Ray Peacock returned to the Shellback Club for the third time, this time to describe the restoration work he has done on two very special model ships, both scale models of the German battleship Bismarck, and both created initially by German prisoners of war and survivors of the sinking of the Bismarck. These PoWs were among the just 115 survivors of the more than 2200 crew on board the Bismarck at its sinking in 1941. Held in a PoW camp in Lethbridge Alberta they were resourceful in making these models during their incarceration.
About Ray Peacock
Born and brought up in the village of Port Sunlight, the home of the soap company Lever Brothers, near the city of Liverpool, Ray has always lived near the sea and large lakes. As a boy he would often take the “Ferry ‘cross the Mersey” from Birkenhead to Liverpool, where he watched the ships that plied their trade from the wharves and docks of the city that grew on ship building and the commerce of the world, and which was the control centre of Atlantic Naval operations during WWII, known as “The Western Approaches”. He was also not far from the entrance to the Manchester Ship Canal, and would spend time watching the freighters of the world as they passed, opening the inland City of Manchester to international trade.
Ray took a degree in Food Technology in London. He followed this with a career, first in the meat industry, then in the chocolate business. Ray and his family lived in a village near the ancient City of York, with a history dating back to Viking and Roman times, and an area hotly contested during the Civil War. Ray, his wife and three children were “exported” to Canada in 1971 by his company, and became Vice-president of Manufacturing of the Canadian branch of Rowntrees, the makers of Kit Kat, Coffee Crisp, Smarties, Black Magic and After Eight Mints.
He took up ship modeling as a hobby during our Canadian winters, initially building from kits, but later graduating to scratch building. Ray is a member of Metro Marine Modellers, https://metromarine.org/. He is also a founding member of Model Shipwrights of Niagara, https://modelshipwrightsofniagara.weebly.com/.
In addition to building his own models Ray also restores old and damaged models for private individuals and public institutions, to museum-quality standards of accuracy and finish of hulls and rigging. His Admiralty-style model of the 22-gun ship HMS “Ontario”, a “snow” which sank in the Lake in 1780, was built after considerable research, and is considered to be the authentic model of the ship.
Brian Monrad & Cathie Macdonald took the Shellback Club on their adventure traversing the Trent-Severn Waterway in an all-electric sailboat in 2021 during COVID.
They described the challenges of their expedition to demonstrate that such a passage could be made without the direct use of hydrocarbon energy. In particular, during COVID shutdown in 2021 many marinas were closed so electrical connections for recharging were limited.
About Cathie Macdonald and Brian Monrad
Cathie grew up paddling canoes on the canals in Ottawa, but the sailboats on Dows Lake really caught her interest. After qualifying in Architecture and Planning, she travelled the world and settled in Toronto where she took up racing Albacores at Westwood Sailing Club. She met Brian in 2000 sailing Sharks. They were married in 2001.
Brian grew up in a Toronto sailing family and spent five summers in the RCYC Junior Club. After qualifying in Philosophy, Accounting, and Law, he ran the Calgary Sailing School in the early 70’s. He then sailed in Victoria BC for 25 years. He returned to Toronto in the late 90s where he helped found the Disabled Sailing Association of Ontario.
Cathie & Brian spent two summers on their Nonsuch 30U "Cheshire Cat" on the Chesapeake. One winter in 2011, they took it down the Intracoastal Waterway to the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos. Cheshire Cat sank in March 2012 in the Turks & Caicos; Brian & Cathie spoke to Shellbacks about it back in April of 2013. In 2014, they purchased the Nonsuch 26U "Cattitude", converted it to fossil-free electric in 2016, and motored up the Trent Severn Waterway in 2021. They settled at Bay Port Yachting Centre. Brian & Cathie are looking forward to joining Midland Bay SC as social members.
Michael Cane brings Shellbacks his account, "My Odyssey from the Log of The Lady Asta: A Cruise from Florida to Belize via Cuba and Mexico" (May 11 to June 2, 1996). John had done some cruising in the Caribbean over the years, but his longest and most exciting cruise was in 1996 when he and others sailed from Ocean Reef, Florida to San Pedro in Belize. His friends, Asta and Fred Evans, owned a lovely yacht, a Bristol 41 called "The Lady Asta". John had sailed a couple of times before with Fred and Asta on their previous yacht, along with the late Bob Purcell. That experience included a trip from the BVIs to Antigua. Fred was getting on in years and he and Asta wanted to do a final long cruise before they sold the boat. They felt they needed a couple of strong, able seamen as crew. John Blackburn and Michael Cane volunteered!
About Michael Cane
Michael’s introduction to sailing was when he was 8 years old on a family vacation on the Norfolk Broads in England. At the age of 17 his brother and he built a dinghy from a kit. It was called a "Graduate" and was 12’6” long. They raced it together. Subsequently Michael did some sailing on the Solent, a strait between the Isle of Wight and mainland Great Britain, and once took part in Cowes Week, on a 12 Meter.
He started sailing at the RCYC soon after he came to Canada in 1970. The first boat he sailed there was a beautiful old R-Boat called "Highlander". He both raced and cruised on it.
In the 80s Michael crewed on a Shark for a number of years before buying his own which he called "Sloane Ranger". That boat became the family cottage on the island. Additionally, Michael competed in various Shark regattas. They sold the Shark and after a brief hiatus, purchased another, "Cahoots". The family still has this boat which Michael races with his two sons, Simon and Stephen. They also have a Nonsuch which they cruise and also use as a family cottage.
Michael has also participated in a number of cruises in the Caribbean with his RCYC Shark buddies. These cruises are usually a week long on a rental sloop or catamaran.
Melodie Schaffer joined Shellbacks once again, this time with World Races. She embarked on the inaugural Globe 40 Double Handed Race Around the World in her Class 40 boat 'Whiskey Jack'. The race entailed 8 legs, around all three Capes. She sailed 35,000 miles in this adventure with 174 days on the ocean. From torn sails, to pirates, to no wind instruments or communication at times, the challenges were immense. Despite the challenges, she won leg 7, and set three race records including the overall one of 347 miles in a 24 hour period. She was the only female skipper for the entire race.
About Melodie Schaffer
Melodie is the daughter of Howard Ridge, a longtime Shellbacks member. She has sailed and raced out of RCYC on variety of boats from dinghies (Laser, 470, I14) to keel boats (Shark, C&C 39s, 8 Meter, J105). She currently owns a Dufour 34 at the Club. Four years ago, she began offshore racing. She sailed in the 2019-2020 Clippber Round the World Race in the Southern Ocean leg and the Asian leg. She was then to race across the Pacific in March 2020, but it was postponed due to the Covid pandemic.
Two years ago, she bought a Class 40, a doublehanded offshore race boat. She trained for a couple weeks and then sailed the boat to France to compete in the Trans Jacques Vabre, a race from Le Havre, France to Martinique. This race draws the top sailors in the world. Competitors sail Ocean 50s, Class 40s, Ultims (100 foot trimarans) and IMOCA 60s; all are racing doublehanded. She competed with a fellow Canadian and they were the first Canadians to finish the race. She was one of 14 women in the race, out of the 180 skippers.
Melodie has just completed the Globe 40 Round the World race.
She is a biomedical engineer by profession, and more recently a sailing photographer. She has three children.
Farah Chihadeh & Omar Filipe gave the Shellback Club a picture of the history of the Broad Reach Canada programme and its current status. We heard of the experiences of a few of those who have benefited from the efforts of this charity under the direction of Executive Director Marguerite Pyron. Broadreach celebrates its 25th year at the Boulevard Club on November 18th 2023. Charles Waterman, Broad Reach Chair of the Board and Officer joined the presenters.
About Farah Chihadeh, Youth Program Coordinator
Farah Chihadeh has worked in the nonprofit sector for nearly eleven years. Among her favorite moments was helping a young person access an opportunity, whether it was a scholarship or a training program. A newcomer herself, Farah strives to give back to the Canadian community by helping youth realize their potential in spite of the challenges they may face. She joined Broad Reach Canada last spring to support the Ships2Shores project, and now serves as a program manager at BRC.
About Omar Felipe, Program Coordinator
Omar Felipe is a sailor/artist living the dream. He was born in the Valley of Cauca Colombia. An immigrant to Canada, he graduated from the Marilyn I Walker School of Fine and Performing Arts at Brock University. Deciding that becoming a sailor was his next move. And so he completed all training and certifications to become an Intermediate Sail Instructor. Omar accumulated over 6000 miles at sea, as he sailed through the Intercoastal Waterway, the Caribbean Sea, Erie, Trent-Severn and Welland Canals, and the frozen Canadian waters in the St. Lawrence Seaway. He brings his experience and expertise to a team of like-minded individuals with a common goal: to provide opportunities to underprivileged youth like himself, to engage in sailing, developing knowledge, skills and social belonging.
Laurie & Phil share their experiences while sailing as crew on P&O and Princess Lines. They relate the history of the two companies in this Part 1. In Part 2 they will take us behind the scenes on the TSS Canberra.
About Lawrence Rennie
After graduating from high school, Lawrence followed in his father’s footsteps and served a five year apprenticeship in a shipyard in Aberdeen, Scotland. He attended Technical College during that time and then joined P&O Lines as an Assistant Engineer Officer. He served on a freighter for two years. In 1966 he moved to P&O – the Orient Passenger Division. From there he moved to the Princess Lines, where he served for nine years, moving through the ranks to Chief Engineer. During this time, he served on a number of ships and so, travelled the world. Latterly, he was with Princess Cruises on the Alaskan Cruise voyages.
Lawrence left Princess in 1973. He then joined Aviva Insurance, in Toronto, as an engineer/surveyor. That position took him to Northern Ontario, the Dominican Republic and Norway. Moving from Aviva, he joined an engineering risk management firm where he was retained by Lloyd’s of London to inspect the Avostal Shipyard in Mariupol, Ukraine and Reliance Petroleum Company in India.
The past 15 years, Lawrence has returned to Marine Surveying, where he still works in season for Crawford Marine Services.
About Phil Dawson
Phil Dawson was born post WWII of Anglo-German ancestry. He first became interested in ships during his early childhood in the city of Bahia, Brazil, through his father’s work there as an exporter and, as a passenger on several long ocean voyages with his parents and siblings. Moving first to England and then to Canada, he completed his schooling in Winnipeg, studying computer science at the University of Manitoba. While working with large mainframe computer systems in Canada and Europe, he also continued to follow developments in merchant ships and shipping. He started writing about these interests on a part-time basis.
Leaving the computer field altogether shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War, Phil opted to pursue his life-long love of architecture and design. He embarked on an entirely new photographic and literary career specializing in the design, operation and supporting infrastructural aspects of world-wide sea and air transport. On the strength of his success in these ventures, he later became an associate member of the Royal Institution of Naval Architects in London.
Phil Dawson has written extensively for various international shipping, aviation and architectural publications. He has also written and co-authored a number of significant books on ships and ship design. The first of these books, British Superliners of the Sixties, presented an in-depth design study of Britain’s significantly modern ORIANA, CANBERRA, and QE2. He later wrote the commemorative book, Canberra: In the Wake of Legend, at the end of her service career, and co-authored QE2: Britain’s Greatest Liner with Bruce Peter and Ian Johnstone, at the time of her decommissioning.
Shellback members meet informally on Wednesdays at noon at the Mimico Cruising Club for lunch and conversation. Feel free to drop in any week; Club membership is not necessary.
On June 6, the Shellback Club visited the Art Gallery of Ontario and viewed the Thomson Collection of Ship Models. This impressive collection includes models hundreds of years old, up to the twentieth century.
After viewing the models, the Shellbacks convened in the AGO Bistro for a delicious lunch. Thanks to Skipper Dianne Leggatt for her organizational skills.
Jamie Hunter spoke to the Shellback Club on the History of the S.S. Waubuno, Legend and Lore, 1865-1879. The sidewheel steamer S.S. Waubuno plied mainly Georgian Bay for most of her 14-year history. The vessel and all her crew and passengers disappeared on November 22nd, 1879 near the Haystack Reefs near Sans Souci Ontario. Jamie delved into all aspects of the wreck often referred to as the most mysterious wreck of the 19th Century on the Great Lakes waters because no one survived to tell the story of this ill-fated steamer and her last trip of the season from Collingwood Ontario to Parry Sound Ontario.
Jamie Hunter and Eric McIntyre have also produced a 170 page book on all aspects of the S.S. Waubuno.
About Jamie Hunter
Jamie has spent most his life studying the Indigenous people who once lived in what is now known as Huronia. He has worked on the archaeological excavation of many Wendat sites and has published his research on the contact period when French Jesuits came to live in the region. Jamie was the Director/Curator of Huronia Museum for 26 years. He recently co-authored a book on the sinking of the historic steamship Waubuno in Georgian Bay. He has welcomed and guided many cruise guests to Midland with passion and a wealth of knowledge.
In 2012 James gave a presentation to the Parry Sound community on the Waubuno. Eric McIntyre, who attended the event, asked for all his sources which he was hesitant to provide. So, they went into partnership and between 2018 and 2021 produced a 170-page book on all aspects of the S.S. Waubuno.
Sally and Noel Lien returned to the Shellback Club to describe their 2022 travels from Chatham in the UK, up to Stornoway in anticipation, then their return south to New Ross, where their boat Kalinka 1 has now spent the winter.
About Sally and Noel Lien
Sally was born in Winchester Ontario. She is a multi-talented lady and generous to a fault. She is a skilled sailor, a Lieutenant of the Sea Cadets, volunteers with disabled children teaching them to ski. She has a grand sense of humour.
Noel is also multi-talented. He was a carpenter when the TD Tower was built. He was a ‘copper’ for many years. That career led to his becoming a paralegal. He is a skilled sailor with all things boating. And he joins Sally in teaching disabled children to ski.
Both Sally and Noel work hard in the winter so they can sail somewhere in the summer. This summer they . . . no specific plans yet, although the Baltic may feature.