowledgeable and familiar with our boat.

Here are some pictures of our refurbished ladder. Hope that this is helpful.

More to come.