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Tuesday, October 29, 2013


 It’s an old saying. Even good luck is largely predicated by one’s ability to get out and network, meet people, have fun and look for opportunity. Hard work is more than sitting at a desk for 12 hours a day. Our parent company is in the web marketing business and it’s easy to work seven days a week and never leave your desk. Easy but not healthy! Besides opportunity knocks more frequently when you are out and about meeting folks and exchanging ideas and interests with others.

This is boat show season. Many of you, like us, have been hunkered down with our nose to the grindstone making sure that life goes on with normal expectations, given that we have been through a brutal recession and several years of post recession uncertainty. If you did keep your head above water or perhaps even grew your business during this period, you did well. The clouds are lifting and it is time to get out and have some fun. What better way for boat lovers to have fun than to jump on a plane to Fort Lauderdale or Miami to take in a world class boat show. We go every year to two or three shows and Miami is one we won’t miss this year.

Of course right in our backyard we have the Toronto International Boat Show coming up January 11th – 19th. I see Russell Newberry from Discovery channels Deadliest Catch television show will be headlining at the TIBS this year. He’s a nice guy and interesting to talk to if you catch him when there is no lineup. Yes he’s doing the rounds, trying to make a buck ... and more power to him. We ran into him at Miami two years ago. His tag line is “life on the edge”. Perhaps we should all live a little closer to the edge, as if there is no certainty of tomorrow.

This year for the first time Boating Georgian Bay will be at the Toronto International Boat Show with a booth (G315) right across from the Boat Smart booth. I’m not sure why we’re there! Yes we will sell a few bottles of our own Boating Georgian Bay brand hot sauce and boat cleaner ... but that won’t even cover the cost of our booth space. I guess the real reason for being there is that, the last number of years have been really good to us, even though many of our clients have been through some hardship, and we just want to get out there and network in the industry and have some fun. My gut says “be there” - so that’s what we’re doing.

We have stuck to our knitting from the beginning of the recession to present and now ... finally there is recovery in the air for the boating industry and for marine orientated consumers. It took a long time. For the past few years it has been two steps forward and two steps back. Now it looks like there is some certainty and headway in the marketplace. Things are not 100% yet, but they are good enough to take some time off to do what I like to do best ... which is boating and boat related activities. That means attending more shows, buying a few more boat toys and getting out a lot more on the water this coming season. And I mean a LOT more. You should do the same. If you have worked hard and smart it’s time to reap some of the rewards. Life is short and none of us are getting any younger.

Posted by at 9:58 AM

Monday, October 28, 2013


My normal response when someone goes on about “Kum Ba Yah” type of stuff like yoga and meditation is to roll my eyes. My wife is very active with Yoga and it has obvious health benefits of which I am now convinced. Our friend Gail is an expert yoga instructor who even did a stint in India. And yes she’s a vegetarian. She convinced me to try yoga and it is indeed very relaxing and builds and maintains flexibility which is important as we get older. I confess that work usually gets in the way of being a regular at yoga - unlike my wife that makes the time for yoga. Anyways, Gail was featured on this site on the topic of "boat yoga" in a previous article and in a Boating Georgian Bay TV episode. Boat yoga is common practice down in Miami and Lauderdale and yes the yoga instructor comes on board and does the yoga thing in the cockpit or foredeck (or poolside if you have a big enough yacht). So my lesson learned from Gail is that even though something may seem ridiculous at face value, you should not judge it until you try it.

So then one day someone was telling me about meditation. This is another thing that in past would make my eyes roll. I read about it one day and tried it on my own at home with little result. Then a few times up on the bridge of the boat I tried it when I was on the boat alone. You notice I said alone. For me it would be too weird to be doing this with others about. What I will say is it’s not as easy as it would seem and it takes practice and discipline ... and it certainly provides real relaxation and recharges the brain. What I found works best for me is not real mediation but a variation where I would just sit up on the bridge in the evening and close my eyes and totally veg out with some music playing softly in the background – usually classical or believe it or not Santana. That works for me and if their are no disturbances, I can be in the zone for up to an hour.

So a friend sent me a pic of this woman meditating on the bow of the boat at anchor. She not only looks great and very artistic ... she looks totally in the zone. The pic was inspiring and I got to thinking that the best way to meditate is on a boat with the waves lapping and a slight breeze in a secluded anchorage (Georgian Bay has lots of those). Next boating season I’m going to try it on my own in some remote anchorage and we’ll see how that works. I hear about people using meditation for pain management. Apparently for some expert practitioners of meditation, it can be more powerful than any pain medication, especially once the body gets used to the medication. It could come in handy later in life ... but it’s not likely something you can learn once your body is already racked with pain. You want to practice for years in advance of that possibility.

The moral of the story is don’t be afraid to try new things no matter how strange they may seem. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Posted by at 10:56 AM

Monday, October 07, 2013


Boat purchase and ownership doesn't have to be expensive. While the Bristol well maintained boats at deep discount prices for the most part disappeared several years ago, there are still thousands of older handyman specials out there that can be had for very little money and can be brought back to good working condition with a little elbow grease and initiative. These boats have to be do it yourself projects for those that are mechanically inclined ... because the economics simply won’t likely work if you have to pay a yard to bring an old boat back to life at marina rates.

I understand your own time is not free, but if you take the time and treat it like a hobby you can restore an older boat for very little money and it can be the envy of the marina. The trick is to pick a boat with good bones and a power plant that is still serviceable. Look around for boats that were well built in their day with classic lines like Bertram, Chris Craft etc. There are lots around, and in this buyers market the laws of supply and demand dictate that you pay only a fraction of the real value for older boats that need some loving care.

Pick up an old 60’s 25’ or 31’ Bertram by example and fully restore it and you can be looking at a 1000% profit ... plus your enjoyment of restoring and using the boat for a season or two. These boats are retro and once restored fully are an easy sale properly marketed. The smaller classic runabouts under 40’ are especially sought after by upscale cottagers looking for a little nostalgia and the status of owning a restored classic. Of course there are less expensive solutions to boating like this guy improvising with a table.

Posted by at 2:38 PM