04 December 2007
I first learned to sail in the late '50s with one of my older brothers at the Toronto Sailing & Canoe Club We sailed dinghies such as Snipe, Lightning and Albacore. I sailed with Bob from time to time until 1968 when I moved to Toronto to study electronics at Ryerson. Bob bought a C&C 25 in '75 and then a C&C 27 in '77.
I crewed for a few years, then in 1984 I bought a used Laser which I named TEACHER'S PET. It's fast and responsive...just the thing for a beginner but really wet & cold in Lake Ontario without a wet suit. I realized that I was interested in being dry AND warm as I cruised along the shoreline of that big lake.
After four years I sold the Laser and bought a '74 Sandpiper 565.
I needed a safe dry boat that I could haul, launch and sail in most every condition without assistance. Having been a ham radio operator (VE3MVN) since 1981...I named her "ShortWave."
In 1998 I trailered her to Honey Harbour for two weeks in Southern Georgian Bay, sailing Shortwave in the protected waters of Beausoleil Island. In 2000 she headed off to Killarney..."Gateway to the North Channel" and spent two weeks sailing from Killarney to Little Current. Many days were spent exploring hidden anchorages and climbing the magnificent white quartzite Cloche Mountains. These waters are well-protected, and only occasionally do you have to sail out in the open.
With a crank-up keel, ShortWave could be tucked into overnight places along Fraser Bay and Baie Fine that bigger boats wouldn't even notice.
In 2001 I sailed with my friend George in his C&C 27 from Meaford on southern Georgian Bay to Tobermory, Killarney, Little Current and the islands beyond. Lots of motoring on glassy waters all the way to Killarney. A GPS was handy as we were out of sight of land for many hours during the crossing from Cabot Head at the tip of the Bruce Peninsula to Killarney.
In 2002 Lynn and I sailed the Sandpiper on a 22 day cruise along the north shore of Lake Ontario to the protected waters of Prince Edward County...just west of Kingston. The hardest part was the long open water leg From Humber Bay in Toronto to Presquile Point. ShortWave handled the big water conditions admirably...she's a dry boat in these conditions but weighing only 900kg she is easily knocked off course by wakes or bigger waves...dumping the wind from the sails and slowing her down considerably.
Lynn and I wanted to buy something in the 32-39 foot range...Ontario 32, Aloha 32-34, Niagara 35...and I liked the Corbin 39 too. In August 2003, we purchased our 24-year-old Niagara 35 Mk1, "Silverheels III".
In September 2003 we sold or gave away almost everything from our shore-based existence and moved permanently on board. We've now spent four years living on the water, 12 months a year, and we love it!
I'll soon retire from working as a broadcast TV technologist in Ryerson's Rogers Communications Centre (now in my 37th year.) My wife Lynn and I will cruise south "Until the butter melts"...taking the Hudson River to New York, than the Intercoastal Waterway to Florida and beyond. We've both taught courses in the Canadian Power and Sailing Squadron. I've taken CPS courses in Boating, Seamanship, Seamanship-Sail, Weather, Piloting (Coastal navigation), radio communications, GPS, Electronic Chartplotting and Radar. we've both taken a celestial navigation course using a borrowed sextant.
We're feeling quite capable of the technical and navigational tasks ahead, and are looking forward to gaining more experience when sailing our larger boat in difficult sea conditions.