Friday, May 12, 2017

PUTTING OFF BUYING A NEW OR USED BOAT?

If you like many have been putting off buying a brokerage yacht waiting for the dollar to recover so that great selection of used boats in the USA is available to Canadians you may have a long wait. With several US bank rate increases coming including this coming June it will drive the Canadian dollar even lower against the US greenback. Canada probably won’t see any Bank of Canada increases until spring of 2018 and the world is awash in oil and the OPEC pumping agreement could dissolve if the USA keeps commissioning new shale gas rigs and pumping at peak capacity. Bottom line is until oil gets back at near $100 a barrel and until the Canadian economy sheds debt and our economy heats up our loony is destined to languish. Our predict is look for a 65 – 69 cent Canadian dollar by late fall of 2017. That means if you don’t want to wait for 5 years or more to get that boat now is as good a time as any.

Here’s some more detail from a previous story we did:

{US brokers have figured out that with our Canadian dollar being so low, there are bargains to be had for fresh water, low hour yachts. Canadian yacht brokers are getting lots of calls right now as prospect buyers push their brokers to Canadian inquiries. It's funny how quickly the tables turned. Not many Canadians are shopping for boats in the US right now. The US economy has had a robust recovery in the used and new yacht sales departments ... to find real bargains in brokerage boats, the place to shop is Canada. Our short Canadian boating season means low operating hours, less wear an tear, and of course many boats are stored in indoor heated storage which puts a lot less stress on the boat. And if a boat is coming from Ontario, it is likely that it has never seen anything but fresh water. Combined with a 20% plus discount on the currency, and it's a hard to beat scenario for US boat buyers shopping in Canada.The phones are ringing for Canadian brokers offices from US brokers and it's only a matter of time before US private boat prospectors eliminate the middle man and start calling directly to brokers in Canada looking for bargains. It works out well for Canadian boat sellers as well because if they bought a used boat in the US when our dollar was high post recession, they stand to make a good profit on selling their used boat back into the US market providing that the boat is a sought after brand and model. In some cases, as raw materials have risen in the US and as the economy has improved manufacturers prices on popular new boats has risen in the US and this has compounded the need for good quality low hour used boats. The right model used boat bought at a good price in the US two years ago could yield a 30% profit selling the same boat two years later back into the US market. Low fuel prices are further heating up the boat market in the US and depressed oil prices in Canada are likely to push our Canadian dollar even lower making the prospects even sweeter for US buyers and Canadian sellers.}

Now what has changed since we wrote this above is it’s getting harder all the time to find good used Canadian yachts with low hours at the right price. It’s supply and demand. The selection is there but it’s for the most part in the US. With our dollar going lower in the next year, now is the time to buy that US boat of your dreams through your Canadian broker. Otherwise you may we waiting a decade for our dollar to recover. Same thing for new boats built in the US. They won’t be getting any cheaper in the foreseeable future.

Posted by at 2:14 PM
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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017 YACHT SALES

So here are my 2017 predictions on boat sales:

- Our dollar will weaken further as US interest rates climb and that will mean more US bargain hunters coming to Canada for yachts. Great for the brokers and Canadian sellers, but maybe not as good for Canadian buyers as inventory dwindles.

- New US built boat prices will rise in Canada while new European built boat prices will fall.

- The Toronto Boat Show would actually be a good time to lock in a new boat purchase before more US interest rate increases take hold affecting our dollar in Canada.

- Higher fuel prices due to carbon taxes may soften first time boat buying prospects, but not to the same extent higher fuel prices hurt the market a few years ago.

- As boomers grow older some are forced to sell their boats, but as a counter, boomer wealth gets passed along to the next generation and some of that wealth may go to boat purchases for younger longer term buyers.

- Canada’s economy should improve as the residual affect of the US economy heating up takes hold up here – employment and wages will rise and disposable income will lead to sales increases particularly in the multi outboard centre console market which has been a hot boat sector for several years.

- New boat buyers will favour outboards at the expense of stern drives for boats under 40 feet.

- Both US and Canadian boat enthusiasts will use their boats increasingly as a domestic tourism substitute for travel outside the country ... just like what happened in the US after 911.

- Increased utilization of boats and engine hours will go up meaning more repairs, accessories and boat turnover.

- Canadian boat brokers biggest headache will be finding listings of low hour, high quality boat inventory - sales prospects won’t be the issue.

Overall my prediction is that used boat sales will be very healthy in Canada in 2017 and new boat sales will lag somewhat but will still be up from 2016 new boat sales stats.

Posted by at 11:25 AM
Edited on: Tuesday, January 10, 2017 11:35 AM
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Tuesday, June 07, 2016

ORILLIA SPRING IN-WATER BOAT SHOW JUNE 10 -12

Here’s something many of our readers might be interested in. Hands on basic and advanced training for manoeuvring your boat in close quarters ... it’s part of the Orillia Boat Show and it’s free thanks to Discover Boating.

Discover Boating’s Hands-On Skills Training

Nothing beats hands-on experience for improving your boating skills or learning new ones. This year's show features hands-on, on-the-water boating workshops. Discover Boating presents two different Hands-on Skills Training CLINICS for power boaters at the Orillia Spring In-Water Boat Show on June 10-12, 2016. Delivered by experienced professional on-water educators who are trained in the Discover Boating Hands-On Skills Training approach, our aim is to make boating more accessible, safe and enjoyable!

There's something for everyone — from absolute beginners to seasoned skippers! You'll learn from experts: All sessions are taught by skilled on-water trainers.

Each event is 60 minutes long and registration is free. Participation is limited to four persons per boat. These effective learning events will help develop skills that will last a lifetime and add significantly to your boating safety and enjoyment. Please note that to participate you must already have your PCOC (Pleasure Craft Operator Card).

Remember: These courses have limited spaces available during the show, so be sure to register in advance to book your space. Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis; and at no charge, we expect spaces to fill up quickly!

For more information about the Hands-on Skills Training program, visit www.DiscoverBoating.ca/HOST

Register For Skills Training HERE

Fundamentals of Close Quarters Powerboat Handling:

Hone your docking skills and practice close quarters manoeuvring with a professional instructor. Learn the fundamentals of boat control in confined spaces including how to confidently manoeuvre close to other boats, piers, docks and fixed objects. Participants will also learn how to turn around in tight spaces, back down a narrow channel in a straight line and other important docking and manoeuvring skills. It’s designed for all boaters who wish to increase both competence and confidence in docking situations.

Advanced Close Quarters Manoeuvring (This clinic is only for those participants 18 and older):

The ability to confidently manoeuvre a boat in tight spaces is the hallmark of a competent skipper. This hands-on session covers advanced, precision boat control and docking techniques used by professional captains, including how to dock and depart confidently using spring lines and more. This event is ideal for experienced boaters, as well as those who are thinking about moving up in boat size or class.

Posted by at 12:55 PM
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Friday, May 13, 2016

WOODEN SHIPS BURN FAST

Here is a video of a small wooden cruise ship in Vietnam catching fire. You can see that it only takes about two minutes for the fire that begins in the stern to completely engulf the boat. When you check the Shipwreck page on our site you will note that fire is one of the main reasons why ships go down. Wooden boats with gasoline engines certainly have a very high fire risk and wooden boat owners need to take extra precautions to avoid on board fires.

Posted by at 9:06 AM
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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

WORLDS LARGEST VIKING SHIP SETS SAIL FOR TORONTO

A courageous crew of sailors from around the world set sail aboard the world’s largest Viking ship. Departing from her homeport in Haugesund, Norway, on Sunday, April 24. Draken Harald Hårfagre and her crew committed to the daring journey to cross the North Atlantic for her Expedition America. The great ship will be joining the fleet of international tall ships in Toronto for the Redpath Waterfront Festival presented by Ports Toronto from July 1 to 3.

The Expedition America project curator, Sigur Aase, wanted Draken Harald Hårfagre to follow in the wake of one of the most challenging Viking explorations – the Viking discovery of the New World. Built with archaeological knowledge of ships, extensive research of Norse literature and using boatbuilding traditions, Draken Harald Hårfagre is what Vikings considered a “Great Ship.” Before casting her sails for Expedition America, Draken Harald Hårfagre was celebrated with a Dragon’s Head Ceremony. The dragon’s head is traditionally not mounted until departure for long journeys to defend the ship and her crew from sea monsters, bad weather, evil creatures and unexpected raids. The ship’s mythological head was revealed in the ceremony, and the great adventure of sailing the historical route was wished “Fair winds and following seas.”

"Even though she is a great sailing ship, no one can predict the weather conditions along the way and the crew will face a real challenge," states Björn Ahlander, captain of Draken Harald Hårfagre. "It’s hard to say which stretch will be the toughest before we’ve set sail, but the waters of Cape Farewell by the coast of Greenland are among the most dangerous waters in the world. It’s extremely windswept and there will probably be a lot of ice."

Draken is crewed by 32 sailors from Norway, Sweden, USA, Canada (Jeff Lievre, Vancouver Island), Estonia, Russia, Spain, France and the UK, all of who were chosen from over 4,000 male and female applicants worldwide. Draken Harald Hårfagre does not provide any shelter for the crew other than a tent where the rotating crew sleep, 16 at a time, four hours work and four hours sleep. The crew will take on the challenge of crossing the North Atlantic Ocean, taking the same route the original Vikings travelled 1,000 years ago from Norway to Iceland, Greenland, Canada and finally the USA.

"It is a challenge to tame the Dragon, which makes reliable seamanship extremely important for the expedition," adds Ahlander. "The work onboard is heavy, wet and cold, therefore it demands a great physical and mental condition. There will be no privacy for the crew, they will be exposed to rain and cold weather with only short breaks to sleep."

Draken Harald Hårfagre is 114 ft long and has an oak hull, a Douglas fir mast, hemp rigging and a 260 square metre silk sail. If there is not enough wind, Draken Harald Hårfagre is equipped with 50 oars that take two oarsmen per oar to row. For voyage updates, visit HERE.

ADDITIONAL REDPATH WATERFRONT FESTIVAL FLEET

El GALEÓN

Step back in time aboard El Galeón, a breathtaking 1:1 scale reconstruction of a 16th century Spanish galleon that was part of Spain’s West Indies fleet. Built in Spain by the Nao Victoria Foundation to be a unique vessel where tradition and modernity meet and represent the Spanish culture, El Galeón is a replica of the Spanish galleons that linked Asia, America and Spain for three centuries. El Galeón will participate in the TALL SHIPS CHALLENGE® Great Lakes 2016 series, and the Festival will be the first port to launch the series. With more than 3,400 square feet, the ship has six decks to explore, 164’ long and has three masts and seven sails.

PRIDE OF BALTIMORE II

Built in Baltimore’s inner harbour, Pride of Baltimore II was commissioned in 1988 as a sailing memorial to her immediate predecessor, which is a reproduction of an 1812-era topsail schooner. Distinguished from other topsail schooners of the time by its backward-raked masts, the Baltimore Clippers had the speed and agility to outmanoeuvre the heavier ships of the Royal Navy. Pride of Baltimore II has sailed nearly 200,000 miles and visited over 200 ports in 40 countries in North, South, and Central America, Europe, and Asia. The Pride of Baltimore II has a sail area of 9,018 sq. ft. and is 157’ long.

BRIGANTINES

Harbour Square Park will be host to four Canadian Brigantines at this year's RWF, the STV Fair Jeanne (Ottawa), St. Lawrence II (Kingston), TS Playfair (Toronto), and STV Pathfinder (Toronto).

BE INSPIRED BY THE ROYAL CANADIAN NAVY

Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the decks of two of the Navy’s 55-metre coastal defence vessels, Her Majesty's Canadian Ships (HMCS) Kingston and HMCS Goose Bay, throughout the weekend. Early risers can come to Harbour Square Park and join the Navy for a fun and motivating 5 km run, July 1 and 2 at 8 am. Join the Royal Canadian Navy at Toronto’s HMCS York! They are actively recruiting for a variety of exciting careers and opportunities.


For information on the Redpath Waterfront Festival, contact:

Peggy Sheffield/Peggy Sheffield & Associates Inc.
Office: 416 246 0474 Cell and text 416 822 8511
psheffield@psapr.com
Posted by at 11:54 AM
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Monday, April 25, 2016

IT’S A BIG OCEAN - BEWARE

A marine supply store sticker and engine serial number allowed authorities identify the boat of two Florida teens who went missing at sea last summer. The discovery of the single-engine vessel on which 14 year olds Perry Cohen and Austin Stephanos got lost at sea during severe weather on July 24 2015 was confirmed by the Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The 19-foot Seacraft vessel was found March 18, 2016 by the Norwegian supply ship Edda Fjord about 100 miles off the coast of Bermuda. There was no indication of what happened to the missing boys. The boat, floating in the shipping lane, was removed from the water by the crew of the Norwegian ship, which was returning to Norway, Doss said. Personal items, including a cell phone and plastic tackle boxes, were found on board.

The families of the two boys have been notified and the boat is expected to arrive by shipping container in the United States from Norway on May 16, 2016. The personal effects that were onboard the boat will be returned to the families of the victims. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission will examine the vessel for new information and return the boat to the family.

Days after the boys went missing, searchers located the boat dozens of miles off Florida’s Atlantic coast, well north of Jupiter, the community the pair left days earlier. The Coast Guard attached a data marker buoy to the boat because the water was too deep for an anchor. One life jacket was found in the water, but there was no sign of the boys. It’s unknown whether they were wearing life jackets. The boat drifted away by the time investigators arrived with salvage equipment to tow it about 67 nautical miles off Florida’s Ponce de Leon Inlet. The data marker buoy malfunctioned, and the craft was not located again until its retrieval by the Edda Fjord.

The Coast Guard estimated that someone could survive in the warm Atlantic waters for a long as five days at that time of year. Austin and Perry left Jupiter on July 24, 2015. The Coast Guard said it had information that the boys may have told others through social media that they planned to travel to the Bahamas, but officials and family members say they’re not sure of the purpose of the boys’ trip and the destination. Coast Guard Capt. Mark Fedor said a significant squall hit the area about the time they left — one that that could have disabled or even capsized their boat. The National Weather Service posted special marine warnings, telling boaters to seek shelter about the time they departed. Later that day, when one of the boys’ grandmothers didn’t hear from them, she reported them missing.

Posted by at 4:01 PM
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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

ONTARIO BEEF’S UP GREAT LAKES PROTECTION

Last fall Ontario passed the Great Lakes Protection Act which will strengthen the province’s ability to keep the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River clean, as well as to protect and restore the waterways that flow into them. The legislations objective is to keep the Great Lakes clean, swimmable and fishable. “Healthy Great Lakes are vital to the success of our province. This act enables us to better protect and restore the Great Lakes, ensure they can withstand the impacts of the changing climate and keep them drinkable, swimmable and fishable for generations to come.” says Glen R. Murray - Minister of the Environment and Climate Change

Passing the Act enables the province to address significant environmental challenges to the Great Lakes, including climate change, harmful pollutants and algal blooms.

The Act will also:

Establish a Great Lakes Guardians’ Council to provide a collaborative forum for discussing and gaining input on issues and priorities relating to the Great Lakes.

Allow the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change to set environmental targets and enable communities to address local problems.

Require the establishment of monitoring programs on a number of water quality indices where needed, as well as regular public reporting.

Require consideration of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in decisions made about the health of the Great Lakes if offered by First Nations or Métis communities.

Enshrine Ontario’s Great Lakes Strategy, the province’s action plan on the Great Lakes, as a living document to be reviewed every six years and reported in the legislature every three years.

Posted by at 10:27 AM
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Friday, March 04, 2016

NOT A BAD WAY TO GO

A German adventure sailor off the coast of Barobo in the Philippines died of a heart attack according to medical authorities. His mummified body was found Feb. 26/16 aboard his partially sunken yacht. An autopsy confirmed that Manfred Fritz Bajorat, 59, died a week before he was discovered on the partially sunken 40-foot yacht. The body was sitting at a navigation table near a VHF radio attempting a final call.

Forensics experts said tropical heat, dry wind and salty sea air can quickly preserve or mummify a corpse. A local fisherman came across Sayo about 40 miles offshore. Inside the partially submerged cabin were found photo albums of Bajorat’s wife and family. He lost his wife to cancer several years ago. Bajorat was identified from paperwork aboard, but Philippine police did not know where he was going or from where he had sailed. One document on board indicated the boat had obtained clearance from maritime police in São Vicente in 2013. It was unclear whether the document was issued in Cape Verde or Brazil. Both have ports of the same name.

More information is here

Posted by at 10:54 AM
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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

THOSE WERE THE DAYS

Let’s take you back to the days of sail. The steel hulled, four masted 1911 barque Peking was one of the last windjammers used in trade around the dangerous Cape Horn route. For many years Peking has been docked at New York City’s South Street Seaport museum. They can no longer afford to keep the ship given it’s nearly million dollar per year maintenance cost. A 30 million-euro grant from the German government means the 320’ ship is set to be sailed back across the Atlantic to its home and final resting berth in Hamburg Germany where it was originally built back in 1911. This is a 1929 documentary film narrated by Irving Johnson as Peking sailed from Germany to Chile via the dangerous Cape Horn. This is a fantastic film that illustrates well, what it was like being at sea under sail way back then.

Posted by at 9:05 AM
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Monday, January 18, 2016

BAD BOY POLICE BOAT

When we were at the Toronto International Boat Show we had a look at this Toronto Police Services boat. Those custom painted flat gray engines on the back are twin 300 HP Merc Verado’s with the new Merc performance props I might add. I jokingly said to the Toronto officer on duty that there are plenty of boats (including my own) that will outrun that police boat with just two 300 Verado’s. I suggested they’d need at least four 300 HP Verado’s to do the job. He shot back that they don’t need to outrun the bad guys – bad guy runners can’t escape the satellite surveillance. They use that horsepower/torque to handle the boat in weather and manoeuvring alongside etc. - but not outrunning centre consoles with triples and quads or cigarette boats. Nice boat though, with aluminum hard-shell bottom, dedicated navigation station and all the bells and whistles built to spec for the force.

So I’m guessing the guys that are operating the satellite surveillance could look at more than border risks or boat chases if they wanted too? Now remember kiddies ... next time you are playing on the boat you might be under satellite observation ... so keep it clean!!! You want to keep law enforcement focussed on the bad guys, and not half naked women wandering around your boat.

Posted by at 2:26 PM
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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

GET READY FOR THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL BOAT SHOW

Wow ... quite the line-up of seminar speakers coming up for the TIBS show this year. Boating Georgian Bay will be there and we will be doing a LIVE Periscope feed on January 12th. This year promises to be a very good show. There’s lots of new vendors and TIBS seems to advertising all over the place including bill boards on major highways and in select Ontario cities. With our dollar so low, a lot of folks are staying in Ontario and this is a show you can treat as a mini vacation and spend a few days browsing and drooling.

The best place to see boats and marine accessories ... the 58th annual Toronto International Boat Show runs January 8 – 17, 2016 at the Enercare Centre, Exhibition Place. www.torontoboatshow.com/. Like their slogan says “We Are Summer” and it’s the closest thing your going to find to Summer in Canada this time of year.

Hours are:

Saturdays (9 & 16) 10am to 7pm

Sundays (10 & 17) 10am to 6pm

Weekdays (11 – 15) 11am to 8pm

New for 2016 – Preview Day: Friday, January 8, 2pm - 8pm

Posted by at 8:08 AM
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Annapolis Landmark Burned

The Annapolis Yacht Club, which traces its roots to 1886, was destroyed in a massive fire December 12th. The club lost many historic artefacts and trophies.

The fire forced the cancellation of the annual Annapolis Eastport Yacht Club Lights Parade, an important tourist attraction which draws 20,000 spectators. What started 33 years ago with people on a few boats singing Christmas carols had become one of the biggest events in Annapolis, and hotel rooms facing the water were booked years in advance.

As yacht club leaders went through the burnt ruins of the club focus shifted to rebuilding and relocating. “It’s a tragedy, but the wonderful news this holiday season is that … the public wasn’t in there, the members weren’t there and the staff got out. Everybody was safe,” said Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who surveyed the clubs destruction. Governor Hogan and Annapolis Mayor Mike Pantelides have vowed to clear red tape to help the club rebuild quickly. The club is considering moving the location and promises to rebuilt the facility bigger and better than ever.

Annapolis is a gathering point for cruisers heading south including hundreds of Canadian boaters who generally show up around Boat Show Time. Many members, cruisers and Boat Show attendees hold the club near and dear to their hearts. Our first visit to the club was back in the late 1970 ’s. It was always interesting to have a drink at the bar and view all of the historic trophies and boat models. We hope they get back on their feet soon.

Posted by at 8:58 AM
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GOOD PRODUCTS SELL LIKE CRAZY

With all this Xmas shopping going on I’ve been thinking a lot about the quality or disposability of the products we buy. Maybe the word “products” is too kind. “Crap” would be a more honest description of most of the stuff for sale these days. I bought eleven strings of outdoor Xmas lights and already five of the eleven strings don’t work three weeks later. I tried replacing bulbs and the little plug end fuses to no avail. After two trips to the store and a talk with the Manager I got my money back. I went shopping at other big box stores and found their Xmas lights were also the same sort of crap. It seems no one makes strings of Xmas lights anymore that last for decades ... like the ones we had when I was a kid. It’s not just about Xmas lights – it is the same problem with the majority of products. I bought some Walmart - George brand T Shirts a month ago in XL and and already they are un-wearable because they shrunk to M after just a few washes.

I see it in boats and boat products too. Is it that consumers simply won’t pay for quality or is it manufactures just trying to increase profits by cutting corners or planning in pre-planned obsolescence? Where did we go wrong in society and how did we get to point where a very high percentage of goods are made offshore in countries that are essentially deploying child and slave labour to crank out inferior crap. I know there are some quality products manufactured offshore but they are in the minority. Where has the demand for quality gone? Don’t tell me there’s no “value” in quality. “Value” is not price driven by itself. Value is a balance of good quality to fair price.

Someone told me consumers wanted cheap things that cost as little as possible and will break or wear out very quickly ... but if they will do the job temporarily, it’s good enough because technology will make the product obsolete in a hurry anyways. I beg to disagree. Our dumps are overloaded with cheap crap and packaging that makes a round trip from the stores shelves to the dump in under a year. It simply isn’t sustainable and cheap products don’t do a good job anyways. When did humanity decide to compromise on everything?

Well I’m here to tell you that there are some people who look for real quality and there are some products that sell like hotcakes at fairly high prices because they are quality made and built to last. One example is Yeti coolers. They have long been an industry high standard and come on some of the best built boats like Boston Whaler. Now they are making high quality 18/8 stainless steel drinking glasses like the Yeti Lowball To Go that deliver what they promise (at a price) and they will last decades. And they are sold out almost everywhere. Le Creuset a French company that makes pots and pans makes some good quality stuff and it costs a lot (like $300 a pan) but it should last a lifetime. Pelican is another example of a company that makes durable tough case products that last almost forever. You know some of the boat examples – Viking, Bertram, Intrepid, Whaler etc. They cost more sure, but if you look at the construction and durability ... you get WAY more for the 50% premium on price – like maybe 300% more value.

And look at some of the crap the automotive industry is pumping out. Designed to last only 60 k with out getting into major service issues and safety ratings that are terrible. Apparently some are willing to sacrifice safety and perhaps their life rather than pay a fair price for quality.

This holiday season think about this. If it’s something you or someone you love needs ... isn’t it worth buying something that will last. Products that have pedigree and manufacturers who stand behind them. Products that may make the difference between life and death or something that will last twenty years instead of two years. Pay the premium and go for the quality – it is worth while. And by the way try and support Canadian manufacturers employing hard working Canadians when you can.

Posted by at 8:35 AM
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Monday, November 30, 2015

NOW IS THE TIME TO PLAN YOUR CRUISE

I can’t tell you how often someone says something like “We want to see Georgian Bay but we are worried about getting lost or hitting rocks and damaging our boat”. There is an old saying, “there can be no adventure without the expectation of adversity”. There is always a chance you will get lost gunk holing around or that you might run into a rock. I’d be lying to you if I told you that could never happen. In fact, marinas on Georgian Bay make significant portion of much needed income every season from boat groundings.

But if you plan ahead, pay attention , and perhaps do the mother goose thing and travel with other experienced boaters. It doesn’t have to be a very risky endeavour. Doing something new and taking a bit of a leap of faith is adventurous and it is good for you. Humans like animals were never intended to live sedentary predictable boring lives. We got so smart we created an artificial environment and essentially many of us live in glass boxes - safe on the inside, but fragile when something external changes beyond our control. When you are out cruising running into bad weather, anchoring at night and navigating tricky passages you will be out of that glass box, and you will remember you are alive. Nothing like getting caught out in a good storm to remind yourself that in the big scheme of things, we’re all but dust in the wind.

However ... experience breeds confidence and assurance. Even if you are dreading navigating on Georgian Bay, you know you need to take the leap because the visual experience of Georgian Bay and the North Channel is worth the challenge. Now, you don’t want to be like the guy we ran into on a houseboat in Killarney who had crossed the Bay with nothing but a road map. There's adventure and then there’s crazy adventure! So to get prepared consider the following.

1. Know your boat intimately and carry basic spares.

2. Practice anchoring out it inclement conditions in familiar territory.

3. Buy the best ground tackle you can lay your hands on.

4. Find a mother goose experienced boater to lead you around or join in on a rendezvous.

5. Take as many Power Squadron courses as you can.

6. Make sure you have your VHF operators license and make sure you know how to use it properly.

7. Learn to pay attention to the weather and appreciate the barometer changes, wind changes and recognize the early stages of a changing weather front.

8. Go slow – take your time and enjoy the scenery, even in bad weather.

9. Pay attention to your course, both visually and by chart.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you are not sure about something – your fellow boaters will generally bend over backwards to assist another boater in need.

Posted by at 8:58 AM
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Thursday, October 15, 2015

YACHT DESIGN MASTERS DO STILL EXIST

Bill Prince is very good at what he does best – designing awe inspiring yachts.

He began his yacht design skills aboard small boats on the Great Lakes. His his peaked interest in building quality, beautiful and functional boats landed him at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. At the engineering school he achieved his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with elements of structural engineering, power transfer and marine engineering included in his studies.

In 1996 in his junior year of engineering school Bill won the NMMA Yacht Design competition. After graduation Bill worked at the offices of Michael Peters Yacht Design in Florida for several years. He then moved to Rhode Island to work as Design Engineer for America's Cup-winning legend Ted Hood. When that campaign was over, he took the position of Design Engineer at the well known iconic brand Island Packet Yachts. In 1995 Bill Prince Yacht Design became a reality and he has provided designs for many independent yacht lovers and yacht builders including Huckins, Metal Shark, Hinckley, Wheeler and Yellow Fin. He designed the Posh 54’ which some believe to be the most beautiful boat ever built and the Schiada 43 Black Diamond a 90 mph work of art.

It’s nice to know there are still a few out there like Bill Prince that can design functional art on water without compromise of integrity, performance or quality. Yachts like these don’t come cheap ... but then again you’re not just buying a boat, you’re buying an instant collectable legend that will the turn heads of the most discerning boat aficionados on the planet. For more info on Bill Prince Yacht Design visit his website at www.billprinceyachtdesign.com


Posted by at 1:03 PM
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Monday, October 05, 2015

ANOTHER WAY TO SINK A BOAT

It’s funny just after writing my last blog post “Prep For Storms”, right on my own dock a boat goes down - not by storm but by other means. It doesn’t pay to neglect a boat. More boats are sunk by neglect than by storms. Many boats take on some water while sitting tied to a dock. It might be rainwater finding it’s way in, or it might be a through hull fitting leak. If your boat is plugged in and the battery charger is doing it’s job - the bilge pumps will remove the water. But if the boat is not plugged in ... eventually the batteries will get depleted by the bilge pump cycling on and off. And when the battery juice is depleted, the bilge pump stops and the boat takes on water and goes to the bottom. The boat in the picture will likely be a write off. It is suspected that it had a small leak in the jet drive bellows and eventually the batteries got tired and couldn’t keep the bilge pump working. An easy thing to overlook. We all just assume a boat will float when it goes in the water. The only thing holding the boat up is the cleated dock lines and a bubble trapped up in the bow. The engine was completely under, as were the batteries and most of the electronics. If you can’t check your boat every few days make sure someone takes on the responsibility for you.

Posted by at 11:31 AM
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Friday, October 02, 2015

PREP FOR STORMS

We don’t get many full blown hurricanes like the east coast of the US, but we often get the remnants, and from time to time we get severe storms with downdrafts that usually follow hot humid weather. Here’s some ideas to prep for a big storm.

1/ When in doubt, haul her out from the water on its own trailer if possible

2/ Never stay aboard a vessel during a storm if you can avoid it

3/ If you are anchored make sure you do not have a bow/stern set ... lots of scope on the chain is the best bet so the boat can swing freely

4/ If the vessel is on a mooring, add chafe gear to the rode and extra fenders to prevent damage

5/ On a dock, double up all lines including spring lines and check that they are long enough to provide the elastic give necessary to keep the boat stable and not be ripping out cleats from the dock

6/ Secure all loose gear and clear any items that may clog scuppers and drains

7/ Secure and lock all hatches and port lights.

8/ Reduce wind damage by removing sails, dodgers, dinghies, canvas bridge enclosures

9/ Check your battery and bilge pumps to ensure they are working properly

Posted by at 1:06 PM
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Monday, September 21, 2015

WHAT A PLUMMETING CDN. DOLLAR WILL DO TO BOATING BUSINESS IN CANADA?

So there is talk out there now by some that are suggesting the Canadian dollar could go down as low as 55 cents. Right now at the time of this blog post the dollar is at 75 cents. It is widely expected to fall down to around 70 cents but who are these money traders that are putting out targets of 55 cents and why?

This September US Fed Chair Janet Yellen decided this was not quite the right time for the first hike in 9 years ... citing lower inflation and global turmoil. Worries about the Chinese economy and wild swings in global stocks had weakened the consensus that the U.S. needs a rate rise. The opponents for a rate increase claimed to speak for the emerging markets, those developing economies hit hard by a rising U.S. dollar. People like former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers and representatives of the IMF and World Bank warned rising U.S. rates could have a devastating effect on the global economy because a rising US dollar would suck money out of the developing world. Yellen suggested that falling U.S. unemployment which hit a seven-year low of just over 5% will have an impact and eventually prices will begin to rise. She said holding off too long created the danger that the central bank would have to raise rates suddenly and sharply once inflation started to soar. Canadian borrowers get a reprieve but probably only a short one. Most likely Yellen will make the rate increase move in October or January at the latest.

So what does this mean to Canada? Well first of all, with the first rate increase money invested elsewhere will flood to the US dollar. All currencies will fall against the US dollar and it will trigger some level of inflation. Infrastructure dollars and investment money in emerging markets may well slow down as that money makes it way over to the US dollar. It’s hard to know how much of the effect of a US interest rate hike is already priced into the North American stock market but at least initially there will likely be some level of correction in the markets. Canadian retailers would be once again forced to up their prices for American goods sold and away we go with inflation.

So what about boats? Well there are positives and negatives. First it looks like the Saudi's won’t blink and it may be a long time before oil gets back up to profitable levels for Canadian drillers. While low oil prices have some benefit to consumers they have a very negative affect on our resource industries to generate cash into the countries GDP and they also negatively impact government coffers to balance budgets and spend on infrastructure.

So our dollar gets hit on both sides – US dollar goes up and we go down further. Until the Canadian economy begins to fire on all cylinders and emerging markets pick up, we are likely going to see our dollar stay very low. Most new boats are coming from the US and that is going to make them very expensive and most likely out of reach for many Canadians. Our used boats will get more valuable and those boats that are sought after in the US can be sold in US dollars at a very attractive profit. Problem is we could be running out of good used inventory in a hurry. Maybe it will encourage some new boat manufacturing in Canada ... but much of the raw product comes from the US also and the cost of goods sold will still rise. Besides our energy and labour costs are way to high in comparison to both US and foreign competition.

So here’s a few things to consider if the Cdn. dollar falls into the 50 - 60 cent range:

1/ New boats are going to get really expensive in Canada.

2/ Good used boats are going to get harder to find.

3/ While the US dollar seems very expensive now it may get a whole lot more expensive and there may still be some time for buying select used US boats that will certainly rise in value up here if our dollar continues it’s decline and the US dollar continues it’s ascent.

4/ Fuel will be cheap still but repair costs will rise with inflation.

5/ Some may elect to sell their boat in US dollars while the going is good.

6/ Many will elect to not buy a new boat while our dollar is weak.

7/ Most likely you will see many Canadian boat owners downsize for two reasons ... one is, that they can sell in US dollars and bank some decent money and perhaps buy the smaller boat just from the profits of the larger boat sale ... and two is, demographically the larger boats have owners that are getting older and they may want something smaller that they can manage more easily.

8/ There will likely be more consolidation and shrinkage in the marine industry in Canada and in the US there is marine industry growth and there will soon be a number of new players emerge as the economy continues improvement down there.

9/ Home ownership will continue to get more expensive and that will temper disposable income for boats.

10/ Canadians will be travelling less to the US so they may do more boating at home.

So as you can see there is all these pro’s and con’s. Savvy boat owners can do alright in this market but those just entering the market can easily get burned if they are not careful. While a boat isn’t an investment, every boat sale and purchase should be treated as if it were. Timing and quality of the boat you buy or sell is paramount to doing the right deal.

Eventually our low dollar will come through for us and our economy will also begin to fire on all cylinders. When that happens our interest rates will also rise and inflation will already have taken hold. Most likely this is a few years out for Canadians though.

In an upcoming episode of Boating Georgian Bay TV we're going to show you how existing Canadian Boat owners can profit on buying the right Canadian boat or even a US boat when our dollar is weak.

Posted by at 1:48 PM
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Wednesday, September 09, 2015

SOCIALIZED SNAPPING TURTLES

Snapping Turtle So when we were filming the last episode of Boating Georgian Bay we were out in an anchorage doing a safety segment, which included the use of inflatable life jackets. We were the only boat in the anchorage and we had a persistent visitor. My bikini clad co-host Gail was not anxious to jump in the water to demonstrate the lifejacket with this big turtle lurking about. This turtle had gotten used to other boaters feeding it ... because it was literally begging at the swim platform. I tried pushing it away gently with a boat brush and throwing buckets of water at it but it wouldn’t be discouraged. Now normally there are a few snappers that call every harbour their home, but if they are in the area and you jump in and claim the water they go away. This guy was so used to being fed by people that he couldn’t be discouraged and he was big enough to be an obvious danger to humans because he was not afraid and no doubt he understood that human hands can come with great food. This is as serious problem for someone swimming in the vicinity, because a big turtle like that could bite off a few fingers or part of a foot without any problem. If you have ever had the misfortune of leaving a stringer of fish in the water too long around a snapper you know what I mean. They get bitten clean off just behind the head without any effort at all. I felt sorry for this turtle because it would only be a matter of time before someone would kill it for being so aggressive in the company of humans.

Giving a snapping turtle a free lunch for the purpose of human curiosity is never a good idea (and neither is feeding bears or other wildlife) because ultimately as they get used to humans, it is a death sentence for the normally cautious reptiles. It’s fun to observe them, but best to draw the line and not feed them if you care about them surviving one more season of what is probably a long life already lived with plenty more years to come. We humans take so much from nature, give these beautiful creatures a break and leave them to explore the anchorage and clean up the dead carrion in the water that would otherwise pollute the water. That is their place in nature to be the cleaners of our lakes and waterways.

Posted by at 3:07 PM
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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

BOATING GEORGIAN BAY ANNOUNCES 2015 SUMMER BGB TV EPISODE

The filming of the BGB TV 2015 summer episode will be in early June, for release by the beginning of July. United City Yachts is the principle sponsor for the 2015 summer episode. “Were glad to have United City Yachts on board as principle sponsor for our 2015 summer episode. Without sponsors we can’t produce the shows ... so we are always grateful to those that partner with us ... and it means support to the boating community at large” says Mark Coles of Boating Georgian Bay. United City Yachts runs three yacht brokerage firms including Toronto Yacht Sales, Kingston Yacht Sales and Georgian Bay Yacht Sales.

The show will be an hour in length and will include six segments:

- How to properly screen for good used yachts

- Meet & greet aboard a Sunseeker Predator

- Use your head ... don’t wind up dead, safety segment

- Margarita's done right

- Strange tails from delivery Captains

- Must have boat spares

To see past BGB TV shows click HERE

Posted by at 2:21 PM
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Thursday, February 19, 2015

OUR HOT SAUCE GETS AROUND

This from Jim and Lisa Favours Blog currently down on Lake Okeechobee in Florida aboard their Ranger Tug.

“We got creative tonight during happy hour and used this bottle of hot sauce we found in our cabinet to put on top of some hummus. That and a few taco chips almost made a meal! We got the bottle from the crew at Boating Georgian Bay last summer during the 2014 Ranger Tugs and Cutwater North Channel Rendezvous in Little Current, Ontario, Canada.”

Posted by at 4:15 PM
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Friday, February 06, 2015

Parks Canada Offering Trent Canal System Incentive

Boaters who purchase a single-lock-and-return pass, a single-passage pass or a one-day pass between May 15 and June 30, will be able to redeem 2 FOR 1 COUPONS available at lock stations, various boat shows, via cottage associations and marinas. Nice to see Parks Canada promoting the canal system and doing some innovative marketing. We hope they carry on with further ideas and promotions that can help fully utilize the lock system which is truly a national treasure.

This new promotion supports a new concerted effort to make better use of and create awareness of the lock system (and the funding required to support it) and is part of the Government of Canada's invigorated commitment to its historic waterways, including investments of $58 million along the Trent-Severn Waterway and $7.5 million along the Rideau Canal for infrastructure improvements. In addition, the Government has enhanced visitor service on the Rideau Canal and Trent-Severn Waterway with extended operating hours to support tourism, economic development and help Canadians connect with the incredible experiences along these important heritage waterways.

In a press release Parks Canada says "The historic canals, an important part of Canada's heritage, are steeped in beauty, making them exceptional locations to participate in some of our country’s living history. The Government of Canada remains committed to providing opportunities for seasoned and first-time boaters alike to experience canals multiple times with this promotion, or bring a friend along for their boating adventure.Through initiatives like these, Parks Canada is supporting Canada's National Conservation Plan by taking concrete action to connect Canadians to nature. In addition, the ongoing work of Parks Canada is enhancing visitor experience and facilitating personal connections with Parks Canada places".

Posted by at 1:42 PM
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Thursday, January 29, 2015

19th CENTURY CANAL BOATS FOUND ON BOTTOM OF LAKE ONTARIO

Two 19th century canal boats were recently found on the bottom of Lake Ontario 200’ down. A dive team from Rochester discovered the boats using side-scan sonar searching for shipwrecks on Lake Ontario’s eastern end. The sunken canal boats 65’ & 78’ were found within a few miles of each other midway between Oswego and Sackets Harbor. They were likely under tow being used as barges and had to be cut loose in a storm.

Posted by at 4:19 PM
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Thursday, January 15, 2015

WHAT BIG WAVES DO TO A SHIP

Here is an interesting video that shows how flexible the big cargo ships must be to survive big seas. Metal tests have shown that the steel from older vessels (like the Titantic) was of very poor quality and was rather brittle, with many tiny empty pockets in the metal due to the smelting processes of the time. Modern steel can flex a great deal without compromise. Older ships had the hull plates riveted and the rivets were also a weak link and could pop when stressed. Modern steel ships have the plates welded of course and the welds are often stronger than the hull steel itself. In the video you will get an inside view of the flexing. Big ships still want to avoid really bad storms whenever possible because there are limits to any vessel when it comes to flexing of the hull.

Posted by at 3:29 PM
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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2017 AMERICA’S CUP TO BE HELD IN BERMUDA

The oldest trophy in international sport ... the America’s Cup # 35 will be in Bermuda on June 2017. The sailboat race will be located at Bermuda’s Great Sound, an almost land locked bay with plenty of room for sailing and a great spectator venue from many vantage points. The base for America’s Cup activities and the contender teams is at the Royal Naval Dockyards. At a presentation at the Lauderdale Yacht Club in early December, Oracle Team USA famed Skipper Jimmy Spithill told attendees that Bermuda beat out San Diego for two reasons: 1/ Bermuda is in a better time zone for international television coverage and 2/ The race village could all be in one place.“Racing in Bermuda will be an incredible experience for the spectators, both on-site and for those watching the broadcast, and for the sailors, it’s going to be very challenging, I’ve raced there several times and the variety of conditions means you can never let your guard down” said Spithill.

While Bermuda is a beautiful location to hold the event it will present some difficulty for the the average spectator to get there and find accommodation on the relatively small island. However it will play well for television from that location and ultimately the goal is to bring in a wider audience and fan base.

In the 2017 event, all teams will race with AC62 catamarans, powered by wing sails and designed to skim the surface of the water on foils at speeds of up to 50 mph. So far six teams are participating in the 2017 racing challenge. The defending champion is Oracle Team USA backed by Larry Ellison, the billionaire founder of Oracle software. Racing for the Cup requires formidable resources and the average team challenge cost exceeds 100 million dollars. It is a leading edge technology driven sport with the very best in professional racing crews. Challengers include Emirates Team New Zealand, Artemis Racing (Sweden), Ben Ainslie Racing (Great Britain), Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) and Team France. The challenger finalists then go on to the America’s Cup Challenger playoffs and the right to race Oracle Team USA in the finals in June 2017.

In 2015 as a lead up to the main event at least four events are scheduled as part of the America’s Cup World Series, including the season opener (June 5-7), and races in Portsmouth, UK (July 23-26), Gothenburg, Sweden (Aug. 28-30) and Hamilton, Bermuda (Oct. 16-18). In 2016 six lead up events are expected including a summer race in Chicago and again a race in Portsmouth, UK (July 21-24). Portsmouth is the city on the coast of the UK that is home to the UK’s renowned Ben Ainslie Racing Team.

“The 2017 America’s Cup will build on the successful elements that now define the event — close racing in fast, foiling catamarans crewed by the very best sailors in the world and delivered to an international audience by award-winning broadcasters,” said Harvey Schiller, the Commercial Commissioner for the America’s Cup.

Posted by at 10:19 AM
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Thursday, November 27, 2014

BUILD ON CAPACITY

Prior to the global financial crisis, U.S. and Canadian businesses were investing at a breakneck pace in order to keep up with frenzied global activity. Consumers everywhere were overspending, housing markets were hot, and business the world over tried to keep up with what became ultimately unsustainable. When the bubble burst, it left companies with a massive surplus of capacity that was going to take a long time to get used up. Investment and building in the boat industry almost completely shut down. The few yachts that did get built were to order ... and not on speculation of selling. Growth in the economy has for the most part been serviced by existing industrial capacity.

This investment growth trend has languished for many years and has become the accepted normal. It’s time to wake up!

For the past four years, modest economic growth has slowly but surely used up excess capacity in the USA and it’s filtering up to Canada. The total capacity utilization rate is just 1% below the all time previous peak and it’s rising. Capacity has almost escalated to pre-recession levels, without the uncontrolled frenzied pace of pre crisis activity. Numerous indicators show that investment needs to rise to build new capacity.

The irony of the situation is very strange. Here we have Crates Keswick going into receivership with a mountain of debt right on the threshold of an economic boom in North America. The US economy is on a full tilt roll now. The stock market has lead out to all time highs and the S&P still looks like a raging bull, housing has bounced back, unemployment is way down and new jobs are being created at an extremely healthy pace. The old saying that when the US sneezes Canada gets a cold also works in reverse. US consumers are spending again, fiscal stimulus has ended, money is cheap, the GDP is on fire and Canada has much to gain from their neighbour to the south.

Quality brand name yacht manufacturers in the US are pretty much selling everything that they can produce, as quickly as they can produce it. It’s time for the Canadian marine industry to catch the wave or we will find others who will fill the void in our own country. For marina operators this is the time to buy - not sell. The fate of the Crates Marine enterprises will create opportunity for some lucky marina operators, who will look back at 2014 as the ultimate play to lock in low interest capital investment that will provide handsome returns where in Canada we will once again see our economy come up to full steam in the next two years. It’s coming sooner than you may think because it’s a tsunami heading north from the US. Our problem in Canada is, we are standing around waiting for others to make a move – sometimes petrified by what hurt us in the past. Some smart operators will make a killing picking up the spoils of Crates from the Receiver. In six or eight years time, few will remember the 84 year history of Crates and life will have moved on to a new normal with the marina full of brand new shiny yachts with happy owners having cocktails on the bridge.

Posted by at 3:43 PM
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Monday, November 24, 2014

SAD DAY FOR ONTARIO MARINE INDUSTRY

The iconic Crates Marina on Lake Simcoe in Keswick has gone into receivership as of Friday November 21st, 2014. Apparently they owed creditors $28M dollars. It affects all of their marinas except for the Belleville operation. NOTE that Crates Lake Country Boats is not associated with Crates Keswick and it has different owners.

So Crates Keswick has been on the marine scene forever, with a presence on Lake Simcoe (Lagoon City, Willow Beach & Keswick), Lake Ontario (Belleville & Port Credit) and Georgian Bay (Port McNicoll). No doubt a receiver will run the marina operations in a fashion that will stop the bleeding until the assets can be sold. And no doubt some other marinas will benefit as boaters at Crates properties look for options. But overall it’s a black eye for the marine industry in Ontario and of course there will be lots of pain for various private and public creditors that stand to loose much of their hard earned money that will vaporize, as the business winds down.

It’s sad to see and this is confirmation that it has been a tough slog for marina operators over the last eight years. Five years post recession the industry is tapped out ... while ironically it is at the cusp of a recovery that is working it’s way up from the US and via confidence in the economy. Those marina operators that are prudent and efficient and have held their prices through excellent customer service are the ones that are left standing to carry forward. It’s a lesson that we can all learn from, as we have seen this picture before. It’s easy to forget, that when a recession technically ends there can be a long slow recovery process that follows that is far more brutal on many small businesses than the recession itself. It’s a slow but insidious erosion that creeps in and tips the scales at some point beyond recovery. The ones that fail simply can’t wait it out any longer, even though better times are just around the corner. Failure creates opportunity for more efficient competitors and bottom feeders who bide their time looking for opportunities when they arise. Our hope is that some capable and efficient operators will pick up these properties and life will move on. Unfortunately there will no doubt be a few years of turmoil for the business ... and the boaters that call Crates their second home.

Posted by at 1:04 PM
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Monday, November 17, 2014

FORT YACHTIE DA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Did you know that super yacht crews have their own film festival every year where they feature films they have submitted to various categories. Basically it’s a chance for the crews to have some fun and show off their skills as film makers. The winners get academy award trophies that are fish sculptures. Some videos are funny and some are serious, but most films have a window into the life of those that serve others on these mega yachts and make life, dining and travel look simple for the owners and guests aboard these floating palaces. One thing is for sure the job of crew is not glamorous - it’s mostly hard work with some interesting destinations along the way. Here are a few of their festival videos.


www.youtube.com/watch?v=LkUXk-_QM8o

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmqW7C5hjIo

www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB_n61fCO7U

Posted by at 1:57 PM
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Thursday, October 30, 2014

FORT LAUDERDALE ROARS

The bottom line ... U.S. consumers and businesses are back. It has been a long time coming. US fiscal stimulus is over, and the economy is rolling and interest rates should remain low for another year or more buoying up the markets. The driver is the U.S., but the rest of the world is expectant that they too will reap the benefits over the next few years. The US advanced at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.5% GDP in the third quarter of 2014. Economists had forecast growth at a 3.1% pace for the quarter. U.S. unemployment rate is now at a six-year low of 5.9 % and the US economy added 248,000 jobs in September, continuing a recent record of strong gains.

Fort Lauderdale is the yacht capital of the world and it just opened the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show which is the biggest boat show in the world with three million sq.ft. of exhibit space over 7 locations. First day of the show and the buzz is already that people are coming out in droves and folks are spending $ big time. High end luxury yachts are already flying off the shelves and consumers are in a buying mood. Yacht manufacturers are salivating at the possibilities and already many have plans underway to gear up in production in a bold move from “build to order” quickly evolving to “build for inventory and spec”. The show is crawling with serious targeted buyers and for the first time in many years it’s not just about the used boat market, but rather new boats in all size ranges. There is a lot of pent up demand over nearly a decade and yacht lovers are finally feeling confident enough to take the plunge.

Posted by at 2:09 PM
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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

BOATING GEORGIAN BAY SURVEY

If you're reading this we have a favour to ask of you. We have a short survey HERE and it will help us to focus on the Boating Georgian Bay site content that you would like to see. The survey will just take a few minutes and it would be much appreciated. Your identity is protected and we will not use the survey for anything but to help us make Boating Georgian Bay the best boating site experience on the web.

Posted by at 4:57 PM
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Monday, October 27, 2014

TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Why does ice float? Ice floats in water because ice is less dense than water. The hydrogen bonds keep the molecules of ice farther apart than the molecules in liquid water. That makes the ice less dense than the liquid. Water is the only chemical we know of where the frozen state takes up more room than the liquid state. Anything else is the opposite.

The picture (left) came from a rig Manager for Global Marine Drilling in St. Johns, Newfoundland. These big ice bergs that calve off from glaciers often need to be towed or pushed away from drilling rigs. In this case the water was unusually calm and the sun was directly overhead so a diver got a nice clear picture of this estimated 300,000,000+ ton iceberg. As you can see 95% of the mass is below the water.

Sometimes as these icebergs flow south and melt they can completely roll over. Our ice on Georgian Bay doesn’t get thick enough to form real ice bergs. But the plates of ice flows do have more mass below the water than above. As the weather warms up the ice gets saturated with water and eventually begins to sink just below the surface until it melts away.

Posted by at 8:15 AM
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Thursday, October 16, 2014

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A NICER REAR END?

Yacht Lady M is the first US built 120’ Palmer Johnson 210 sports series yacht. Powered by 2 MTU 4,150 HP diesel engines, she is capable of a top speed of 28 knots and comfortably cruises at 24 knots. With her 57,000 litre fuel tanks Lady M has a maximum range of 2,534 nautical miles at 16 knots. The yacht is designed by Italian designer Nuvolari Lenard and includes an art deco life size Jaguar bow sprit. She can accommodate 12 guests and a crew of 15. The owner, guest and public spaces encompass 7,000 square feet, room for six staterooms, which include the owner’s suite and a full-beam VIP aft on the lower deck. Balconies can also expand and transform the spaces. She is flagged in the Cayman’s and like many super yachts her home port is George Town. Talk about curves, she is drop dead gorgeous. Here she is on video.

Posted by at 3:31 PM
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SHIPWRECK BEER

We all know we shouldn’t drink too much beer. But one glass per day is safe.

Scientists have recreated a beer found on a ship that sank in 1842.The beer was found on a shipwreck in the Aland archipelago between Finland and Sweden in 2010. Divers recovered 145 bottles of champagne and five beer bottles from the ship. The bottles had been down 165’ underwater.

Led by Professor Guido Aerts and Master Brewer Gert De Rouck, the team worked for a year to reconstruct the centuries-old brew.

‘Based on the micro-organisms in the bottles, we were able to figure out which type of yeast and bacteria were used by the beer’s nineteenth-century brewers,’ said De Rouck.

‘This information allowed us to trace the beer back to Belgium.’

The team says the beer is as close to the original as possible.

One difference, though, is that malt was produced differently in the 19th century. This would have meant the beer back then was sweeter.

The more recent version has a low bitterness and an alcohol content of 4.7 per cent.

University of Leuven's Brewing Technology Research Group were then asked to study and reconstruct the beer.

A Finnish brewery has brought the replicated beer to market for $145 a bottle, so beer lovers can get a taste of the 19th century brew In total the brewery produced 1,500 litres of the beer, creating 1,700 bottles made of hand-blown glass like the originals.

Posted by at 2:12 PM
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Monday, September 22, 2014

DRONES ON THE WATER

It's possible to come upon an unmanned surface vessel (USV) navigating anywhere in the world. Right now, fifteen student/professor engineering entries from five countries have sixteen foot WAM-V articulating catamarans that they are adding propulsion to for the upcoming Maritime RobotX Challenge in Singapore. There is a foundation dedicated to unmanned motorized water, air and land craft www.auvsifoundation.org. The US Navy is involved in some sponsorship via www.onr.navy.mil . But there is more to USV’s than science projects for University students.

The technology to manufacture unmanned sophisticated USV’s or water drones has existed for some time. It’s not a kids toy notion ... but rather a really useful tool for military and coast guard surveillance and intercept & attack capabilities - without risking human lives. Imagine the applications – patrolling for pirates off Somalia, intercepting unauthorized boats entering coastal waters with contraband, sending a USV into battle to attack specified targets, monitoring the coasts and inland waterways for environmental infractions, gathering research data in the oceans, on water rescue services in conditions that would otherwise endanger human lives ... and the list goes on.

With efficient electric propulsion systems and new battery technology combined with solar charging, moving a water drone long distances from A to B is a peace of cake. The vessels can be built virtually unsinkable and just like some of the new cars, they can know when they risk bumping into something and they have their own radar. GPS auto pilot satellite links can insure navigation to any part of the world including the ability to skirt bad weather systems. Constant downloading of intelligence data can come from both on-board systems and via satellite from remote human operators. Cameras provide a constant 360 degree view of the waterscape around the drone. The trickiest part of the technology is how to water proof a plethora of electronics travelling in variable conditions cruising very close to the water surface or under the water. Salt water, and the requirement for electronics cooling, compounds the problem. Does the whole thing sound far fetched? Experts say it’s already happening on the water and below the water.

Recently Aviation Week published an article on Large Displacement Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (LDUUV) confirming that the underwater drone technology is well established. The LDUUV is large and highly autonomous, carrying out missions at long distances for months. It acts as a mother ship, deploying and operating static and mobile sensors for surveillance in coastal waters. Soon they are likely to be armed. The LDUUV has a large payload making it capable of releasing sensors, communication buoys and smaller USV’s. The Navy’s emphasis is on persistent surveillance “over the horizon” however its most significant impact is in mine warfare, both offensive and defensive. Want more info on Naval drones click HERE

At some point it is not unreasonable to imagine a high speed drone responding to a May Day call targeting by EPIRB, AIS or reported position. So don’t be surprised that in the next five years or so you might be cruising along and you get a “sail past” by a drone checking you out. Kind of spooky isn’t it?

Posted by at 10:54 AM
Edited on: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 10:56 AM
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

WELL SAID

I came upon this on a boaters forum. “Personal comfort level is the range of differences between camping in a tent and staying in a Class A motor home. Ergonomics is also essential. The buyers must face the reality of their physical constraints as they age. Some boats are a gymnastic challenge to get on and off at different dock configurations or move around to handle lines. … They need to be able to dock and undock solo, without dockside assistance. Aesthetics plays a part but should not dictate folks’ choice of a trawler. Pragmatism ultimately generates a much greater and enduring owner satisfaction.”

Sage advice from someone who has obviously spent so time on boats long distance cruising. The discussion was all about buying off brand manufactured boats and mass produced production boats that were shall we say ... are less than well thought out. If your boat is just a place to sleep at the marina, then it’s sea worthiness and sea friendliness is not all that important. But if you plan to be cruising over the long run, everything changes.

Shortcuts and compromises on a boat only lead to grief for folks spending a lot of time on a boat that is cruising. In fact choosing the wrong boat for a serious cruise can ruin ones interest in boating to the point that exiting the lifestyle becomes attractive to many that simply get feed up with things that don’t work and aren’t the way they are supposed to be on boat. It’s not obvious, especially for novice boaters, how badly and problematic some boats are designed.

The guy who wrote the quote above from the forum is quite right. You are going to be on fixed docks and floating docks when you are cruising and because you will end up in any number of dock elevations ... therefore your boat should have more than one elevation option to enter or exit the boat from the dock. As you get older playing acrobat is out of the question. Do you think at some point you might have to get to the bow in storm to anchor or secure a dock line? – hell yes! So why would you buy a boat that has no easy and safe passage from the helm to the bow. Some boat manufacturers don’t even provide strategic hand holds ... so you are left in a very dangerous situation. What kind of sheer does the boat have from the bow towards the stern and what kind of cockpit drainage - so when the boats taking water over the bow, how quickly does it shed. Flat forward decks are for pontoon boats not for serious cruisers. And what happens when the first mate is ill sometime – can you get the boat back on a dock by yourself if you had to? Are the cleats backed up with plates or just bolted through? Are the rails built with stainless tubing so skinny that the first time someone grabs the rail when you are docking it turns to spaghetti? Can you get reasonable access to the mechanicals for service? Are your thru hulls just gates or ball valves? The list goes on forever. No question cost is factor. Quality costs money. You might be better buying a well maintained ten year old quality built boat with a pedigree, than a two year old boat that will be junk in ten years ... even though they are in the same price range.

There is much to consider but one observation when I walk around marinas is, a very high percentage of boats for sale are compromises. Do you think that might have something to do with the fact they are for sale? Probably in many cases. Either the owner got feed up or he/she has gained the experience to know they should be shopping for a higher quality cruise friendly boat. When you are shopping for a boat take your time, and remember it is not all about space and gizmos. It’s about quality and functionality. It seems to me, the more boats are tarted up by manufacturers for showroom “pop” the less likely they are to be functional. Buyer beware.

Posted by at 12:23 PM
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

WANT TO GO BACK TO UNIVERSITY?

I think I want to go back to school. Power & Motoryacht University is offering courses to improve seamanship on Saturday 13th. For $150 you get full day courses, continental breakfast. working lunch, cocktail reception and graduation ceremony ... and a free admission to the Newport International Boat Show. Now that’s my kind of University!! Cocktails and graduation all in the same day. Sign me up for the Masters program. Did I mention the campus is the Hyatt Regency in Newport Rhode Island?

Here is the course outline:

9:00 a.m. - 10:00 a.m. Getting the Most out of your Electronics for Fishing and Beyond, presented by Navico

Daren Cole, Global Brand Director for Lowrance, will discuss the ins and outs of using such capabilities as photo-like StructureScan images, using the BSM2 Sounder Module to process CHIRP technology sounder signals including reading bottom composition and at-speed depth readings, Trackback sounder-history recording, creating your own charts and sharing them through Insight Genesis, and more.

10:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m. Yacht Design Insights

Doug Zurn, of Zurn Yacht Design, discusses the challenges of yacht design and how to come up with a design to meet the needs laid out in a design brief. Plus, what you need to know when working with a yacht designer.

10:45 a.m. - 11:15 a.m. Break and meet-and-greet with Power & MotoryachtUniversity sponsors and vendors

11:15 a.m. - 12:00 noon Planning Your Boat's Maintenance Schedule, presented by VesselVanguard

Learn to keep your boat in tip-top condition with the experts from Hinckley Yachts who offer advice on setting up a maintenance schedule covering preseason, midseason, and end-of-season tasks. Presenters will also answer audience troubleshooting questions and offer advice for quick fixes of underway problems.

12:00 noon - 1:00 p.m. Lunch with VesselVanguard

Have lunch and learn about VesselVanguard, a cloud-based maintenance/management program.

1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. LED Lighting: Features and Benefits Explained

Mike Moriarty, lighting engineer for IMTRA, will discuss the benefits of LED and share tips and details on refitting with marine LED lighting.

2:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m. Today's Technology Takes Cruising to the Next Level, presented by Navico

Daren Cole, Global Brand Director for Lowrance, will discuss the capabilities of the latest systems from Navico brands Simrad, Lowrance, and B&G, including powerful charting and sounder capabilities, low-emission 4G Broadband HD radar, and the upcoming ForwardScan forward-looking sonar.

2:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Break and meet-and-greet with Power & MotoryachtUniversity sponsors and vendors

3:00 p.m. - 3:45 p.m. Refitting a Dyer 29

Avid boater and small business owner Grant Tankoos has refit three Dyer 29s, the latest being a diesel-powered trunk cabin that he's excited to cruise. He'll take you through the steps in the projects, and share some stories.

3:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Marine Weather: Assessing Your Self-Reliant Skills

Lee Chesneau is a senior marine meteorologist with a distinguished and extensive career with the U.S. Navy, the National Weather Service, and as a commercial weather router. He discusses the National Weather Service marine program advisory and warning system, reviews weather maps, and discusses the development of self-reliance weather skills.

4:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m. Refresh, visit with sponsors and vendors

Oh My Lord ... do you think I can pass this course and make something of myself – finally? It’s missing a few courses like ... how to mix cocktails in a rough anchorage and ... how to get female cruisers to shed their bikini tops in the name of equality for all! Seriously though it sounds like a fun weekend doesn’t it?

Posted by at 10:54 AM
Edited on: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 10:55 AM
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Thursday, August 21, 2014

DREAM BOAT FOR FISHING AND FUN

So if you were looking for a high quality built boat for fishing, fun and a bit of cruising what would it be? First of all lets qualify the requirements a bit.

It has to sleep at least two, have offshore range of 400 miles, full galley facilities, all the bells and whistles for fishing, under $800k new, outboards for speed and to save interior space, generator, air and heat, be highly capable in rough weather and fast to around 50 mph or more. Boats that come to mind for me are the Intrepid 390 Sport, See Vee 430, Boston Whaler 345 Conquest, Grady-White Express 370, Edgewater 335 Express, Contender 40 Express, Pursuit Sport Coupe 365. All are excellent boats and will get you out in back through sheer hell, safely and as comfortably as possible. All these boats can take more than you or mother nature can give them. These boats could bring you back begging to kiss dry land. The Edgewater and Whaler are unsinkable. All these boats are a great boat for a cruising couple or weekend getaway boat and they will fish hard core. The semi custom See Vee is any fisherman's dream and to own one is to die and go to heaven. The Contender’s and Intrepid’s seem to own the sport fishing market on Caribbean islands. I’ve no doubt left some out so I apologize for that.

So what do these boats have in common? They are selling like hot cakes. Their production is expanding and not contracting like many boat builders. Why – because they are quality built boats that will do the job and take an absolute s**t kicking and bring you back safely to the dock. They have all the comforts of home and they hold their value much better than most boats. It seems there are lots of folks that appreciate quality and will pay for it. Something a lot of manufactures could learn about as short cuts on production quality seem to be more the norm than the exception these days.

Posted by at 3:28 PM
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MARINAS ARE RUNNING THREE WEEKS AHEAD

We’ve been talking to few marina owners and service staff and word on the street is boaters are behaving much as they would later in the season. So were just about to enter the last week of August and in terms of repairs and fuelling it’s feeling more like the middle of September. Folks seem to think it’s a product of weather (coldest summer since 1976) and fuel prices. Way more boats staying on the docks this summer and less people visiting the boat. Looking out on the Bay not a single boat on the horizon except one lonely guy fishing.

I stayed on the boat the other night because I was travelling through the area anyways, and I was shocked that on a beautiful sunny Tuesday with lite winds, there was not one other single boat owner staying over that night ... on a pier that has more than 200 boats on both sides (50’ footers on one side and 40’ footers on the other). Even during the afternoon there was only 3 vehicles on the pier. The solitude is lovely but I got to tell you it’s kind of eerie, because what’s going through your head is, where are all the people? Is there something I don’t know about – like a comet streaking towards earth? It was the same situation on other docks - very few people there, and I pretty much had the marina all to myself once evening rolled in.

I drove to another marina in Pentanguishene and same thing, almost no one at the marina. Problem with the weather is there hasn’t been any long stretches of hot dry air. You get one good day surrounded on either side by two bad days. That is likely what happened in this case because the Monday it rained, Tuesday was beautiful and Wednesday it rained. Fuel is expensive so many boaters are not going out anyhow ... and a one day visit in good weather is not worth the time when they can’t get a window of three or four good days. I’m thinking it’s not a good year to be in the marina business.

Looks like finally a there’s a decent window the last week of August so we’re going out and I’m guessing we’ll be all alone most nights at anchorages between Midland and Parry Sound.

Posted by at 2:33 PM
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Friday, August 15, 2014

SHOULD HAVE KNOWN

When Environment Canada announced this spring we would be having a warmer than normal dry summer, I guess by now we should have known to expect the opposite. The weather lately has been terrible for boat businesses ... and not much fun for those wanting to boat or planning to cruise. The leaves have been changing colour since early August. The majority of mornings we wake up to single digit temperatures and steam coming out of the the water as bodies of water are already loosing their heat.

It really doesn’t seem fair does it, considering the winter we just went through? Many boats, due to weather and high fuel prices, have not been out of the marina this season. Typical Midland dock talk would be “normally by this time of year, we would have headed north once our twice at least as far as Parry Sound ... but this year we don’t even know if we’ll get a cruise up to Parry Sound. Come on Mother Nature, get with the program and bring us some hot dry air! I’m hoping Environment Canada announces a long cold winter soon, so I can relax knowing it will be a short mild winter coming.

Posted by at 9:07 AM
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Thursday, August 07, 2014

WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND – AGAIN

So with all the panic about water levels the last few years, it seems like things are pretty much on track again. The water levels are 15 inches or more higher now than they were last year at this time. Water levels are currently 18 inches above chart datum in Georgian Bay and Lake Superior continues to spill water into Huron/Georgian Bay well above chart datum. Most feeder lakes and tributaries are above average and the trend is, water levels will rise further next year. Recorded mean levels in metres for the month of June were 176.38 and the ten year average is 176.18. We’ve seen higher water levels and we’ve seen lower ... and now we are about smack in the middle.

I for one never supported the drastic human intervention down on the St. Clair River that some were condoning (including at least one environmental organization) and I’m glad that was rejected by the “powers at be” in the US. It seems to me every time humans find a solution to natures so called problems, they engineer a half baked solution and make things worse. We humans look at problems and solutions in far too narrow of a time horizon. As living entities on the earth, we lack experience. If we were applying to mother nature for an earth custodian job, we wouldn’t make the short list for an interview. Remember the Georgian Bay floods of 85 –87? What goes around comes around.

Posted by at 8:14 AM
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Friday, August 01, 2014

TEN FUN THINGS TO DO ON GB

1/ Fathom Five National Marine Park ... more than 20 shipwrecks in this marine park. Tobermory (519) 596 2233

2/ Georgian Bay Airways ... you have to see Georgian bay from the air at least once – fly to Henry’s for Pickerel lunch. Parry Sound 1 800 786 1704

3/ Bridal Veil Falls ... hike to a beautiful cascading water fall. Kagawong (705) 368 3021


4/ Topaz Lake ... boat down Baie Fine fiord to the Pool anchorage, and hike up the mountain to Topaz Lake for a swim in crystal clear topaz coloured water. From Killarney (705) 287 2242

5/ Flower Pot Island ... glass bottom boat tour and see shipwrecks and sea stacks. Tobermory 1 800 268 3838

6/ Cup and Saucer Trail ... hike to spectacular bluff. Rockville (705) 368 0321

7/ Wingfield Basin ... boat in and check out the restored lighthouse and view from bluffs. Near Tobermory

8/ Ojibway Club ... visit this historic former resort and now private club by boat. Near Pointe Au Baril (705) 366 5085

9/ SS Keewatin ... tour this spectacular 1907 Titanic era steamship. Port McNicoll 1 855 533 9284

10/ Sportsman’s Inn ... sit on their docks and watch the circus of cruising boats go by – watch a “boat in” movie from your boat and tune the sound in on your VHF. Killarney (705) 287 9990

Bonus: Hope Island (see beach pic) ... go midweek late in the season and you can run down the beautiful sand beach buck naked and scream your head off and no one will care ... not that I’d do that but I’m sure someone will! Near Christian Island on your chart

Bonus x 2: Beacon Bay Marina track down Captain Ron (see Ron pic) at the marina ... bring some refreshments (Tequila works) and settle in for a night of yarn spinning, crazy stories and soon to be famous sayings like “it may be legal but it’s not right”

Posted by at 8:06 AM
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

WHO SAYS MERMAIDS DON’T REALLY EXIST?

We’re here to tell you that we have seen a number of Mermaids on Georgian Bay. So many in fact, that we are starting the Mermaid of the Month feature on the site HERE. An entire generation of women grew up with the Ariel the Little Mermaid and many have dreamed what it might be like to be a Mermaid. Some have taken it the next step and they are part time Mermaids. Apparently it is very liberating and a lot of fun to be able to swim around with a big Mermaid tail. Mermaids that become good swimmers can propel themselves on or under the water at very fast speeds compared to swimmers and swimmers with snorkel fins. It’s also great exercise and demands a lot of abdominal core strength and torso flexibility. So next time you're at anchor, don’t be surprised if a Mermaid swims up to your boat. There are lots of them around and they seem to be multiplying all the time.

Posted by at 11:06 AM
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Monday, July 21, 2014

GREAT WHITES ARE GREAT FOR TOURISM

We’ve come along ways since the movie Jaws frightened everyone out of their skin. Most folks now realize the value of sharks in the eco system and many marinas in the US and Caribbean have policies where sharks caught by recreational boaters cannot be offloaded and cleaned in the marina. Increased sightings of great white sharks off Cape Cod are generating lots of new business for local entrepreneurs at a popular vacation destination where the massive predators lurk offshore.

Business owners say clients are anxious to buy shark themed jewellery, clothing, hats and other products in the Cape Cod area. Justin Labdon, owner of the Cape Cod Beach Chair Company says his business has grown more than 500% in the past couple of years due to the public interest in sharks. Officials are still concerned however of the tourism damage that could be done, if a Great White actually attacked a swimmer. Brochures have been distributed to raise public awareness of sharks and safe practices in the event of a shark sighting.

Posted by at 9:26 AM
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Monday, July 07, 2014

TRENT FEEDER LAKES AT CAPACITY

The by product of these teaming downpours that seem to come at least one day every week is the that lake levels in cottage country are pretty much at capacity and way above the normal high water levels for this time of year. Good news for the Great Lakes with lots more water coming that way ... but cottagers are on edge as any heavy downpour sustained for a day or two could take the lakes from capacity to flood levels. Many roads in the Haliburton region have already been flooded or washed out and that is unusual for July, a peak summer month.

Most of the Gull River (Haliburton) water shed has now peaked it’s historic highs for July. Kawartha watershed is also very high and will likely peak July historic levels by mid July. Although the Severn watershed is also high, Lake Simcoe has some some room left for the feeder system moving north. With new heavy downpours already in the forecast it is likely that there could be some flooding in the feeder lake chains north of Minden as they are already sitting over the high water mark. Folks in that area are crossing their fingers that they don’t have a repeat of the situation in the spring of 2013 where heavy rains accompanied by already high water levels caused major damage in the Haliburton feeder lake region. Boaters travelling on the Trent Canal in the Trent and Kawartha regions should prepare themselves for some stronger than normal currents in July as excess water makes it’s way down through the system.

Posted by at 11:20 AM
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NOTHING LIKE THE MORNING DEW TO CLEAN YOUR BOAT

Ok you probably already know this already but I am always amazed when I’m out at anchor and mop the morning dew off the boat how clean it leaves the boat. You certainly can’t get your boat that clean in the marina with a hose, brush and boat soap. I guess it’s all that soft water generated by the condensing humid air, lying on the boat for a good part of the night that is working it’s magic lifting that daily build up of air born dust, bugs ... and perhaps some air mail gifts from our winged friends.

Buy the best quality chamois boat mop you can afford, and when you do your morning boat mop there will be a lot less residue water left to spot the boat and with less wringing out of the mop, you (or your crew) can make quick work of your morning boat clean ritual.




Posted by at 10:42 AM
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Tuesday, July 01, 2014

HOT WEATHER - BRING IT ON

So Environment Canada says it’s going to be a really hot summer with lots of unsettled weather. Usually they don’t get it right but so far this summer they seem bang on. I can’t recall a summer where we have had so many baking hot humid days followed by torrential rains and gusty winds for a day or two. It is certainly keeping the feeder lake levels to the Trent Canal System up, and of course where I live on Mountain Lake the vegetation has been growing as if we live in a rain forest. The water in Georgian Bay was unusually cold this spring but this hot weather with the odd windy day has really warmed things up in a hurry and the anchorages are now beautiful to swim in. So welcome to summer boaters! It was along hard winter and you certainly deserve some heat. I can’t believe we’re already in July. Summer passes so quickly in Ontario that every minute counts ... so get out and have some fun on your boat.

Just a reminder that this hot humid weather seems to be bringing quite a few pop up thunderstorms and sudden wind downdrafts. You don’t always get a lot of warning so when your anchoring avoid the temptation of putting out only the bare minimum of anchor rode down when you anchor. These storms can come out of nowhere ... so put lots of chain down and make sure that your anchor is set firmly and your boat and every one in the anchorage can stay safe even when all hell breaks loose with the weather.

Posted by at 12:08 PM
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Monday, June 23, 2014

CRUISING BY PWC

Personal watercraft are a great way to see Georgian Bay. Increasingly we see large groups of jet skiers that tour together just the same way that motorcyclists tour the countryside in packs. Jet ski tourism is catching on. It has some real advantages. You can cover great distances in a hurry when you want to ... and you can also tuck into very shallow remote places to explore. Come night time the group can plan stopover points with accommodation or you can bring a waterproof pack and camp over if the group is so inclined. The advantage of travelling in group is there is safety in numbers and usually someone familiar with the cruising area will play mother goose and lead the pack. Because of the speed and unsinkable nature of PWC’s the group can get out to some very remote islands and pull ashore for a visit. Wetsuits are the normal comfortable attire for a day of jet skiing. For overnighters where only rock landings are available, it’s best to drop a small anchor in a sheltered area and let the jet skis rest in the shallow water. It’s also easy to stage a jet ski event so that every night there is a fuel and accommodation stop along the cruise if the pack want's all the creature comforts of home. Recently coming through Honey Harbour midweek we saw over twenty PWC’s in one group heading out for a cruise.

Posted by at 10:13 AM
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Thursday, June 12, 2014

72 YEAR OLD CIRCUMNAVIGATES GLOBE ABOARD DAY SAILER

Webb Chiles at 72 years of age and with five circumnavigations already behind him has commenced his sixth circumnavigation of the world on a daysailer.

His 24‘ boat called Gannet is a Moore 24, a small club racing day sailer boat design never designed for circumnavigation. The Californian-designed Moore 24 is the first ultra-light displacement class built in the United States. Moore 24s have been successfully raced from California to Hawaii, but no one has ever before attempted to circumnavigate one.

Webb holds the record for the first American sailor to round Cape Horn solo. He also broke Sir Francis Chichester’s record for the fastest solo circumnavigation in a mono hull by more than three weeks.

His escapades include the sinking of his 36' sloop Resurgam resulting in a day and night of floating and swimming to survive where he was carried more than 125 miles by the Gulf Stream before latching on to an anchored fishing vessel. Webb is also known for sailing small boats including an 18’ open yawl with no deck which he sailed around the world.

This circumnavigation he started from San Diego headed for Hawaii and then New Zealand. From New Zealand he will decide whether to continue west or go back east in the southern hemisphere to round Cape Horn for the second time. There is no stopping this guy.

Posted by at 9:05 AM
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Monday, June 02, 2014

THE OLD WAYS WORK TOO!

I just got a marine barometer from Trintec and now that I have it installed in the boat I can’t help but look at it every few hours and set the markers to observe pressure drops and rises. It works very well and in addition to other weather resources it can be an excellent diagnostic for determining really bad weather coming your way.

Measurements of barometric pressure and the pressure tendency has been used to forecast since the 19th century. The larger the change in pressure, especially if more than 3.5 hPa the larger the change in weather can be expected. A barometer measures air pressure. A rising barometer indicates increas¬ing air pressure; a falling barometer indicates decreasing air pressure.

In space, there is a vacuum so the air pressure is zero. On Earth, because there are miles of air molecules stacked up and exerting pressure due to the force of gravity, the pressure is about 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level. Air pressure is different at different points on the planet and it changes over time. You probably know that hot air is less dense (lighter) than cooler air. On any given day you would expect the air over a desert to¬ have a lower pressure than the air over an ice cap. The same sort of pressure differences occur all over the planet for various reasons.

These pressure differences have a big effect on the weather, so if you know the current air pressure at your boat location, as well as the pressure trend, you are able to predict a lot about the weather. Moving to a high-pressure area will be clear, and moving to a low-pressure area will be cloudy and rainy ... and maybe stormy if the pressure is falling fast.

A barometer measures air pressure just as a tire gauge measures the pressure in your tires--except a barometer is measuring the pressure of the atmosphere. High air pressure relative to average levels is associated with calm and sunny weather. Low air pressure is associated with bad weather, high winds and rain. So you could tell whether it is warm and sunny by looking at your barometer and seeing if the air pressure is high. Just as high pressure means warm and sunny, rising pressure means that it will be becoming warmer and sunnier. The same principle holds true for falling temperatures and colder, windier and wetter. To measure which direction things are moving, take your watch and mark the time. Observe the air pressure on the barometer. Come back at some predetermined time later (an hour perhaps) and observe the air pressure again. If the pressure has risen, the weather will be getting better. If it has fallen it will be getting worse. Almost all barometers will have one or more small markers that allows you to set the position of your observations. After you have measured which direction the air pressure is moving, you have to interpret the results. The faster the pressure is changing, the faster the weather will change and the worse or better, dependent upon the direction of change. Weather does not change in an instant: Falling pressure now is almost certain to continue for many hours, perhaps a day or two, meaning that we can predict that the weather will be bad later today and tomorrow from our barometer observations. However, pressure does not fall or rise all the time. So a barometer cannot be used with any accuracy to predict more than a few days into the future.

Posted by at 4:08 PM
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Thursday, May 15, 2014

ACCIDENTS ARE NEVER EXPECTED

 I just read an account of a super yacht that sunk in Italian waters. The yacht had crossed the Atlantic more than a few times ... and there was a very experienced Captain aboard and a well trained professional crew. The weather turned unexpectedly worse than weather reports had predicted. About halfway into their 80 mile journey it was too rough to turn back so they pushed on. At times the sea was breaking over the decks of the yacht and steep waves sometimes would bury the bow. Like all accidents via deficiencies or just plan bad luck ... it’s a series of things that go wrong that lead to the ultimate demise.

The yacht was towing a 30’ + tender via two towlines over an inch thick. The first one parted and not long after the second one went and the tender was lost and became one less escape route. The bow buried into a wave and a forward hatch over the crew quarters caved in and filled the bow up to the water tight bulkhead. With the forward flooding the bow was riding lower and taking on even more water. The huge hydraulic swim platform on the stern was dislodged by waves and eventually pulled right off the yacht leaving a bunch of holes over one inch in diameter to take on water at the stern. One of the Sea Doo’s lashed in a cradle on the foredeck took a wave and broke it’s lashings and came through the front helm window. The yacht was doomed taking in sea water forward, mid and astern with every wave crashing over the fully awash decks. The wind was so strong the first life raft deployed sailed away and broke it’s tether. They jettisoned a helicopter off the deck to make room for the Coast Guard helicopter to pluck them off the deck.

The Captain and crew was very capable and did everything right they could do, and against very poor odds got all the guests and crew off the ship. The Captain left the yacht in an orderly way just ten minutes before it sunk to the bottom.

Most of you have been in some situation in your lives where it’s hard to believe the chain of things that can go wrong that cause a situation to cascade out of control. It’s only in hindsight that one can see the comedy of errors or string of bad luck in perspective. On the water things can turn ugly in a hurry. There are no guarantees in life and nature can throw some wicked curve balls that anyone can be totally unprepared for ... but here are a few things that might help in a bad situation on the water.

- build in as many redundant mechanical and safety systems into your boat that you can afford

- have more than one form of off boat communications in case of emergency e.g. Cell Phone, VHF, Portable VHF, Satellite Phone, EPIRB, SPOT Locator etc.

- never leave anything inside or outside the boat that can break loose and become a projectile ... that means everything put away down below and nothing that can fly off a counter when underway - on deck everything should be lashed down super strong - but ideally carry nothing on deck that isn’t part of the boats construction

- follow the weather like it’s your religion and learn to interpret conditions because the weatherman can be wrong too

- carry way more flares and distress devices than required by law

- every boat needs a dingy or a life raft as an alternative escape method if you are going offshore

- have swim fins and a snorkel mask handy ... snorkel masks make for great protection in a really bad storm

- expect that the unexpected can and will happen, and audit your boat to assess what could get damaged or torn away if you got caught on the water in 80 mph winds and try and remedy those weak links if you can

- if you are adding accessories to your boat like dingy davits, hydraulic swim platform; don’t go cheap, go with the most over-engineered heavy duty products you can find

Lets face it, if you own a Bertram, Hatteras or Viking (and others) built to fish offshore, you're going to be 90% of the way there to start with ... but for most, you have a lot of prepping to do to your boat to be as safe as you can in very bad weather conditions.

Posted by at 8:03 AM
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Monday, May 12, 2014

SPLASHED

Well it’s May 10th and the boat is in the water and pretty much ready to go. Where I live the snow banks along my driveway are still a few feet high in some places but disappearing fast. Georgian Bay apparently still has some ice to the north. I heard about a boat that went into Twelve Mile Bay and later when it came time to leave it was blocked in by pack ice. At least that situation won’t last much longer but with water levels up about 10 inches there will likely be more floating debris and dead heads ... so take it easy for the first few weeks when boating out on the Bay and in the anchorages.

This is the time of year to take stock of your mandatory safety equipment. The most over looked items are fire extinguishers and flares. It’s a good idea to have your fire extinguishers recharged if the charge date is expired or the pressure gauge is outside of the “green zone”. Just as important take them all off the boat and give them a good bang on a solid surface to un-cake the powder at the bottom of the extinguisher. Otherwise if the powder has settled and caked and you need to use the extinguisher it will gas off but without the benefit of the powder that blankets and smothers the fire, the fire doesn’t go out.

Flares all have expiry dates so most boaters need to replace some every year in a staged approach. When you buy new flares check the expiry at the retailer as many chandleries have old stock that they usually sell at a discount. No sense in buying two year old flares unless you are just holding them as supplementary extras on top of your legal requirement for current flares. Many marinas have Canadian Power Squadron volunteers that come around to inspect your boat ... and if everything is in order from a safety and registration perspective your get an inspected/approved sticker. This could save you some time out on the water if you get stopped by the Police or Coast Guard, and if it’s just a standard courtesy on water inspection, it eliminates the rafting and boarding of your boat. Best of all these Power Squadron inspectors are volunteers and it’s free. If you don’t pass inspection you can quickly remedy the situation and they will come back to check and give you your sticker. Make sure your boat registration/documentation is also in order.

Last but not least when you're out and about, wear a life jacket. Especially in the spring when the water is still ice cold and your moving around the boat a lot getting reacquainted and checking things out. Have a great boating season.

Posted by at 10:16 AM
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Monday, April 28, 2014

RECORD ICE OUT

Well we are one day away from a record ice out date. The latest Midland Bay ICE OUT DATE in the past 35 years was April 29th . Looks like the Midland Bay will open up soon though ... probably around the end of the month ... in just a few days. Can’t say the same thing for the North Channel though. Look at this April 27th Coast Guard satellite image sent to us by Captain Bill Everitt. (above left)

You can see the North Channel is still solid with heavy ice. It doesn’t help that it’s still freezing almost every night. At this time, marinas in the Midland & Honey Harbour areas are ice free and they are just beginning to launch boats. Bayport Yachting Centre has 25 boats in (a few have been in for more than a week with bubbler going). Wye Heritage is working on dropping the protective marina gate and South Bay Cove reports the marina ice free. But don’t get the boat launched and jump the gun. There are plenty of burgs out there floating and below the water line. Water levels are somewhat higher than it has been for several years ... so your going to have to watch out for floating debris lifted off shore and dead heads that are beginning to float off the bottom. Don’t plan on swimming the May 24 weekend unless you want to join the polar bear club.

Posted by at 4:41 PM
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Monday, April 14, 2014

EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT

How many times has someone said to me that their boat is not a very good investment. Well that goes without saying. From a financial point of view you’d be hard pressed to find a worse investment ... unless you are going to buy a classic and store it inside for a few decades – or maybe if you bought just the right boat at the bottom of the recession and your going to sell it when inflation peaks some years down the road.

But boats are still an investment. They are an emotional investment. Boats offer a social setting for family and friends, they offer a chance to unwind and forget about the stresses of work if only for a few days and they offer solitude when you need it. A few times a year I go to my boat alone and just putter away on some project. At the end of the day I might sit and watch the sunset with a glass of wine and some of my favourite music in the background. It is very therapeutic. Same thing when we’re out at anchor – you can party or you can read – you can swim or you can sleep. Best BBQ’s ever, are on the boat at anchor! And let’s not forget how rewarding and fun meeting friends at the marina can be ... just a chance to chew the fat and chill. The options are unlimited.

Most of all, it’s being on the water and that plays to some primeval sense of satisfaction. I could give up a lot if I needed to, but it would be hard to not have a boat. Life would hardly be worth living without a boat. Well maybe not that bad, but I’d be sad camper without the boat. But I also know there will come that day when I won’t be capable enough to be out on the boat alone or in heavy weather. That’s why I’m going to savour the next ten or fifteen years and enjoy the emotional investment while I can. So yes boats depreciate like cars and yes you have to have deep pockets to maintain them but that financial investment pays big dividends back towards your emotional well being.

Posted by at 9:18 AM
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Wednesday, April 02, 2014

A LIFE WORTH LIVING


I saw this on a wall down in St Croix:

If you want a productive life ... get educated, work hard, raise children and attend your church.

If you want an interesting and rewarding life ... be a PIRATE and live for the day.


Posted by at 11:58 AM
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Friday, March 28, 2014

NOTHING IS SIMPLE ON A BOAT

So I decided I wanted to update my flat screen LCD TV on my boat to a newer model with smaller bezel and more screen size and Smart TV characteristics. In my house a 55” home theatre with surround sound installs in half a day.

Mostly I wanted the new TV on the boat to be a bit bigger and take a data stick for movies we burn at home. So we want the new TV to play through all the sound system and JBL speakers in the boat at the helm and in the cockpit. So to do that I find out it needs another cable from TV back to entertainment centres. They are on opposite sides of the boat with a companion way in between. So all the units are pulled out and the service panel behind the TV is opened up and the fishing cable process begins. After an hour or two of trying ... the walls basically have to come off.

Time flies when your having fun and eventually the new TV gets mounted. But apparently there is no such thing as an entirely flat back TV on the market. The TV chosen has a hump at the bottom (internal speakers) that makes it stick out a bit and with the bracket added it’s pretty wobbly. No good on a boat that jumps waves at 50 mph. And besides it doesn’t clear the dam bathroom door. Move it over on the wall another inch and it does clear by 1/4” ... but wait there is supposed to be an optical output on this TV for the cable we just spent hours fishing across and there is no. Ok so that will mean an internal modification to the TV ... and you know what - that ultra thin TV sticks out further than my 2008 TV that was bolted flush to the service panel. It’s just something in the way to bang heads. Answer I’m told, is cut the wall service panel to accept the hump at the back of the TV and bolt it directly to the wall ... and modify the TV for an optical output. Did I mention it needs and extension mounted on the wall to connect the USB data stick as well? After a day the boats all apart waiting for the next set of modifications to make this work. I’m exhausted just thinking about it and all I have to do is watch. I can’t wait for the bill.

Aren’t boats FUN! Why is nothing simple on a boat? Do the manufactures have a secret pack with the marinas to create cash flow to all in the industry? No maybe not, but you just have to sit there and watch all the issues that emerge on any boat job as a project takes hold. It’s not like the service guys or mechanics are dogging it. It’s a boat, and boats are meant to be frustrating just like dogs are meant to bark and cows moo. So the boats all apart and at some point the installer will come back and make more mods and burn though a bunch more time. Eventually some day I will get a TV I hope that works that looks like it belongs - just in time for the next project. YIKES save me from my boat.

Posted by at 4:44 PM
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

SAILORS TATTOOS & POLITICAL CORRECTNESS

For the record I don’t have a tattoo. The few times I have considered it, my wife gave me a cold icy stare. My daughters would disown me for a time. Maybe some day I’ll just get one anyways ... just be contrarian. The neatest boat tattoo I have ever seen was a collage of a compass rose and a tall ship with the scripted words “Take Me Home”.

Tattoos are part and parcel to boats and ships and have a historic place at the table. Tattoos with sailors can be traced back as far as the 1700’s when Captain James Cook came across the natives of the South Pacific. His crew decided to get tattoos as "souvenirs" of their visit. After that the connection between sailors at tattoos has been ongoing. However the obscene tattoos did not begin until the early 1900’s when the United States government declared that anyone with an "obscene" tattoos would not be allowed in the navy. With that declaration many men got tattoos as an easy way out of serving ... creating a boom of naked woman tattoos. However if they later decided to join the navy they had to have a tattoo artist "dress" the woman. How politically correct is that? Eventually folks got over it and naked tattoos became mainstream. But along the way they became politically incorrect. Don’t you get tired of political correctness? Maybe I should go out and get a naked woman tattoo so I can offend those that stick there nose up at anything that’s not vanilla. It’s a said thing when a high percentage of the population believes everyone must be cut from the same cloth and conform to their set of standards to be considered the “right type of person”. Artists and rock stars get an automatic pass, but that’s about it - but I digress.

It is important to mention that in marine culture sailors have the custom of getting tattoos to be a part of the family like relationship. In addition the purpose of sailor tattoos were to record the sailor’s important events or experiences such travels, achievements, naval hierarchy, rank, status, membership or any other significant event in life. Sailor tattoos were also visual way to preserve the culture of the maritime superstitions. Long ago sailors were a superstitious lot and had the belief that certain symbols and talismans would help them in when facing certain events in life. They thought that those symbols would attract good luck or bad luck in the worst of the cases. For example the images of a pig and a hen; both animals are not capable of swimming (actually some pigs can swim). According to superstition and sailor beliefs, God would look down upon a shipwreck and see an animal incapable of swimming and would take it into his hand and place it on land. Hmm ...why not just a life boat tattoo and God could have placed them back in the boat?

Anyways here’s to tattoos and non conforming politically incorrect folks, who just want to have fun and be a little bit different than their neighbour.

     

Posted by at 8:15 AM
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

EXTREME WINTER WILL MEAN DAMAGED BOATS

This is probably the most severe winter that Ontario has seen in 40 years. That Polar Vortex just won’t let go. We’ve had colder winters and we’ve had snowier winters ... but not many as consistently both cold and snowy, for this long of a duration. As I sit and type this on March break where I am in Haliburton, it is blowing a full gale outside from the north with minus 40 wind chill and we are building on our all ready abundant snow levels.

If there was a winter that you would want your boat in indoor heated storage this would be it. Many outdoor stored boats have sustained damage over the winter because snow loads have collapsed shrink wrap and tarps and of course the snow and rain build up in cockpits and freeze and thaw eventually breaking cockpit drain hoses and flooding into the bilge. In many cases because it has been so cold, mechanical equipment that has been marginally winterized (where lines and tanks were not drained 100% dry) is frozen solid as the winterizing antifreeze just can stand up to this kind of cold (unless your buying the minus 50 stuff). Things like stern showers and anchor wash down systems are easily overlooked and are no match for this kind of cold. If you have any moisture in the balsa core or stringers of your boat it will have been frozen solid in maximum expansion mode this winter and it can cause both structural and cosmetic damage to boats. In the states there is a bigger problem because marinas down the Eastern seaboard don’t expect the kind of cold weather they received this winter and they don’t winterize boats to minus 20. In South Carolina & Georgia by example they rarely drain water lines.

I was talking to a new BGB advertiser in the Penetanguishene area that is in the business of repairing major boat damage and recycling boats that are beyond repair ... and he is expecting a bumper crop to come in once people are out and about checking their boats out this spring. Add to that the maintenance work that many boaters have put off for a few years due to economic conditions and it could be a very busy spring for marinas and boat service businesses. Our recommendation - if your boat is outdoors stored, check it out as soon as the weather breaks a bit and schedule your maintenance early to avoid loosing part of the season due to mechanical problems.

Posted by at 8:32 AM
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

TURKS & CAICOS CANADIAN MARRIAGE?

Recently we were in the Turks & Caicos and we got talking to some folks there and they are still very much interested in becoming Canadian. Not all mind you ... but many. Most Turks respect Canada and Canadians. In fact their hospital on Grand Turk is Canadian built and Canadian staffed and most of their banks are Canadian. As we were told Turks has an "excellent relationship with Canada". The politician who was leading the charge there during the Pierre Trudeau era got into trouble as he took a lot of $ for personal use apparently ... and flew the coupe. He is now just being extradited from Brazil to be tried in the Turks. While the Turks & Caicos is a UK colony, there is not a lot of attachment there ... and besides the UK already has many islands. Many Turks would like to be independent but realize they cannot do it on their own and Canada is the country they feel closest to.

Economically they got whacked like everyone else in the great depression but the island group is far more developed than it was during the Trudeau negotiations in the 80’s. Having said that some of the outer islands have hardly changed a bit and the water is the most beautiful in the Caribbean. They have the third biggest barrier reef in the world and it is a diving mecca. The water drops off to some of the deepest clearest water in the world (outside the reefs around most of their islands).

Proposals for political association between Turks and Caicos Islands and Canada have been in play since the early 20th century, beginning with First World War era prime minister Robert Borden’s suggestion to Britain that it transfer some of its Caribbean possessions to Canada. In the early 1960s, the Conservative government of John Diefenbaker played a significant role in encouraging unity among several Caribbean island nations and colonies including Turks and Caicos in hopes of encouraging stronger economic relations and potentially a political association between the region and Canada. Two other lone MPs, the NDP’s Max Saltsman in the 1970’s and Conservative MP Dan McKenzie in the 1980s unsuccessfully championed the cause of making TCI part of Canada. In 2004 the Nova Scotia legislature unanimously adopted a resolution calling for talks with Turks and Caicos to explore the idea of the sunny islands joining the Atlantic province. Conservative MP Peter Goldring of Edmonton has emerged as this century’s leading advocate of a Canada TCI union launching his lobbying effort about a decade ago. Last month, during a Turks & Caicos scheduled trade mission to Canada, which included a meeting with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, they met with Goldring to discuss the MP’s ideas about forging stronger economic and political relations. Goldring said political union remains a long term goal but that preliminary move to increase economic and social engagement leading to Canada securing special access to a deep-water Caribbean port would represent serious progress toward his vision of a snow free 11th province.

If they were to become part of Canada it would be a huge win economically for their population of approx. 30,000. For Canadians, somewhere warm that will work with health care and banking, taxes, business etc. It was pointed out to us however that Turks can move slow on this kind of thing and an education process addressing all the pros and cons needs to be vetted through the people - as one might expect.

It’s a five step process in my simplistic view:

1/ Education process Canada and Turks & Caicos

2/ Hold a referendum in Turks & Caicos

3/ Ask the Queen for separation as a British colony

4/ Join Canada

5/ Canadians break out the beach towels and invest in the Turks & Caicos

Should we start a petition to join forces with these beautiful Caribbean islands as an 11th province?

Posted by at 12:23 PM
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Friday, January 24, 2014

BEST LAID SCHEMES OF MICE AND MAN

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,

In proving foresight may be vain:

The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men

Gang aft agley,

An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,

For promis'd joy!

Do you remember the old Coyote/Roadrunner cartoons. Every kid got a kick out of watching the coyote lay down intricate plans that always went wrong ... when in theory those plans should have nailed that pesky little road runner. It wasn’t as though the road runner was smarter or had a better plan than the coyote - that road runner was just fast and lucky. The poor coyote put a lot of work into his plans but things just never turned out the way they were supposed to. Bad luck and not for lack of planning.

In 1785 Robert Burns explained it very well in his poem which was inspired by him ploughing up a mouse nest just before winter was setting in. The mouse's foresight was in vain with his shelter destroyed when he needed it most. The mouse could never have predicted a human engineered plough would be his ultimate demise. Burns wisely understood the irony of the situation in that men, like mice, can plan, prepare and plot all they want but it the end sometimes happenstance makes the best laid plans go awry. You could look at it another philosophical way. As humans we often see ourselves as the centre of the universe. Confident and all controlling until “shit just happens”. Yup just like in Forest Gump ... you’re running happily along and suddenly without warning you step into the dog doo.

And there’s another way to look at it. Sometimes foresight and planning just won’t cut it. You have to go with your heart and your gut. There are no absolute assurances in life, as anyone who has ever been hit by a bus would tell you if they could.

The other day someone planning to do the America’s Great Loop told me they would likely skip Georgian Bay because they were worried about hitting rocks. I tried to convey rather unsuccessfully that there wasn’t much sense doing the “loop’ without a visit to Georgian Bay, as it would be like visiting The Louvre and bypassing the Mona Lisa. Besides you might just as well hit a rock along the Erie Barge Canal or get run down by a tug in the Mississippi! There is nothing magic about Georgian Bay rocks. They don’t jump out and attack you when you’re in the channel. There are a lot worse risks that one must take in life and there is no sense worrying about things that may never be and are out of your control. You might get struck by a meteor at some point too ... and this most assuredly will happen to man at some point, near or far, as it has happened before ... and life on earth will change as we know it. But we have no control over the situation, and we don’t know when or if it will happen in our lifetime so why worry about it? . Many aspects of life are out of our control. Just like that little mouse you won’t know when it’s coming.Take few chances and live ... there’s only one turn on this merry-go-round.

Posted by at 2:57 PM
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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

BACK FROM THE BOAT SHOW

Well, we just got back from our booth at the Toronto international Boat Show and in just a few weeks we’ll be heading to Miami to cover the boat show there. Once the Miami show has been done we head off cruising to BVI in the Caribbean for a spell. This winter has been so cold and snowy we feel very fortunate we are able to make this escape. If we could take all of you with us we would ... but we do promise to bring you back something interesting from the sunny south as a consolation prize.

Back to the Toronto boat show for a bit. I have to say I thought it would be busier than it was. We will report the official stats soon on the What’s New page, but my gut says traffic was down a fair bit. I’m not sure exactly why, because I honestly expected it would be up quite a bit because the recent Fort Lauderdale show was way up, and because consumers are starting to feel more comfortable with the economy.

We talked to many vendors at the show. It seems the companies selling boat gear and parts did very well. The boat brokers held their own, but traffic was lighter than usual. Worthy of note is that most yacht brokers are up in sales this past few quarters. From a new boat sales point of view, it doesn’t look like they did very well – especially the big yacht sellers. Deals were few and far between.

Yes there were line ups to get onboard the bigger yachts. The boat show is a place where folks that have never been aboard a big boat can partake and get a good look around. That doesn’t necessarily convert with qualified leads though. Lots of tire kickers and when they want to honk the horn up on the bridge, you know your in trouble.

Maybe it’s really not that much of a surprise. Canadians are a cautious lot. Boats are disposable income luxury goods. Our US friends seem to be willing to take on more risk and are clearly feeling very good about their economy starting to steam along down there. So why not Canadians? Canadians came out of the recession not too badly from a job and housing point of view ... but if you had your money in TSX index funds you still won’t be feeling the love yet. They say this will be the year for commodities and the TSX ... so lets hope it makes up some more ground and gets back above 15,500 quickly. If you have lots of US stocks you have the best of both worlds with our weaker dollar and the sharp rise of the DOW.

Our dollar continues to fall against the American economy and it’s likely to dip to 85 cents and settle below 90 cents for a while, making the cost of US made products and parts more expensive for Canadians – and that includes boats.

There were far fewer US based yacht brokers at the show. With our low dollar it’s harder to sell US based boats to Canadians. It bodes well for Canadian brokers though, and pretty soon there will be even more of our US friends coming north to shop for quality fresh water boats at a great $ discount.

If I was a boat dealer or marina I’d just keep my head down and keep at it, because there is light at the end of the tunnel and the sun will shine for them once again before too long. In any event I would say the Toronto International Boat Show people run a pretty good show and it’s not for lack of advertising or anything like that. The show was very well promoted. On the other hand if I was TIBS management I wouldn’t be raising the booth rates next year and I would probably reduce the entrance fee somewhat. But that’s just my two cents worth. Bring on the heat of spring and let’s see if that plants the seed and sprouts some green shoots to bring some new boat owners off the fence.

Posted by at 1:09 PM
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Thursday, January 02, 2014

LET’S TALK CRUISING GEORGIAN BAY

We have some neat things going on at the Toronto International Boat Show at our booth (G315 Industry Building across from Boatsmart) beginning January 10th to the 19th. You don’t want us to get bored at the show RIGHT? So come by and say hello and let’s talk boating on Georgian Bay. You can also pick up a bottle of our famous Lime Habanero Hot Sauce and enter our contest to win a Learn To Sail Charter on a 44’ Hunter sailboat on Georgian Bay in the 30,000 Islands. See you there!

Posted by at 4:01 PM
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Thursday, December 12, 2013

CANADIAN MARINAS WILL BE FEELING THE LOVE SOON

It been a rough go with most marinas for more than the past five years. I was looking at the AGF Investments Illustrated Downturns & Recoveries the other day and the 2008/2009 recession was a short deep recession (S&P/TSX down 43%) with a very long recovery. We are running towards a 5 year recovery period ... a longer recovery period than the Great Depression! Our recent recession, although short, actually cut deeper on the S&P/TSX by a percent more than the Great Depression. I have heard some say the marina industry is never coming back to what it has been. It may seem like that for some operators over the last number of years but it is coming back – and it’s coming back soon.

Markets have done their job and have led out. Housing in Canada hardly took a pause, and real estate returns have been excellent in most areas these past few years. More often than not, companies around the world have their balance sheets in great shape and they are poised to expand if they haven’t started already. On the DOW 2/3 of companies reporting earnings are beating their numbers. Job numbers are improving albeit sluggishly. This will change for the positive as business begins to invest and ramp up production and inventories. Overall the economy in Canada will expand at just under 3% next year and the US economy will expand at a significantly greater pace ultimately passing more trade to Canada as things heat up. Money is cheap and will likely remain cheap for a few more years. The stage is set.

Disposable income recreation, like boating, will start to grow in 2014. Already we can see expansion of sales at the US shows and the massive amount of used inventory on the market is gradually getting sopped up. Mothballed boats will be made ship shape and will be back at the docks. By 2015 we predict marinas will have their businesses normalize and most of those empty slips will be full. There will be a movement to even bigger recreation boats on the Great Lakes and pent up demand for boat repairs, retrofits and new electronics will take off. It may not be like the 70’s when marinas had mile long waiting lists, but it will be a damn site better than it has been over the last 10 years. And it’s about time - marinas need to feel the love too!

Posted by at 3:42 PM
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Tuesday, November 05, 2013

WHAT DEFINES A YACHT

Technically a yacht is 50’ – 80’ in length. A super yacht is 80’ and over. But you can call just about any sail boat a yacht and few would object.

There are 4500 super yachts worldwide and 2000 are in North America or visit North America over the course of the year in what is a 6 billion dollar industry employing 28,000 people. Doesn’t really seem like a lot does it when so many are concentrated in Fort Lauderdale and Miami. It seems odd that good used super yachts around the 100’ mark can be had for well under a million while new yachts in the 300’ and up range skyrocket exponentially in price up around the 300 million dollar area. It’s one thing if you have the coin to buy a super yacht ... and it’s another to afford it on an ongoing basis. Maintaining a super yacht in Bristol fashion typically costs about 10% of the yachts value per year. And guess why there are so many used yachts around at fraction of their original value?

Azzam at 590’ is said to be the largest super yacht in the world and costs $500 million dollars (give or take) to build. It is owned by a middle eastern billionaire. Azzam took over as the biggest yacht from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich who owns the 533’ Eclipse. Not a lot of ports that can take a 500’ + superyacht at the docks. Not so nice when the only space available in a port is with the cargo ships. Oh well, we can always anchor out and take one of the 50’ runabout yacht tenders to shore.

Posted by at 1:56 PM
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

THE HARDER I WORK THE LUCKIER I GET

 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
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Monday, October 28, 2013

MEDITATE

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
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Monday, October 07, 2013

BOATS DON’T HAVE TO BE EXPENSIVE

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
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Monday, September 30, 2013

LAST CRUISE OF THE SEASON

We didn’t get nearly as much boating in this past summer as we had planned. Too many work and family commitments. When the weather turned sunny with light winds, we couldn’t resist taking the time off work to get a few days out on the boat. Our last fix before the boat goes away in October 2013 not to be returned to her slip until May 2014.

We had already had the winter service done to engines and we had already resigned ourselves that we wouldn’t get anymore trips out of the marina this year. Were we glad we grabbed the window of weather and got out to an anchorage. We didn’t go far. Just tucked into Hockey Stick bay at the west side on Bone Island.

At this time of year ... midweek, we had the whole harbour to ourselves. On the second day a couple of sailboats showed up but we were a comfortable distance away from each other. A couple of ultra light planes dropped in and cruised around the harbour and took off again. We swam (just a bit chilly), we BBQ’d, we drank good wine and we read without distraction. Most of all we enjoyed the tranquility of the anchorage and soaking up the rays of the early fall sun. By lunch it was bathing suit weather. Beautiful sunsets at dusk. Nights were cool and great for sleeping. Mornings we were enveloped in fog as the heat exited the water into the cool morning air. The fog quickly burnt off giving rise to bright sunshine – the temperature a few degrees above seasonal and very nice for the end of September. The leaves were changing colour but not at their peak yet. Maybe this was our Indian Summer? When we returned to the marina the boat seemed to thank us for that one last trip before a winter of solitary confinement.

  

   

Posted by at 10:50 AM
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Monday, September 23, 2013

The Season Winds Down

The older you get the faster the summers go by. Ask anyone over 50 living in Canada and all would agree with that statement. The boating season here on Georgian Bay is pretty much a wrap. We are going to try and get one more trip in this week to anchor out as we have a window of sun and low wind days coming up. Albeit the nights will be chilly and the water is border line swimmable. October 4th the boat gets hauled and into winter storage it goes. It makes me sad just to think about it. In a few months time as winter sets in I will be wishing so bad that I had not taken a few more trips this past summer or stretched that extra trip on Thanksgiving weekend ignoring the obligatory turkey dinners.

Robert N. Rose once wisely said, “Ships are the nearest thing to dreams that hands have ever made”. Boating is a magical thing that reenergizes the soul. For me the winter can only be made bearable by including a few southern boat shows and at least one cruise to somewhere hot for a dose of sun and sand. Logically or perhaps illogically ... we would be heading south on the boat for the winter – but alas work and family obligations always seem to get in the way. I’m always thinking maybe next year. My New Years resolution is already carved in stone – take more time off work and do some extended cruising next summer.

Posted by at 2:29 PM
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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

COSTA CONCORDIA TO BE RE-FLOATED

Two years after the Costa Concordia went aground near an Italian island killing 32 people, Italy has now given the go-ahead for an attempt to right the ship in preparation to move it by tug. The Concordia has lain partially submerged off the island of Giglio since Friday January 13, 2012. The national Civil Protection agency said Friday the operation will be carried out later this month, once final safety certificates are issued. The exact date depends on calm seas near Giglio.

If engineers and crews succeed in righting the Concordia, the vessel will be eventually towed to a port for dismantling.

The manslaughter trial of the Concordia's captain, Francesco Schettino, resumes on Sept. 23. When the ship struck a reef, took on water and listed badly before capsizing off Giglio's port, the Captain and some crew abandoned ship ahead of many of it’s passengers. Prosecutors alleged Schettino steered the boat too close to shore. Schettino claims the reef didn't appear on his navigational charts. Four crew and one company administrator have already been tried and sent to prison with sentences ranging from 18 –34 months.

For a full account of what happened on the Costa Concordia including a GPS recorded account go to the article on our Message In A Bottle page titled Not Enough Courage HERE

Posted by at 11:28 AM
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Tuesday, September 03, 2013

ACCORDING TO TOM

There are a lot of mixed messages out there on boat sales going up or down. Many wonder about the impact of US lawmakers ending the second residence tax deduction for boats equipped with accommodation. We are seeing good value used boats move here in Canada at a faster pace. You couldn't say things are on fire though ... and it appears that it is still a buyers market, although the giveaway deals on good boats ended a long time ago.

One of our US broker friends Tom Jenkins of Allied Marine is very optimistic on the boat sales market. He is experiencing folks that come out of nowhere that want instant showings and go for quick sales. Tom said this in his last newsletter “As I explained last month, the market is poised to break loose and it looks more and more likely that the Fort Lauderdale Show may be the spark that lights the fuse to a blowout season”. Tom sells a lot of boats – not runabouts but leaning more to high end inventory like Bertram, Perching & Ferretti in the 40 – 120 foot range. Economically things are moving along in the US ... and money is still cheap. I think Tom may be on to something. I also get the sense that the market may be ripe to break out and good used boat sales could turn the tide from a buyers market to a sellers market by next year. Time will tell.

One thing I am told repeatedly is that the bigger yacht owners are not worried about the tax credit ending. Most of them are registered offshore and are not claiming the credit anyways. The small boats without accommodation don’t qualify and the mid range 34 – 50 foot boats are they only target group that may feel the pinch. It is also said that boaters shop on emotion ... and if the moneys there, then a tax deduction won’t make or break the market. So like the Jimmy Buffet song says, “I don’t know, I don’t know” but indicators from the big US brokers are that things are likely to look a lot better sooner than later.

Posted by at 4:23 PM
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

THE ART OF DOING NOTHING

I’m a busy guy. We take care of some 400 client sites and we usually have a 3 month waiting list on new site builds and web marketing projects.

However studies have shown that working less and getting laid back more could prolong your life significantly. It seems the stress and daily anxiety of some jobs will take years off your life, even though all that work translates to dollars. It seems it’s a balancing act BUT if you cannot find the middle ground ... you might find it healthier to do nothing rather than trying to do too much.

There is an art to doing nothing. First of all you have to have enough resources set aside that you can in effect, pack it in and retire early. BUT there are other things you need to assure a long enjoyable life.

Some are obvious like:

-healthy eating habits

-reasonable exercise

-yearly checks with the doc

-use the sun block

-adequate sleep

But others are more subjective but just as important like:

-surround yourself with people you like

-let your hair down and party hardy when you feel like it

-travel and see other cultures

-get on your boat and just hang out either cruising or tinkering on board

-get a dog so you have a best friend that will never judge you (but remember only if you can handle the responsibility of having the equivalent of a child in your midst)

-tell your significant other and your kids that you love them, and do it often

-invite good friends to your boat to have a few drinks and some chit chat

-laugh everyday ... and if you have nothing to laugh at you can always laugh at yourself

-indulge your (legal) fantasies

-match wits and spend some time conversing with younger people

-insist that female guests on your boat bring their best bikini for cruising

-don’t over think things and accept people for who they are

-stop complaining about the things you can’t do anything about (hard to do as you grow older)

-remember you are not immortal and make the most of the time that you have in this beautiful world

-don’t take yourself to seriously - we’re all dust in the wind

But who am I to offer advice – I still work ten hour days. My goal though, is to live by some of the above and really kick back in the next few years. Owning a boat is part of my therapy. It certainly makes no sense economically but it helps keep me sane. And when you do want to do nothing – there is no better place to do it than a boat.

Posted by at 8:42 AM
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Thursday, July 25, 2013

WE SEE A TREND

Brunswick the largest producer of US non custom production boats reported that it’s second quarter marine related results were mixed. The Mercury Marine Group saw net sales of $631 million up from 7% from the same period last year, and operating earnings of $119 million. In contrast their 15 boats brands (excluding Hatteras & Cabo yachts which are in the process of being sold off) generated $310 million ... a 1% increase over 2012 same period sales. The small increase reflects an increase in outboard boats while fiberglass inboard boats were on a steep decline.

There is a trend emerging over the last year or so that bigger boats are going outboard. Even Sea Ray has joined the parade on some of their bigger boats and some manufacturers are cowling the outboards so they look a lot like inboard boats. What’s going on? Why the move to big outboards?

There are a number of reasons:

- manufacturers are building cost efficiency into bigger 4 stroke engines all the time up into the 350 HP range

- these new outboard engines are ultra low emission and can achieve very good fuel efficiency

- the outboard engines can be built at a lower cost than comparable horsepower inboards and they attain a higher profit margin

- outboards are flexible and they can be coupled in single, duo, triple or quad configurations covering a large variety of boat types and sizes

- outboards don’t take up interior boat space and consumers want this

- outboards are easy to service and require less tearing the boat apart in the event of major engine work

- outboards are high performance and offer higher top speeds on comparable boat weights and they still deliver on range

- using less in boat space means some of that space on an outboard boat can be dedicated to extra tankage further enhancing range

- four stroke outboards run very quiet and some so much so, that the water pump jet of water is the loudest engine noise at idle on the boat

- outboards make for ease of docking

- there is better resale and generally speaking they are more sought after

So here are a lot of reasons why this is happening including three big ones – the manufacturers make more money and have more flexibility ... and the consumers want the product. Surprisingly manufacturers are putting quad 300 HP on boats approaching 50 feet and this is becoming common place. This is the segment of the market that is profitable and your going to see a lot more boats in the 25 - 40 foot range going outboard moving forward. Inboards aren’t going away any time soon but the outboard trend may be here to stay.

Posted by at 4:28 PM
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Monday, July 08, 2013

HEY BUDDY WATCH THE WAKE!

Well we just came back from Beckwith Island, and as expected on a hot still summer day it was teaming with boats. Yes there were boats that hooted and hollered all night that kept most of the anchorage up, but my beef isn’t with them. My beef is with the half dozen boats that plow their way into the anchorage at a speed putting out maximum wake in their quest to get to their preferred anchoring spot ... as if it was about to vanish before their eyes in mere seconds.

Those anchored out on the outer reaches of the cove are probably there because they enjoy some semblance of privacy. You can see them coming all beady eyed at half throttle not even bothering to look around at the anchored boats as they race to their spot. On guy did wave at me as he waked me. I waved and and gave him a wake down finger. He shrugged and plowed on. My wake down finger turned the other way.

I can only assume that these inconsiderate boaters who rock the crap out of anchored boats are:

A/ they had the misfortune of being born low in the gene pool OR

B/ they are self centred boors who have no respect for the safety or comfort of others because they never focus on anything other than their own immediate wants and needs.

Yes these are the same folks who walk through the department store door and let it slam shut on the little old lady coming behind them, tail gate your car at 100 clicks and cut in line at the grocery store check out and pretend they didn’t notice. They are disrespectful and discourteous people that haven’t earned the right to call themselves a human being.

For the most part these boaters are not trawlers, not sailors and not usually the bigger yachts. I’m generalizing, but in my observation they tend to be piloting sport style boats 25 - 40 feet overcrowded with under 40 guests. Why do they do it and why will they keep doing it ... because most other boaters are too polite to get worked up about the situation and they just go about there business picking up everything that landed on the floor from a good boat rocking. I would suggest the only way these inconsiderate boaters will change their behaviour is that a few boaters from the anchorage get together and visit the offenders and ask them what makes them think that they are so special that they can wake other boats in the anchorage.

Posted by at 11:13 AM
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Wednesday, July 03, 2013

VHF MISUNDERSTANDINGS

A young man wanting to earn some money, decided to hire himself out as a handyman-type and started canvassing a wealthy neighbourhood.

He went to the front door of the first house and asked the owner if he had any jobs for him to do. "Well, you can paint my porch. How much will you charge?"

The young man said, "How about 50 dollars?" The man agreed and told him that the paint and ladders that he might need were in the garage.

The man's wife, inside the house, heard the conversation and said to her husband, "Does he realize that the porch goes all the way around the house?"

The man replied, "He should. He was standing on the porch."

A short time later, the man came to the door to collect his money.

"You're finished already?" he asked.

"Yes," the young man answered, "and I had paint left over, so I gave it two coats."

Impressed, the man reached in his pocket for the $50.

"And by the way," the young man added, "That's not a Porch, it's a Ferrari."

Misunderstandings can happen. We humans are less than perfect communicators. It is not always what we say that is misinterpreted, but sometimes rather what we don’t say or how we say something that would have provided context. This is especially true with conversations over the phone or by email where no body language is there to support the conversation. Same holds true for conversations on the VHF radio.

Not helpful radio conversations go like this “ White boat to the right, watch out you are heading for a rock shoal just off the main channel across from the island”. This conversation gets the attention of 100 boats that think they are about to run aground. Helpful conversations go like this “White Sea Ray towing dingy on our starboard heading north towards Bear Island you are approaching a rock shoal to your starboard ahead about 300 feet adjacent to Bear Island.

I am always amazed, that more often than not on a busy Saturday large boats giving securities going through narrow channels routinely get no response ... and yet there, coming the other way around the bend will be another boat smack in the middle of the channel. How many times have I cursed under my breath as the happy skipper waves going by with music blaring and oblivious to the danger caused.

Last season I heard a conversation on the VHF in Russian that went on for five minutes on channel 16 as many boaters chastised them to get off the channel to no avail.The Coast Guard never stepped in. They were probably too busy communicating on real emergencies.

The point is, we can all be better communicators on the VHF. It makes for safer more courteous boating. Think about what you plan on transmitting on the radio before you start the conversation. And if you are one of the many that don’t have a radio operators license take the course and get on board. Otherwise you have no right to use the VHF that you bought from West or inherited with the boat. VHF marine radios are not toys and their intended use is to foster safe boating and access to important information.

Posted by at 1:37 PM
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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DOWNSIZING

Most boat owners get "two foot itis” and over the years, the boats get bigger and bigger. We decided it’s time to downsize from a 52’ LOA Sea Ray to a 36’ LOA Boston Whaler Conquest. Twin Cummins 450’s out, triple Merc 300’s outboards in. We miss the space of the Sea Ray already. We keep bringing stuff to the new boat and taking it back with other stuff that won’t fit. It is a major adjustment in our cruising lifestyle. We did it for a number of reasons:

- the big boat could be difficult to dock in windy weather

- most of our friends had been entertained on the boat more than a few times and our adult kids were not that interested in boating with Mom & Dad

- too much boat for just the two of us

- reduced running cost

- reduced mechanical maintenance and docking costs

- offshore capability in any nasty weather

- longer range between fuel stops

- nice and cozy in the helm area with air/heat and windshield wipers rather than bridge with isinglass

- shorter duration getaways (but with less live aboard comfort) and quicker passages when required

- less washing & cleaning the boat

- 2’ draft vs. 4’ draft (water levels are dropping on Georgian Bay don’t you know)

Value wise, the boats were about the same ... so there were no capital savings - and like all boats purchased there is the initial costly wave of accessory purchases to get the vessel set up the way you want it. We moved from a 50’ dock to a 40’ dock. I feel a little bit like I got demoted from hanging with the elite of the marina to relegation to the middle class. On smaller boats there is no space margin of error and things like dock cords don’t fit into the relegated space unless you trained for hours to get them rolled up just right. Yes manually rolled up cables, not just a push of the remote to roll it in by Cablemaster. Gone are the extensive collection of pots and pans and dinner service for eight. My on board wine cellar is capped and 8 bottles rather than case lots.

So now I guess we’ll have to run with a different crowd. Introductions at social gatherings will be different. Most are suitably impressed with a 52’ yacht and take notice but a misally 36’ won’t make many take notice. Like a rock star who once filled coliseums, who can’t fill a small town arena ... we must make our humble adjustments and lick our wounds.

So now there’s just the two of us ... cozy in our new boat and still cruising. No more excess and silliness

Posted by at 2:37 PM
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

BOAT SALES DISCONNECT

We have been talking to quite a few people in the marine industry this past month and something perplexing is happening. Marinas for the most part have slip sales up ... but only marginally. Brokers on resale boats are having a soft spring – mainly explained by the late rather cool windy spring we have been experiencing so far. Let’s say there is some optimism looking forward this season. Yacht charters have been slightly busier this spring than last year but summer is looking quiet at this early stage.

So here is the disconnect ... boat surveys are way up. Like a few that we talked to are doing double the yacht surveys from last year. Why all lthe boat surveys if the broker sales and slip sales don’t support it? Could they be owner surveys in advance of boats going up for sale? Or perhaps a lot of owners that have been putting off work for the past number of years who are at the point that they need to access the overhaul situation to get their boats back in shape? Or is it boats that had bad surveys ... that didn’t close with brokers? Maybe a combination of all three of the above? Seems strange doesn’t it?

My observation when I drive around the marinas is, things are a bit quiet - probably due to weather. Even when it is sunny, it blows like stink during the day and at night, when the wind drops, it’s feeling like the middle of winter. Add to that a few torrential rains thrown into the mix for a few days per week and you have a situation where folks aren’t in a hurry to get their boat in the water this year. Seeing the odd guy sitting out with the beach umbrella up waiting for fellow boaters to come down the dock to shoot the breeze and socialize makes me feel sad for them ... because the dock socialization circuit hasn’t started this year - yet. I’m betting all hell will break loose with the first heat wave and everyone will want their boat fixed and in the water instantaneously ... putting a lot of pressure on marinas to deliver at the last minute and pull a rabbit out of their hat.

Posted by at 1:42 PM
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Friday, April 19, 2013

CATCH AND RELEASE

I’m really sticking my neck out on this one. Lately I’ve been watching some of the Spanish Fly fishing shows where they always catch and release ... even the big trophy fish. From reading many books on the history of Georgian Bay I’ve also come to the conclusion that fish resources have been depleted in a major way in comparison to a few generations ago. It maybe doesn’t seem too bad now, until you realize how good the fishing really was back in the old days when commercial fish camps thrived. In addition there is added pressure on fish stocks as the water levels recede, putting pressure on spawning beds and proper habitat for the fry nurseries - where little fish grow to be big fish. While there has never been an excuse for those that fish out of season or out a slot size - now in my opinion there really is no excuse not to practice catch and release.

It breaks my heart to see some of central south Ontario’s most productive fishing lakes now almost completely depleted to the point that even the resorts and lodges can't attract fishing tourism because there is nothing left to be caught. In fact some Kawartha resorts set their own fishing limits on resorts guests that go beyond the MNR requirements. This includes the banning of automatic fish scalers where even the smallest of fishes end up bagged for some kind of fish stew. Quite frankly without sounding racist there are some ethnic cultures in Canada where this is normal practice – take everything you can get at any cost. My neighbour on our cottage lake used to ice fish in front of our property every day several times per day and he filled a chest freezer with Lake Trout every season by practicing no limits in size or quantity in his quest to exploit the lake for his own gain just to save a few bucks at the grocery store. Needless to say Georgian Bay is a large body of water, but it is not immune to over fishing and environmental factors.

There is still some commercial fishing going on in Georgian Bay ... but not much. There are also some fish farms that run successfully, but not too many. Most of the fish pulled out of Georgian Bay are recreational fishermen like you or me. For me personally, what is most important is the thrill of the catch and not dinner. Yes it’s nice to have a shore lunch or a nice fish dinner once in a while, but I don’t need to use fishing as a way to manage my grocery bills. I accept the fact that there are those that need to fish to eat – and so they should ... within the limits of the law. But for the rest of us who just like to fish for fishing sake please consider catch and release as a way to ensure the thrill and preserving the fun for many generations to come. MNR is once again cutting back. There are less resources all the time to monitor fish stocks and enforce fishing regulations. It is up to all of us to fish responsibly. Fishing responsibly includes catch and release.

Posted by at 1:28 PM
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Tuesday, April 02, 2013

APRIL FOOLS

Cruel Mother Nature is playing an April fools joke on us. Here we are the beginning of April and it looks and feels like the middle of February. The ice on our lake where I live is 2.5 feet thick. We’re going to have ice in May this year! Georgian Bay’s Midland Bay latest ice out date going back many years is April 26th. I think this year could break that record. And it’s not only the ice ... it’s gusting like winter and the snow is coming down too. What’s is more depressing is, I just looked at the long term summer forecast and it is for a cooler wetter weather. Thank God, Environment Canada is almost always wrong on long term weather forecasts. I suppose if it was a wet summer it would be good for rebuilding the water levels ... and this late season snow should help too. The poor deer are running around here looking hungry and confused wondering ... did we just miss summer and run right back into winter – where’s the green shoots?

Come on Mother Nature give us a break. We poor Canadians get lied to by our government, hosed on our taxes, over charged on everything we buy including our own oil in comparison to our US brothers and now it’s feels like winter at the Artic circle in Southern Ontario in April. Please Mother Nature we didn’t do anything to deserve this! Man you have to be tough to live in this country.

Posted by at 8:23 AM
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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

CAPTAINS RANT

We are pleased that Captain Bill Everitt has agreed to do a monthly piece called Captains Rant. The deal is, Bill gets to rant about whatever he wants with no censorship. Bill is a real Captain who runs a sailboat charter business and delivers boats. He lives aboard his sailboat most of the year. Even when it’s hauled on land until the dead of winter sets in. Sometimes he Captains yachts for extended periods for owners down south. He is a nice guy and somewhat unique. You won’t find many that would leave in the night on a whim and sail Killarney to Midland by himself regardless of weather. Or maybe Midland to Tobermory and back for something to do on a weekend. Or maybe sail outside past Bermuda to the West Caribbean for the winter months on his own. I know what your thinking – there are lots of people that sail offshore trans ocean. And also radical historic sailors ... like Tristan Jones. And so there are ... but nobody I know is quite as spontaneous as Captain Bill – he just goes. A sign of someone who is very comfortable on the water. Bill can be controversial but he floats intelligent ideas and we hope you will enjoy his rants.

Posted by at 8:30 AM
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Thursday, March 21, 2013

SEA SICKNESS

Some lucky people like me have never been sea sick – touch wood. I talked to a King Crab crew chief from Alaska and he told me when it gets bad enough on the wrong boat, in the wrong place, almost everyone at the very least tosses their cookies until they get acclimatized. If your a newbie and conditions are really bad you might be sick enough to be immobilized wanting to die. If your an old salt and first trip of the season you might heave a few times before you settle in.

When we crossed the gulf stream at night from Lauderdale to West End Bahamas a number of years ago by 36’ sail boat my wife was so sick lying on the cabin sole that she could not move the entire night crossing from the time we entered the stream until the light came up the next morning when the wind shifted and the waves died down. As one can appreciate, a disabled crew can develop into a dangerous life threatening situation in the right conditions. Mind over matter will not cure someone who is truly sea sick. If the wave conditions persist it may take them days or even a week to adjust.

If you are planning to cross a wide body of water even in Ontario ... such as Lake Ontario, Lake Simcoe or Georgian Bay/Lake Huron there is something you need to be sure about. You can’t always predict or control the weather, but you can control who crews the boat. Every Captain should screen crew based on the trip and challenges the crew will potentially face. It just doesn’t make sense to get out there in a blow and try to attend to crew so sick they can only vomit on the floor of the cockpit while you wrestle Mother Nature and fight for the safety of the boat. You can’t be a Doctor and a Captain and do both under extreme conditions. Choose wisely or pass on the trip ... because you need to be sure that core crew help has sea legs and insure the safety of the vessel and crew.

We carry all the popular motion ease store bought cures on the boat. We also carry heavy duty prescription drugs for such an occasion ... and we have the ever tasty popular ginger candies. These cures need to be taken in advance of the onslaught of sea sickness. And guess what, none of them work in bad conditions, except the prescription drugs which will knock you off your feet almost like sea sickness itself, but without the vomiting. They basically allow one to wake up intact when it’s all over.

So think about it next time you head off with a boat full of people heading from say Midland to Tobermory. Nobody plans an accident - and that is why it’s an accident. Here is a LINK to a Blog that offers some advice that may be useful.

Posted by at 9:09 AM
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Monday, March 18, 2013

GOOD FOR YOU AND IT TASTES GOOD TOO

So if you haven’t heard, we just launched our own brand of Boating Georgian Bay promotional hot sauce called Habanero & Lime Mayday Emergency. We will be giving it away at various events like boat rendezvous and some trade shows. We might even find a retailer to handle it too, but the real purpose was essentially to have our business brand on the bottle ... and I happen to like hot sauce a lot. In addition to what I put on my food, I always take a couple tablespoons per day for medicinal purposes.

We believe in quality and this hot sauce is “premium”. First of all, there are no preservatives. Habanero peppers, carrot, vinegar, fresh lime juice and salt ... and that’s it. The sauce is produced right on Georgian Bay in a commercial inspected kitchen. Well not produced right “on Georgian Bay” of course ... on the shore ... you know what I mean. No bottling or production in India or China like so many other sauces. It’s a genuine homemade quality Canadian product.

Now this stuff is a lot more flavourful than your supermarket brands, but not so hot that it burns your mouth out like some of the extreme “death” hot sauce brands. On a scale up to 10 in hotness, it’s an 8. It’s primary ingredient is fresh Habanero peppers. Habanero peppers are good for you. They produce 20 times more Capsaicin than Jalapenos. Capsaicin is proven to reduce risk of prostate cancer, reduces the affect of arthritis, increases metabolism for weight control, it is an anticoagulant and it limits the amount of cholesterol absorbed in the intestines. In addition it has 357% more Vitamin C than an orange and it’s a good source of Vitamin A, B, Potassium, Magnesium and Iron. With regular use It can also protect you from many food borne pathogens, as anyone who spends time in Mexico can attest to. It is a very healthy food product.

So you won’t find this in your supermarket, but you might see it at boat related events. Next time your having a BBQ at your favourite remote anchorage you can pull out the Boating Georgian Bay Habanero & Lime Mayday Emergency sauce and amaze your friends.

Posted by at 9:52 AM
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Thursday, March 14, 2013

BOATING GEORGIAN BAY SITE POPULARITY

Our Boating Georgian Bay parent company First Page SEO www.first-page-seo.com is a web marketing business that builds hospitality/tourist directories as a sideline to the main business of search engine optimization and client website development. We built Boating Georgian Bay as a labour of love, because we keep our own boat on Georgian Bay and we are constantly amazed at the beauty of Georgian Bay and the North Channel. We wanted to share cruising information with others. Everyone should see Georgian Bay’s 30,000 Islands and North Channel region by boat at least once in their life ... just like you might have other “wonders of the world” destinations on your bucket list. To some extent we might take the beauty of the area for granted ... because we are absorbed in it all the time. For someone cruising up the 30,000 Islands and North Channel for the first time they are likely to be totally amazed by the unique scenery even though they may have cruised extensively in many parts of the world.

Cruising World Magazine named Georgian Bay/North Channel in their Top 10 worldwide destinations. There’s nothing like Georgian Bay region topography and it’s no wonder it inspired Group of Seven artists to paint the wind swept pines, rugged granite and quartz landscape smoothed over by thousands of years by wind, rain and waves. When we initially built the directory we thought our audience would be a niche market of hard core cruisers. Two years have gone by and the site has exploded in popularity.

This past year, the Boating Georgian Bay directory ran over 4.2M hits. In August 2012 it received an average of 19,900 page views per day or 3322 unique visitors per day average with peaks of over 5,000 unique visitors. On a yearly average the site does about 2000 unique visitors per day. The site is getting busier - Feb. 2012 traffic of 148,000 hits has more than doubled to 354,000 hits Feb. 2013. All the sites pages are high traffic ... fairly evenly split, but the busiest pages that edge the others out are What’s New, Weather, Favourite Anchorages, Ship Wrecks and Ports of Call.

The site places #1 on Google for everything boating, marine and lifestyle related on Georgian Bay and #1 for broader search terms like “Ontario yacht brokers”.

What we have learned is two fold. First is, the appetite for this site extends way beyond just the boaters on Georgian Bay. We get about 1/3 of our traffic from outside Canada. Second is, people seem to be interested in many aspects of the site and not only the Bay cruising related topics. For instance we have the most complete data base of ship wrecks on Georgian Bay that we know of. The divers love it. Restaurant reviews, weather and boat products are heavy traffic interests. The bottom line is you don’t have to be a Georgian Bay boater to enjoy this site. It is a great portal for Georgian Bay tourism interest in general.

Most of all we would like to thank our site advertisers ... for without their support, we wouldn’t be able to keep the site up to the extent we do with fresh content being added almost every day of the year.

 

 

Posted by at 12:10 PM
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

LOOKING COOL ... LOOKING COOL ... NOT COOL ... OUCH

Not nice to laugh at the misery of others but we couldn’t resist. Tell this one to the insurance company.

Click Here 

Posted by at 4:29 PM
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Monday, March 11, 2013

GROUP OF SEVEN CONNECTION TO THE BAY

The Group of Seven artists knew a good thing when the saw it back in 1913. Georgian Bay with it’s windswept pines and bare rock outcrops of quartz and granite represented Canadian landscape at it’s finest. Truth be told there is no where else in Canada or the world that has the unique look and feel of the Georgian Bay landscape. A.Y. Jackson, Franklin W. Carmichael, Arthur Lismer, Fredrick Varley, A.J. Casson painted extensively along Georgian Bay. Tom Thompson best known for his Algonquin Park paintings also painted on Georgian Bay. Many of the paintings were done in Killarney Provincial Park using the La Cloche Mountains as a backdrop. At that time they came by train as Hwy #637 to Killarney was not built until four decades later.

A.Y. Jackson and Tom Thompson also painted further south on Go Home Bay where they were invited guests of wealthy arts patron Dr. James MacCallum. The cottage was full of paintings on the walls and they were later dismantled and moved to the Museum of Civilization in Hull Quebec. Replicas replaced those that went to the Museum. The cottage stands today. And A.Y. hob knobbed with Orvil Wright (father of human flight) in the same area. Seems even back then those who appreciated fine art and inspiring scenery knew Georgian Bay was “THE” place to be.

Posted by at 9:08 AM
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Monday, February 25, 2013

MISSING GEIGER KEY ALREADY

If your ever down Key West way you want to pay a visit to Geiger Key Marina Fish Camp Restaurant & RV Park. Geiger Key is about 10 minutes north of Key West and it is the real deal if you want to experience the laid back Key West lifestyle that is now elusive in Key West as a tourist destination. Geiger Fish Camp is where the locals go to hang and it is a trip back to what Key West was like 40 or more years ago. Quite a mixture of folks ... tourists with trailer folks with a few fisherman covered in fish blood standing at the bar. There are other good fish houses like the Marathon Fish Company and the Bass Pro Fish House, but none that have the unvarnished back in time ambience of Geiger Key.

The Marina is not fancy, it is on the water in an area that is fairly remote and lots of mangrove sprouting everywhere. There are a handful of seasonal trailer sites that fill up a year in advance. No fancy yachts here – just a few dozen fishing boats. The restaurant is open air with a large thatched roof traditional Tiki bar that free pours many cocktail concoctions. The beer is ice cold. The fish is caught locally and brought right to the dock. The prices, like the ambience go back twenty years in comparison to Key West prices. The friendly but aggressive waitresses fly around like crazy trying to keep up with demand. The kitchen has attitude and the cooks duel back and forth with the servers. There is no loud music, just happy people at the bar and eating at picnic tables.

The food is to die for. The fish is as fresh as you’ll ever find it and it is cooked the way you like it. I recommend a blackened Hog fish sandwich which comes with fries, homemade coleslaw and dill pickle. Chase it down with a cup of Conch Chowder. The beers go down more than smoothly in this hot humid climate ... but remember there is nowhere to sleep here, so you have to drive back to Key West (unless you get adopted by one on the trailer park folk). Best to have a designated driver and spend a lazy afternoon lunch that might even stretch into dinner hour where you get to do it all over again. Pace yourself, take your time and soak in what Key West was like in the 1960’s.

I’m missing Geiger Key already and it would be one of my primary motivations for planning to go back to the Keys. The marina is also a pick up point for deep sea fishing charters.

Come early before noon to snare a seat at the bar www.geigerkeymarina.com

Posted by at 9:53 AM
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Friday, February 01, 2013

THE DIPPER SURVEY SAYS ...

This past while, Georgian Bay has been in the news for something people don’t talk about much or admit to – skinny dipping! There are not many pristine waterfront locations around these days that are not built up with cottages, lakeside homes or busy beach areas. Georgian Bay has more than it’s far share of secluded drop dead beautiful scenic locations where one could skinny dip, if one wished to do so. Some folks are less shy than others. We were at anchor last summer and the sailboat crew beside us that dropped anchor had no qualms about dipping au naturel in a busy anchorage. As Jerry Seinfeld would say ... “not that there’s anything wrong with that” but for most, it’s not mainstream, if you know what I mean.

So anyways we thought we should correct some mistruths about skinny dipping on Georgian Bay. This has played very well in the media and was all over Twitter and other social media for a while. I believe Mountain Life Magazine first published the notion of top spots to skinny dip on Georgian Bay. You’ll notice they didn’t say Muskoka, Kawarthas or Haliburton ... they said Georgian Bay. Nothing quite comes up to the pristine standards of Georgian Bay for this kind of activity.

The Toronto Sun picked this up and the story went viral. Other publications followed like the Sudbury Star and many regional papers. Even local municipalities and business associations got in on the act. Skinny dipping has become a tourist promotion. Some of those Top 10 locations will be getting busy with all the publicity. Some were popular swimming holes already ... you have to be brave if there’s a dozen people swimming in suits and your going to join the party skinny. More realistically the best locations are going to be isolated. Some of the Top 10 be be sure are nice scenic locations - like The Grotto, Indian Head, Killbear Park, Covered Portage ... but I for one cannot imagine dipping at Killbear’s well used beach head ... except maybe in the middle of the night.

I was shocked to see some of the better locations absent from the Top 10. Our own poll suggested that only real cruisers would know the genuine top ranking locations to dip. Now the clear (no pun intended) real winner is the turquoise crystal clear waters of Topaz Lake an easy hike up from the Pool down at the base of Baie Fine fiord near Killarney. I know officially it not on Georgian Bay, but for God’s sake ... it’s a hope skip and a jump up the La Cloche Mountains from Georgian Bay proper so it qualifies.

Nothing like the Bahama Blue water of Topaz surrounded by windswept pines and white quartz cliffs. Truth be known, Topaz Lake as isolated as it is ... is a dead lake. That’s why the water is so clear and blue. Acid rain from the Sudbury nickel mills took it’s affect on the little lake many decades ago and that slight difference in PH keeps the fishes and organic material from taking hold again, even though the accident rain has been greatly eliminated in the north. Anyways, according to those that really know, Topaz Lake is the numero ono #1 spot to be a dipper. Good luck getting there without a boat though. Same goes for Covered Portage Cove. All the more reason to buy a boat and start cruising.

Posted by at 4:23 PM
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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

BOAT RENDEZVOUS ARE BIG BUSINESS

 We have attended a number of rendezvous on Georgian Bay in the last few years and others going back many years on Lake Simcoe. It seems like a simple enough thing to do to get a bunch of like minded boaters together but in fact there are many logistics related to safety, reservations, food and special events associated with a boat rendezvous. Boaters are also a very independent lot so sometimes it’s difficult to get them to stick to an agenda – like herding cats.

Some of the marina and boat brand manufacturer rendezvous are very large at upwards or over 200 boats. Large groups might be spread out two hours apart from the front to end boat as they travel mother goose style to the next destination. Safely anchoring/rafting that many boats in a harbour is quite a feat on it’s own. Same with docking large groups at marinas that get filled to capacity. Lots of coordination involved.

We attended the Parkbridge group of marinas last season and they did an excellent job – certainly one of the best organized I’ve seen and it was huge group of boats. Some marinas are set up better than others to mange this kind of onslaught on boats coming in at one time. If it’s a fuel and pump out stop things at the gas docks get very interesting.

I recently read that Nemi in the North Channel had undergone waterfront development so they can accept large boat rendezvous to their town. This included things like a waterfront trail, a new pavilion, increased parking, tennis court and other recreational opportunities, new signage lighting and landscaping, re-decking and improving the docks and upgrading the streetscape of the town. This was a very wise move on their part. It comes down to economics – spending to compound revenue.

Boaters drop a lot of money when they travel with a rendezvous. There’s fuel, pump outs, docking, food & beverage supplies, dinners out, marine repairs and shopping. I decided to check and see how much we spent at our one Killarney stop last year that was two day stay over. For our 52’ boat that grand total was $1992. including tax all in that we spent for a party of three. We’re still eating Hawberry sauces and I still wear my Herbert Fisheries T shirt. Great memories too! Point is, a few hundred boats traveling the Bay is big money pumped into local economies by any standard. I’m sure our group overall probably dropped $200k or more just in Killarney. Everybody along the way benefits and it spreads money deep into the economy where fuel companies, merchants, marinas and restaurants need it.

Now cruisers spend money in the same way – just not in big groups. The collective volume of individual cruisers dwarf rendezvous traffic. So why is Parks Canada making it so difficult and so expensive for boat tourists to come up the Trent to visit one of the worlds most spectacular cruising areas. I just doesn’t make sense. Boating in Ontario is a major positive economic force and the marine industry and boaters themselves need to do more to educate the Provincial and Federal governments and for that matter the general public as to the economic importance of the industry. More important ... the local Chambers of Commerce, merchants, marinas and restaurants in all the ports need to scream it out load and clear to the politicians that represent them in their riding.

Posted by at 1:08 PM
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Thursday, January 03, 2013

WILL OVERNIGHT CRUISE SHIPS PLY THE WATERS OF GEORGIAN BAY AGAIN?

Well it could happen. As larger cruise ships are built the older smaller ships on the bottom end are retired or often sold to companies that offer smaller venue cruise options that typically do not attract Port fees as they boat shuttle in to shore venues. Think Windstar by example. One of the problems cruise lines are running into, is the absence of new and exciting cruise destinations that are safe for their clients. Most folks using cruise ships as a vacation are boomers or seniors and many have done many cruises. They may have done the eastern and western Caribbean, Panama Canal, Baja, South America east and South America West, Europe Canal tours, Greece, Mediterranean ports, Alaska – some are running out on new places to see.

You couldn't find better scenery than Georgian Bay. There are a number of good deep water ports that a small cruise ship could call home ... including Collingwood, Midland & Penetanguishene. Lots of nice spots to stop along the way – Parry Sound, Britt, Little Current, Gore Bay, Sault St Marie, Tobermory, Lions Head, Owen Sound ... and around the loop we go. Lots of safe anchorages too ... with Park access for traditional onshore fish fry picnics. Entrepreneurs would flock to provide interpretive tours and shore excursions. The smaller cruise ships would head south in the winter to do existing venues like the Chesapeake and short haul coastal cruises. It would be easy peasy to put together a drop dead scenic 10 day cruise on Georgian Bay. It would be an economic bonanza for tourism and some of the small town stops along the way.

So what is the downside? Not everyone would be excited to see a few small cruise ships on the Bay. The base Port would require some capital investment for re-provisioning and dock services. Having said that Windstar operates in Costa Rica in a very remote location with just a basic dock and loading set up.

The real barriers are the stringent standards our country applies in Canadian waters including labour laws affecting crew access and wage standards, environmental laws and vessel safety standards (Coast Guard and insurance requirements) that are constantly a moving target. But none of these things are insurmountable. What it really comes down to is positioning such a cruise as high end and refitting boats for a premium market ... because to make money with the added Canadian generated overhead, taxes and a good dose of jumping hoops - any cruise company would have to charge more than say the same boat running in Central or South America.

Could it really happen? Yes it could and likely will at some point. Already there are other US ports on the Great lakes that are preparing for the small cruise market. There will probably never be the amount of tourists traveling by cruise boat to Georgian Bay destinations as there was back in the early 1900’s, but there could be room for a few ... and they would be far safer than the cruise ships of Georgian Bay’s past. Heaven knows local economies on the Bay could use the boost.

Posted by at 10:05 AM
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Monday, December 03, 2012

AVOIDING THE FISCAL CLIFF – CLOSING TAX LOOPHOLES

Everyone hopes we avoid the fiscal cliff and in all likelihood calmer heads will prevail and the ruling Democrats and recently defeated Republicans while get their act together, rather than tank the economy ... and for Republican Congress representatives avoiding the risk of loosing seats in the upcoming Congress election, at the vengeful hands of voters.

When Mitt Romney was on the stump and he referred to plugging tax loopholes rather than raising taxes he was referring to tax deductions like home mortgage, RV and boats. All three are likely going to be effected in the Fiscal Cliff negotiations. They are easy targets and will be readily agreeable to both parties. The home mortgage tax credit elimination is the big elephant in the room and can deliver some serious help in reducing debt but it is most likely to be capped ... as a first step, rather than eliminated entirely, because the housing market is just recovering and mortgage tax deductibility is very popular with voters.

As far as tax deduction elimination for boats (or yachts as they will be referred to), it seems only a miracle would stop the Congress and Senate from passing tax reform that would do away with this deduction. Sure all the boat based support organizations would lobby against it, citing irreparable damage to the boat industry and a hurtful thing to do to the economy, BUT saving a tax deduction on yachts is not high on the radar screens of most average Americans. For right or wrong, the fact is, the average taxpayer would see a tax deduction on a yacht as a no brainer “loophole” to close.

What would the net affect be? Likely it will further damage US and offshore boat manufacturing. Even more serious, it may have a very serious affect on resale boat prices as many owners may throw in the towel if they cannot deduct the cost of owning their boat. Many boats may go up for sale on the market at one time, driving resale boat prices to all time lows. We hope that this doesn’t happen ... and the recovering US economy takes up the slack on supply and demand but at first blush, moving forward it doesn’t look good in the USA for those wanting to sell their boats.

If there is a wave of US based used boats that flood the market due to changes in tax code, then in Canada we will get our fair share driving prices down here as well. Great if you are buying a boat – bad if you are selling. The silver lining is, manufacturing has slowed significantly over the last number of years and at some point there will be a shortage of boats built 2007 forward. When the economy really rolls forward, it should drive boat prices back up based on supply and demand. That may take a few more years though.

Posted by at 3:02 PM
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Thursday, November 01, 2012

AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE SANDY

Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc on marinas from New York City south to the Delaware. One marina in Elizabeth City was completely destroyed. However hundreds of boats that have severe damage will be repaired rather than written off. This includes boats with salt water damage to engines that will will be “pickled“ with diesel fuel and eventually restored to running condition. Would you want to buy one of these boats? Not me!

Buyer beware. Hurricane Sandy will create a glut of boats that will be put onto the market after restoration paid for by insurance companies. Boat owners will get rid of their repaired boats like hot potatoes because none will want a wet salt infused boat and even some write offs will eventually be repaired and re-enter the market. It is especially easy to trade these boats at a low price on a new boat and then it becomes a dealer or broker problem to get rid of the boat.

Problem is, a boat sunk in salt water will never be the same again. Mildew and mold will always have their way over time even when the boat has been thoroughly dried out and the upholstery/liners replaced. Salt water dunked engines – you don’t want to own one. Moisture core breaches due to broken fiberglass will be common. Problem is, other than moisture in the boats core, it is hard to tell a boat that has had the engine pickled or the interior redone. Older boats get refurbished for other reasons and also have fresh interiors. In fact the repaired boat might look like a very good buy as it will be shined up after repairs and will have very low wear on upholstery and other soft items that get replaced in the interior. These boats will end up all over the US for sale, both privately and with dealers and brokers. Not everybody has the integrity or even the knowledge to declare a boat a hurricane victim. Many potential buyers assume that you just have to watch the affected area you buy a boat in ... but history has shown that these damaged boats end up coast to coast and even offshore from USA very quickly. As they get sold and resold over a few years, if there was a declared history with the boat, it disappears.

Peoples memories are short and after a year or so they forget the risk of buying hurricane damaged boats. So over the next few years your chances of getting ripped off are high. Here is how to avoid getting a hurricane damaged boat.

1/ Never purchase a boat that you cannot clearly document it’s owners and location over the age of the boat and ideally contact previous owners (or better yet - stick with one owner boats or an owner you know).

2/ If it looks to good to be true it probably is.

3/ The sure way to avoid the problem is don’t buy a salt water boat. I know ... 80 % of the market is salt water boats - but if you want to be REALLY sure on what you are getting ... with careful inspection it is almost impossible to disguise a boat that has been in salt water ... even for a season. Steaming will not remove all the evidence. Unless they take the boat down to the bare hull and interior sand and re-spray, you’re going to know if an expert inspects the boat for salt water. You can chemical test bilges in several places to be sure. So as harsh as it may sound ... shop for a inland lake boats, e.g.. Great Lake boats that have never seen salt water and it’s hard to go wrong. Besides, used fresh water boats (all things being equal) are always worth more than salt water boats and they are probably winter stored, so they see less sun and wear and tear.

I know there are probably some brokers shaking their heads at this article, but buyers want value for their hard earned money not someone else's problem boat ... so we feel obligated to share this kind of information.

Posted by at 4:20 PM
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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

STRANGE BUT TRUE

In 2008 a rogue wave knocked 58 year old Scott Douglas and his 69 year old brother-in-law from their small 26’ Regulator fishing boat Queen Bee off of Nantucket, Mass. He thought that would be the last of his boat. Both swam to shore one mile and survived. Three years later, the Douglas boat Queen Bee washed up on the shore of Spain intact. The boat somehow had made it across the continental shelf and drifted north along Canada into the gulf stream which took it across the Atlantic.

Spain released the salvage rights and Douglas brought it back to the US. Regulator will be using the boat for shows and events. The boat requires not much more than clean up and repowering to get back on the water. That’s one tough little boat! They should rename it the Unsinkable Queen Bee.

Posted by at 3:52 PM
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HURRICANE SANDY

Mother nature once again shows us who is boss! Hurricane Sandy leaves a path of destruction in the northeast United States with house buried in sand and swept away in New Jersey, blizzards in Virginia, flooded subways in New York and entire subdivisions burned to the ground. Millions are without power and will have to go without for days to come. Sandy packed a punch and combined with high tides, the hurricane flood levels were at a historical peak causing many deaths, extreme loss of property and billions in damages.

In Ontario we were lucky and just suffered the remnants as a severe storm. One woman was killed by a falling sign, lots of wind damage and power outages but nothing like the east coast received. Georgian Bay was west of the worst of it, but the highest recorded wind speeds in Ontario were 106 km hour on the Western Islands in Georgian Bay.

Ethan Meleg a well known Georgian Bay photographer shot this video at Indian Head. As you will see in the video, the waves are engulfing a 50’ cliff. Just a reminder how nasty and dangerous Georgian Bay can be in a storm.

In the old days, steamers moving goods and people would still be out on the Bay and this storm no doubt would have sunk many ships. With modern forecasts and ample warning this kind of loss is now a rare occurrence. Luckily pleasure boating was over for the season. Marinas had most of the boats out of the water and for those remaining they took precautions. Some of the hearty late fall residents in homes and cottages on outer islands in Georgian Bay may have experienced quite a show of nature - but no one killed or injured on the Bay.

Several marinas have commented that they have seen worse storms. Georgian Bay folks are a hearty lot – bring it on Mother Nature!

Posted by at 11:58 AM
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Thursday, October 18, 2012

WESTERN ISLANDS

We did a feature article on Lonely Island as being the loneliest island on Georgian Bay. Several people emailed me and said what about the Western Islands ... that they were very lonely to. And so they are ... but perhaps not as lonely as Lonely Island – albeit the Westerns have less vegetation than Lonely Island. But for those that are interested here’s a bit about the Western Islands.

The Western Islands are about 15 km from any land and are out of site of land when viewed from ground level. The island chain is about 43 km south west of Parry Sound and about 20 kms north west of Hope Island. If you know O’Donnell Point, it is directly west of the mainland some 15+ km The 1895 octagonal 45’ lighthouse is still standing on Double Top Island (part of the Western island group). To be honest the lighthouse was rebuilt in the same location three times since 1895. Little vegetation grows on the Western Islands except gold lichen. The weather exposure is too severe to support trees on the island. Even too inhospitable for a rattle snakes to exist. Just an outcropping of light gray rock islands alone in the vast expanse of blue water.

From the lighthouse you can see the mainland. The lighthouse is in rough shape but there are some old artifacts there. As you can imagine not very many people visit there and there is no decent harbour or shelter to dock or anchor a boat. In good weather the occasional visiting boat might visit and heave to go ashore by dingy. Officially it is Coast Guard controlled and off limits to the public. A small cement walkway connects the lighthouse to a helicopter pad. There is a small service building there. At one point in time there was a lighthouse keepers house and other ancillary buildings that no longer exist (except under water). By my count the island archipelago consists of about 20 small islands (in two groups north and south) and lots of others awash in rock. The North group islands that are named are North Island, Cresent Island, Harbour Island, Long Island and West One Tree Island. The south group of named islands are Thumb Rock, Block Island, Gull Island, Jagged Island, Pool Rocks and Double Top Island. In winter the spray turns the islands and buildings into an ice covered landscape and keepers used ice crampons to get around.

Now here is something unusual. The previous two lighthouses built at the same location and the light keepers house complete with personal items can be found in the water just off from the current lighthouse. The buildings were disposed of by just pushing them off into the Bay. You can scuba dive these once land based wrecks! No doubt there are many ship wrecks about the western islands but it drops off so fast that most would have slid to the depths and would be gone forever.

So if you ever get a really calm stretch of weather take a boat ride out to the Western Islands and imagine what it was like to be a lighthouse keeper on Double Top Island. Then think about going up to Lonely Island and you be the judge as to which is in fact the most lonely.

Posted by at 9:48 AM
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STRANGE PLACE – STILTSVILLE

Going back to 1922 wood stilt houses started going up on a sand banks called “the flats” one mile south of Cape Florida on the edge of Biscayne Bay in Miami Dade County. The structures stand on wood or concrete pilings about 10 feet above the shallow water which is a couple of feet deep at low tide.

In 1933 Crawfish Eddie Walker put up a shack near the end of prohibition to allow gambling which was then legal one mile or more offshore. He also sold bait and beer and crawfish chowder. Over time more shacks were built for boat clubs, fishing clubs and shipwreck seekers. The area became an on water shack colony. Crawfish Eddies shack was destroyed in 1950 by a hurricane.

The Calvert Club was built in the late 1930’s and hosted fishing clubs. In 1940 Edward Turner built a large house and named it the Quarterdeck Club. Membership was exclusive by invitation only and cost $150 ... a princely sum back then.The club was a $100,000 play palace with lounge dining room and dock slips for wealthy yacht owners. It became a tourist attraction know for partying and gambling. It burned to the pylons in 1961.

From the 1950’s to the 1960’s Stiltsville morphed from being run down to a collection of lodge type private residences and places to party. By 1960 there were 27 buildings. Some of them that have survived hurricanes and are preserved in a historic non profit Stiltsville Trust put in place in 2003.

Miami Springs Power Boat Club built a club on a barge and grounded it in Stiltsville. In 1962 Harry Churchhill grounded a 150’ yacht named Jeff and turned it into a club serving free drinks to women wearing bikinis. There was a nude sundeck and rooms were for rent for any purpose. It became know as the Bikini Club. It was raided in 1965 and closed down for selling liquor without a permit. In 1966 what remained was burned to the waterline. Hurricane Betsy came in 1965 and destroyed many Stiltsville buildings.

By 1965 the County stopped issuing building permits. Owners had to pay a $100 annual camping fee and secure their quarter acre of water. Any building that suffered more than 50% damage could not get a permit to rebuild. In 1967 WRIZ radio station built a transmission tower in Stiltsville. Commercial operations were stopped after 1969. By 1976 the leases were $300 year and all leases were to terminate by 1999 with buildings to be removed at the owners expense.

In 1980 the area came within Biscayne National Park boundaries and the Park service extended the lease terms. By mid 1990’s there was a public push to preserve the buildings. Only the seven buildings were standing by 1999. In 2000 they were successful with the Park negotiations and leases were extended again. By 2003 the Trust was put in place and existing lease holders became caretakers of the properties.The buildings are owned by the National Park Service who reinforced the foundations but the caretakers (former owners) can visit and help maintain the remaining buildings. Stiltsville has been the subject of books,TV shows, movies and advertising photo shoots. It is a very unique place with a interesting past.

Posted by at 9:37 AM
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Monday, October 01, 2012

THAT’S A WRAP

 Well, the 2012 recreational boating season on Georgian Bay is coming to an end. Those boats that do go out are staying close to home. The water in the anchorages is getting a bit to brisk to swim. I am always amazed at the transformation in weather in Ontario at this time of year. It seems only a few weeks ago we were anchored out in baking hot sun and swimming in bathtub warm water. While there is still plenty of sunshine, the colder overnight temperatures and clear night skies shed the heat even faster and the water gives off heat in a hurry.

The little towns along the Bay like Killarney go from bustling to sleepy like someone turned of a switch. The island anchorages change their pattern of regular boat visitors to no visitors. At dinner the other night I talked to a chap that just came back from the North Channel on a September fall cruise and there only one other boat in all of Baie Fine. Makes me wonder what it would be like to visit the Bustards or other remote anchorages in November for a week. It would be a completely different surreal experience with no other boats and the odd gale roaring through.

I was surprised at how many boats are out of the water already. Boats are already being blocked up on the parking pavement in my marina. Gosh the season is short on Georgian Bay. It seems like only yesterday that the season started. Well we had a good summer this year if it’s any solace. The only way to get your boat fix now is to head south for the many upcoming boat shows or charter in some warmer clime. Just south in the Chesapeake folks can cruise up until December or later if they are lucky. It really doesn’t seem fair does it? ... but I suppose Georgian Bay is so intense and such a feast for the eyes that we should all be satisfied with a five month season. Here’s a pic from the Bustards that will help tide you over until spring. If you look carefully you can see a sailboat in the distance at anchor through the dinghy passage between the two anchorages.I was surprised to see them show up there. They had the whole anchorage to themselves even though it was summertime.

Posted by at 11:43 AM
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

PRIDE AND JOY

 Most boat owners are proud of their boats and may be willing to polish and maintain their boat to a much higher degree than they would their own home. Boats are a matter of pride and for some, the boat you own reflects who you are ... or at least who you might think you are. Big or small, classic or new, each boat owner gets a great amount of joy and self satisfaction with owning and pampering their boat. But you know what is even more important to most boaters at the anchorage or in the marina – their dinghy ... or as the British would say, the “yacht tender”.

Dinghy's are a badge of honor and they tour the anchorages and marinas as ambassadors to the main boat. They almost always have a a name or share the name as a sibling of the parent boat. The more equipment on the dinghy and the more horsepower the tender will carry the better. In fact many boats in the quest for a bigger better dinghy don’t have the capacity to carry it on the boat so it must be towed everywhere.

Boat owners go to great lengths to house and launch their dinghies. For maximum wow factor the dingy is launched from a tender garage at the stern of the boat. Next down from that would be a deck crane, maneuvering the vessel from an upper deck to the water. And then there’s hydraulic swim platform launches that lower the dingy into the water or perhaps a Sea Weed davit system where you winch it up or down into the water from the swim platform. Some dinghies suffer the indignity of being turned on their sides and hooked up to Weaver davits. Whatever the methodology of transporting the dingy, one thing is for sure – not many boats travel without their dingy and one of the first things that happens when the anchor drops is the dingy gets launched and there is the appropriate tour of the harbour. A proper dingy cruising expedition of the surrounding area and neighboring anchorages usually ensues at a later time, once the yacht is put in order and has adjusted to it’s new surroundings for a respectable amount of time. Obligatory nods and waves are traded among boat owners during the dinghy expedition and each pay their respects ... and perhaps even a comment or two if you have a really nice dinghy! On return to the big boat, the dinghy crew feels well satisfied with their explorations and usually deserving of a cocktail or a dive off the swim platform. Such are the rituals and formalities of boat owners with their dinghy's.

Of course long distance cruising yachts have a greater functional requirement of their dinghies and it is more than just a shiny tour boat. Cruising boats haul groceries , drop off and pick up crew, take the dog to shore and they have a more working relationship with their dinghy. Looper dinghy's tend to have a lot of black streaks and wear and tear and you may notice that well travelled experienced dinghy's may forgo the initial obligatory nod or wave ... because they have the status to do so (although they probably will always return a courtesy acknowledgement wave). I guess it’s just like Harley riders – if the bike is well used and experienced chances are the flash wave does not come when a Honda comes down the highway the other way. Such are the idiosyncrasies of human psychology and yes I LOVE my dinghy. LOL

Posted by at 2:46 PM
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HOW TO MEASURE A MAINSAIL COVER

Why tell you when you can watch the video! You’ll find useful tips on how to measure to make a cover for your mainsail.

Click Here to watch

Posted by at 12:12 PM
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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

MOST UNUSUAL

Here you will find some unusual boat related pics we have picked out for your entertainment.

Most Unusual Boat
Cosmic Muffin named after the dream boat in a Jimmy Buffet novel was made by Dave Drimmer & Jeff Gibbs of Plane Boats. It features V8 inboards with new electrical plumbing, heads, air conditioning, along with new interior and restoration of seating and bar. When the boat was a Boeing 307 Stratoliner plane in 1939 it was once owned by Howard Hughes and named The Flying Penthouse . As a boat it can cruise up to 32 km hour.

Most Unusual Woman In Boat
Most Unusual Woman In Boat Eva Braun was Adolf Hitler's mistress and later wife who committed suicide at age 33 with Hitler. The picture was confiscated by the US Army from a personal album and in 2011 was finally made public.

Most Unusual Boating Accident
Ouch! ... and the boat is named Temporary Insanity. Alcohol and fast boats don’t mix.

Most Unusual Fish
This is an oarfish or ribbon fish – a member of the herring family.They are sometimes mistaken for Mermaids because they float on top of the water sometimes. Not really considered a good eating fish as they are gelatinous. Rare to see except when the occasionally wash up on beach.

Most Unusual Boat Launch
Not the usual way to launch a boat but it did get into the water quickly. Note guy on stern enjoying the ride.

Most Unusual Charter Boat Operation
Here’s a fishing charter company in Australia called Surfers Paradise that provides topless crew for your deep water fishing expeditions.That’s one way to attract charter business in slow economic times.

Most Unusual Restaurant To Visit By Boat
Nope it’s not Henry’s at San Souci Island ... it’s the Rock Restaurant off the east coast of Zanzibar

Most Unusual Feeling That Your Being Watched While On A Boat
Curious Great White shark contemplates dinner. Actually this is shark research.
Posted by at 3:53 PM
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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

ITALY YACHT TOURISM SINKS

 Italy can provide a good lesson for other countries when it comes to the management of their tourist dollars. The European financial crisis is now hitting the middle class in Italy. A new law that doesn’t allow hotels & resorts to accept cash payments of more than $1000 euro’s is keeping the big spenders away. Italian marinas have lost 20% of their core business because luxury yacht owners left in a hurry for Croatia, Malta & France when the government imposed huge new taxes for visiting yachts. Thinking that these wealthy yacht owners would anti up just because they are rich was a miscalculation. No one wants to pay taxes from hard earned money regardless of how much you have – especially taxes that are seen as unjust and a money grab. Yachts are mobile and they have options that they are taking. It hurts the Italian people too because the money lost from this business by far out ways the taxes and the money disappearing from the economy goes right to the bottom line of small tourist related businesses. Even Italians who normally go on vacation in August are staying home ... because they are feeling the squeeze financially and tourist dollars are declining. There is always the temptation to raise taxes to fund government waste and inefficiency in all countries ... and it rarely works because it just creates more inefficiency and drives entrepreneurs away. With the Euro pegged as a common currency and artificially maintained higher than it should be by the strength of the German economy the governments of some countries should be reducing the costs of services through reduced taxation to attract tourists - not scare them away.

Posted by at 11:08 AM
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

SAILORS VS. POWER BOATERS

 Lately I’ve noticed more power boats rafted at anchorages with sail boats. On Canada Day I say a number of anchorages that had sailors hanging with power boaters. Is this a trend that we are all getting along better than ever, or just a fluke? Maybe cruisers are maturing on Georgian Bay with more experience or just getting older and more understanding demograpghically?

For the record I was a cruising sailor first and a power boater much later. Even though I have a power boat now, I still consider myself a sailor heart and I have many friends who are power only, and some that are sail only ... and a few that can cross over either way. From a romantic cruising point of view it’s hard to argue that travelling long distances by the power of the wind to far flung destinations ... and having no restrictions based on fuel capacity is a very free and enabling feeling. Anyone who has sailed offshore at night and listened to the rush of water and phosphorescent glow coming off the stern of the boat knows what I’m talking about – it’s magical. But from a practical point of view for those cruising in around more domestic destinations, it’s nice to be able to get to where you want to go in a hurry if you want to spend more time on land at the destination or perhaps get out of the weather quickly. In my sailing days I have vowed to never own a power boat and on at least one return sail voyage (wishing we were home) I had vowed never to sail again, and cruise only by power. As I aged over the years some of the romantic notions of sailing got knocked out of me and power cruising is less work and more immediate for my needs. Besides the sail boat got as much time under diesel at 7 knots as it did under sail ... the truth be known.

One thing is for certain, when you are long term cruising down in the islands in a more remote environment you sit at anchor and sometimes hanker for other human company ... and it doesn’t matter sail or power. For most the barriers break down, and it is fun to share information and background and make new friends. Same is true of boat size in these circumstances. Down in Nassau we needed a prop puller once for our 36’ CS sail boat and we were invited aboard a 100’+ yacht without hesitation to help ourselves to whatever tools we needed. Many a time we enjoyed happy hour on power boats that dwarfed our sail boat and many times we had power boaters come on board our sail boat to discuss and exchange cruising information. The water is the karma and the common glue that binds us all together. When you weekend cruise out of a marina, it’s easy to avoid cross visitation between sail and power. But if you were the only two boats - sail and power at a remote anchorage for several days, chances are you would pay your respects and might share some stories or perhaps hoist a beer together.

This brings up the biggest bone of contention between sail and power. The wake that comes off power boats can be disruptive and dangerous to sailors. It is the responsibility of all power boaters to learn the slow pass. You simply radio the slower sail boat and indicate port or starboard pass and come up on the stern and drop the speed right down to no wake and glide by and power up once past. The sail boat should throttle down if under power as well to expedite the pass. Sailors all appreciate the courtesy of a slow pass and down south in most situations you don’t need to radio as it goes without saying that it is the only acceptable way to pass slower moving craft (unless your near New Jersey where few boaters are courteous). If everyone practiced slow pass then more sailors and power boaters could get along even better.

Posted by at 12:30 PM
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Friday, June 22, 2012

SUMMER IS HERE – KEEP YOUR COOL

 Well summer is here and early indications are it’s going to be a scorcher. These super humid heated days make for unreliable weather forecasting. Thunderstorms and strong winds can pop up well before there forecast time. As a matter of fact as I write this blog article it is about 34 degrees C and the storm warnings forecast for the evening are actually upon us at 4 pm. A half hour ago it wasn’t even showing on weather radar. I guess that’s why they call them pop up thunderstorms. Pop up thunderstorms can get serious when they turn to full downdrafts and you experience damaging tornado like conditions. When your out at anchor on really hot humid days, you want to make sure your anchor is well set because conditions from this kind of warm front weather pushing up from the south tend to go from very still to gusty violent winds in a matter of minutes. It’s those gusts that break anchor set more so than steady winds. Better yet, if anchoring conditions permit put your second anchor down Bahamas style - and you can relax and sleep better at night. If the waters not too deep and clear ... dive it to check your anchor set.

Another thing about these scorching days – make sure you stay hydrated and take a dip every once in a while to keep your cool. Bathing suits are the order of the day – great excuse to get the ladies in bikini’s so they don’t overheat! Don’t forget the waterproof sunscreen yada-yada ... I personally hate the greasy stuff and won’t use it ... but you should, because your smarter than me. Alcohol dehydrates ... so if your at the dock or at anchor enjoying a few brews or Margaritas make sure you chase it with a big glass of ice water. And don’t drink so much that you can’t react in the event a storm rolls in and you have to take on the roll of capable Captain. There you have it - have you had enough lecturing already? Summer comes and goes fast – have a blast and we hope to see you out cruising.

Posted by at 2:49 PM
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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

What are the odds. A ship as old as the SS Keewatin ... a wooden steamer, 107 years of age, not only survives without burning, sinking or falling apart, but it gets dredged out of the mud in a foreign port and gets moved back to her home port of Port McNicoll on Georgian Bay generations after she was left to live out her last days. Not a reproduction or completely rebuilt from the ribs - the original - the real McCoy.

She moved passengers for 60 years from Port McNicoll to Thunder Bay and never wrecked ashore or foundered in stormy weather on treacherous Georgian Bay ... a virtual graveyard of ships from ancient times to modern day. She was built 5 years before the Titanic. Pardon the expression but this ship must have been “built like a brick shit house” and had it’s keel “plated with horseshoes”. It’s unheard off – any other ship would have wrecked to the bottom of Georgian Bay at some point. Not only is she resilient, the ship in is relatively good shape – hull intact and looking good with enough hutzpah left over to pass Coast Guard and insurance inspections.

Hail the mighty SS Keewatin and the able hands that built and Captained her. I can’t wait to dine on board and tour her new 4000 sq. ft. museum. They say dinner service will utilize the original silverware and china! What a miracle that Skyline Investments was able to bring her back to Port McNicoll.

Thanks to the USA for taking care of her all these years so she could be returned to her home. I know where I will be when she arrives June 23rd, 2012 – right out front of Port McNicoll harbour watching the tugs bring her in gently to her berth and recording the event in photographs and video to share with you on this site. Back in port the champagne corks will be flying to celebrate the immortal spirit of Keewatin. Keewatin is Cree for BLIZZARD OF THE NORTH and she may ride out more of those than any other ship in Canadian history. So maybe the moon is made of blue cheese and pigs can fly?

Posted by at 4:30 PM
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Wednesday, May 02, 2012

BILLIONAIRES CAN BE NICE GUYS TOO!

We often think that billionaires behaviorally are from a different planet than the rest of us mere mortals. Dennis Washington is a rags to riches story. In 1964 he started by borrowing money to enter into the construction industry with one bulldozer ... and he took some risks along the way to build on his successes. He made his money the old fashioned way from hard work, risk and brilliant decision making. His company Washington Group International, is an mining and industrial giant that employs 40,000 people. He is a apparently a down to earth guy who means business and loves anything with a motor in it. He is a man who knows what he wants, a free spirit and one who it seems doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He invests in worthy charitable causes and he happens to have a very nice yacht that he has refit and customized at an estimated quarter billion dollars. He’s not saying what it costs so that’s why it’s a guess. Personable and not self absorbed, he seems like the guy next door – except perhaps much more driven. The kind of person that you’d like to chat with over the fence. Here’s an interesting video on his boat

Posted by at 7:24 AM
Edited on: Wednesday, July 06, 2016 11:00 AM
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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

IT’S ALL VERY CIVILIZED YOU KNOW!

I stumbled across a winery overlooking Georgian Bay down near Meaford. I found out about it by reading a tweet on the Boating Georgian Bay Twitter feed. Gee I guess we have to come to grips with the concept that Georgian Bay is more than wilderness scenic cruising grounds with the odd town sprinkled here and there along the way. I love touring wineries and I was pleasantly surprised to find Coffin Ridge Boutique Winery right under our noses on the shores of Georgian Bay. Move over Niagara, Pelee Island and Prince Edward County - here comes the Georgian Bay wine region. Well, they have been growing fruit successfully along the Bay for years, so why not grapes which naturally take to the area in a wild state.

I like the name Coffin Ridge ... love the logo ... and the owners seem to know more than a thing or two about marketing.

This isn’t just one of those places that buys juice to ferment that call themselves a winery – this is the real McCoy with planted fields, tasting room, year round staff, LCBO listings and restaurants who sell their fine wines. They grow their own grapes and the purchase from other local growers who are growing for them. Best of all, they make good local wines, and it’s nice to see a new business reminiscent of the Napa or Sonoma scene that has taken root right by the escarpment on Georgian Bay. So it’s only far to say that on my boat, as a faithful Georgian Bay cruiser, we will add Coffin Ridge to our on board cellar (home cellar too) ... as a salute to the dedication and hard work it takes to start a successful business operating on the Bay – especially a biz that produces alcohol! Check out their web site www.coffinridge.ca

Anyone want to go partners with me on starting a Tequilla hacienda up in Killarney?

Posted by at 4:21 PM
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Tuesday, April 03, 2012

NEW BOAT SALES IN USA SURGE

Herodotus of Greece in 5th Century BC said “If a man insisted on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun, he would be mad without knowing it”. Well it looks like in the USA at least, boat buyers are looking for some fun. Recent correspondence from Tom Jenkins at Allied Marine a well known broker of new high end Bertram, Ferretti & Riva yachts shows that many of their new in stock boats were sold between the Miami and Palm Beach Boat Shows. After Miami they only had four boats left to display at the Palm Beach Show, and they sold one of those too (Ferretti 530).

There is a surge in new boat interest. Given that some of the shows were light on attendance, the quality qualified buyers were still there – buying! In Tom’s own words, “Imminent delivery is currently not an option”. Boat buyers need to get used to the new reality that many boats over 50’ are in short supply and are dealer allocated. Once the dealer allocation is sold, you are waiting for a new boat to come out of the mold and be built and that takes time. It is expected that some of that new boat boat business will switch to good quality used brokerage stock to bridge the gap between delivery dates and the upcoming active boating season in central and north USA coastal and Great Lakes regions. The story pic above shows a row of large SOLD yachts at the Miami Boat Show.

Posted by at 7:38 AM
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Friday, March 30, 2012

A TOAST TO KING NEPTUNE

I got into a discussion the other day with someone about the likelihood of a boat getting struck by lightning. Lightning strikes on boats ... especially big yacht targets, are not uncommon. Statistically you are more likely to get struck by lightning at anchor. This may be the case because of several factors:

- boats tend to be out in the open while at anchor

- boats in a marina have lots of other company and most are plugged in and well grounded to the marina electrical system

- 70% of lightning strikes occur between noon to 7 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JHUNgNb0Uo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9XeEAI2KFRc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP2jCcSR1qo

Negative charges repel negative charges and attract positive charges. Positive charges are trying to reach the negative charge up in the clouds. The positive charges accumulate at the top of the highest conductive object. The better the contact with water the more easily the positive charge can enter the object. When the electrical potential between the positive and negative are great enough to overcome the insulating values of the air, lightning occurs. The electrical potential can be 100 million volts. A lightning strike is the flow of electricity from negative to positive and usually to the highest positive conductor in the area. Side flashes are frequent as the charge tries to follow it’s path to ground – that means anything that is conductive along the way, including humans, risks being a conductor to the ground.

No boat is lightning proof. Sailboats masts on fiberglass boats are especially vulnerable even when the mast is bonded with heavy copper cable to the lead keel in the water. If the potential charge is great enough it can overwhelm the conductor resistance and look for multiple paths. An ungrounded not bonded mast is like waving a flag – hit me ... hit me.

Power boats are not immune either and tower equipment like VHF antennas are prime targets. Grounding needs to be at least 8 AWG copper to ground. To some degree you are in a cone of protection inside a boat provided you sit low in the center of the boat and don’t touch anything electrical or conductive – but that doesn't mean the lightning won’t blow the bottom out of the boat if it cannot find sufficient path to the ground (water), and the boat could sink. If you are underway in a storm it is especially dangerous to be touching two different metal objects with different potential (like throttle controls and VHF). Best to plot a course and go on auto pilot while touching nothing conductive. Better yet get into a safe harbour before the storm if possible.

If your really wanted to be lightning preventative you could use a long pair off jumper cables clipped on your anchor rode chain (you need chain right to the boat from water and clip the other end to the highest conductive point (like a VHF antenna or mast) but how many people are willing to come prepared for that ... and even so, no guarantees of side flashes following your very conductive “full of water” body. A living spark plug so to speak.

When all else fails, I recommend toasting the God of the sea - King Neptune ... and pray for salvation. Lightning is scary stuff.

Posted by at 7:40 AM
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

SPINNING THE BOAT SHOWS

We attend most of the boat shows on the eastern seaboard including Toronto, Annapolis, Fort Lauderdale & Miami. To be sure it is apparent that boat and yacht sales are in a mild recovery in North America. Not in all sectors though. The larger yachts 50’ and over are selling modestly but at an encouraging level. Smaller boats 30’ and under are selling modestly at an encouraging level. It seems the boats 30’ to 50’ are somewhat lagging.

It’s always a joy for me to attend ANY boat show especially if it’s somewhere warm during the Canadian winter. I love them all, but especially I like going to South Beach Miami to the Miami Boat Show. I just like the vibe in Miami. But lately I see that even when a show looks lite and poorly attended the show operators spin it into best ever show, sales up by X %, attendance up by X % and life has never been better. We deal with enough brokers and enough show participants are clients to know that that is not entirely true. Some shows are still experiencing hit and miss attendance. Things are looking better and manufacturers are coming out with new designs - not just repackaged old designs. Builders are starting to innovate again. But few builders of the larger boats are building on spec at this point in time. The upper middle class in the above 30’ range has not recovered and may be a split audience that may take many more years to fully recover.

We all hope the economy rockets back at some point and boat sales robustly follow along. Their are some positive sign in the markets and recent studies prove that boat sales track the ups and downs of the markets. But lets be honest, it isn’t always good news and we are nowhere close to the salad days we had five to ten years ago. The recession past was serious business and technically even though we’re out of it, we’re still feeling some after shocks from time to time - just like post earthquake symptoms.

But really, I don’t think it’s helpful if a show is down from one year to the next and everyone associated in the industry spins it into something it’s not. I’d rather see the message that - yes things were down, but this is the time to buy as we can all feel that we are on the cusp of leading out from this nightmare that we’ve seen over the last four years. And this is the best opportunity right now to buy a new or used boat before things fully stabilize and prices head up along with inflation. In fact I would argue that the best opportunities were two years ago and at this point in time this is the last chance before prices go onward and upward. A sure sign that I take notice of in my own backyard is that marinas/boat dealerships are consolidating. The ones that got batted around for four years and can’t take it anymore are getting out ... and the ones that see the opportunity coming down the track are getting in big time and scooping up as much as they can take on.

Posted by at 7:39 AM
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Monday, March 05, 2012

SPRING IS IN THE AIR

If you are down south basking in the heat with your biggest problem being where did you put those sun glasses to cut the glare from the scorching sun reflecting off the bright white deck of your yacht ... then you do not need to read this. If you're like most of us, the boat was put away for the Canadian winter and by now you are probably chomping at the bit to get it ready for spring launch. It’s just around the corner and spring is already in the air.

In Ontario this has been a very mild winter with light snow (so far) and we are hopeful that the weather will turn into an early launch and some extra weeks tacked onto the all too short Canadian boating season. Flying over Lake Ontario the other week, I was amazed that the lake is devoid of shore ice and other than the odd bobbing cube, the water looks deceptively enticing ... enough to set sail in mid March. We have seen some historically abnormal years, where the ice has gone out on smaller lakes as early as the 3rd week of March! This looks like it could be one of those years as the long term forecast is shown to be well above seasonal averages running through to the end of March and the jet stream is further north than usual. So I’m excited and looking forward to hot lazy summer days at anchor in sheltered harbours surrounded by heat absorbing granite to warm my soul and help me to forget about just how quickly we will be back to another fringing frigid winter.

As you get older you start to scheme or dream about avoiding things you don’t want to do. Me ... I’ve had it with Canadian winters. I’d rather be back to summer by about January 2nd every year. So here’s the thing – almost all the industrialized countries of the world have a warm island or so somewhere down south to go to that is part of their country, allowing their citizens to go south transparently ... without the the risks of medical coverage, taxes and duty problems.

Yes it’s time my friends ... we need a warm island in the Caribbean that is part of Canada with direct flights, no passport security nonsense and covered by provincial health care. I will tirelessly work for any candidate or political party that will run on a platform that will acquire a warm island surrounded by turquoise blue waters. And I mean ANY party – even the NDP or Green party would have my vote. It trumps all other issues. Please get me a tropical island and I’ll be loyal to your political party for the rest of my days. There’s got to be dozens of islands that would love to be part of Canada. We can call it Canbuda or the Canada Virgin Island. Or how about St. Canada or Puerto Canada? Please, please, please, Mr. Harper - buy us an island. The wave of boomers coming through the system can be diverted six months of the year to make way for the younger generation to get to work with some decent jobs back in the frozen north. Heck you can even raise my taxes 20% to pay for it. Throw me a bone Mr. Harper - I’m getting desperate here.

Rise up and be heard seniors & boomers. Email or telephone your MP today and tell him/her we need a warm island. What’s that you say – the politicians can all retire at full pension for six years work and they don’t give a rats ass because they’ll be basking somewhere warm in any event at taxpayers expense. Well if a warm island is not an option, I say bring on global warming so I can drop anchor off some Georgian Bay island in December and soak up the rays. Just kidding of course, we all know that global warming is a bad thing don’t we?

Posted by at 6:41 PM
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Friday, February 10, 2012

THE WORLD IS SUCH A WILD PLACE

 I just finished reading two more Tristan Jones books www.tristanjones.org and it reminded me that we really grow detached from mother natural sitting in our comfortable homes watching TV and surfing the internet. I had takeout Chinese for dinner last night - how about you? My life is predictable and comfortable and if you’re reading this yours is probably the same.

Tristan Jones http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tristan_Jones has had many incredible real life sailing adventures before his death in 1995, and it seems to me that there is still plenty of empty, wild ocean out there for those that seek solitude or real adventure. Leading the life of a small boat skipper perpetually sailing the oceans of the world is more than a skill. It embodies many factors like courage, inquisitiveness, resourcefulness but most of all I think it means adapting to your environment rather than trying to master it.

Every once in a while something comes along and amazes me. Yesterday it was the new NASA high def. video taken from the space station streaking by above the earths surface at night. The news focused on the lights of cities and the aurora borealis on the northern horizon. What I noticed was the blackness of the ocean in comparison which is 2/3 of the globe. The other thing that impressed upon me about a year ago was a video shot by an experienced Canadian crew on their small custom aluminum sailing yacht heading across the Pacific to Australia and they were tuned in to monstrous following waves and this boat was just flying with a wall of water behind it. The video went on forever and I was transfixed as the yacht literally surfed uninterrupted in the storm for hours on end. I didn't think humans were capable of that kind of sailing for sustained periods and I was moved by the vastness and bleak wildness of the ocean as they video taped from the stern. Yes we’ve all seen catamarans airborne and Coast Guard rescue boats standing on end cresting some wave ... but imagine traveling so fast that a mono hull sailboat exceeds it’s displacement speed and becomes a surfboard for an all day ride in the southern Pacific in the middle of nowhere.

Yes it’s wild out there. Reading Tristan Jones reminded me that things haven’t changed much in a hundred years when you’re a thousand miles out to sea in a small boat. Instead of observing nature you are part of nature and the line between fate and survival is a fine one. Tristan Jones and others has proved that humans deep down in their core are instinctual animals hotwired for adventure and survival of amazing yet somewhat irrational exploits. For one to survive on the seas for a lifetime in a small boat you have to have Zen with the ocean and you have to be at peace with fate that can come with any bout of bad luck in the wild earth we live on.

Posted by at 4:54 PM
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Friday, January 27, 2012

LIVE IT UP!

 Mark Twain once said “Enjoy life! There is plenty of time to be dead”.

We’ve been around to a few boat shows this past fall and most recently the Toronto International Boat Show. One thing has become clear – good quality boats that are priced right, fly off the shelves in a hurry when the they come onto the market. The US brokers have an almost endless supply of used inventory to work through ... but it is now a situation where the good value is moving. Very different than a few years ago. The Canadian brokers oddly enough are moving good value boats quickly in Canada and to the USA. Go figure, that even with our dollar at par there is still lots of boats crossing the border both ways.

So why is this happening with Europe in turmoil and the risk of recession creeping back into the USA. Well I think two reasons. The the economic side indications are that despite bad fiscal policy in Europe, that the US economy is experiencing resilience and the markets are showing the way out. And there are other positive economic indicators as well – not to mention regulation and fiscal policy seem to be coming to order and settling down to business in the USA.

But I think the main reason that boats are moving in North America is this – folks are tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop and they want to get back to enjoying life. Austerity isn’t on the menu in North America and for many they have waited long enough on the sidelines for the right window in time to fulfill their hunger for the yacht of their dreams. It’s human nature and it’s the American way. Boomers with disposable capital are aging and time flies by quickly. The last four years have been tough and now it’s time for the reward before it’s too late. Just like Mark Twain said “There is plenty of time to be dead”. It seems now is the time to live a little.

Posted by at 5:54 PM
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Tuesday, January 10, 2012

US LANDOWNERS IN CANADA NOW ABLE TO DONATE CONSERVATION PROPERTY

 If you are a boater on Georgian Bay, then you know what a great privilege it is to drop anchor in a secluded cove surrounded by an unspoiled wilderness landscape of windswept pines and sculpted granite landscape. When you see these beautiful undeveloped vacant islands and mainland coves you have to recognize that it’s vacant for a reason and being permanently or temporarily protected in some manner:

1/ Private deeded land that has been left undeveloped - there is increasingly less of this every year and in all likelihood it will be developed at some point

2/ First Nations reserve land – which may or may not be developed at some point in time

3/ Federal or Provincial Park lands – which will probably never be developed but may host additional visitor infrastructure over time

4/ Crown Land – will hopefully get converted to Park land over time ... but with no guarantees

5/ Land Trust property that has been donated by deeded land owners to be preserved as conservation land into perpetuity

The Georgian Bay Land Trust www.gblt.org currently manages 28 properties comprising of some 1200 acres. It acquires property mainly by donation but in some instances it will raise money to buy select properties. They are currently working on 76 properties for preservation. For many landowners and the families involved with the property have a multi generational attachment to the land. As families grow and disperse over time it is common that the land owners at some point want to ensure preservation of the property because of their love and attachment to the land and the memories that go with it. That Georgian Bay island or main land acreage may often be the one place on earth over all others that they are grounded to as a family and the place they feel closest to in terms of emotional attachment. They want to see the property live on for many generations just the way they remember it and they want to benefit the flora, fauna and wildlife that were part of their experience with the property.Of course the land donations can also trigger favorable tax treatment and have some financial advantages for the landowner in most cases.

Historically many of the landowners in the Georgian Bay archipelago are US owners. It’s just one of those things, that US citizens have been coming to Georgian bay for vacations since the early 1900’s and many fall in love with the area and made the move to invest in property. Many of them would come to rustic lodges for the summer season by steamer - after you do that for several seasons you want to own a piece of the Georgian Bay beauty and lifestyle. And chances are friends come to visit and they want the same. Orville Wright was one of those people, however eventually the property left the family. There are many families that couldn’t bear the thought of their Georgian Bay property falling into other hands that may over develop the property or have it end up in some future use where the natural surroundings would be disrupted. We think of Georgian Bay as being rugged granite, but everything that takes hold on that granite in unbelievably harsh conditions has to struggle for decades to persevere and survive. It is a very fragile environment in many ways and worth protecting, because there is no where else in the world with the stark beauty and rich history of the Georgian Bay 30,000 Islands.

Recently Canada & the USA facilitated the ability for US landowners to donate their land for conservation. It took eleven years to hammer through the red tape. In the past the tax impediments facing US citizens owning Canadian land prevented them from donated it. Canadian conservation agencies like the Georgian Bay Land Trust found foreign ownership to be an obstacle to preserving the land, other than buying the property outright. This is because if a US citizen donated the land to a US charity they paid the accrued Canadian capital gains tax and if they donated it to a Canadian conservation agency they received no US tax deduction.

A US non profit organization was formed called the American Friends of Canadian Land Trusts (AF) www.nsnt.ca/af hosted by leading conservation professionals from both USA and Canada with the mandate to remove tax obstacles for donated land. Americans can now donate Canadian land by conservation easement over that land and donations are US income tax deductible and are also exempt from Canadian capital gains taxes. The American Friends organizations also gets donations from Canadian and US interests that allows them to operate, craft donation agreements through Canadian partners (like Georgian Bay Land Trust) and promote American donation of conservation properties.The land donations are made through the AF to appease the IRS regulations on tax deductions from foreign property. The transaction fee draws about $3500 in legal/admin costs to the US donor or Canadian partner (whoever assumes the cost). It happens in steps 1/ qualification 2/ proposed land conservation agreement and then three project phases 1/ Inquiry & Feasibly Assessment 2/ Due Diligence 3/ Closing . All are involved legal processes that are guided by AF and the Canadian conservation partner. The lands must also be free from risk of mineral development and the partner taking the donation must be determined by the IRS to be a publically supported charity under the Canada – US income tax treaty recognizing that qualified Canadian Charities are equivalent to US organizations in some instances.

So here’s why you might donate land or cash to the Foundation or Trust:

- you are preserving land and wildlife in it’s natural state in a fragile environment

- cash donations are tax deductible as a donation

- land donations are also tax deductible and attract no capital gains for qualified situations US or Canadian

- cash donations allow the trust and foundations to function securing more conservation lands

- you cannot depend on government to pick up and secure available unique private lands in the public interest if they become available (although it does happen on occasion when Park lands ajoin)

- if you are a boater consider that you are preserving wild places you can anchor at and enjoy unspoiled views

- most would get some satisfaction in knowing that that their children or their grand children and great grand children will still have unspoiled places to see when they cruise the Bay

If your donating to other worthy causes ... and Georgian Bay is one of your favorite places, consider donating to the Georgian Bay Land Trust. Every bit helps. Boating Georgian Bay will be adding GB Land Trust to the organizations it donates to this year.

Posted by at 6:39 PM
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Friday, January 06, 2012

FAIR IS FAIR

Did you know that in many cities and broader jurisdictions North America it is still illegal for women to go topless. From a practical point of view, it’s not like thousands of women want to run around topless BUT it seems odd that in many places in the supposed modern free western democracy, a woman can be arrested and taken to jail for going topless.

Now I can understand how this can unfairly happen in some middle eastern country like Iran, but I am dumbfounded as to how this can be enforced in a democracy. I mean really, if men can go topless legally, so should women be able to go topless ... if they want to. In Ontario this law has been tested when Gwen Jacobs was charged with indecent exposure for going topless in Guelph. It took until 1996 to get the case acquittal!!! Others have tested the law in Ontario since - which means there are woman still being charged with indecent exposure for going topless. In theory, my wife could be sunbathing in some anchorage and the OPP can cruise in by boat and take her away to a police station to be charged (although unlikely the charges would be upheld in court).

In any event it’s time that woman have equal rights including the topless issue and our laws need indecent exposure redefined to exclude topless legal infractions of the female gender. You shouldn’t have to go before a judge to have the law interrupted – it should be clear in the definition of indecent exposure that bare female breasts do not constitute a crime.

There is an organization called www.gotopless.org It looks a little wacky but they are standing up for their rights and rightfully so. They stage an annual Go Topless Day, which this year happens to fall on Woman's Equality Day on Sunday August 26th 2012 . In Toronto the celebration/protest is at Ashbridges Bay Park. On Georgian Bay on the same day August 26th, may I humbly suggest that all boaters go topless (weather permitting) when you’re cruising the Bay.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q0o8sinVYg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ove1AB091Jk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPZpQhqONXU

Posted by at 7:16 AM
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SMART PHONE NAVIGATION

Both Navionics and MX Mariner offer state of the art smart phone chart software and there are many other marine apps like anchor watch, ships log etc. for boaters. The newer smart phones, including the Android based phones come with built in GPS and both Navionics and MX Mariner continue to store the charts even when your boat is out of cell range. So unlike the older GPS software you still have the charts to work with ... even when the phone has no coverage. On Georgian Bay, Rogers has excellent coverage, even in remote anchorages all the way up the east side of the Bay to at least Britt ... and in most small towns, up into the North Channel. Works great with a rocket stick too to support your laptop.

Some of the newer phones like the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, which uses the new Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0 operating software, are not fully certified by Rogers and in reality (unless you live in downtown Toronto proper and are picking up the Bell LTE 4G service) you are not really getting LTE 4G from Bell or Rogers at this time ...even though your phone is 4G and you believe the marketing that says they are operating a 4G network. It is really sub 4G HSPA+ network at best, or more likely the slower EDGE network on many areas of Georgian Bay. But guess what? ... they still work and your smart phone is a marvelous tool to take with you when you tour around in your dingy, rather than have to buy a full navigation GPS for the dingy.

Posted by at 7:11 AM
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

OYSTERS ARE A SPECIAL TREAT!

This is the time of year to get great oysters and in our household the are a holiday tradition! Here is a rundown on how to get yourself some really good fresh oysters shipped to your door. Wear a glove when you open them and use a good oyster knife with guard. After 30 years of opening oysters I cut my hand last Christmas opening a Raspberry Point and ended up in the hospital getting stitched up!

These first are the two I recommend as my favourites***

***Colville Bay – Clean and Jade green – food of the gods - excellent oysters, sometimes a little hard to get a hold of them ... they ship every Tuesday Canada Post express to your door ( 2 days) – these oysters ship (in Styrofoam container) and store well for 5 weeks Johnny Flynn owner 1 902 687 2222 office 1 902 687 3640 home They will bill you $98 case for 100 plus about $55 shipping

***Raspberry Points – Excellent oysters, a bit smaller than Colville Bays ... they ship overnight FedEx right to your door in waxed cardboard container covered with plastic. They store for up to 6 weeks in a cool location – bit difficult to open (that’s why they can store longer than some) 1 800 565 2697 Hassle free to order with Visa $92 case of 100 plus $50 shipping

Bedque – Strong flavored from Northumberland straight

Canada Cup – This is an American venture were they select a certain size/shape oyster from many Canadian growers – they are not a specific Oyster type so I don’t really recommend

Malpeque – This is what you will find in most Ontario restaurants .. Malpeque Bay is not the greatest oyster breeding grounds

PEI Select – These are the lower grade sorted oysters from Raspberry Point

Pickle Point – From same guys who own Raspberry Point- stick with the Raspberry Points

Summerside – Good oysters and a good size but not as refined as Raspberry’s or Colville Bays

Keep in mind the bays will be freezing up and the oyster harvest won’t go on too much longer. I’d get the Coleville Bays if you can arrange with them – sometimes hard to get a hold of them but worth getting them if possible. Raspberry Points someone always answers the phone and you get get the deal done quickly.Bon A petit!

Posted by at 7:32 AM
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Monday, December 19, 2011

ST. PETERSBURG SHOW SUCCESS

 The 2011 St Petersburg Power & Sailboat Show in Gulf Florida confirms the direction of boat interest that the Fort Lauderdale Show recently indicated – UP! Attendance at St. Petersburg Show was up 18% over 2010 and there were 25% more boats on display. The show ran December 1st – 4th and by all accounts both brokerage and new boat prospects and sales were up. Vendors seemed to be pleased and one commented that customers have recently returned to the market after placing their purchasing decisions on hold for the past few years. Let’s hope this keeps up and the bigger upcoming Miami Boat Show will play out just as positively.

Posted by at 6:56 AM
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Sunday, December 18, 2011

FLY FISHING TAKES CONCENTRATION

I’ve always wanted to get good at fly fishing. Catching fish on a fly rod requires three skills – technique, water observation and concentration. Often people think think that its all in the wrist technique to present the fly, but the location or pool must be exactly right and one must concentrate on the fish activity signs when casting and testing different pool areas. In shallow clear water it gets a lot easier, because you can see the fish below the surface sometimes ... but in deeper water with less visibility you have to wait to see the ripples as the fish test the surface. Here’s a good way to test your water observation and concentration. The exercise will bring up a pop up picture. You must watch the water and wait for the fish to jump. This may take up to 30 seconds. If you break your concentration and look away from the water the fish will not jump. You must resist any distractions and just focus on the water otherwise the fish will not jump. CLICK HERE to try this fly fishing exercise!

Posted by at 1:44 PM
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Thursday, December 15, 2011

YACHT PARTY 101

Hey I just figured out how to hold a yacht party without wrecking your boat by reading a story on Tilman Fertitta’s yacht party aboard his 164 ‘ super yacht BOARDWALK. So you know the problem when you invite a group of friends, business colleagues or relatives to a boat gathering and they show up in street shoes and heels anxious to step aboard and hang out with a drink and some food! Well the street shoes are a killer on fiberglass and teak and most visitors don’t realize the kind of almost irreparable scratching damage this can cause. Then comes the food droppings and the wine stains on the carpet etc. It’s all too much for many yacht owners to manage and it’s embarrassing all around when guests don’t know any better in terms of how to party on a boat bare footed and casual. Let’s face it – few boat owners have Bill Gates pocketbook to pick up the tab to make things as they were on your boat before the party. For the most part only other boaters understand this ... and the work involved in rubbing out gel coat and refinishing teak doesn’t enter the picture for visitors. At one time or another, you have likely cringed at some relative or guest that shows up and jumps from the dock to the cockpit in one street shoe clad leap, landing like an elephant on your balsa cored cockpit putting spider cracks all over the gel coat. You don’t want to be a party pooper and educate or chastise anyone ... so you put up with it.

So Tilman Fertitta, as the wealthy Texas owner of Landry’s Restaurant chain and the Golden Nugget Casino knows a thing or two about staging a yacht party. The yacht becomes the backdrop for the party, not the party central location. Guests do not go aboard the boat in shoes – bare feet only ... and the booze and food are served on dock only. So everyone congregates on the dock where champagne flows and plenty of nibbles circulate - but if you want to step on the boat you give up your shoes and walk aboard without the prospect of getting any food or drink onboard. So how long are visitors going to hob knob on the yacht without a drink and everyone eating and having fun on the dock? – not many for long. Folks take a look around and filter back out to the dock to party and converse. Those that do stay aboard are likely to sit somewhere and fall into deep conversation or contemplation rather than wrecking your boat.

So everyone enjoys the atmosphere conversation and food & beverage but you don’t spend the next week fixing the boat. It works on any scale. Only suggestion I can add to Mr. Fertitta’s great strategy is plan the event around the bug seasons and invite your neighbors five slips down on both sides and anyone else that happens along so they don’t hold the dockside commotion against you. Oh and don’t forget to have a boat hook handy for those that fall off the dock. Yah I know, Bah-Humbug!

Posted by at 8:25 AM
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Thursday, December 08, 2011

JIMMY BUFFETT DONATES BOAT

Famous Margaritaville entertainer Jimmy Buffett has donated a 33’ Navy vessel to the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast Research Laboratory in Ocean Springs Mississippi. Watch This Video   The boat was built for the the Navy in 1973 and is valued at about $70,000. The boat named after Buffett’s mother Miss Peetsy B will be used for educational programs for school children at the Mississippi Marine Education Centre.

The boat was rechristened with Land Shark beer (a brand Buffett owns) and it will be converted to run on waste vegetable oil (think McDonalds deep fryers). Watch This Video  Buffett says “ It seemed like a logical extension of a disaster caused by an oil spill to look at alternatives”. Yes but it’s like torturing these kids to have them on a boat all day that smells like French Fries! You can’t get to a McDonalds when your out on the Gulf when you get a hankering for Fries!

Buffett adds, “I always like to work locally and then hopefully, in these days and times with technology, it becomes a very global awareness thing that can come out of a local situation” Well it was very nice of Jimmy to buy that boat and donate it to a good cause. I guess BP should have thought of that.

Posted by at 12:03 PM
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MUSKRATS CAN SINK YOUR BOAT!

We continue to find more stories of Muskrats that get into boat exhausts and chew through the silicone hoses that join exhaust to engine – often sinking the boat. We did a story on this on our Boat Stuff page in support of Hurley Marine that manufactures Muskrat Guards. The thing is, this problem is more common that you think.

Almost every fresh water marina has a Muskrat or two wandering around and if there is any low swamp in the area you probably have lots of them. They seem to like to explore man made structures (including boats) to nest. They are not deterred easily by people and will come back again and again crawling into any hole they can fit into below or close to the waterline. Strange thing is, they crawl into areas they can’t back out of and they either die in there or the chew their way through into your boat. I’m guessing in nature most tunnels dead end in a few feet. Under docks they can turn themselves around. In a boat exhaust, it goes up a fair ways and they simply can’t turn around or reverse out. It’s a bit of a crap shoot and if your lucky they get into some other boat exhaust, and not yours. If your really lucky and you get one in your exhaust it dies and when the engine is started it spits it out. If your not so lucky it means costly repairs taking everything apart. If your really unlucky your boat ends up sunk to the bottom.

On my Sea Ray it has those patented underwater torpedo shaped exhausts with the 90% bend inside. Muskrats love them ... so you have to bolt through several bolts near the bend in the torpedo so that they can’t get up inside. Some kind of guard or preventative measure is in order as you never expect this kind of thing to happen until it does. I’m surprised that boat manufacturers don’t put guards on as standard equipment – or that insurance companies don’t require them to write a policy. Some policies won’t insure for rodent damage!

Posted by at 7:47 AM
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Wednesday, December 07, 2011

PENETANG EIGHTY-EIGHT

 Fairmile Motor Boat Company UK designed B model “dog boats” for coastal shore patrol, torpedo boat and submarine hunting. Many were fitted with some serious armor & guns after initial production. Some were built in Toronto, Orillia and Honey Harbour. Canada built a total of 80 of these boats and most ours were used as escorts.

A particular Georgian Bay boat Eighty-Eight named after it’s wartime service # was built in Toronto in 1943 by J.J. Taylor & Son. A local cottager bought it government surplus for $4000. Not a bad deal for a $250,000 well built boat of only a few years in age. She was moved from government storage in Quebec to Georgian Bay in 1947 by the new owner Bill Christie who had her refitted as a pleasure boat. In 1954 he sold her to Pete LePage in Penetanguishene who used her commercially for ten years to transport people and goods in the area. What made this Fairmile boat unique that is was one that had a home in Georgian Bay while the many that were produced at Honey Harbour went off to war never to return to the Bay.

Only two Fairmile B’s remain in Canada on the west coast. Eighty-Eight ended up sunk in Lake Ontario in the late 1960’s near Gananoque, where it was in use as a cadet training vessel at the end of her life.

Posted by at 7:59 AM
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Thursday, December 01, 2011

MERMAIDS IN GEORGIAN BAY

Yes I sometimes see Mermaids along the shore or on yachts - but this is the real thing!

Lonely Island (located miles from shore, south of Manitoulin Island) Assistant Lighthouse Keeper – Rudy Payerl swore the existence of Mermaids as published in an article in the Toronto Star some years back. During a storm Payerl heard voices from the lighthouse tower and turned to look out the window observing five mermaids frolicking along the shore. He heard them many times during his tenure on the island during his lighthouse duties on the isolated island ... but he observed them only once. It is not known which brand of rum was his preference, and let’s face it, Lonely Island is well ... lonely. Lonely Island is also known as the place where Asia ship wreck victims washed ashore and it is also an Indian burial ground and grave site of a Lighthouse Keeper who starved to death with his dog when he decided to winter over on the island.

Do you believe in Mermaids? Lots of sailors over the years swear there is such a thing but it is thought in warmer climes they were likely to be Manatee’s. But what about Georgian Bay - perhaps giant sturgeon? Or maybe just real Mermaids. We’ll try and document some next summer and post them on this Blog.

Posted by at 4:36 PM
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FAITHFUL SERVANT - THE MIDLAND CITY

The Midland City was built in Glasgow Scotland in 1870. She was 120’ X 32’ at that time under the name of Maud and working in Kingston ON. In 1895 she was enlarged and renamed the America. In 1920 she came to Georgian Bay as a steam side-wheeler and renamed as the S.S. Midland City by the Georgian Bay Tourist Company of Midland. The ship was well staffed and luxurious by the days standards and including a restaurant and staterooms for the wealthy. She even had space to transport two cars. In 1933 she was converted to a propeller motor ship. She sank several times on Georgian Bay - the first in 1926 when tied to the dock when a storm tilted her and her open portholes filled her with water. The second in 1934 on return from Go Home Bay she struck a reef at Present Island and she was beached on Midland Point to prevent lose. In 1955 she was de-registered and she was hauled up where Wye Heritage Marina is now. It is unclear exactly where the hull is in the marina - some say she is buried as part of the gas dock pier, some say in the Wye River right beside the marina and possibly on the north side of the marina R dock jetty. There are a number of ships in there so there is confusion over which is which. In any event she loyally served cottagers and tourists for 35 years and at the time of de-commissioning she was the oldest commercial passenger vessel operating in North America.

Posted by at 3:58 PM
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Monday, November 28, 2011

UNSOLVED MYSTERY

The Great Storm of 1913 struck on November 9th. Storms had been raging for days preceding November 9th and a lull that day tricked ships into coming out of port only to be hit with sudden hurricane force winds and waves of over 30 feet. Ten ships went down that day with 248 lives lost on Huron, Georgian Bay & Superior. One of the bodies washed ashore was the Chief Engineer of the Charles S. Price wearing a lifejacket from the ship Regina. The supposedly unsinkable newly built steel ship Charles S Price (28 victims) was found upside down in different part of Lake Huron than the Regina (20 victims). How the lifejacket ended up on the Chief Engineer so far away from it’s ship no one knows for sure. Perhaps he picked it out of the water before his boat capsized or perhaps the boats went down close together and the Charles S Price was pushed some distance before it dragged bottom upside down when it was turtled by waves and wind.

Posted by at 9:01 AM
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

SERIOUS CRUISING

 You’ve done the great loop – you’ve cruised the Caribbean – you’ve crossed the Atlantic – you’ve crossed the Pacific – you rounded the Horn – you cruised through the Northwest Passage ... say what? ... you did the North West Passage? Yes increasingly private yachts are taking a shot at the Northwest Passage. Suicidal or extremely capable are the two types of sailors who choose to do this trip. Since 2007 ice conditions have become more favorable in the far north. Since the Franklin Expedition perished 150 years ago, only a handful of private yachts (mostly steel hulled sail) have made the 3,200 mile journey through perilous conditions of ice and cold.

When you’ve done the Northwest Passage, you have real bragging rights that less than 60 private yachts in human history can lay claim to. In the last few years, as ice conditions improved, more have taken the gamble, with over twenty boats a season rolling the dice - and less than half of those successfully making it through (and an even smaller portion that didn’t need help from a Canadian ice breaker at some point). Some seasons only a few boats can make it through and can claim their spot in history. It is a perilous, wicked journey and only the most experienced and well prepared crews would even consider taking the risks. In a “difficult scenario” you have to be prepared to be trapped in ice for a season or more and in a “worst case scenario” your yacht will be lost and probably your life too.

I recently looked at a blog of a sailboat that had made it through from east to west and it was sitting in Alaska covered with a foot of snow and ice in late October about to go on it’s way south down the Pacific coast. I guess sailing in gales with a foot of ice on your boat is a piece of cake in Alaska when you’ve done the passage eh? While most boats have long ago been hauled out for winter storage it’s is a testament to human adaptability that some cruiser is steaming down the Pacific coast in a blizzard happily enjoying the company of the wind howling in the rigging. Some people have such an overwhelming sense of adventure that bungee jumping off a bridge would be downright boring and predictable. If you check around the web, every once in a while there is some Captain planning the Northwest passage looking for crew. There is not exactly a lineup of capable people wanting to do this trip!

Posted by at 7:58 AM
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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

WEST MARINE SUPERSTORE

West Marine will open a 50,000 sq. ft. superstore in Fort Lauderdale Dec 11th/2011. The store will be about five times as big as a standard store and will stock over 30,000 marine products. You might have to fly their to do some Xmas shopping!

Posted by at 7:27 PM
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VOLVO PENTA GROWS

Did you know that Volvo Penta is the fastest growing marine engine company in the world? It got there by being innovative and they have shipped more than 10,000 IPS units worldwide since 2005. Here’s a timeline history of Volvo Penta’s growth:

1907 founded

1922 first outboard engine

1946 first diesel engine

1959 first stern drive

1982 first duo prop

2005 IPS inboard performance system

You’ll notice by these dates that like many companies that get huge, it takes a while to get the ball rolling. Same can be said for boat builders and automotive. On the boat building side, many builders that were seeded for development perished in the economic zero sub prime collapse a few short years ago. They just were not strong enough or big enough to fight it off. The affect of that down turn has far reaching long term affects because some very good companies were at the wrong place in the wrong time and got wiped out. Lets face it, if not for the US and Canadian governments coming to their aid, GM and Chrysler would be gone now too. For a company like Volvo Penta to grow significantly in times of turmoil ... that is exceptional performance that only an innovator can achieve.

Posted by at 7:21 PM
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TORONTO BOAT SHOW CRYSTAL BALL

I’m predicting that the Toronto Boat Show that runs January 14th – 22nd will be a big success for vendors selling boats in the 30’ – 40’ range. Smaller boats have been selling and although larger boat sales are lower volume they have been selling up from previous years. The mid size boats or as some say middle class boat sales have been frozen for the past few years. My prediction is based on pent up demand due to sought after innovations with IPS, fuel economy, large outside/inside living areas for sport yachts and in general the notion that a lot of folks are tired of waiting for the next shoe to drop economically and have come to terms with the concept that things are different than they were three or four years ago ... and they will never be the same again.

People want to have fun and if they are already boating they are ready to trade up. Remember after 9/11 how quickly yacht sales shot up. People wanted their own recreational escape from all the stress and commotion – they wanted to travel in a controlled environment where it was safe and they wouldn’t have to be looking over their shoulder. There are lots of people who feel good about their jobs and have been sitting on the side lines with money at hand. People are not as worried about interest rates going up to finance as they are about boat costs rising as the market takes hold and the affect on US built boat prices if our dollar falls because of gold bugs and other countries flocking to the power and safety of the US dollar.

I’m guessing this will be the best year in the last four years for the mid price range 30’ – 40’ boats like Sea Ray, Regal, Cruisers, Meridian, Rinker etc. Besides the boat industry needs a break and the buyers need some fun. Life has been getting too serious over the last few years.

Posted by at 7:17 PM
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HIGH MAINTENANCE

There’s an old saying “If it’s high maintenance and it’s on your boat – let’s hope it’s in a bikini”. Now ladies don’t send me your hate mail please! First of all I didn’t write this ... some other sexist insensitive Neanderthal male did. Secondly, I do respect the Admiral on our boat and I know my place when it comes to keeping peace in the family when I am outnumbered by three women with one of my daughters being far more opinionated than myself. Having said that, I have been know to be politically incorrect and I like it when women on our boat wear bikinis. When it comes to the female persuasion ... lovely wife, old friends, new friends, casual visitors, tall, short, round, skinny - they all look better in a bikini in my opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

There is nothing better than being at anchor on a sunny 80 plus degree day and having the ladies hang around in bikinis. I can’t put my finger on it, but it gives me an inner feeling of well being and it adds a relaxed more informal ambience to the cruising. All the formality and stuffiness is gone. It makes me feel that all is right with the world. I think as you get older perhaps it is a way to feel younger and the closest thing I will ever get to the Hollywood jet set, hanging about Cannes, on some mega stars yacht during the film festival. Hey ... I can imagine can’t I? I don’t see this as disrespectful of women, I see it very appreciative of the fairer sex. So if you come on our boat chill out, have fun, life’s short and if you’re female don’t forget to bring your bikini if you feel comfortable wearing one. Yah I know I’ve gone too far again, but I’m at the age where I can afford to be politically incorrect and I don’t have to answer to anyone else ... except the Admiral.

Posted by at 7:11 PM
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FORT LAUDERDALE BOAT SHOW GOOD NEWS

Even though it poured rain a good part of the boat show, vendors are reporting satisfaction because they were busy with good quality clients and most important THEY WERE SELLING BOATS. The first few days attendance was up but the last weekend attendance was down ... but luckily serious boat buyers came and braved the rain. Heavy rain actually meant more time spent inside boats by shoppers with more sales time for the vendor. One thing we hear everywhere is, folks are tired of holding off anymore for their new boat upgrade ... and given that most corporations are showing better balance sheets and turning higher profits than we’ve seen for many years, lots of them are making their move and buying while deals on new yachts are still excellent value.

Posted by at 7:08 PM
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LESSON LEARNED

It pays to do a bit of research and contemplate the outcome before committing to changes on your boat. I recently moved from a Walker Bay with a 50 Tohatsu 4 stroke to a same size Zodiac with a 50 Yamaha two stroke. I wanted a stiffer boat with more speed and out of the hole instant planning with four adults on board. I test drove the Zodiac and fell in love with the overall package & performance. I checked to make sure my Davit system would work with the new boat and became aware that it would have to go back in for some adjustments on the heavy stainless framework. Had the discussion about weight given that the overall new dingy/motor package was about 90 lbs. heavier than the old set up. Was assured no problem that the extra weight wouldn’t be an issue. Had those changes made to the davit system – bought the new boat and I thought I was set to go!

First time the new boat set up goes up the davit system I hear a lot of crinkling and cracking I have never heard before. After a second try I’m watching the one corner of the swim platform flex about an inch or two. I wondering if the take up rollers on the davit system were perhaps not set up right. They were verified to spec. So that ends the season a bit early as I have some problems with the swim platform taking the weight of the new dingy and I don’t want to wreck the whole platform. After some study what I determined the experts didn’t take into account was that the Walker Bay pontoons go out well past the motor. This factor was what also made the boat very hard to plane with four people. The Zodiac on the other hand that planned easily and was only an extra 90 lbs. did not extend the pontoons very far past the engine and hence there was far more weight on the take up end of the davit system because the pontoons are out of the water far earlier with the boat perched on the corner of the swim platform.

So I guess I could blame a lot of people:

1/ Myself for not investigating further and trusting expert advise that should know better ... given they had the new dingy set up specs and must have installed dozens and run into the same problem.

2/ The boat manufacturer for not making beefier glassed in marine ply wood struts below the swim platform.

3/ The davit manufacturer for not knowing in advance that this would happen given that this is a very common swim platform from a very common manufactured boat.

So now I know I need stainless strut’s under the platform to give it more rigidity especially on the take up side. Quotes go from one strut that I’m told will do the trick from $650 – $1200 to four to possibly six struts that will go for about $500 plus installation. I’m thinking more is better seeing as it was the expert that told me once the davit system was modified it would work and now he is the one saying one strut will do (albeit an expensive strut). To boot I now have a crack on the fiberglass skirt of the platform that needs to be repaired. Live and learn – nothing is simple ... when it comes to boats one thing always leads to another.

Posted by at 6:52 PM
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