Thursday, 26 July 2012


While I’ve spent a fair bit of time in canoes, I’ve never been in a sail boat. Just never had the opportunity.

Keven down at Bay Sails, said that I should come out to the Royal Hamilton Yacht Club on a Tuesday or Thursday evening when they have races, and I could go out on the Bay. Reminded me several times. I finally took him up on the offer. Perfect day. Hot, clear, but windy.

I chatted with him on the phone and he said that if I couldn’t go on his boat, I could certainly go on some one elses boat.  Indeed when I got to the dock Keven says, “Hey you’re going to go with Mark. It turns out he knows your nephew.” Wow. Small world. He had mentioned a while ago that he had gone sailing with his school chum Justin. “Yeah his dad Mark, went to school with my dad.” With hundreds and hundreds of sailing boats on the Bay, what are the odds?

Mark says, “I took Anand and Justin out sailing again last night, and just before we set out Keven came by and I asked him about all the stuff going on over at Hanks. Keven says ‘Oh him and another guy are doing some renos in the attic because they’re going to build two cedar strip kayaks in the attic.’ Anand yells ‘Hey! That’s my uncle!’ ”

The boat used in these races is the George Hinterhoeller design from 1959, the Shark 24, a very popular racing yacht, with many (thousands) of them plying the Great Lakes. (The photos in the link are all on Burlington Bay.)
The boat. The ‘Bacardi.’
Heading out of the marina towards Burlington.
A laker by Pier 6.
Some of the other (many other) boats out on the Bay.
Keven going past in his Shark.
I know in my head that Burlington Bay is a large body of water, but being out in the middle of it really drives the point home.
Steel plants.
Mark at the helm and Tom manning the sails. They’ve been sailing together for decades and operate like a well oiled machine. Watching Tom gamboling around on a pitching and rolling sail boat, was quite impressive. The only apprehension I had about being out on the water was that I would turn out to be a totally useless boob, getting in the way, standing on ropes, etc. But I think I did all right. While I’m essentially a land lubber, I think my saving grace is that I’m pretty common-sensical. I pay attention and cottoned on to what needed to happen pretty quickly.
Steel mills. I’ve said it before, but even with the heavy industry on the waterfront, this has to be one of the most scenic places in Canada to live. I can only imagine how sweet it would be if those steel plants hadn’t ever been put there. But, it had to go somewhere. And Hamilton it was.
Heading towards the Skyway Bridge.
Mark let me take the helm for about 20 minutes while he got the jib sail down. I didn’t cause any accidents or anything. Fun getting to steer a boat. Tom had a cap on when we set out, but it blew off while setting up the spinnaker on one of the three times it was unfurled.
I steered the boat towards the High Level Bridge and when given the direction, turned it to port to head back to the marina.

Uhhhh....super fun! I can definitely see the appeal of sailing. Not that I never had an interest, but just haven’t had the opportunity. There is definitely a sizeable learning curve involved, but talk about opening up a lot of possibilities.