Shellbacks Aubrey and Judy Millard, accompanied by another Shellback, Aaron Fenton, headed up the Pacific Coast of Mexico on their recent return to Toronto, just as borders were tightening in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Aubrey describes his blog entry below, and the blog entry itself is also supplied at the end of this post:
Elliot Lake, Ontario
March 24, 2020
This is my first log in a long time, and it is probably one of my last few logs as we are bringing Veleda back to Canada, to its new home at the North Channel Yacht Club in Spragge, on the North Channel of Lake Huron. It is only a 25 minute drive from our apartment in Elliot Lake. We hopefully have sold Antares Spring which we have had up here for the past two years.
We arrived from Mexico via the US last Friday March 13, and to Elliot Lake on the 14th. We were fortunate as it was just before the heavy restrictions on travel were instituted and we had absolutely no problems in returning across the Mexico/US or the US/Canadian borders. We are in the process of self isolating ourselves for 14 days before we resume any outside activities, most of which have been curtailed due to the Corona virus epidemic. This has given me a chance to write up this log of our travels to bring Veleda back home.
I have brought Veleda from Bahia Del Sol in El Salvador up to Puerto Penasco on the northern tip of the Sea of Cortez in Mexico where we will leave it until the virus scare and restrictions have eased, after which we will have it shipped from there to Chicago. We will go down to Chicago and sail Veleda up to the North Channel, hopefully in June.
Judy is stressed out and has had enough of long distance international sailing and will be glad to have Veleda back here. She did not want to even sail Veleda up from El Salvador and so I did it with some crew as described in this log. The passage was fraught with engine problems as you will read, but we got Veleda safely up to Puerto Penasco and ready to ship to Chicago.
This is quite a detailed log of the first half of this 2100 mile passage, the next should be out within a week, as I have nothing else to do cocooned as we are in our comfortable apartment, Judy with her quilting and me with my laptop getting caught up on my logs and enjoying movies on Netflix.
All the best,
Bill Hutton was scheduled to visit the Shellback Club on April 15, 2020 to present "Rescued at Sea", his reflections, second thoughts and lessons learned resulting from how a routine six-day passage turned into a midnight transfer to a 750 foot bulk carrier. Unfortunately, the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated postponement.
We hope to see Bill in the fall, but in the meantime he has supplied an image and short (7 second) video clip for us to view.
Rob was due to visit the Shellback Club on March 18, 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated that this talk be postponed, provisionally until November 11, 2020.
Rob has documented his Tour of the Canadian War Memorials at Vimy, Beaumont-Hamel, Dieppe and Juno Beach, the Five Canadian Pilgrims in Northern France and provided this slideshow as a placeholder until he can return to the Shellback Club in person.
Angus Armstrong - The Effects of COVID-19 on Boating, Port Lands Development, and the Changing Face of Recreational Boating
Angus Armstrong, Harbourmaster Emeritus of PortsToronto, shared his observations on what impacts COVID-19 might have on recreational boating and commercial shipping; the ongoing development of the Don River mouth in the Port Lands; and the changing face of recreational boating in Canada.
COVID-19 will lead to scrutiny of commercial crews coming to Canada from abroad, at Montreal and in British Columbia. Recreational boaters crossing to and from the United States can expect a tighter regime of customs reporting, probably including the removal of "remote reporting (phone in)" of arrivals to Customs in the two countries. Entry will instead involve face-to-face reporting to customs officials, likely at centralized inspection locations.
Port Lands development of the Don River mouth will focus on flood plain management and soil remediation, with projected completion in 2024.
A notable trend in recreational boating is a shift from traditional sail and power boating to small human-powered craft such as kayaks and paddle boards. This trend has significant implications for the safety of users of such craft on Lake Ontario, as they are unlikely to be familiar with the dangers of Lake Ontario, which is effectively an inland sea. Education and possibly regulation might be indicated.
Angus faced numerous questions from the many Shellbacks in attendance.
Information on COVID-19 can be found on the web site of the Canadian government:
About Angus Armstrong
Angus Armstrong has close to 40 years of experience working on the Toronto Waterfront. He began as the lifeguard for the Toronto Harbour Police in 1970 after working through high school and becoming Head Lifeguard for the Eastern Beaches of Toronto.
In 1977, he was promoted to Leading Hand of the Toronto Harbour Police. In 1982 the Toronto Harbour Police amalgamated with the Toronto Police Services. Angus continued with the TPS in the Marine Unit. He became Head of the Marine Unit’s dive team. While with the Marine Unit, he became active in many security and safety organizations around the Great Lakes. Those organizations include:
• International Association of Marine Investigators (member)
• Canadian Safe Boating Council (Board Director)
• Ontario Regional Boating Advisory Council to the Canadian Coast Guard (member);
• International Association of Arson Investigators (member);
• International Association of Marine Investigators (member);
• Dive Rescue (Underwater Certified Investigator)
• National Association of Fire Investigators (Certified Fire & Explosives Investigator)
In 2003, Angus retired from the Toronto Police Services and took the position of Chief of Security for the Toronto Port Authority. In 2004, he became Harbour Master for the now called Port of Toronto. He was responsible for all security at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, the Marina, and the Port itself. He also oversaw traffic control for the Toronto harbor area and was responsible for environmental concerns in the vicinity.
Angus is now Harbour Master Emeritus of the Toronto Port Authority. He continues to keep his finger on the pulse of the occurrences and plans for the Toronto Waterfront.
Sally and Noel returned to the Shellback Club with another presentation of their cruising travels, this time in the English Channel, along the southern coast of England, and in Turkey.
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, and 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. Sally is taking off for parts west in the near future to spend time with Sea Cadets on the Pacific.
This summer they have no specific plans yet, although the Baltic may feature.
A rousing rendition of this classic sea shanty performed by the Shellback Club.
This is a shanty with many many variants, such as those below (from Wikipedia).
Weigh heigh and up she rises (/Hoo-ray and up she rises)
Weigh heigh and up she rises (/Patent blocks of different sizes)
Weigh heigh and up she rises
Early in the morning
What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
What shall we do with a drunken sailor,
Early in the morning?
Put/chuck him in the long boat 'til he's sober.
Put him in the long-boat and make him bail her.
What shall we do with a drunken soldier?
Put/lock him in the guard room 'til he gets sober.
Put him in the scuppers with a hosepipe on him.
Pull out the plug and wet him all over.
Tie him to the taffrail when she's yardarm under
Heave him by the leg in a runnin' bowline.
Scrape the hair off his chest with a hoop-iron razor.
Give 'im a dose of salt and water.
Stick on his back a mustard plaster.
Keep him there and make 'im bail 'er.
Give 'im a taste of the bosun's rope-end.
What'll we do with a Limejuice skipper?
Soak him in oil till he sprouts a flipper.
What shall we do with the Queen o' Sheba?
What shall we do with the Virgin Mary?
Tie him to the mast and then you flog him.
Keel haul him till he's sober.
Shave his chin with a rusty razor.
Beat 'im o'r wi' a cat-o-nine-tails.
Shave his belly with a rusty razor.
Give 'im a hair of the dog that bit him.
Put him in the bilge and make him drink it.
Put him in bed with the captain's daughter.
Hit him on the head with a drunken soldier
Put him in the back of a paddy wagon (Great Big Sea)
Take him to the pub and get him drunker
Have you seen the Captain's Daughter? (various)
Put him at the wheel of an Exxon tanker. (Or "make him captain of")
A common parody reference to the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.
Book him a room at the Tailhook Convention.
References the 1991 Tailhook scandal.
Make him sing in an Irish Rock band (Sevon Rings)
Lock him in a room with disco music (Schooner Fare – Finnegan's Wake)
After three years of preparation on June 5, 2019 the Boundless set sail from Baddeck Nova Scotia to Portugual, the second leg of a journey from Whitby, Ontario. Regrettably, the destiny for Boundless was not Europe, but rather, the bottom of the ocean instead. 1400 miles off the coast a mayday was issued by the crew after a rogue wave rendered the 38’ vessel incapacitated. Fortunately, the distress call was heard by Captain Wendell Hendricks of the Ardmore Sealifter who navigated the 700 foot oil tanker to the sailboat.
Neil Hetherington spoke to the Shellback Club about the voyage, the preparation required to cross the Atlantic, and the rescue. His talk was illustrated with videos and photos of the events.
About Neil Hetherington
Neil Hetherington exhibits his passion for social justice as CEO of the Daily Bread Food Bank following leaderships role in the not-for-profit sector for the last 20 years with Habitat for Humanity and Dixon Hall. He is holds degrees or certificates from the University of Western Ontario - Huron College, Seneca College, Harvard Business School and the University of Virginia - Darden. He obtained his MBA from the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School in 2013.
Neil was named one of Canada's Top 40 under 40 in 2005 and has received the alumni of the year award from each of Huron University, Royal Saint George's College, Western University and Seneca College. He was awarded Queen Elizabeth's Golden and Diamond Jubilee medals in 2002 and 2012 and the Ontario Premiers Award in 2018. He is an active pilot and sailor and loves the sports he plays poorly.
Ron Mazza returned to the Shellback Club with his presentation on visiting Vietnam and Cambodia, and traveling on the Mekong River. Ron's observations on the politics and history, economy, and natural environment of this region shed a great deal of light for those learning about these areas in detail for the first time.
About Ron Mazza
Ron has lived his entire life on Toronto Island. He is married to Pam, with 3 grown children. And this month they became a grandparents!
By profession, Ron is a structural engineer. He retired in 2012. He has been a member of Queen City Yacht Club for over 50 years. In 2015 and 2016, Ron was Commodore of the Club; he cannot give up the job – he is back at it at Queen City as Commodore again.
Ron began sailing at QCYC Junior Club; he then sailed and raced on his Dad’s 6M, International 14s, then Sharks. At the age of 60 he bought the boat he first admired at age 25, a C&C-designed Viking 34.
Ron’s lifetime sailing highlights include:
We welcome Ron for the third time. Ron and Pam previously spoke about their trip to Antarctica and then their adventures on a Six Metres, especially Kisita. As you may know, Ron’s twin brother is Rob Mazza.
Paul Henderson stepped up to describe in brief a who's who in the McLaughlin family, RCYC's notable sailing family.
Paul Henderson introduced the Shellback Club to this viewing of the 2019 movie "Maiden", a documentary account of the 1989 sailing of the Whitbread Round the World Race, sailed for the first time by an all-woman crew led by Tracy Edwards.
Links to "Maiden" Resources
Movie synopsis narrated by Tracy Edwards
Movie Web Site
Movie profile: IMDB
Movie review: Rotten Tomatoes
"Maiden" entry: Wikipedia
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