The cavalcade of boaty and literary wonder that is the Toronto Boat Show is just around the corner! From Saturday, January 12th to Sunday the 20th we’ll be at the Direct Energy Centre on the old, slightly haunted CNE grounds. This year we’ll be joined by a whole chapter of authors who will be delivering lectures/seminars/workshops, signing books, and generally hanging out at our booth (listed below). We’ll also have incredible, once-a-year-only treasures and bargains from the vault like last year. If for some reason you can’t make it to the party, you can drop by our store which will have the same great deals, but less of the carnival atmosphere. If you can’t make it there, but would like an autographed copy of a book, phone or email us, and we’ll get the author to sign the book and then ship it to you. More fun boat show facts are on their website.
Tristan Gooley, author of The Natural Navigator writes:
We listened for months to our water companies banging on about how worryingly dry the winter had been, which is never that exciting. Then nature laughed at us and turned the taps on to wash out our summer.
I really felt I had no alternative but to dress up in full storm weather sailing oilskins, complete with lifejacket and harness. And since I was dressed for the part I thought I may as well jump in my small boat and sail from Scotland into the Arctic Circle. With one friend, I headed north until we saw the midnight sun north of Iceland.
The main reason for the voyage was to research the relationship between the marine life and the distance from land in the North Atlantic. Something the Vikings knew a long time ago, is that nature invented the radar.
We collected sightings of birds, cetaceans, flotsam, jellyfish and found that by the end of the trip we could sense the nearest land with the help of the birds, without seeing it.
The long-finned pilot whales that confirmed that we were closing land at the end of the sail were the icing on the Iceland cake.
We sailed over 1000 nautical miles without seeing another sail of any description. We didn’t get rained on much either.
Pixie Haughwout and Ralph Folsom write:
So how did two San Diego trailer-sailors fall in love with Lake Huron’s North Channel? The answer is Marjorie Cahn Brazer’s classic cruising guide, Well-Favored Passage, first published in 1975 in Toronto….and yes it was spelled “Well-Favoured Passage.” Friends loaned us a copy of her third 1987 edition (now a collectible) and she took us to enchanting, wilderness anchorages and charming Canadian ports-of-call. Marjorie, who left us in 1992, was also an exquisite storyteller….”The Great Sawmill Robbery,” “The Curse of the Bearwalk” and more are still found in our updated, greatly expanded 2012 edition of Well-Favored Passage: The Magic of Lake Huron’s North Channel. It comes replete with GPS coordinates. Heirs to her remarkable legacy, our new edition is intended to share the rapture of cruising the North Channel. Bon Voyage! – Captain Pixie Haughwout and First Mate Ralph Folsom
Most adventures are meticulously planned – ours came about by accident. For seven years Linda, my wife and I, lived and sailed on board a traditional wooden Gaffer that we built ourselves, as amateurs. Not for us the sweltering sun and tropical islands – we headed to the Celtic Coasts of Scotland and Ireland; visited tiny fishing communities; met the quirky folk who live there, and foraged for our living on their low-water shores. In the winters we headed up to the tops of rivers or sea-lochs where we would be protected from winter’s howling gales; walked the lonely hills by day; and at night read books by the cosy glow of a glass-fronted wood burning stove. Phoenix from the Ashes tells the story of an unexpected journey – but it’s really about the people we met: interesting, funny, quirky or sometimes just downright odd – real people struggling to make sense of the stuff that life throws at them. Just like us. I’m grateful to Nautical Mind for making my book available in Canada – I hope you enjoy it, and I’d love to hear from you via the email address you’ll find inside. Best Wishes, Justin.
Sam Llewellyn writes:
When you come ashore in a strange port and head for the nearest bar, there is usually someone who will sidle up to you and tell you a story, rather in the way that it was once impossible to sit in the lobby of the Royal York Hotel in Toronto without someone sidling up to you and trying to sell you an uranium mine. My most recent novel began when I went into the only pub on a remote Scottish island and a deeply intoxicated man told me that someone had stolen his fishing boat, which weighed about 100 tons, from between two locks on a canal, neither of the lock keepers having seen a thing. Unfortunately the law of libel, or possibly slander, prevents me from going into the rest of it here. But you will find the fictionalised consequences of this encounter between the covers of Black Fish.
Jayne Finn and Mike Evans, creators of the Gone Sailing DVD series, write:
Phantasia, our Niagara 35, is back in Lake Ontario after 6 seasons of sailing through Quebec, The Maritime Provinces, New England and New York. After so many seasons away the “to do” list of repair, replace and refinish tasks is substantial: from a complete rebuild of our 3 blade Max Pro, installing a new Racor 500 filter system, new holding tank, to wiring in a mast mounted foghorn/PA speaker.
When I was a kid growing up in New York City, people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. My answer was “I don’t know, but whatever I’m doing it’s going to be someplace warm.” I was obsessed with finding warmth, defined by year-round 80°F temperatures. In my adult years, I moved across the country three times, settling in Arizona for 16 years. It was almost perfect: great job, great husband, great house, not-so-great winters. Next. The Caribbean was calling, but how to choose an island? A sailboat seemed like a great idea despite our inability to sail (a minor detail). The next thing we knew, we were sailing our own 37-foot catamaran down the Eastern Caribbean, island hopping from Miami to Grenada, and learning what it’s really like to live onboard a boat 24/7. Three years later, we settled into our new Caribbean home and enjoy constant 82°F temperatures. I’m so smart.
Author and Journalist Cameron Dueck is speaking at 7:30 tonight (April 12th) at Ashbridge’s Bay Yacht Club about his experience transiting the Arctic. We’ll be there too with copies of his new book, The New Northwest Passage. [Facebook Event] An excerpt from his talk is below.
Our first encounter with ice caught us by surprise. First a small piece bobbed by, and then a second, and then we were in the thick of it. We had to drop our sails and start the engine to allow us to stop on a dime, reverse and carefully inch our way around the ice floes. I sent crew up the mast to look for clear lanes of water through the ice floes. If we were careless or luck turned against us, the ice could easily crush our fibreglass hull and sink us, leaving us precious little time to move from the frigid water into our life raft.
Nicola Rodriguez reflects on the genesis of her book Sail Away – How to Escape the Rat Race and Live the Dream:
It is coming up to a year since I delivered the first draft of the text of the book.
It is exactly ten years to the day that my whole department was made redundant, the day after John and I found the perfect boat for us to sail away in. The redundancy paid for the re-fit and gave us the final impetus to go.
It was a time of high stress and industry preparing for a large Wedding and to sail away. Our Wedding List at a chandlery encouraged guests to get into the Sail Away mood of the Wedding. It was also the story of my first article for Yachting Monthly which the then Deputy Editor Miles Kendall titled, “For Wetter or Worse”. Nine years, 25,000 miles, two sons, and three hurricanes later Miles, now Executive Editor of Wiley Nautical, commissioned me to write Sail Away.
Arctic Sailor and Nautical Mind alumnus R. Bruce Macdonald writes:
Dear Nautical Mind,
when I had the privilege of working for you in the eighties I often wished that at least one of the books that we were selling was one that I had written. I am hoping to bring that dream to fruition now that I have completed the manuscript for North Star of Herschel Island – Canada’s last sailing Arctic fur trader. It is the true story of North Star who at the height of the Great Depression was commissioned to be built in 1935 for two Inuit fur trappers. While the rest of the world was suffering, the Inuvialuit of Canada’s western Arctic were making so much money from fur that they were able to pay cash for the ship, a sum that in today’s values would be around one million dollars.