Canadian sailing vessel Pilgrim, Whitby
42, Toronto, Canada …
National Yacht Club member since 1983
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.