Canadian sailing vessel Pilgrim, Whitby 42, Toronto, Canada …

National Yacht Club member since 1983

2017 Plan 
Based on our reaction to the heat of the day found this far south leads us to plan a more northerly route in late 2016 and 2017. We will most likely haul out in Antigua after visiting the anchorages we missed on our way to Grenada. Long range planning is nearly impossible now due to issues with weather and crime in most anchorages. It is getting harder to find a safe harbour that is not impacted by ocean swells.

It turns out that things can change overnight with the help of a spread sheet. Comparing storage cost and incidental expenses have led us to rebook at Spice Island Marina in Grenada for the 2017 summer season. Cool Running is a great place to stay while working on the boat ... read great A/C. We have had a look around from Grenada to Antigua and can't find a more cost effective storage location.

So what happens now.
We have started to look for a broker since it may take several years to sell Pilgrim. By the fall we expect to have some idea where the best place to locate Pilgrim would be ... Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida or further north. A great deal depends on the dealer we select and how  best to position Pilgrim for maximum market exposure.



2016 Plan 
We made it as far south as the leewards so far this year with a booking to store Pilgrim in Grenada for the summer. We purchased a new dink and motor in Cape Canaveral that have proven to be the answer to all of our transport problems. A double floor 9.5 AB with a 9.8 Tohatsu 4 stroke is an unbelievable combination for two people. It will do 15 knotes and stay dry.

All in all my (Brian) impression of the Caribbean is why bother. There is much better sailing in the North Channel of Lake Huron where the water is not only drinkable but  "wonder of wonders" has fish it it.
The carib has a common feature ... ocean swells ... they cause the boat to rock and roll to the extent that drinks will not have any difficulty launching themselves into your lap. Aside from the fact that prices of everything are twice to three times states side prices you may not even get the needed goods for months. Once you are south of Sint Maarten don't even think about getting spare parts for the boat. French officials are non existent and rely on a computerized system to track boats. If you don't speak the local French don't even bother trying to communicate. They HATE the English. St. Barts requires you to visit three separate offices some distance apart to clear in with officials that are not only rude but unhelpful. I thought Europe was bad with petty officialdom but this place takes the cake. My only hope is that the windwards are a bit more interested in cruisers.

2015 Plan 
We made it as far south as Georgetown this year before we had to turn back to Cape Marina in Cape Canaveral, Florida. We missed several weather windows while entertaining family that would have allowed us the reach St Martin before hurricane season. The bottom has at long last been blasted and is waiting for a new coats of Interlux 2000 and bottom paint. New batteries will be installed and a new RIB plus motor added to the inventory. The existing hard shell dink has proven to be too wet for the waters we cruise in and will be sold or moved to Tuglet. The life raft needs servicing in addition to numerous miscellaneous list items that need attending while we are in the US. We are now spending November to April on Pilgrim and June to September on Tuglet. Quite a change going from sail to power. 
 
2014 Plan 
We made it as far as the south end of the Bahamas before we had to turn back to Green Cove Springs in Florida. Several mechanical failures including a consistent difficulty with our main halyard convinced us that the Caribbean could wait another year. Once the masts were pulled the halyard problem was easily fixed but we discovered that our rudder was about to fail due to a manufacturing and design problem. Once this issue is resolved we will head south following the thornless passage. Stay away from mangroves (no-seeums) and wind against current weather (short wavelength chop) ... what we learned last year.
 
2013 Plan
A calm sailing season was the plan for 2012 and as with all plans some things went awry. High winds, cold and fog were the expected natural distractions in Newfoundland and we were not disappointed. St Pierre turned out to be more like a Newfoundland tourist trap than a remote French port. The Bra d’Or Lakes were a pleasant change with sun and warm temperatures. Nova Scotia returned us to days of grey, storms and deep anchorages. Pilgrim is currently under wraps at the Gold River Marina waiting for the 2013 adventures to begin. Plans are somewhat sketchy but we are heading south. Chesapeake for the boat show, US Thanksgiving in St. Mary’s GA and head further south as the weather allows. 
 
2012 Plan
What a year … whales, gales, icebergs and a blown head gasket. Our trip from Scotland … Faroes … Iceland … Labrador … Newfoundland was close to but not exactly like the Brendan track. We had to end our trip in Lewisporte, Newfoundland in mid August due to engine problems. That means that 2012 will be spent exploring Newfoundland and Nova Scotia … slowly. There is a lot to see in Newfoundland and we plan to revisit some of our favorite anchorages in Nova Scotia. Our 2012 wintering over spot will be in Chester, Nova Scotia.
 
2011 Plan
In 2010 we survived the northern latitudes in Norway and are now set to head back to North America via the northern route. We have been inspired by the Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbtis (Voyage of Brendan) … the voyages of Saint Brendan an Irish monk who sailed from Ireland to North America and back in a leather sailboat. The voyage was repeated in 1976 by Tim Severin in a replica craft documented in film and his book The Brendan Voyage. We hope to experience the same sense of awe and magic of the environment, wild life and people (am I being redundant?).
 
2011 More Thoughts
If we can survive the northern latitudes in 2010 then an attractive option is to head north from Scotland to Iceland, Greenland and back to Canada via Newfoundland … back down the east coast to the warmer climates. The Med has lost its appeal … sad to say but I think we have had our fill of EU bureaucracy.
 
2010 Thoughts
We have given up trying to plan. 2008 winter saw Pilgrim in Sweden. In the spring/summer of 2009 we made it to Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Gotland, Oland, and Bornholm and are wintering over in Germany. In the spring of 2010 we hope to head back to Denmark, Norway to the Arctic Circle and south to Scotland for the winter. What happens after that is open … perhaps the Med or back to the Caribbean … The Baltic has been a great sea to explore in depth. It will be sad to leave but the rest of the world waits.
 
2008 Reality
We made it to Holland, Germany, Denmark, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden. We missed Russia due to a broken transmission and spent a month in Finland to have it replaced. We fell in love with the archipelago between Sweden and Finland and the beer/smoked chicken in Latvia. After traversing the Kiel and Gota canals we have decided that we are not river/lock people and will avoid them at all costs in the future. We have also learned not to ask any government official any questions. Keep your head down and avoid attention is the only way to survive in EU.
 
2008 Plan V4
Things keep changing, 2007 was the year of waves, wind and weather problems but we made it to England. 2008 promises to be the year of government inspired headaches. Our plan to winter over in Norway have hit a snag due to the VAT payable after 6 months in Norway further complicated by the Schengen agreement countries visiting restrictions. It looks as if we can only spend 90 days in the Schengen countries plus 30 days in Russia. A short summer and we still are not sure where we can leave Pilgrim for the winter.
 
2007 Plan V3
Well, things have a way of changing. We have always maintained we are on God’s schedule so nothing is concrete. Our 2006 travel plans were altered due to the wedding that was held in San Francisco in August. We turned right at Nova Scotia and toured the East coast of Canada and the US before heading to the Bahamas for the winter. We have left the Bahamas and are currently in Charleston re-provisioning Pilgrim for the trip to the Azores. After the Azores we head north to Ireland and pick up the original plan to cruise the west coast of Ireland and the south coast of England during the fall.  We plan to winter the boat in England and spend the cold months returning to Canada and the US and land-traveling in Europe. All in all we are a year behind schedule but have seen the East coast of the Canada and the US which were never in our original travel plans. The Bahamas were a waste of time, effort and money … not to be repeated.
 
 
2006 Plan V2
2006 will be the year for our departure from North America. We plan to leave Whitby in late April, heading out the St Lawrence River.  The best time of the year to cross the North Atlantic is late June and July, after most of the icebergs have melted and before the hurricane season begins.  Our destination will be the west coast of Ireland.  In early August, assuming we have landed successfully in Ireland, we plan to fly back to Toronto and then on to San Francisco for the wedding of Jane’s daughter, Erica Peltz, to Kris Spraker.  We will then return to Ireland and cruise the west coast of Ireland and the south coast of England during the fall.  We plan to winter the boat in England and spend the cold months returning to Canada and the US and land-traveling in Europe. 
 
Pilgrim’s Beginnings
Jane is an intrepid “seat of the pants” sailor that views every other sailboat on the horizon as a challenge. Brian is the technical sailor, who studied the theory of sail long before ever venturing forth. Jane knew instinctively when the sail trim was right, Brian could derive the vectors and formulate an approximate sheet offset. 
 
Jane began sailing as crew in dinghy races in Charlevoix, Michigan, graduating to cruising when her parents bought a 44-foot wooden cutter-rigged sailboat (Bangalore).  Her first extensive cruise was in 1960 with Larry and Midge Perkins aboard their 44-foot wooden schooner, Allegro in the North Channel (Ontario).  The Perkins told of their adventures with Irving and Alexy Johnson (on their boat Yankee), sailing up the Nile River and across the Atlantic.  The seed was planted.
 
Brian began sailing on an 8-foot punt on which he fashioned a sail with a broomstick and a beach towel.  The following wind took him several miles out into Lake Superior before the coast guard rescued him.  Perhaps it was this tenuous beginning that has made Brian the more cautious, studious sailor.
 
We both held a dream of an extended voyage in salt water but only had short cruising experience in the Great Lakes. Lack of experience, lack of time and lack of a suitable boat became the obstacles that needed to be overcome. We developed a ten-year plan that first focused on training and gaining experience maintaining and sailing a boat together.  The house was soon filled with books describing circumnavigating, sinking, how to survive storms, extended voyage planning, personal accounts of circumnavigators. We attended lectures, took courses, went to boat shows, participated in rendezvous’, managed OSA/CYA events, became Port Captains, taught sailing courses, spent a year as Commanders of the Toronto Power Squadron, bought some boats and even went sailing.
 
Club racing and race management gave us experience with fast decision making in adverse weather conditions, boat performance on all points of sail and close quarters boat handling. The racing experience provided insight into our own personalities, what we were best at and how duties would be best divided and shared to maximize our own specific abilities and talents. Sailing is a natural activity to Jane. Sailing is becoming an intuitive activity for Brian. We both react properly to a given situation but have come to appreciate how different our thought/reaction process is. It takes a while during a debrief to understand each others point of view of what happened since we get to the same solution in such different ways.
 
Teaching sailing courses is the best way to cement all of the theoretical principles involved, rules of the road, sailing terms, navigation, electronics, and weather and develop the long term relationships that will provide comfort during the long passages and friends in distant ports.
Brian’s first boat, acquired in 1986, was a fixed-keel racing dinghy designed by Uffa Fox. “PUFF” our Flying Fifteen 2807 gave us the pleasure of weekday club racing at minimal cost. PUFF had all of the sail shape controls available and required skilled use of them in order to plane at 17 knots.  Second in 1988 was a quarter ton racer designed by Sparkman/Stevens, a North Star 500. She carried a family of four and two cats in her 25 feet to many adventures on Lake Ontario. We tried racing her but even with a folding prop and new sails she could not compete with the rest of the fleet. “Swan Queen” a CS33 acquired in 1993 came with a shoal draft keel gave us the ability to race in Lake Ontario and cruise in Georgian Bay. Once we discovered the benefits of interior space, pressurized hot water, propane appliances and a hull we could trust it became easier to establish a set of parameters for our final boat. Sailing was no longer a struggle but became a part of life. Cruising with cats and kids became a vacation. Based on our years of cruising with the CS33 we developed a set of requirements for our next boat that could handle years of blue water sailing.. 
Brian saw his first Whitby 42 at the 1983 Toronto Boat Show. At the time I didn’t even have a rowboat but he was determined that a Whitby 42 would be his retirement home. The dream of owning a Whitby 42 started to become a reality in 2002 when we docked our CS33 at Bayport Marina in Midland.  We had been cruising in the North Channel for 3 weeks, and were preparing to be hauled out for truck transport back to Toronto. Two docks away was a ketch with strangely familiar lines. A check at the office resulted in a tour of the boat in the company of Douglas Stephenson  the world-renowned expert in Whitby 42s. . During the fall we reviewed a number of potential listings but settled on hull #304 stored in Sodus Bay New York. She was in original shape with no equipment upgrades but had been sailed in fresh water for all but two years. A survey uncovered some standard problems with hoses, belts and wire connections but was satisfactory overall. A very cold delivery in the spring of 2002 back to Toronto stared an upgrade process that will be complete in April 2006. We took a couple of weeks to cruise the 1,000 Islands in 2002 and Lake Ontario in 2003.  In late 2003 we delivered Pilgrim to Bayport Marina in Midland via Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. 2004 was the year of our 5-week cruise in the North Channel. All major systems have now been replaced and we are currently adding equipment required for offshore cruising and safety.