Spirit of Canada Ocean Challenges

Ocean Challenge

Accessible offshore sailing for the beginner sailor…
I have questions for you. 

Did you know you can sail as a beginner in an offshore adventure vacation? Did you know you can sail to places such as Bermuda from Nova Scotia under the guidance of one of Canada’s top sailing ambassadors (and in June 2015!)? Have you ever been on a Volvo 60?  Do you like to race? Do you want to sail alone or have your crew become closer? All in an offshore or ocean setting? Or maybe you need to build offshore miles? Do you want to take advantage of something so unique, this may be the only company worldwide offering this type of adventure?
If any of these questions are intriguing, it’s time to learn more about Ocean Challenges and sailing offshore with world renowned skipper Derek Hatfield on his Volvo 60, specifically with your adventurous side in mind. 
After representing Canada in the Velux 5 Oceans single handed round the world yacht race, Derek Hatfield of Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia laid claim to a third place overall in his second successful solo circumnavigation of the globe in an Open 60.   What transpired after that climatic milestone was to inspire new sailors and racers in off shore pursuits.
Starting in 2012, Ocean Challenges was born – with the purchase of Amer Sports One, a Volvo 60 Ocean Race contender, which was aptly renamed it to Spirit of Adventure. With this high performance, yet safe, offshore beauty, Hatfield has helped many sailors aboard in enjoying the challenges and successes of offshore sailing. 
Offshore enthusiasts have enjoyed week long regattas, such as the RORC Caribbean 600 and St. Maarten Heineken Regatta as well as transatlantic routes inclusive of the Azores and the Canary Islands to name a few.
In talking to several paying crew members throughout Canada who have taken advantage of this unique training, the over whelming and sincere response was “you have to do this!”, and “Derek Hatfield’s laid back and professional manner was perfect for (their) first time through the gulf stream enroute to Bermuda”.
As I was lingering around the Ocean Challenges booth this past spring at the Toronto International Boat Show I asked a crew member who had joined the boat in Antigua about their experience. The entire crew compiled a message saying it was an opportunity for pure team work in an unique and rewarding setting – they smiled broadly stating they would recommend it to any group.
In asking Patianne Verburgh, Derek’s wife and an established solo sailor in her own right delivering their second Open 60. Canada from France – who signs up for these legs? Her matter of fact response – “those who want to fulfill their bucket lists, new sailors, experienced sailors, instructors and adventurers of all ages, both men and women – and no experience is necessary”.  
For more information on upcoming destinations, legs, or races contact Ocean Challenges at oceanchallenges.ca, call or email Patianne at sail@spiritofcanada.net or 902-529-2626.

-Ellen Mac Phail

Neptunus 650F Review

Neptunus 650F 400

By Andy Adams

Over the years Canadian Yachting has had the pleasure of doing several boat review articles on new Neptunus models and we are familiar with the qualities that Neptunus is famous for. They have all been exceptional yachts, but this is the one I would most want to own myself. It’s a personal choice and a matter of taste as to whether you would prefer to have a sedan express model or a flybridge but in my opinion, the flybridge layout offers some wonderful attributes.

We met with Neptunus Managing Director Jan Willem De Jong this past fall to take the new Neptunus 650F out in Lake Ontario. 

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The Other Virgin Islands

Sunset off St John

By Mark Stevens

I was first seduced by the United States Virgin Islands during a ferry ride from St. Thomas to Tortola to begin one of our earliest British Virgin Islands charters nearly twenty years ago.

A perfect sunset off St. John with St. Thomas views for backdrop.

Clearing Pillsbury Sound, surrounded by voluptuous emerald mountains as the ferry sliced through royal blue waters, I was struck by the unspoiled ambiance of St. John, the island gliding past our starboard beam and the irresistible charm of a village called Cruz Bay visible from our quarter stern.

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