Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Vancouver National Park – Try 1 Week Hiking & 1 Week Sailing

If you’re a local with Vancouver National Park on your doorstep count yourself lucky. There aren’t many places in the world where you can easily hike and see such a diverse range of scenery and still be back in your car driving home to a hot bath rather than camping on the side of a mountain. At Nanaimo Yacht Charters we often have people arriving at our base who are making the absolute most of their holiday time and building in some hiking time to their holiday itinerary.
Like all National Parks there is a hiking etiquette which centres around leaving places as you found them and staying on the marked trails for safety reasons and to do the least damage to the precious environment.
Here are some of the favorite hikes of Vancouver National Park:

Garibaldi Lake – 18 kms

Garibaldi Lake

This is a firm favorite of the locals. The pinnacle of the hike is the lake. If the sun is out it is turquoise coloured water reflecting the alpine mountains and spectacular glacier. The view is awesome and well worth the first 6 km of pain to get there.
This hike starts from the Rubble Creek parking area just south of Whistler. The first 6 km is a gradual climb through forests of Douglas Fir trees.  After 6 km you arrive at a junction. If you want a shorter journey to the lake turn right. Turn left and it is an hour longer but you get to walk through the Taylor Meadows covered in alpine flowers through late summer and early autumn. Eventually you will reach the Garibaldi lake.

Panorama Ridge – 30 kms

2 Panorama Ridge[/caption]
The views from Panorama ridge won’t be forgotten. From the ridge you have views over Garibaldi Lake, Black Tusk and Helm Lake. Most people don’t try and complete the hike in 1 day and spend a night camping at Garibaldi Lake or Taylor Meadows and then make their way up Panorama Ridge on day 2.
Black Tusk – 29 kms

It is obvious why this mountain peak is called Black Tusk. The pointed peak is a landmark which has drawn many, many hikers.
Follow the trail to Taylor Meadows and walk past the camping area and eventually you arrive at a junction with a map and a wooden bench. Continue straight on and you will see a sign for Black Tusk. Prepare yourself for some uphill work! The last part of the trail actually disappears into a scramble over loose shale. The views over the entire area are worth the wait.
Find out more at Nanaimo Yacht Charter and Sailing School.

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

What experience do I need for sailing in Vancouver?

If you are planning a holiday sailing in Vancouver, then it is definitely useful to know what sailing experience you need as it can be challenging sailing depending on what time of year you visit.

Sailing Area

The sailing in Vancouver ranges across a wide area, from the Gulf Islands, Desolation Sound, the San Juan Islands and the Sunshine coast, an area that stretches along the Strait of Georgia from Howe Sound to Desolation sound, with many communities to see and superb scenery to enjoy.
Sailing Conditions
Sailing in Vancouver the primary sailing season is from May through to September, however, a great mix of sailing conditions prevails throughout the year, so if you prefer to enjoy some more challenging conditions or varied sailing then you can sail throughout the year.
High Season conditions

From April to May, you can expect changeable weather. It is normal to expect strong winds in these spring months, but the weather is warming up and it is a beautiful time of year, with everything coming into bloom.  

The Summer months between June to September, you can expect around 8-12 knots of thermally generated winds and relatively dry conditions. Summer is a great time of year for sailing in Vancouver if you are a confident sailor, but have slightly less confidence in varied sailing conditions, as July and August offer light winds and typically lovely weather, so perfect for enjoying the stunning national and provincial parks in the area.

Low Season conditions
October is a very popular time for sailing in Vancouver, before the colder winter weather arrives, but it can be more challenging than the Summer months, so you will need to be a very competent and confident sailor, able to sail in more challenging conditions.

Mooring up
If you are sailing in Vancouver, then you will be be encountering different moorings and anchorages, so you will need to be very competent in mooring up as there are plenty of overnight moorings available for visiting yachtsmen, but it is mainly anchorages, so you will need to be proficient and confident in anchoring in many different bays and and coastal areas.
There are significant tidal ranges when you are sailing in Vancouver, so it is very useful to understand the tidal ranges in relation to navigation when sailing this cruising area. 


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

LAGOON 42 - New Additional to our Fleet 2017

Lagoon 42
 Lagoon 42 – The newest cruising cat is indeed both curvaceous and sleek. The freshly designed 42, which replaces the 420/421 of which over 270 hulls were built, also makes tracks, whether on short island hops or a bit farther afield.
Design & Construction
Lagoon 42 Design
Lagoon 42 has also slimmed down, thanks to the infused, injection-molded construction that yields an all-up lightship weight of just over 26,000lb. A structural center beam adds strength and also secures the forestay fitting, a Code 0 sprit, the anchor roller and an anchor chain well that runs atop the beam rather than below.

On Deck

The deck is dedicated to improved circulation from one end to the other. The transoms are wide enough to preclude any embarrassing moments boarding from a dock or dinghy, and just two low steps lead up to the single-level cockpit. Second, unlike typically crowded helm stations, there is plenty of room for two people to work, one steering and one working the two Harken winches that manage most of the lines. There is even room behind the helm seat for a third person to stand or pass through down to the cockpit.


Lagoon 42 Accommodation
A three-panel glass door leads seamlessly from the cockpit to the saloon, which is located on the same level. The U-shaped galley is split, with a three-burner Eno stove and a single sink to starboard and refrigeration to port. The top-loading fridge is just at the edge of the stairs to the port hull and it is a bit awkward to reach into its depths while balancing on the second step.
The L-shaped settee runs athwartships and also serves as a seat for the outboard-facing nav station, which I find to be quite welcome for dedicated ship’s business. A second set of B&G instruments here allows for a quick position check when the autopilot is driving up top. The saloon is spacious and will move traffic well, but it would benefit from an overhead hatch, as the only ventilation comes from two forward opening windows.


It seems Lagoon has hit the right note with the 42. Presumably, 80 percent of these new models will be sold to private individuals with the rest going into charter. With a bit more fuel tankage and the right suit of sails, the Lagoon 42 is a delightful kitty to cruise here, there and everywhere.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Best Boating Apps for a Vancouver Sailing Trip

Vancouver Sailing Trip
 Best Boating Apps for a Vancouver Sailing Trip, technology is king in the 21st century. There are not many activities that aren’t enhanced tenfold by the addition of some technology. Boating is one of those activities. When on board one of our beautiful yachts, sailing around the Vancouver Isle and Nanaimo, you may benefit from having some app-based assistance. So we thought we would compile a list of the most useful apps for sailing out there for you.
Weather Applications

The weather is an unpredictable, untamable beast. Well there are some apps out there that may help you with the former.

NOAA - Boating Application
NOAA SuperRes Radar HD (iOS) is an app which has great resolution and radar for accessing stunning weather maps. 
It enables you to view storm features which are not visible in other systems. The app provides access to an hourly forecast, 
as well as 3 and 6 day precipitation and pressure forecasts. 
There are a number of overlays you can play with including 
the temperature one. It also provides you with alerts should some severe weather be heading your way which is very useful whilst yachting. There are impressive zooms, animation features, 
and lots of pretty colours to choose from as well as terrain, hybrid, satellite and normal map styles. The GPS locator can be particularly useful when boating for leisure and travel, 
and you can share your location as well as search for desired stop off points.

Redar Scope - Weather Application

RadarScope is the Android version of NOAA for all intents and purposes. It is used widely by weather fanatics as well as meteorologists. It also has impressive resolution and radar and can also provide warnings for impending adverse weather conditions and can even pinpoint the centre of storms. It works alongside the US National Weather Service. You can plot your location and report it to the spotter network too. It automatically uses its intelligence to update data between every 2 and 10 minutes to make sure you always have the most up to date information on your journey. For the pro subscription you can also access live real-time lightening data.

Tides Near Me - Information Application

Tides Near Me is a great specialist tool for focussing on, you guessed it, tides! 

It gives you information on the current tide, and the next one, as well as information about the forces behind it all; the sun and moon. You can view nice tables and charts within this boating app.

Wind finder Application

Windfinder does what it says in the name. Wind and everything related to it such as the waves are tracked through this nifty app.

It is great if you are planning on doing some activities whilst on your yachting trip in Nanaimo such as windsurfing or kite surfing but is also useful for simple sailing.

Forecasts are accurate and provide real time info so you always know what you are about to come up against. The app is also very pretty and user friendly which is always a bonus.

This app also doesn’t gobble up data like some of the others, which means a quicker loading time, and less wasted data!

You can get tide info for the next 10 days and also check air direction and temperatures.

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Fishing while you cruise – our first attempt!

As some folks may know, before immigrating to Canada, we built a 40’ Endurance Ketch called “Baraka” which became our home at sea for 10 years…..

An excerpt from the book (in progress) “Are we East or West of the Equator?” – by Ian MacPherson!

Hopefully your fishing while chartering along our spectacular coast will be far more peaceful!………….

‘This was an important activity on board, one that broke the monotony of the day. To achieve this, we were armed with a large Penn Senator fishing reel onto which was wound 1000 ft of 200lb test braided nylon ending with a 40 ft wire trace and one of my famous handmade lures.  (from the aluminium bladder of a cardboard wine box!)

This was all handily mounted solidly on to the top rail of the pushpit. To say that this lacked finesse was the understatement of the day. When we  set off on our trip to sail the world Shari and I had never fished a day in our collective lives. Clueless was the second understatement worth noting. Despite this minor issue we proceeded to fish!

Our first fish was announced by the snarling ratchet of the reel as a fish stripped off a couple of hundred feet of line. This foreign sound filled me with the excitement of the catch but terrified the ship’s cat, who scurried deep into the depths of the forepeak. However, it did bring out my fan base of our two daughters, Eleanor,  aged two and a bit and Katie just one year younger and lastly of course my chief fishing advisor, Shari.

I thought at the time, it had to be a fair size so I wound up the drag tension on the clutch.  This seemed to really irritate whatever we had caught, because it responded by stripping off another 100 ft of line.

Over the next hour I tentatively wound the fish back to the boat, needless to say by this time I had lost my audience as total boredom had set in just when it was about to get interesting.

As our catch got closer it was apparent we had caught our first deep sea Tuna weighing in at about 60 lbs. It did not like the look of us or our boat, that at the time was sailing along very nicely on a beam reach at just over 6 knots with no intention of stopping or slowing down.

What ensued thereafter would have made the Keystone cops look like a well polished unit!!!

My attempt to gaff the fish resulted in it swimming and thrashing so wildly that it managed to wrap up our Walker log line around itself before then prawns_6550119301_lcolliding with the Hydrovane and jamming the gear.  This had us going from a pleasant broad reach to a wild ride dead down wind which was followed by a crashing full standing gybe of the mains’l. The boat was now fed up with my antics and slew to a stop locked in a hove to position straining awkwardly against the gybe preventer.  The lack of motion and weird heeling angle brought out my fan base just in time to see me cut the trace and log line in order to free up the very tangled steering vane and speed log.

I could see by the look of my audience that they hadn’t really understood this fishing thing
It took all of 2 hours before we were back to normal. The fishing line (what was left of it!) was wound up for the day and we quietly went back onto our course with thankfully no damage other than to my pride.  Leaving fresh fish for dinner for another day.

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Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Combining Yachting and Nature in Vancouver

Nanaimo is an ecological treasure trove of life. The beauty of the region and its wildlife is a major draw to many who embark on a boating holiday in the area. And this is why we all must work together to protect the natural environment from several human and non-human threats.

Great views from hiking trails
There are a number of wildlife reserves, nature parks, and a lot of different tour companies that operate within the Vancouver Island Region. There are also a variety of protection groups and environmental steward groups who work to ensure the natural diversity and beauty is protected.This is important work. Without groups like this it could be said that habitats would be in great decline, and there would be less for travellers to see!

As we know, nature and its inhabitants evolve, grow and move to suit the changing environment. Across the region we can now see a number of non-native species. The American Bullfrog, the Rock Dove, the Snapping Turtle, and the North American Opossum are some particularly intriguing examples. These new beautiful beasties are protected under the Wildlife Act.

BaldEagle North Central VanocuverIsland
There are also a number of wildlife rehabilitation programmes for indigenous species who are under threat from manmade habitat destruction or problematic natural phenomenon. One particular problem of late is not a decline, but in fact an increase in the number of wild cougar sightings. This is down to an increase in black-tail dear which is prey for the cougars. The food chain is a magical mechanism.

This has however lead to some controversy in the area as many people who have seen the dangerous looking cats in heavily populated areas are calling for a cull. Something environmentalists and conservationists are dead against. Groups opposed to the culling have suggested other measures to get on top of the problem such as birth control in the deer population.

Our magnificent wildlife
Conservationists have been out on the ground setting humane traps which are constructed with the aim of capturing and relocating the animals. But locals are concerned more by the number of deer, as it is believed the predators will keep coming back whilst there is a large amount of prey for them.

Nature sometimes throws us problems such as this one. But there is one thing worth remembering – they were here before us. All animals are entitled to use of the land we have taken over. Therefore the safest and most moral way to move forward is through humane methods or trying to steer nature – not disrupt it further.

Black Bear Princess Louisa Inlet
Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said: “There’s just simply too many of them and they’re starting to bring some challenges to the community, some real safety challenges”. It is a concern that a cull is too controversial and also expensive and so officials are consulting with the community. It is estimated that a quarter of Canada’s 4,000 cougars are currently living on the island.
As well as the nuisance cougars, you can find wild bears, eagles, and mountain goats aplenty across the region. There are a number of specialist wildlife parks and tours which you can take appreciate nature at its finest.

Bears are also under attack in the region. Nanaimo based charity ‘Bear Matters’ works to try and put a stop to the ruthless killing of Grizzly Bears in the region. They work to conserve the bear population by providing a forum to raise awareness, fundraising, research, and working with other bear conservancy agencies around the world.

otter visitors
The charity argues that bears are highly evolved, intelligent, sentient beings that are a critical part of the natural environment. They have been active in helping to draft wildlife policies to promote the protection of bears through a reduction in human-bear interaction. Several species of bear are currently under threat. Whilst sailing around the isles you can often spot a bear catching his dinner on the shoreline. It is a magnificent sight, and one we must protect.

As a visitor to the region you have an important role to play. Visitors must appreciate the natural environment whether that be on land or at sea. It is the golden rule to leave places exactly how you found them – reduced human impact is a key part in protecting these glorious species so that next generations can have the pleasure of visiting them in their natural habitats too.

Why not keep a record of all the different animals you come across during your yachting trip to the Vancouver Isle. Conservation organisations love it when people record sightings, but also it will be interesting to compare what you see with the next time you visit!

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Friday, May 27, 2016


The Nanaimo Marine Festival started in 1966 as a celebration of Canada’s 100th birthday and will be 50 years old in 2016. Happy Birthday! This year’s festivities will be held from the 21st of July to the 24th. If you are on a yacht charter holiday throughout this period, the event is really one not to be missed – especially for boating enthusiasts.

nanaimo-1d3d05f54ccfcbeb2a451312fdabcdfa-333x500The main course of the festival if you will, is most certainly the world renowned Great International World Championship Bathtub Race. Last year saw a change in how this race ran. Previously racers would end their journey at Departure Bay beach, but despite that glorious bit of irony it was changed to mean both the start and finish lines are situated at Maffeo Sutton Park. It was believed this change was made last year, to iron out any potential difficulties before the celebrations of 2016 hit.
Loyal Nanaimo Bathtub Society member Bill McGuire says the change was made because people viewing the race would often only watch the start or the end. Now viewers can more easily see both, which is of course a more pleasurable experience. Not only is this better for the people watching the race, but it is easier for the racers themselves too as Departure Bay has grown busier and busier over the years. This may be something you have experienced on your own yachting adventures in the area.
dsc_1316Last year festival goers were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Forces Maritime Experimental Ranch Point for the navy. Naval history forms a big part of the culture around Nanaimo, and any chance to celebrate it is always taken up with enthusiasm. This year however, will all be about celebrating the race itself, as it forms part of the maritime history of the area. The bathtub race itself is usually held on the Sunday, but the full plans for this special year are yet to be announced.
Always an occasion with more to enjoy than the boats, there is sure to be spectacular firework displays, delicious foods, and beautiful decorations all around the bay. The Marine Festival in Nanaimo really does but Nanaimo on the map for boat enthusiasts of all shapes and sizes. The event attracts thousands of people from around Vancouver and much further afield such as Australia to partake, watch the race, enjoy the company of other boat lovers, and revel in the generally merriment.
367cruiseThe race itself can get quite tense, competitive, and very exciting. There have been years where racers have raced on land by foot after the boat race is complete to try and best each other and determine finishing position when it has been too close to call. As well as the fun of it, there is often a serious message behind many of the racers too. It is not unusual for those who take part to utilise the opportunity for some fund raising for local charities or causes that are close to their hearts.
at-anchor-2-490x500As well as individuals, the boat race is entered by community groups, NGOs, businesses, and even local government officials. It is thought of as one of the best events for bringing all strands of the community together – and that means travellers too! Nanaimo is known as a warm and welcoming place to visitors, and nowhere is this more on display than at events such as the Marine Festival.
So when yachting in Nanaimo in July, make sure to enjoy the four days of summer festivities island-style. The festival is a great place for families too with a number of arts and crafts stalls, an entertainment stage, a children’s tent, and a delectable supply of food vendors and even the odd cheeky beer garden. It is also a place of knowledge with information stands and safety displays aplenty, as well as information on military history and the numerous water sports on offer around the area.
fiery-sunset-montague-harbour_5437433134_l-300x200It is not just the race area that comes to life over this four day. The city centre in downtown Nanaimo is also awash with activity from farmer’s markets to parades, light festivals and fireworks to music performances. Whilst yachting in Nanaimo in this period, you can be sure that whether your travel party is young or old, the family or your partner, you will not be short of things to do.
Read more about the event here.
Nanaimo Marine Festival is an institution, and something the locals look forward to all year round. It is a favorite for our yachters, and we here hope that the event will continue for many more years to come.