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.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016



As well as the variety of nightlife available in Nanaimo, perfect for when you are on the deck of your yacht, having a few drinks with your friends, and the rum runs out. There is a different kind of bar which you must check out whilst in Nanaimo.

This bar is a decadent, creamy, chocolatey indulgence certainly not for the faint of heart. 
The bar originated in Nanaimo itself – hence the name! It dates back to the early fifties in the Edith Adams cookbook (14th edition) although there was some controversy when Nanaimo-bars-500x499someone claimed it was published in a newspaper earlier under a different name such as chocolate slice, or fridge cake. Who knew baking could be so catty?
It has since appeared in numerous cookbooks across the globe in its various forms. It seems to be a favorite among the ladies – so gentleman, why not try making your own version to impress the lovely lady in your life? It couldn’t be more simple…
It consists of all of the main ingredients of chocolate based puddings but for an extra twist in the first layer you add coconut, almonds, and wafer crumbs (it’s a little messy to eat so make sure you pack the napkins!). The second layer is the custard part, with a little vanilla twist too. The third layer tops it off with more chocolatey goodness – definitely one for the coco addicts among us!
nanaimo-bar-close-693x800-433x500The best thing about the bar is that it requires no baking – so perfect for whipping up as an after dinner treat whilst on board. You can also add in whatever kind of flavors your heart desires. Some people add a little minty freshness, maybe a slathering of peanut butter, or a little caffeine hit of coffee to make your bar mocha.
There have been competitions across the area to see who can come up with the recipe. One contest that continued for a long four weeks saw over 100 different variations of the famous treat. The winner of this contest was Joyce Hardcastle and you can find her special recipe for the Nanaimo bar here – just in case you want to cook up your own batch on board the yacht.
The Nanaimo bar is one example of the rich food culture of Vancouver. It is very much a food loving city. Vancouverites get very excited by the famous Nanaimo bar, but there are lots of other delicious delicacies that are well known in the region. Prawns, steak, fresh tomatoes, or something a little more exotic like a ramen are also all very popular choices.
The West Coast is most famous for its ample selection of seafood. Here you can find mussels, oysters, and wild salmon if you find yourself venturing west on the yacht. Prawns, crab and many more varieties of locally-caught seafood are always on the menu. You can find some great eats in the finest restaurants to the street food trucks.
1974975_10151959021255563_510536402_nAnother great thing about Vancouver food culture is that they are all about sustainability. They really care where their ingredients come from, and this means that many menus cite where their stock came from right down to the fisherman’s boat or the farm. Look for the Ocean Wise symbol whenever you are ordering. Vegetables and meat are also locally sourced which is good for the planet and the economy.
As well as the local Vancouver food, you can find a stunning array of multi-cultural dishes to tantalise your taste buds. From Japanese to Belgian, French to Peruvian – you will certainly never get bored when filling up in Vancouver and Nanaimo. The beauty of travelling by yacht is you can travel
 in one of the most luxurious and relaxing ways possible, with some of the world’s most breath-taking scenery to feast your eyes on too when searching for the next feast to feed your stomach.
more-prawns_6550111051_l-300x225If the sweet treat kind of bar doesn’t take your fancy and you find yourself wondering – why is the rum always gone? Well you are in luck, as if you are moored in Nanaimo there is no shortage of late night entertainment venues to keep you going until the small hours. There is the Casino, the Entertainment Centre, The Queens, The Spice Lounge, The Diners Rendevouz, Club 241 and many more!
One thing is certain however, if you are yachting in Nanaimo you simply must try a bite of the legendary Nanaimo bar. It’s chocolatey goodness will overwhelm the senses and is sure to leave a taste of Nanaimo that you will never forget.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Sailing in Vancouver Safety Checklist


Sailing safety is of utmost importance when you are off on a trip. Before setting sail, it is a good idea to have some sort of a checklist in your mind, or better still, a physical checklist which you can use to make sure you and the rest of your crew and companions are prepared for the journey ahead. A checklist used before setting sail, will limit the possibility for problems once underway.
Throughout this article we will look at some of the things you will want to bear in mind before setting sail.

Check weather report
Nav station - Tectonic
Not once, not twice, but continuously. With modern technology as it is now it is easier than ever to check the weather continuously, and as it always has been, a very important part of yacht safety procedures. Weather can change and turn at the drop of a hat, and so it is always best to be prepared for all sorts of weather eventualities.
Also be aware of the different difficulties that the especially cold weather can bring, as well as the hot. In cold weather hypothermia can become a risk, and in hot dehydration is one of the biggest risks. Know how to adjust your equipment for maximum safety in high winds, before the situation creeps up on you.
Most accidents do not occur in bad weather contrary to popular belief. They actually occur when the water is calm, as this is when your guard is lowered. Safety is something that must be at the forefront of your mind whilst sailing aboard a yacht, at all times, no matter the weather.

Prepare cruising route and plan
Sailing CoursesIt is imperative to have your route mapped out, as well as a well thought out sailing plan prepared including breaks, rest stops, leisure stops, etc. Also be well versed in the rules of the road so to speak, to avoid collisions with others, or disagreements about who had the right of way etc. You want your trip to be a pleasurable one.

Ensure you have the correct number, and the right size range of lifejackets on board your vessel before setting sale – and then make sure there are a few extra in case of malfunction at any point. Lifejackets, also known as Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) should be warn at appropriate times. As going overboard is one of the leading causes of injury or death when sailing, your PFD is one of the most important safety devices, and so it is of critical importance that it fits, and that you know how to use it.

Safety tools and equipment  
As well as life jackets there are a number of other items of safety equipment you need to be adorned with whilst aboard. A safety harness tether for instance, is a great piece of kit whilst riding solo, or to help create extra protection against rough weather.
Jacklines also give you another way to stay clipped to the boat, and something else to use in the unfortunate case that someone does fall overboard.
If you are likely to sail at night, or perhaps where they may be fog, or even a little mist, it might be wise to consider installing an Automatic Identification System (AIS) system which will help you avoid collisions with other yachts, or anything else that may get in the way.
A good compass, or navigation equipment is also important for safety. Or simply a good sense of where you are going. Familiarising yourself with the route beforehand is often a good idea so you can be prepared for what lays ahead.
It is not enough to simply have safety equipment, but you need to know how to prepare it, and how to use it appropriately.

Check the engine
sailing-L6It sounds simple, and obvious, but you should make sure you check your engine before setting sail. If you aren’t sure what you are looking for, then get someone who does to do it for you. You especially want to check for leaks, and the oil level. Check all equipment too, halyards, rigging, etc. anything that has the possibility of breaking. Drainage systems should also be checked, as well as battery status.

Prepare medicine
Make sure you know if there are any passengers on board with medical conditions, and ensure they have the correct medication with them and the correct quantity for the length of the trip. This may include regular medication, specialist medication for ongoing conditions, asthma paraphernalia, or more generic medication such as paracetamol. You will want to double check the first aid kit on board too before departure.
YPO Boys 445

There is lots of extended literature you can read before jumping on board if you would like to improve your knowledge base. Books on safe skippering, good seamanship, and more are available online. You may also want to consider downloading one of the many apps available. The key to safety is preparation.