Category Archives: Excursions

Caledonia Yawl project: Labour day long weekend, sailing back across the Salish Sea (part 3)

As you can imagine, once you’ve crossed the straight of Georgia and it went so well there is both a sense of accomplishment and trepidation as now I have to do it one more time. Even though I’ve done it dozens of times on different sailboats of various sizes from 21′ to 130′ this 19.5′ Caledonia yawl is by far the smallest one. Without a keel and with only oars and a 1276Wh battery the prospect of making it across in a reasonable time does make me a little anxious.

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The evening before looked like this and so with a forecast of light to moderate north westerlies building in the late afternoon, I felt somewhat confident of the prospect of a good crossing.

The boat was anchored in Brownie bay with a big low tide at 8am which I knew would dry out the boat and so we would be able to carry out all our stuff directly from the group camp site to the boat and not have to bring the boar around to the marine park dock.

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We then waited for the tide to float the boat and with only a few inches of water we were able to walk it out to deeper waters at 11am while our families set off to catch the BC Ferry from Departure bay to Horseshoe bay. I had a new crew for the sail home with my friend Patrice and my brother-in-law Lucas. We set off with a solid 10-12 knot NW breeze and lots of sunscreen with zinc oxide.

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The boat was a bit lighter than on the way back and for an hour we were making great time averaging just over five knots.

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But soon as we went past entrance island and it’s beautiful lighthouse we saw that the light part of the forecast was really going to take over. We started to motor-sail to keep the boat moving at at least 3 knots and set up the solar panels to recharge the battery as we went along. This worked quite well as we moved them around to stay in the sun.

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The MPPT charger is a bit hard to read as it’s refresh rate seems to match the shutter speed of the digital camera but you can see it was stepping up an input of 19.2V to 48V for an input of 1.8 Amps. This was with just two panels out. We then managed to find a spot for a third 50W panel on deck. My plan is eventually to have all the panels lay flat on an inflatable paddle board that I tow behind the boat so that all four 50W panels can get shade-free sunlight with minimal resistance from the paddle board.

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Nevertheless with 25 nautical miles to go and very little wind, it was still a question if the 1276Wh battery would take us far enough to catch a breeze or we would be left rowing at the end of the crossing. We kept optimizing the motor output to keep it around 250W-300W which seems to move the boat easily over 3knots and then would feather it back if we caught a little bit of breeze.

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As we approached the shipping lane to the NW of Point Grey we caught the thermal sea breeze that helped to pull us towards English bay. There were a few moments of doing some time on distance calculations to figure out what the best course was as we had to navigate one freighter and one tug with barge while crossing the shipping lanes. I was very happy to have a handheld VHF radio and a full sized Davis collapsible radar reflector hauled up on a flag pole to the top of the mizzen mast. Which hopefully made this little wood dinghy much more visible on the water.

As the sun set the sea breeze started to slacken and we eeked out every last ray of sunshine to charge the battery by holding the panels up to near vertical until there was no free energy left to harvest.

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After 9 hours on the water with most of it motoring it was amazing how relaxed and comfortable the crossing had been. The electric motor was so quiet that we did not feel like it had been a tiring day at all.

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That said, the motor readout was letting us know that at the current rate we had just 40 minutes of run-time left and there was still over three miles to go from the bell buoy at the entrance to Burrard Inlet.

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It was fun to have a visit from the Jericho Sailing Centre’s rescue boat as they did their evening sweep of the bay. We switched on the portable running lights and let them know we would be alright making it back to the club under our own steam.

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A beautiful twilight lingered long enough for us to enjoy the return to familiar waters.

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As we got within sight of the Jericho Sailing Centre we had just 20 minutes of run-time on the battery left. It felt like such a fun accomplishment to stretch the capacity for the 1276Wh battery to more than 7 hours of run-time to do this 30 nautical mile crossing.

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Luckily the centre has great lights in the compound which made taking all the gear out and putting the boat to bed a relatively easy task.

Caledonia Yawl project: Labour Day weekend (Part 2)

For the next four days we did little day trips around Protection Island and out to Kanaka Bay on Saysutchun.

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The boat stayed comfortably at anchor in Brownie bay at the north east end of the camping area on nice sand between two sandstone rock groins. The tides were nice and big and so the boat would lay on the sand each morning for a few hours. This is how I was able to go and walk out to the anchor and see exactly how it lay. It is fishermans with folding flukes which allows it to pack up into a nice small package aboard. I also have a Fortress FX-7 4lbs anchor but I find it much more involved to take apart and so my tendency is to keep it as the backup as it is quite cumbersome on a small boat when it is put together. I’ve been eyeing the Mantus M2 8lbs anchor as it looks to be quick to take apart and would stow away nicely. It is just a little expensive and not that easy to source in Canada.

The boat in the morning at anchor looking back towards the camping area of Saysutchun. Note that there is a no anchoring area that protects eel grass for half the channel between Saysutchun and Protection island. I’m anchored further out where there is mostly just sand and less eel grass.

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Each morning, I could not help but go out to take pictures of the boat at sunrise as it was such a nice light.

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This one really captures the feeling of a languishing summer morning.

I also took the time to recharge the ePropulsion battery with my solar panels. On the way over we had only motored a little to get out of English bay and then near the end to do the last few miles to the Saysutchun dock. So it only took a few hours to top off the battery.

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In the next part the voyage back to Vancouver.

An Aod Oolichan: Year two setting sail

With a wet cool spring we have not yet done much sailing yet apart from a January sail when my mom came to visit.

We got up at 5am to be sure to have a spot to park the car and trailer at Porteau Cove on Canada Day and start our first camp cruising trip of 2022 in the newly named UNESCO Átl’ka7tsem/Howe Sound biosphere region.

Canada day long weekend trip
First trip with the car and boat on the trailer

Fortunately we arrived and a spot opened up just as we arrived and we were able to launch and park the car for the weekend.

9:30am at porteau cove launch
The ramp at Porteau Cove

It took us about an hour to load the boats and set up all the rigging. We were off at about 10:15am. Boy was it a good feeling to be on the water and know that everything worked. The car towed nicely, the boat tie-down held the boat well to the trailer, the oars worked and all the other little modification I did over the winter made the launching easier.

And we are off across Howe Sound to a marine trail camp site

The glassy morning conditions meant that we were able to put the ePropulsion 1.0 to the test. Quiet and efficient we glided towards our destination until half way when the early signs of the southerly inflow started a light breeze that pushed us to our Howe Sound Marine trail site.

Solar charging finally works

I was finally able to set up the four 50W solar panels rigged in parallel to the MPPT charge controller providing an output of 170W at 48V to the battery. It was really exciting to see the system creating new autonomy allowing us to plan longer trips without needing to go into town to recharge. The trick is just finding good spots that will stay in the sun for several hours. The next step is to set up the panels on the paddle board and towing it behind us.

MPPT solar charge controller
The LED refresh rate makes it hard to photograph the output. This little device is amazing.

The Caledonia Yawl An Aod Oolichan at anchor with the anchor-buddy bungee system that allows for easy retrieval of the boat with a line to shore. I tied them both to the bow so that the mizzen would keep the boat pointed towards the wind and waves.

Anchored with and anchor buddy bungee system.

Our site had several tent pads and a clever composting toilet with a urine separating system that used a conveyor belt to move the solids back while the fluids drained forward. I wonder if this kind of system will become standard practice to replace pit outhouses that more easily contaminate soil and water tables in many camping areas.

The Howe Sound Marine Trail

Day 2 we did a day trip to another Howe Sound Marine Trail site to the south. We set off at noon and got the full force of the southerly inflow on a sunny day. In January I found that the centreboard had a hard time sliding down… which I chalked up to winter humidity levels, But this time again we found that it was still sticky. So I tipped the boat over and did a full check of the centreboard well. What I found is that the keel slot is a few millimetres narrower than the centreboard well. This means that we were not able to point upwind well and I was forced to use the electric motor for the upwind leg. next week I’ll have to take the centreboard out and tilt the boat over again to file down the keel slot a few mm and epoxy seal and repaint it.

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Heading south against the wind electric motorsailing.
An Aod Oolichan tipped over
Beach tilt to inspect the centreboard well from below.

Day 2 picnic spot with another good use of the anchor-buddy

Anchored with the anchorbuddy system

On Sunday we found the forecast of rain had moved forward by a few hours and the taking down of camp and sail home was done in the rain with a beautiful veil of clouds clinging to the mountains around Howe Sound.

Some of the things on my to do list coming out of this trip

  • Test using shorter oars maybe 9.5′ long. The 11.5′ long oars worked but might be a little long if there are any waves by providing little clearance. They also take up a lot of space onboard.
  • Open up the centreboard slot 2-3mm so that it does not get stuck even with some sand and grit that is very likely to find itself there after a beaching.
  • Look at finding a rubber, neoprene or vinyl material to create a centreboard gasket.
  • Make a hold down cross beam with eyelets for the tie-downs to attach to and hold the boat from bouncing on the trailer.
  • Paint the name on the boat
  • Make a boom strop to tie the boom vang to.

Overall a very successful trip start building the habit of regular outings.

An Aod Oolichan: the first cruise

Five days after the launch of An Aod Oolichan my Caledonia Yawl designed by Ian Oughtred, I was ready to take the family out on a multi-day camp cruising adventure. We packed most of our camping gear into waterproof bags and I went and found a flexible soft cooler that will fit nicely in the boat and not scratch up the paint.

Set up on the first cruise took a little longer than expected and we headed off at 4pm on Friday from the Jericho Sailing Centre with a nice 8-10 knot westerly. In overcast skies and forecast for rain mid-day on Saturday.

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We got to the shipping lane with a falling breeze and still 10 miles to Halkett Bay. So in the interest of safety we started up the new electric outboard to motor-sail (ePropulsion Spirit 1.0) which is about the equivalent of a 2-3hp petrol motor.

We arrived after sunset into a dark Halkett bay and tied up to the dinghy dock. (An Aod Oolichan is technically a dinghy). The camp sites are in a fairly wooded area of the park up behind the dock. We set up the tent quickly in the dark and made quick work of dinner with one-pot dehydrated Bim Bim Bap meal. To call it bim bim bap was a stretch but after a long day we were happy to have warm food.

The next morning we tried to set off early to beat the rain and get across to Plumper cove and set up camp there before the big rain.

It was a lot of fun to have a nice building SE breeze pushing us ahead of the rainwall.

Unfortunately the rain beat us to Plumper Cove

But the powers of a bag of chips to keep the spirits up should not be underestimated.

The wind did not abate with the rain. We found that as we were turning the corner of Keats island to Plumper Cove. By the time we got to the turn to the cove we were doing 6.5 knots and the breeze was up to 15-16 knots. I had all the canvas up and knew that when on a run the apparent does not feel as much. I did not want to gybe in these freshening conditions. So as we came up to Plumper cove we rounded up into the wind and simply dropped the main sail. Then tacked and came in calmly into the cove under jib and mizzen. Although it might have been a little early to introduce a high wind manoeuvre to my crew, their two weeks of summer sailing camp came in handy and they were able to assist without any problems.

We got a nice spot at the dock and unloaded all the camping equipment in a bit of a deluge.

My Hennessy hammock hexagonal rain fly tarps are a dream in these situations. They come with light high-strength cord tucked into little pockets at each corner making setting up the tarp in the rain a fair bit faster and easier. We quickly had one set up for the picnic table and another to cover the tent. We also set up another smaller rectangular syltarp over a hammock I picked up on Ecuador made of an old fishing net which we used to hang all our wet weather gear.

Plumper cove is a well maintained marine park with it’s own little library.

On Sunday the clouds parted and we set off for a day trip to Gibsons. It was an opportunity to connect with friends who had recently moved there and recharge the battery for the electric outboard that we had depleted on the first let to Halkett bay.

Upon our return to Plumper cove we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset.

And a chance for a summer family photo

… and the end of the fire ban. So an unexpected campfire.

Monday was a return to full sun. We set out early at 10:30am with a 20 NM return trip to Vancouver ahead of us around the south end of Bowen Island.

We had a beautiful breeze through the Pasley island group. But as we reached cape Roger Curtis the wind started to get very light.

For the next few hours my crew dozed as we motor-sailed along the coast of Bowen Island and watched Point Grey and the buildings downtown slowly emerge in the horizon.

It seems like the gunnels are like a favourite place to hang out.

After eight hours we arrived at the Jericho Sailing Centre with a strong flood pushing us.

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Overall I was super pleased that all that time building and thinking about each aspect of the boat meant that the transition to sailing was relatively natural. There are still many little things to tweak in the rigging (make lazyjacks) and the way we stow gear onboard. I was also pleased that we did encounter some challenging conditions that pushed us to adapt and work together as a family. It was a very successful first voyage aboard An Aod Oolichan and I look forward to returning to sailing around Atl’Ka7tsem / Howe Sound which on September 15th was designated a UNESCO Biosphere reserve. How fortunate I feel to have such a unique geography and biosphere right in my back-ocean.

From Tel Aviv to Vancouver learning from each other

I had the great fortune to be able to participate in the FuTurisme.com conference plenary discussion on mass tourism and the future of tourism at IMTM 2015. I was there at the invitation of Tel Aviv Global which is a municipal corporation tasked with promoting the economic development of the city attracting investment and developing tourism.
One theme that was very prominent in their strategy is to leverage the tech start up ecosystem of the city.
The conference had 42 travel related digital startup companies pitching their ideas and vying for the mayor’s digital travel award.
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The Roschild boulevard at the heart of the city is a wonderful pedestrian and cycling oasis.

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Getting a tour of the startup ecosystem in Tel Aviv. The big questions seemed to be that starting things was happening in an organic way but holding on to the dividends of that innovation was the challenge. Keeping successful startups in the city and making sure international investment was not just pulling the human capital out of the city.

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That evening I was invited to a cocktail at city hall with the mayor of Tel Aviv where they unveiled a commemorative stamp of the city. Tel Aviv has been recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site for its white city collection of Bauhaus architecture. It also recently was recognized by UNESCO as a creative city in the digital sphere and they are running with it as a branding element for the city.

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The Tel Aviv Global team also came up with a wonderful idea to put a call out to students to volunteer as local hosts for the conference speakers. This was an opportunity to meet someone with an interest in your subject matter, but also they acted as ambassadors and sometimes interpreters or even personal assistants. I found it to be invaluable and rewarding, helping me develop more insights and broadening the conversations I had.
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My student host Marina Balkarey

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Speaking on a panel discussing mass tourism and implications on destination development.

After my presentation I was interviewed by Ayal Zaum, a City & Place branding consultant that also writes a popular blog called cityncountrybranding.com
here is the article he wrote:
http://cityncountrybranding.com/2015/02/12/%D7%9C%D7%A1%D7%99%D7%9B%D7%95%D7%9D-%D7%AA%D7%A2%D7%A8%D7%95%D7%9B%D7%AA-imtm-%D7%99%D7%A9-%D7%9C%D7%A0%D7%95-%D7%A2%D7%95%D7%93-%D7%94%D7%A8%D7%91%D7%94-%D7%9E%D7%94-%D7%9C%D7%9C%D7%9E/

Un article mène à de nouveaux horizons

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Suite à la publication de l’article dans Skift que j’ai poster récemment. J’ai reçu une invitation a participer a un congrès de tourisme international a Tel Aviv le 10 et 11 février. Avec tout juste un mois de préavis je n’étais pas sur que l’invitation soit sérieuse, mais après un échange de communication au ralenti à cause des onze heures de décalage.  Ils m’on confirmer qu’ils cherchait réellement à me fair participer à une colloque avec le ministre de tourisme de Israël, le consul général de Israël à New York entre autre. Le thème est de discuter le future du tourisme et l’impact sur le développement durable des destinations. Je vais parler de mon travaille et le contexte qui le met en valeur a Vancouver.
Continue reading Un article mène à de nouveaux horizons

Paddling for the 2014 king tide

Yesterday with a group of friends we continued a tradition of meeting down at the Jericho Sailing Centre, donning our wetsuits or drysuits and heading out into Burrard Inlet for a stand up paddle. This year we waited a day after our usual boxing day outing to match up our paddle with the highest high tide of the year, which was a 5m tide. Fortunately their was little wind or waves and the tide did not bring with it any flooding or damage to the coastline. But after the last king tide earlier in the month where the wind came up, the Sailing Centre was prepared with sandbags.

King tide at Jericho Dec 27 10:11am

Dominique brought a his medium format film camera to capture the moment which was fun. We needed to flag down a runner to actually trip the shutter.

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Here is my picture panorama of the set up for this.

King tide at Jericho Dec 27 10:11am

We had a 6-8 knot breeze from the SE for our paddle. As we made it close to the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club docks it started to rain, so unlike the year before where we managed to go hang around the freighters in complete calm and sunshine, our excursion this year was a little closer to shore but just as memorable.

Boat delivery from Steveston to Jericho

Today my friend Dom asked me to help him take his boat RedFive, a J30 back from the boat yard in Steveston where it had bee hauled out and sanded down, to the RVYC marina at Jericho.
We set off at 14h00 in a light drizzle and a rising tide.

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All was quiet on the south arm of the Fraser as we motored out

By the time we got to the Fraser lightship station at the mouth of the south arm where we would be able to turn north, the wind had freshness up to 12 knots out of the northwest. As we moved towards Point Grey the wind rose steadily and peaked at about 20 knots with a solid set of waves hitting us on the nose.

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The combination of the shallow shelf and the long fetch made for short steep waves.

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We finally saw the bell buoy Q62 at sunset.

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And turned east into the darkness as the wind started to freshen up behind us.

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Dominique at the helm

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We tied up the boat in the dark and were quite happy to stop in the club for a bite to eat, warm up and watch the final game of the regular season for the Whitecaps on the television in the corner.

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